By Ahmri Vandeborne
Guelph Arts Council is currently accepting applications for the Jane Graham Memorial Award, until October 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm for paper applications and 11:59 pm for online applications. In memory of Guelph visual artist Jane Graham, this award was established so that local visual artists from Guelph or Wellington County can develop their professional development portfolio and seek out opportunities that they might not otherwise be able to pursue.
GAC appoints a volunteer award jury with representatives from the local visual arts community, past award recipients, GAC, and the Graham family, and this year, award recipient(s) will be notified in late Fall 2020.
We connected with the 2019 award recipients, Annie Burgess and Jagdeep Reina, to talk about their experience with the application process and using the award funds, as well as how COVID-19 affected their plans. They also provided advice for artists planning on applying this year. Burgess requested assistance to help with the costs of the Intermediate/Advanced Pottery-Throwing course at Haliburton School of Art & Design, Fleming College, to help her move towards her goal of blurring the line between craft and fine art as well as to better her skills as an instructor. In pursuit of expanding his artistic practice in textiles, Reina requested funds for spinning classes with local artist Alisa McRonald, with a long-term goal of making a “phulkari,” an embroidered textile art form that is almost a lost art in the villages of Punjab.
Annie Burgess with her barnacle mugs ready to be bisqued.
COVID-19 inevitably had an effect on the 2019 projects that were funded by this award. Burgess’ course was originally scheduled to begin in June but was cancelled along with all other Summer courses at the institution. “As soon as I found out it was cancelled, I contacted Patti and she was very accommodating and reassured me I can save my award money until June 2021 when it is offered again. The support in many ways from the Guelph Arts Council in these uncertain times has been invaluable to an artist like myself.” Reina’s project was also delayed but is beginning to pick back up now.
When asked what advice they would give to anyone considering applying to the Jane Graham Memorial Award this year, Reina said to “make your application and intentions as clear and succinct as possible.” Burgess’ advice was to “apply for a project or opportunity that you are truly very passionate about. Something that you’ve always wanted to do but have not yet had the opportunity or resources” noting that “your passion and drive will shine through.”
The award has supported a variety of professional development opportunities for artists in the past to help take their practice to the next level, including a textile artist, potter, audio-visual collective, scientific illustrator, artist blacksmith, printmaker, multidisciplinary artist, bead artist, art quilter, filmmaker, photoraphyer, illustrator, and painters. For a full list of past recipients and opportunities funded by this award, visit Previous Guelph Arts Council Jane Graham Memorial Award Recipients online.
When the 2019 recipients discovered they had won the award last year, Reina was “honoured and humbled” and Burgess’ initial reaction was “pure joy,” noting that she wouldn’t have been able to afford her course otherwise. If you would like to join the roster of amazing artists who have received this award in the past, and experience the same reactions Jagdeep and Annie had last year upon hearing the announcement, let Guelph Arts Council help you achieve your dreams of furthering your artistic professional development with this award. Apply to the Jane Graham Memorial Award today! For more information on the award and to apply, visit guelpharts.ca/resources-overview/gac-awards-bursaries.