THE first Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey Mayor’s Art Awards took place on June 9, drawing over 200 business people, artists, and the Mayor of Surrey Linda Hepner to celebrate Surrey’s creative industry. The Surrey Board of Trade presented awards to the following individuals and organizations:
Arts and Innovation Category
Winner: Surrey Youth Orchestra
The Surrey Youth Orchestra has a long history of bringing orchestra music training to children. The Orchestra has been under the direction of Founder Lucille Lewis for 35 years until 2011 when she retired and is now under the direction of Joel Stobbe and his conductors Ben Goheen and Andrea Taylor. Each September, more than 100 young musicians rehearse weekly from September to May, taking part in music camps, extended workshops, chamber music, and specialized instruction.
Cultural Ambassador Category
Winner: Mohammad Aminul Islam
Mohammad is the President of the Mother Language Lovers of the World Society, based in Surrey. For the past 10 years, he has worked tirelessly to promote and preserve linguistic diversity and cultural heritage within Surrey and throughout BC through the celebration of the International Mother Language Day, recognized annually on February 21st worldwide. In Surrey, every year approximately 70,000 students, representing 172 various mother language speakers have the opportunity to know about and celebrate their languages, identify their cultural heritage and share this with others. Mr. Islam’s work promotes diversity and respect for other cultures through cross-cultural sharing.
Winner: Westminster Savings Credit Union
Westminster Savings is committed to increasing access to active living and the arts in the community. They call this commitment ‘Project Better Balance’. The credit union’s philosophy is that participation in arts and active living leads to greater self-confidence, athletic development, personal expression, enhanced critical thinking and social reinforcement. Both staff and senior management at Westminster Savings provide outstanding support to their community partnerships by volunteering at a variety of public events, attending local initiatives and creating a number of opportunities to heighten awareness of the arts.
Winner: Sheila McKinnon
Sheila’s career choice was initially motivated by a desire to work with children and youth in high needs communities and to make a difference in the quality of people’s lives. Sheila was recruited to work in Surrey from a large municipal organization in Ontario where community development was her strong suit. This year, retiring in her 22nd year working for the City of Surrey as Arts Manager, her legacy is found in the outcomes from the Cultural Capital of Canada Award programs. The Fusion Festival has become a catalyst for cultural sharing; the 6 public art installations beautify our spaces in Surrey, and the Surrey Civic Treasures Awards have given the city a sense of pride in the accomplishment of its highest achievers in the cultural sector.
THE award ceremony was part of a creative economy dialogue focused on making Surrey a music city destination. Participants discussed the key strategies to grow and strengthen a music economy and the importance of a music city to local businesses.
“The Surrey Board of Trade will lead the charge on making Surrey a music city destination through collaborations with those in the music industry and those that want to enhance Surrey’s already vibrant arts and culture scene,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. “We will consider developing music and musician friendly policies, creating a music city office, forming a music advisory board, outreach strategies, access to spaces, developing the music audience, and music tourism. A music city strategy will grow and strengthen our economy and our businesses.”
The Surrey Mayor’s Art Awards recognize individuals and businesses that are committed to enriching Surrey through the arts, thus enhancing Surrey’s livability. The Surrey Board of Trade and the City of Surrey are committed to cultivating and sustaining a healthy and inclusive city and work towards ensuring that the cultural richness of Surrey is reflected through these awards.
The Surrey Board of Trade Tourism, Arts and Culture Team accepted applications and nominees were judged based on:
- The degree to which they had a positive impact on Surrey
- The number of people they served
- Their history and involvement in performances, exhibits, commissions and fellowships,
- And, their artistic and professional affiliations.