On Sunday afternoon, while the snow was falling endlessly on the shore outside the windows of the Bay Room in the Bayshore Community Centre, the Ninth Annual Cultural Awards were taking place. Hosted by the City of Owen Sound with performances from Poet Laureate Lauren Best and funny sketches from the talented young Sandcastle Theatre Group, the afternoon presented as a great acknowledgement of the arts happening in the area. When Steve Ritchie won the Outstanding Individual Award, he used an anecdote to describe how unique a city like Owen Sound is for have things like Summerfolk and Georgian Bay Symphony.
While both of those cultural institutions were recognized at the event, and rightfully so, I would argue we’re also lucky to have so many new cultural experiences that didn’t get awards. There were many young, emerging artists, groups and events that were nominated but didn’t take home awards on Sunday afternoon, and I think it’s a sign that the community is offering new and exciting cultural voices to the chorus of the existing giants.
I was glad to see a good crowd for this event, and when Maryann Thomas accepted her Cultural Catalyst Award, she appealed to community to keep the nominations coming for next year. We need even more nominations, she posited.
So keep an eye out this year for individuals, events, groups, and organizations who are contributing to the culture in this area and make sure to nominate them next year to keep this whole darn thing perpetuating until we’ve got more nominations for each category than we can count on our fingers and toes.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
As for this year’s awards, here are the nominations and winners:
Georgian Bay Symphony – WINNER
Stephen J. Hogbin
Steve Ritchie – WINNER
Scenic City Film Festival
Festival of Northern Lights
42nd Annual Summerfolk Music & Crafts Festival – WINNER
MOST PROMISING NEW EVENT
Awesome Sydenham Riverfest Extravaganza – WINNER
Georgian Bay Roots Radio Show
R. Michael Warren – WINNER
Janice Elaine Chamberlain
Chris Morton – WINNER
Stephen J. Hogbin