On April 9, the City of Nanaimo honoured four citizens who have displayed an outstanding dedication to culture in the Nanaimo community. "These awards recognize the best of Nanaimo's arts and cultural volunteers and creative talent. The work of these dedicated volunteers and professionals contributes to a sense of cultural vitality and pride within our community," says Mayor Bill McKay.
Among the award-winners were the married couple Grant Leier and Nixie Barton, who run Barton Leier Mixta, for their artistic talents and contributions to the city’s arts community. “We are honoured and thrilled,” Leier said. “It is very nice to have the community acknowledge you.”
Barton and Leier moved from Victoria to Nanaimo roughly 20 years ago. They both say that the arts scene has grown significantly since they arrived. “There are a lot more artists working in different media than when we first arrived,” Leier said. “There are a lot of sculptures and glass blowers and jewelers. It is not just painters.”
The award winners are:
EXCELLENCE IN CULTURE - Grant Leier and Nixie Barton will receive the “Excellence in Culture” Award. They are recognized as having earned national reputations for their numerous solo exhibitions throughout North America. Both have brought their expertise, experience and generosity to the community. Their wide ranging support of the arts was illustrated through mentorships, donations, and participation in the many aspects of the local, Canadian and international cultural communities.
HONOUR IN CULTURE - Arlene Blundell will receive the “Honour In Culture” Award for her outstanding work with the Nanaimo Theatre Group and enormous commitment to the breadth and growth of theatre in and around Nanaimo. Arlene is also recognized through her many community service initiatives such as the BC Senior Games in 2007 and BC Summer Games in 2014, the Nanaimo Toy Drive and as an active member of the Altrusa Club.
EMERGING CULTURAL LEADER - Amanda Scott will receive the “Emerging Cultural Leader” Award for her commitment and outstanding support of the arts and culture scene in Nanaimo and, more specifically in the Arts District of Downtown Nanaimo. In just a short time at The Vault Cafe, Amanda has created an exciting cultural hub that hosts and supports many various genres of art and the artist within. For artists young and old of all disciplines, Amanda has created the opportunity to expand their creativity in a comfortable and supportive environment. Some have stated that The Vault has quickly become the “cultural heart” that beats in the downtown core.
HERITAGE REHABILITATION AWARD - McCourt Residence. This year's residential rehabilitation award is presented to the property owners – Andrea Saam-Lawry and Tim Lawry – to recognize the extensive repair and rehabilitation work completed in 2013 on the McCourt Residence. The owners effectively “resurrected” a older heritage home which was in dire need of extensive repair thereby helping to keep a piece of the Old City's history alive and demonstrating the value of built heritage for others to appreciate.
HERITAGE REHABILITATION AWARD - St. Paul's Anglican Church. This year's institutional rehabilitation award is presented to the Anglican Diocese of B.C. for the repair and upgrade of the Church roof completed in 2014. This work was notable for the Diocese's commitment to ensuring the new roof replicated the style and aesthetic of the Church's original asbestos tiled roof, thereby maintaining the roof as one of the building's character defining features.