Oh my goodness. Last Friday, unexpectedly and to great elation, I was the recipient of the Emerging Artist award at the Excellence in Visual Arts awards ceremony, hosted and organized by Visual Arts Newfoundland and Labrador – CARFAC. I cannot express how grateful I am. It was such a surprise, and an honour, especially considering the wealth of talent here in NL and the outstanding and accomplished folks that were nominated. My parents were there, and some of my very best friends from home, and I couldn’t have asked for a better night.
Every year renowned artist Mary Pratt delivers a speech to open the night. And though the words change slightly, her sentiment is always the same. Mary doesn’t like awards, you see. She believes the process of awarding only certain people is divisive, and causes sadness and self-doubt in those who are not selected. She encourages us to compete in life only with ourselves. Did I make more this week than I did last week? Did I laugh more? Did I think more critically?
I am honoured and elated by having won, but I think it is also very important to remember Mary’s wisdom.
When I accepted my award I was a little befuddled. I wanted to say specific thank yous to everyone who had helped me achieve my dreams, here and at home…but I’d have to thank everyone I’ve met. Ever. So here, in the quiet contemplative space of this blog, I have an opportunity to say great thanks to those folks in particular who have shown me such support and encouragement since moving here to NL:
Mary MacDonald, rabble rouser, and the incredible artist run centre she dedicates so much time and compassion to: Eastern Edge
Jason Penney, who with great panache gives so freely of his time, energy, and skills to help others accomplish their goals
Audrey Hurd, most thoughtful bear, number one good egg, and great talker-out of complicated ideas
April White, conscientious and laugher-filled, driven and dedicated thinker and maker
John McDonald, Candace Fulford, Kyle Bustin, Mireille Eagan, and Philippa Jones, who opened so many doors for me and welcomed me into the arts community here with such fun and encouraging spirit
Jessica Butler and Andrew Harvey, two amazingly welcoming, talented, conscientious and creative folks who welcomed me into their home and their community and have supported and laughed with me the past two years
Pam Hall, who is one seriously awesome lady, and a heavy hitter with soft, weather-worn gloves
And so, so many more.
This is a great and shining web we weave, and I am grateful to be in such company.