The business of art 

Whistler award arts, culture and heritage patrons

Without the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel ceiling would have only existed in the Italian painter’s imagination.

Art demands creativity, but it also requires financing to produce.

The Whistler Arts Council honours this special relationship by recognizing a leader in business and arts at the 4th Annual Whistler Business and the Arts Award.

“The sheer amount of community support for arts, culture and heritage in Whistler is awesome, which is why we designed the award in the first place,” said Doti Niedermayer, executive director of the Whistler Arts Council.

The award recognizes a local business or business leader for their significant impact and contribution to Whistler’s arts community.

The support for arts and culture in Whistler is outstanding. The Whistler Children’s Art Festival is one example of an event that heavily relies on community support. Last year’s in-kind donations amounted to $17,000 to produce the weekend celebration.

“And this is just one two-day event,” Niedermayer pointed out. “There’s the Performance Series, ARTrageous, ARTWalk, the Whistler Film Festival, MY Place, the museum, the children’s chorus and the writers’ festival. You are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars of community support from small businesses. It’s a lot harder for small businesses to give that amount compared to large corporations. Small businesses in Whistler believe in arts, culture and heritage. We applaud them.”

The organization or individual will have supported the arts through sponsorship, volunteerism, professional services or products, marketing or public relations donations, or business leadership that demonstrated support for the arts above and beyond the basic commercial benefits.

Past award recipients include Whistler Real Estate, Whiski Jack Resorts and Rocky Mountain Productions. So far, two businesses have been nominated for this year’s honour, including Nesters Market and The Grocery Store.

Peter Legge, president and CEO of Canada Wide Media, will speak at the luncheon about leadership, positive communication and success in business and personal growth. Canada Wide Media is the largest independently owned publishing company in Western Canada publishing more than 40 magazines, including TV Week and B.C. Business, that result in more than $25 million in annual sales.

Legge lives and understands the importance of the business-arts relationship. He has been a co-host on the Variety Club Telethon for the past 29 years and assisted in raising more than $135 million for the charitable cause. He has been awarded the Golden Heart, the Order of the Red Cross and Citizen of the Year for his commitment to the community. The Speakers’ Hall of Fame member was also inducted into the Sales Hall of Fame, along with greats such as Jimmy Pattison, Garfield Weston and Brian Tracy.

Now it is Whistler’s turn to show support for an individual or company who has so generously supported the arts community. Join the celebrations at the awards luncheon hosted Wednesday, Jan. 17 between 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Resort.

To reserve a space, call the Whistler Chamber of Commerce at 604-932-5922.

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