Ontario Association of Art Galleries
Awards: 2007

31st Annual OAAG Awards
Friday, September 26, 2008, 5:30pm / le vendredi 26 september 2008, 17h30
Galerie Justina M. Barnicke gallery, Hart House
7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto, ON / 7, cercle Hart House, Université de Toronto, ON

(Toronto)-The 31st annual OAAG Awards were presented Friday, September 26, 2008 in a filled-to-capacity 90-minute ceremony hosted at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto.

Fêting outstanding achievement in exhibitions, curatorial writing, education programs, and community partnerships, with a nominee-pool drawn from among 40 public art galleries in 21 cities across Ontario, the awards were determined by nine noncompeting jurors.

The 2008 OAAG Awards jurors included visual artist Catherine Heard, filmmaker b. h. Yael, public art gallery professionals Francisco Alvarez, George Wale, and Diane Wolfe, curator Mia Nielson, art director Barbara Solowan, writer Dot Tuer, and educator Adele Jeffrey.
This year there were 30 nominations for Exhibition of the Year among 158 other comprehensive nominations.

Awards were presented to public art galleries in Cambridge, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, Oakville, Ottawa, Owen Sound, and Toronto.

For the 2008 Awards, Toronto artist Lily Yung created a limited edition of new rings laser-cut in translucent blue and ruby red presented to this year's Award winners. Award winners were fitted with their ring sets as the ceremony progressed. Designer Lisa Kiss contributed the Awards identity campaign based on Lily Yung's design. Sarah Nasby designed the 2008 OAAG Award certificate. Floral displays were designed for the Awards by the company Jackie O.

2008 OAAG Awards Highlights

The Jury recognized major contemporary art exhibitions by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, The Power Plant, and the Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art.

• Francisco Alvarez presented the Exhibition of the Year Award to Barbara Fischer, Curator, for the major 2007 exhibition PROJECTIONS. This video and media art exhibition, organized by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto, and presented on the Mississauga, Scarborough and St. George campuses by four University of Toronto art galleries, was lauded by the jury as "a significant contribution to Canadian art history." Artists in the exhibition included David Askevold, Rebecca Belmore, Genevieve Cadieux, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Ian Carr-Harris, Christine Davis, Stan Douglas, Murray Favro, Wyn Geleynse, Rodney Graham, David Hoffos, Nestor Krüger, Mark Lewis, Kelly Mark, John Massey, Nathalie Melikian, Judy Radul, Gar Smith, Michael Snow, Jana Sterbak, Robert Wiens, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.

• The exhibition DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! (Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Ydessa Hendeles, Curator) was cited by the Jury for an award of Special Recognition, as was SIMON STARLING: CUTTINGS (SUPPLEMENT) (The Power Plant, Gregory Burke, Curator).

• The Power Plant also received the Award for Visual Art Book of the Year for Simon Starling: Cuttings (Supplement).

• Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto, was distinguished with the Exhibition Design and Installation Award for IMPRINTS FOR A FLEETING MEMORIAL (José Roca, Curator; Oscar Muñoz, Artist; David Ferguson, Scott McLeod, Oscar Muñoz, José Roca, Exhibition Designers; YYZ Artists' Outlet, Collaborating Gallery). The exhibition was praised for its "great sensitivity to the ephemeral nature of the artist's work and the excellence of its design and installation."

• Gallery director Louise Dompierre presented Hamilton residents Bob and Maggie Carr with OAAG's 2008 Partner Award recognizing their lead gift of $500,000 to the Art Gallery of Hamilton's Building a Legacy 2 Endowment Campaign, the single largest gift to date to the Endowment. Bob Carr is a retired mechanical engineer and Maggie Carr currently sits on the Board of Directors. Louise Dompierre said, "This gift has been tremendously stimulating and inspiring for our current and potential donors and for the community at large, and every year will return about $25,000 to the gallery."

• The Textile Museum of Canada was cited with six major Awards over the course of the evening. The exhibition Close to You: Contemporary Textiles, Intimacy and Popular Culture was recognized for curatorial writing and book design. Designers of the project Digital Threads, ecentricarts Inc., were recognized with a Web Award and Partner Award. The Digital Threads project also received accolades in the form of an Educator Award for community outreach.

• In a touching and emotion-filled moment during the ceremony, Textile Museum director Nataley Nagy presented the 2008 OAAG Volunteer of the Year Award to Nancy Dillow for her outstanding voluntary contribution. Nataley Nagy said, "For 13 years, Nancy Dillow was a leading force behind the volunteer-run fundraiser More Than Just a Yardage Sale, an event that has attracted thousands of attendees annually and generated more than $200,000 for the Textile Museum." The audience accorded Nancy Dillow a standing ovation.

• Blackwood Gallery Director Christof Migone also presented Educator Awards to David Huff (Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Owen Sound) and to the Oakville Galleries Education Team.

• Dot Tuer presented Sarah Quinton, Mark A. Cheetham and Kenneth Hayes with Curatorial Writing Awards. Each winning writer received a cheque for $1000.

• Toronto artist and curator Andrew Harwood presented OAAG's first award for Visual Art Film produced by a public art gallery for the film Community Matters: the Art of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, produced by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston. Filmmakers Roz Owen and Jim Miller were in attendance to receive the Award. The artists Karl Beveridge and Carole Condé were also in attendance.

• Twelve Design Awards were presented this year to graphic designers Bryan Gee, Marie Minas, Laurie Plater, Underline Studio, CO & CO, Cecilia Berkovic, Mark Timmings, Patrick Côté, and Lisa Kiss.

Bryan Gee was recognized for three book designs: Philip Monk, Disassembling the Archive: Fiona Tan (Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, 2007); Kristan Horton, Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove (Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, 2007); and the artist book Geoffrey James, Field Notes (Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, 2008).

• The Art Gallery of York University was cited in two more Awards: a Web Award to Toronto artist/designer Ken Ogawa for the online art commission weitiko, accepted on his behalf by AGYU Director Philip Monk, and a Design Award to Cecilia Berkovic for the exhibition poster Fastwürms présente Donky Ninja Witch, accepted on her behalf by artist Lex Vaughn.

• Retiring public art gallery director Arlene Kennedy was the recipient of the 2008 Colleague of the Year Award. Catherine Elliot Shaw, her former colleague at the McIntosh Gallery, University of Western Ontario in London, made the heartfelt presentation, which was also supported by Museum London and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Tom Smart, director, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, commented, "The cultural sectors in Ontario and Canada are stronger because of the commitment, hard work, enthusiasm and passion of Arlene Kennedy."

• The Post-Event reception was held at the Rivoli.

The Ontario Association of Art Galleries ( is a charitable organization that serves and represents Ontario's dynamic public art galleries as valued and essential centres of art and learning. The OAAG Awards ( are annual province-wide juried awards that recognize excellence and achievement in exhibitions, curatorial writing, education programs and community partnerships in Ontario's public art galleries. The Ontario Association of Art Galleries is supported by its members, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada.


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