Printmaker Pat Martin Bates has won the inaugural Acorn Arts Award, which recognizes a living artist, group or institution which has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Oak Bay. Known as "Lady Print," Bates, 90, is an internationally recognized artist and a mainstay in the Oak Bay arts community.
Bates was a formative teacher in the first years of the University of Victoria, and founded the Signal Hill Creative Centre (now XChanges Gallery) and also the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria. Her long career as an educator culminated in the first Excellence in Teaching award (1991) and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, both in recognition of her long service at University of Victoria. Her innovative print-making techniques, involving deep embossing and piercing of the paper, brought her many honours, including the Gold Medal at the International Biennale of Prints in Fredrikstad, Norway.
“She’s such a deserving recipient, being a nationally recognized artist,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “Being familiar with her art, I think it’s a very fitting choice. Her work has been seen as really leading-edge amongst Canadian art critics. Being local, she was an obvious choice for the first award.”
The Acorn Arts Award is administered by Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture, as adjudicated by the Oak Bay Arts Laureate and the Public Art Committee.