Garratt, Bishop, Four Winds win Cultural Awards - May 3, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The Huron Arts and Heritage Network handed out its annual Cultural Awards on Friday night at Memorial Hall and a number of local projects and people were honoured.
Jacquie Bishop of Bluevale, who served as chair of last September’s International Plowing Match (IPM) in Walton, was honoured with the Warden’s Award.
The award, which is presented on behalf of Huron County Warden Jim Ginn, recognizes a significant contribution to the arts, culture and heritage of the county. It is presented to the most worthy nominee across all five of the awards’ categories.
Bishop was the first-ever female IPM chair and, the nomination read, she had spent over five years working on the event, and continues to even months after its completion.
“During the match, Jacquie did not do her job from an office. She could be seen hustling from event to event, walkie-talkie in her hand,” the nomination read. “In a year when an event so culturally important to the fabric of Huron County was held and its effects will be felt for years, we have to look to the head of the organization as the reason for its success.”
Bishop thanked her team and said that she could never have done her job alone. She said she felt as though the “whole county was standing behind” her to ensure the event would be a success.
Ginn, who presented the award, said that while he wasn’t allowed to vote for the winner, he was proud to present the award to Bishop, his long-time friend.
Bishop was nominated in the Community Contribution category, which was won by the Brussels Four Winds Barn and Bryan Morton, its creator.
The barn, which will open to the public later this year, was lauded for its contribution to Brussels in its nomination.
Morton said he was humbled by winning the award “for a simple barn”, adding that he felt Bishop should have won the award.
“I have a great fondness for timber-frame barns and they are rapidly disappearing, being torn down or falling down,” Morton was quoted as saying in his nomination. “When I was farming, I was too busy to participate in the community, but it is now time to give back. Providing Brussels with one of my favourite pieces of function and form just seemed to be in order.”
In addition to Bishop, the Alzheimer Society of Huron County and Miss Marcie Media were nominated in the same category for their Memorable Men of Huron calendar project.
Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson presented the award and said she was struck by the quality of the contributions by all three nominees.
Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt was honoured in the Individual Artist category.
Like many of the other winners, Garratt attributed his success to the skill and talent of others, saying that in a collaborative process like theatre, it felt strange to collect an individual award.
Garratt said that he’s been able to “stand on the shoulders” of collaborators and employees both past and present at the Blyth Festival, but continues to strive to reach higher and higher.
Garratt’s nominator spoke about Garratt’s two decades of creating art in Huron County and his commitment to telling the stories of Huron County residents and embracing diversity at the theatre whenever possible.
Furthermore, with the production of The Berlin Blues and Ipperwash last season, he gave a voice to First Nations communities on the Memorial Hall stage and has raised the theatre’s national profile with the production of The Pigeon King at the National Arts Centre for its upcoming season.
Garratt triumphed over photographer Devin Sturgeon and artist Elizabeth Van Den Broeck in the category.
Colleen Maguire was honoured in the Heritage Individual or Organization category for her work with the Huron branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and as a member of the 2013 Great Lakes Storm Commemorative Committee.
Maguire topped David Yates and Marian Zinn in the category.
The St. Joseph Kingsbridge Community project won in the Community Event or Organization category, beating out the International Plowing Match, thatotherchoir, the Blyth Festival Art Gallery 2017 Student Show, the Foundation for Education and LP Productions and Events.
The initiative has taken a church building that had closed several years before and turned it into a world-class performance space that has attracted performers from all over the world.
The 2018 season is already completely booked and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to aid in the renovation and rejuvenation of the centre.
Liv Hussey was the recipient of the Blyth Centre for the Arts and Huron Arts and Heritage Network Arts Scholarship.
The Blyth-area native is a student at the Goderich and District Collegiate Institute and plans on attending the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University to study film production in the fall of 2018.
The awards night was held at Memorial Hall in Blyth, marking the first time the awards had ever been handed out in Blyth. It included several musical performances by the Blyth Festival Singers, the St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School Jazz Cubed combo and John and Melina Powers.
All winners were presented with a piece of art contributed by local artist Michele Miller, who has been featured at the Blyth Festival Art Gallery.
For more information on the awards or the Huron Arts and Heritage Network, visit the organization’s website at creativehuron.ca.