Audain Prize for Visual Art increased to $100,000 

Award honours B.C.'s most distinguished artists

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Michael Audain announced that the Audain Prize for Visual Art will be increased to $100,000 this year.
  • Photo submitted
  • Michael Audain announced that the Audain Prize for Visual Art will be increased to $100,000 this year.

The Audain Prize, which honours B.C.'s top artists, has been increased to $100,000, Michael Audain, chairman of the Audain Foundation, announced on Tuesday, March 19.

Established in 2004, the prize was initially $30,000. The six-figure amount now makes it one of the big three annual Canadian art awards, alongside The Giller Prize and the Sobey Art Award.

"I think it seems that the bigger ticket prizes get more attention and we want to draw attention to our distinguished visual artists we have in British Columbia," Audain said.

On top of the prize, the Audain Foundation also announced that it has created five grants of $7,500 for B.C. students studying in university-level visual arts programs. The money will allow the students—from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the University of Victoria, and UBC Okanagan—to travel.

"We feel we should be doing something at both ends of the spectrum, so to speak, giving an award to our leading artists and, at the same time, helping younger people enter the visual arts world by enabling them to travel to see art for themselves," Audain says.

Each school will set the parameters for the award and choose the recipients, he adds.

An independent jury of curators and artists will choose the recipient of the Audain Prize, which will be awarded at a ceremony on Sept. 23, with the location to be revealed. Past recipients include Ann Kipling, Susan Point, Gordon Smith and Rodney Graham.

The prize, meanwhile, will now be managed by the Audain Art Museum.

"The Audain Art Museum is delighted that this year we will be responsible for managing this important art award as our museum specializes in British Columbia artists," says Dr. Curtis Collins, director and chief curator at the museum, in a release. "In fact, our Whistler museum is unique in this respect."

A $1.5-million endowment established at the Vancouver Art Gallery for the prize will be added to the Audain Emerging Artists Acquisition Fund at the gallery, bringing it to $3.5 million.

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