17 Apr 2019

    Meet The 2018 Laureates of the 12th Annual Premier's Awards For Excellence In The Arts Featured

    The laureates of the 2018 Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts have been

    The awards recognize Ontario's professional artists and arts organizations
    for extraordinary achievements that strengthen Ontario's vibrant culture sector.

    Philip Akin has been chosen as 2018 Artist Award laureate. Philip Akin has been
    acting and directing for over 40 years. In 2000, he was a founding member of Obsidian
    Theatre, Canada’s leading black theatre company, and has served as its Artistic
    Director since 2006. As the winning artist, Philip Akin receives $35,000 and also
    selected an emerging artist, who will receive $15,000.

    “I have always said that it's the work and not the awards that matter. And yet I find
    myself profoundly touched that a group of my peers conferred this honour on me. I wish
    my mom was still alive to see this day,” said Philip Akin.

    The 2018 Emerging Artist of the Year is Leighton Alexander Williams. Leighton is
    an actor and director on stage and screen, and is a graduate of York University’s Acting
    Conservatory. He is also a co-founder of Big Dreamers Brotherhood Productions, a
    production company founded by seven film and theatre artists of various disciplines.

    “I’m very blessed to achieve this award, especially after a year of producing work that
    speaks to social issues currently happening in our world. I’m eternally grateful to Philip
    Akin and Obsidian Theatre who saw something within me, and gave me the platform I
    needed to share my artistry with this city,” said Leighton Alexander Williams. “ I hear
    time and time again, that ‘art is not rocket science or brain surgery’; however, art has
    the power to change minds, bestow new perspective, and save lives. Therefore, I
    encourage my fellow artists to continue to fight the good fight, and tell those impactful
    stories that may be hard to share.”

    imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival has been selected as the laureate in the
    Arts Organization category. imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world’s
    largest festival showcasing film, video, audio, and digital & interactive media made by
    Indigenous screen content creators, and will celebrate their 20th Anniversary from
    October 23-27, 2019. The Arts Organization Award recognizes an Ontario-based arts
    organization that supports professional artists, is led by professional artists and art
    administrators, and has a significant history in the arts in Ontario. A jury of artists and
    arts professionals chooses the winner after an extensive review of all nominees and the
    laureate receives an award of $50,000.

    "It's a great honour to be recognized with the Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence
    in the Arts and we thank the jury from the fullness of our hearts," said Jason Ryle,
    Artistic & Managing Director of imagineNATIVE. “This award is a testament to the
    incredible vitality of the Indigenous media arts community and the talented artists,
    supportive community members, and passionate staff, volunteers and Board that make
    imagineNATIVE possible. These awards are deeply meaningful to the arts organizations
    and artists who significantly enrich Ontario’s social, cultural and economic landscapes.
    I'd like to congratulate all of this year's laureates and finalists; we are honoured to be in
    the company of these great artists and organizations and wish them the best in their
    continued success and contributions to the Province.”

    The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts program is administered by
    the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) on behalf of the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of
    Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS). Winners are selected by a jury of artists and arts
    professionals. Click here to view the full list of 2018 finalists and laureates.

    The culture sector generates more than $25 billion annually for Ontario’s economy and
    supports about 280,000 jobs.

    Know a Black Canadian artist we should be covering? Email us at info (at) byblacks.com.

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