The National Gallery of Canada and the Lacey Family announced today the winner of the 2021 Lacey Prize. Blinkers Art and Project Space based in Winnipeg, Manitoba is the recipient of this prestigious award that recognizes the activities and impact of small organizations and artist-run spaces in Canada.
Established in 2019 by Dr. John Lacey in association with the National Gallery of Canada and supported by the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, the Lacey Prize awards a cash prize of $50,000 every two years and prizes of $20,000 to two runners-up. Additionally, a contemporary art curator from the National Gallery of Canada travels to the city of the winning organization for in-person site and studio visits with local artists.
“The jury was struck by the breadth and strength of the nominations for the 2021 Lacey Prize and wish to thank all who took time to apply for this prestigious award. The stories of resilience and critical responses to the pandemic and the pivotal sociocultural events of the past two years speaks to the importance and impact of this country’s vibrant network of artist-run spaces,” said the 2021 Jury “Among a very competitive field of applicants, Blinkers Art and Project Space distinguished itself by the development of its infrastructure which in a relatively short period has successfully committed to bring a robust range of artistic voices from across Canada to the vibrant cultural community of Winnipeg.”
“This is for all the community members, volunteers, and loved ones who believed in and took a chance on the existence and survival of this centre. This award is a vote of confidence we certainly do not take for granted and we’ll continue to do work that is worthy of this invaluable gift. For us, this prize is a newfound source of courage, significance, and access towards ambitious prospects that have felt previously out of reach,” said Luther Konadu, Blinkers Art and Project Space Director.
Runners-up for the award are The Khyber Centre for the Arts, Halifax, Nova Scotia and UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness, Vancouver, British Columbia, who will each receive $20,000. The jury also noted honourable mentions for articule Montreal, Quebec and Northern Visual Arts Centre, Flin Flon, Manitoba.
The jury for the Lacey Prize 2021 was composed of Eunice Bélidor, Curator of Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Jonathan Shaughnessy, Director, Curatorial Initiatives at the NGC, and Louise Lacey-Rokosh, artist, and representative from the Lacey family.
“Through the incredible support and vision of Dr. John Lacey and the late Naomi Lacey, the National Gallery of Canada is proud to be able to support and amplify the pathbreaking work of artist-run centres, from coast to coast to coast. My congratulations to the winners of this year’s Lacey Prize, and sincere gratitude to all those who recognized and nominated the vital work being done across this dynamic sector of the Canadian art world,” said Dr. Sasha Suda, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada.
About the winners
Blinkers Art and Project Space, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In its current nascent form, Blinkers is a genre-non-specific not-for-profit project space for the arts and beyond. It is entirely run by a big-hearted cohort of volunteers. With deep respect, empathy, and consideration we recognize and learn from the antipathies that have taken place on this land and waters we live and settle on. Blinkers Art and Project Space stand on the land space marked as Treaty One Territory also known as Winnipeg, in Manitoba.
The Khyber Centre for the Arts, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Khyber Centre for the Arts (est. 1995) is a queer-led artist-run centre located in downtown Halifax, NS, which is Kjipuktuk, unceded Mi’kmaq territory. The centre presents non-commercial artwork, offers a self-led platform for artists and their practices, and aims to disrupt systemic causes of exclusion, tokenism, and power imbalances in the arts.
UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness, Vancouver, British Columbia.
UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness is a charitable non-profit artist-run organization located on the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations. With the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020, UNIT/PITT left its space and pivoted to presenting mail art and virtual programs—including I Spy… A Disposable Camera Project, Helen’s Quarantine Cookbook, La Commune 2021 Free School & Artist Residency, and ReIssue.pub—with the intention of reopening a public gallery in the future.
About the Lacey Prize
Established in 2019, this prize recognizes the critical role of Artist-Run Centres and small arts organizations to support artists and foster emerging practices in Canada. Unique in Canada, the Lacey Prize is funded by a $1.3 million gift from Dr. John Lacey and his late wife Naomi Lacey and represents a total commitment of $90,000 awarded every two years. The award is jointly administered by the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and the Lacey Family and is supported by the National Gallery of Canada Foundation.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the largest contemporary Indigenous art collection in the world, as well as the most important collection of historical and contemporary Canadian and European Art from the 14th to 21st centuries. Founded in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to art for all Canadians. To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit ngcfoundation.ca and follow us on Twitter @NGC_Foundation.
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