The National Gallery of Canada announced today Hamilton Artists Inc., located in Hamilton, Ontario, is the first recipient of the Lacey Prize. Established earlier this year by Dr. John Lacey in association with the Gallery, the biennial prize recognizes the critical role artist-run centres and small arts organizations play in supporting artists and fostering emerging practices in Canada.

“We are incredibly honoured and humbled to be receiving the Lacey Prize!” said Julie Dring, Executive Director Hamilton Artists Inc. “One of the challenges for an artist-run centre like ours is that our aspirations are sometimes larger than our budgets. The Inc. has been quite ambitious lately, and we are eager to continue growing. The Lacey Prize gives us some stability to keep listening and learning as we continue to engage with our communities, support our artists, and be responsive to change.”

Hamilton Artists Inc., which celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2020, receives $50,000. Two runners-up, Vancouver’s Gallery Gachet and Calgary’s Untitled Art Society (UAS), receive $20,000 each.

Underscoring the National Gallery of Canada’s commitment to building strong relationships with smaller, incubator art organizations, a contemporary curator from the Gallery will visit the winning organization in the coming year to conduct in-person meetings and studio visits.

“Hamilton Artists Inc. are doing vital and ground-breaking work, as are many other artist-run centres across the country,“ said Dr. Sasha Suda, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada. The Lacey Prize recognizes this important work and brings the National Gallery of Canada into closer dialogue with artist-run spaces across the country. My congratulations to this year’s winner and runners-up!”

A three-person, independent jury comprised of Governor General Award-winning curator Glenn Alteen, National Gallery of Canada Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, Nicole Burisch, and artist Louise Lacey-Rokosh, selected the winners and runners-up from among an impressive 51 submissions. Jury members stressed the relevance of the new prize, observing that nominators repeatedly emphasized the often large or isolated areas serviced by organizations working tirelessly and inventively, typically with limited resources, to meet the diverse needs of their artistic communities. The jurors identified four centres which they felt merited honourable mentions for the important work they are doing in their respective communities: Struts Gallery (NB); this town is small (PEI); Critical Distance (ON), and Blinkers (MB).

Nominations for the second biennial Lacey Prize open in Summer 2021.

For more information please visit: Lacey Prize

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