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Photos courtesy of Dave Kemp and Christina Gapic.

TORONTO, June 17, 2003 - At a ceremony held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto on Tuesday, June 17, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries 2003 Awards were presented to over twenty curators, educators, designers, volunteers, partners and directors from public art galleries across Ontario who were there to celebrate outstanding achievement in the visual arts during 2002.

Now in its 26th year, the OAAG Awards are the only annual juried awards to recognize excellence in programming and partnerships in the public art galleries of Ontario. The awards honour distinguished contributions to the visual arts in seven categories: exhibition; curatorial writing; education program; partnership; volunteer; book, poster and web site design; and exhibition design and installation.

"We are extremely proud to be able to acknowledge and reward the recipients of the 2003 OAAG Awards. They are the risk-takers and innovators, those with exceptional vision who bring imaginative and intelligent programs, partnerships and design to our public art galleries," comments Demetra Christakos, Executive Director of OAAG. "They have invited us to expand our horizons and become directly engaged with the visual arts, which are dynamic part of our cultural life in Ontario. Over 2.4 million people visit our public art galleries every year."

In a year of exceptional exhibitions, the jury cited Same Difference, curated by Ydessa Hendeles and presented at the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto as visionary, unconventional and controversial. Composer Eve Egoyan, in presenting Hendeles with the Exhibition Award, noted that the jury further commented that, "Hendeles's calculated choice of elements - selected works by Maurizio Cattalan, a collection of teddy bears, and a massive archive of vintage photographs of people with teddy bears, presented in museological vitrines - collectively combine to create an intense and mesmerizing experience." The exhibition was also awarded the new Exhibition Design and Installation Award, presented by Globe and Mail's architecture critic, Lisa Rochon.

Twelve consecutive years of generously-sponsored INCO Limited Curatorial Writing Awards allows for cash prizes in three categories. Author and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Mark Kingwell handed out all three awards. The $1,000 Contemporary prize was awarded to Philip Monk for his essay "Playing Dead: Between Photography and Sculpture," in Liz Magor, co-published by The Power Plant, Toronto and the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver. The jury commented: "His fresh and insightful perspective on the relationship between sculpture and photography is thought-provoking, even for seasoned arts professionals, and makes an original and vital contribution to contemporary critical discourse." The $1,000 Historical prize went to Charles C. Hill for his essay "Tom Thomson, Painter," in Tom Thomson, a book co-published by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. "One really felt the immediacy of the artist's work as seen through the writer's eye," cited the jury. The First Publication $250 award went to Roxane Shaughnessy. Her essay Cloth and Clay: Communicating Culture, published by the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, was cited as "balancing her understanding of cultural values in other places and times with issues of human histories and the evolving role of the museum."

The skills and achievements of Canadian designers in the fields of gallery-published book, poster and website design are regarded highly around the world. The Merchant Capital Group Design Awards were presented by internationally acclaimed artist Arnaud Maggs to: Timmings and Debay for their catalogue design of Tom Thomson (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto/National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa/Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver/Toronto); Lewis Nicholson for his catalogue design of Kim Adams (Oakville Galleries, Oakville/The Power Plant, Toronto) and Duncan Aitken / dna design for the catalogue Skin Deep (Thames Art Gallery, Chatham / Gallery Stratford, Stratford). An Honourable Mention went to: Andrew Di Rosa/SMALL, Ian Carr Harris Works : 1992-2002 (The Power Plant, Toronto). The award for Artist Book went to James Carl, Content 1.0 (Mercer Union / Art Metropole, Toronto). Lisa Kiss Design of Toronto won both the Poster and Gallery Newsletter awards for The Art of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution / Lee Bul: Live Forever (The Power Plant, Toronto). Honourable Mention went to TWG Communications, Swish, Swish, Swirl, Swirl: The Paddle Project (WKP Kennedy Gallery, North Bay). The Gallery Website design award was won by Patrick Côté for his work on the Carleton University Art Gallery Web site www.carleton.ca/gallery; and, Special Project, Website, by John Dalrymple, Cloth and Clay: Communicating Culture, www.textilemuseum.ca/cloth_clay (Textile Museum of Canada / Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto).

Educator Awards were given in two categories to innovative programs that had significant impact on their communities. Katharine Mulherin, director of Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, presented the Exhibition-Specific award to the Art Gallery of Ontario's Artist-in-Residence Program Made by Hand / Hecho A Mano. Designed to create a local context for the exhibition Ultra Baroque: Aspects of Post-Latin American Art, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, this six-week project brought eight artists from Mexico and two from Toronto into residence at four public institutions in the City of Toronto and 15 local artists into residence at schools in the Toronto District School Board. The award for New Program went to Toronto video distribution centre V tape for The Curatorial Incubator, a thoughtful, engaging, and successful program designed to encourage the exhibition of works by emerging media artists as considered by eight emerging curators.

The Samuel E. Weir Partner Awards acknowledge important partnerships between businesses, foundations and individuals and their public art galleries. Contemporary art collector and professor of theology at the University of Toronto, Dan Donovan presented the Corporate Award to TD Bank Financial Group for its lead corporate sponsorship for the exhibition Gauguin to Matisse: French Masterpieces from Russia's Hermitage Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, enabling an international collaboration between the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Foundation Award went to George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation for its special funding support ($50,000) for The Wheel Project: A Community Arts Exhibition, enabling the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art to provide free public admission to the exhibition for ten weeks, free Clay Studio instruction to the public for five Community Sundays, and free transportation, instruction and materials for over 400 Torontonians who told their stories on ceramic wheels. The Individual Award was presented to William Angus for the establishment of a special legacy, the Anne Angus Contemporary Program Fund, culminating more than two decades of passionate support by the Angus family for the Textile Museum of Canada.

Joan Hawksbridge was honoured with the Volunteer Award for thirty-four years of personal voluntary contribution and commitment to Owen Sound's Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery in the areas of gallery education, special events and acquisitions. Erica House, vice-president, Christie's Canada, Christie's Fine Art Auctioneers, presented the award.

Jurors, drawn from Ontario's visual arts, design and architecture sectors, included Kelsey Blackwell, Bruce Mau Design, Toronto; Jim Bourke, Exhibition Designer, Design Studio, Art Gallery of Ontario; Natalie de Vito, Co-Director, Mercer Union, Toronto; Barbara Fischer, Director / Curator, Blackwood Gallery, Mississauga; Cydna Mercer, Head of Programs, Museum London, London; Mary Misner, Director, Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge; Scott McLeod, Publisher, Prefix Photo, Toronto; Linda Paulocik, Director / Curator, The Station Gallery, Whitby; Connie MacDonald, Royal Ontario Museum; and Liz Wylie, Curator, University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto.

Generous contributors to the OAAG 2003 Awards also included The Flower Room, Toronto; C international contemporary art; and Pages Books and Magazines, Toronto.

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© 2004 Ontario Association of Art Galleries