|Sharon McCoubrey holds up one of the awards that will be given out at this year's Okanagan Arts Awards.|
On March 2, McCoubrey is hoping everyone will grab a friend, buy some tickets and head down to the Kelowna Community Theatre to celebrate the arts at the 6th annual Okanagan Arts Awards.
"Think about what our lives would be like if we didn't have the arts in any way, how it would change so many things in our enjoyment level and our economic level," said McCoubrey.
Even our old $20 bill celebrated the arts with the wise saying by Gabrielle Roy that read , "Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts."
McCoubrey noted how the arts affects economics as she cited a recent study done in Ontario on the impact arts has on its province's bottom line.
"There was some numbers that showed how the arts brought in overnight guests, which leads to tourism dollars."
While there won't be a lot of people who'll need to camp out overnight for the upcoming arts awards night, it will attract people from throughout the nomination area, which includes the Thompson-Okanagan, from the U.S. border all the way north to Kamloops.
All together, there were 43 nominations received for 10 of the 12 categories in this year's awards - a number McCoubrey is very happy about. "We had 10 nominees in the Visual Arts category alone," she said.
Awards will be given out for the following categories: music, dance, literary arts, theatre, arts organization, visual arts, design, media arts, arts educator, supporter of the arts and lifetime achievement.
"We had a change in one category this year," said McCoubrey, "in that we decided the media arts needed to be separated from the commercial arts and computer graphics."
However, the change did not affect any of the nominees in the media arts category as no nominations were received for graphic arts. Also lacking in nominations was the design category, which received only one nomination.
The evening will not only include handing out awards, but act as a showcase for the arts in the Okanagan as well.
Performances scheduled for the evening include soprano Alexandra Babbel with pianist Arnold Draper, Carly Baily's Company B dancers, the KSS Jazz Quintet, human beatbox Josh Cullen, Stephen Jefferys from Theatre Kelowna, singer-songwriter Corey Doak, soprano Melina Moore and more.
Neal Facey will direct the awards show and noted: "The show will open with a bang, featuring Lucy Hazelwood's Luki Dance Production."
McCoubrey added that, "One of the things that adds to the creativity and enjoyment of the night is who the emcees are. This year, we've got two of our favourite CBC people - Gillian Richards and her colleague Chris Walker."
Chef Michael Lyon will be creating appetizers that could in themselves be considered works of art, both visually and in taste, which are included as part of the ticket price.
McCoubrey believes that holding events like awards nights, is a good way to remind people how blessed we are to have so much creative talent in our valley.
"We use these awards as a way to remind the general public that we are so thankful to have all these people that make sure we have the arts in our lives and to celebrate those creators and performer; it gives them a pat on the back and a big thank you to please keep doing it, ensuring our lives are enriched in the arts."
The winner in each category will receive an original glass sculpture created by Lake Country artist Bruce Taiji.
Unlike most arts awards, the Okanagan Arts Awards offers an open invitation to all artists each year to create a new award. Taiji's, which was chosen for this year, is made from fused glass.
McCoubrey's summed it all up, saying, "Round up your friends and come make it a good night."
Arts Association Award nominees: Cool Arts, Creators Arts Centre and Zine One11;
Music nominees: Ben Klick, Melina Moore, Cory Myraas, Craig Thomson and Barbara Samuel;
Theatre nominees: Bill Bennett, Eugine Leveque and Jackson Mace;
Dance nominees: Lucy Hazelwood, Ruth Hoyte and Vicki View;
Literary Arts nominees: Sterling Haynes and Harold Rhenisch;
Visual Arts nominees: Jeanne Bates, Paul Brooks, Laila Campbell, Kendra Chappell, Denny Cound, Patricia Doyle, Frances Hatfield, Julie Oakes, Crystal Kay Przybille and Jaime Seward;
Design nominee: Trevor Butler;
Media Arts nominees: Dave Mai, David Mcilvride, Mountain Lake Films and Gary Symons;
Arts Educators nominees: Wendy Briggs, Pipp Dean-Veerman, Michelle Loughery, Deb Sherwin, Craig Thomson and Wentworth Music;
Supporter of the Arts
nominees: Matt Brown, Kevin Jesuino, Robert MacDonald, Grant Russell and Mary Scales.
What: Okanagan Arts Awards
Where: Kelowna Community Theatre
When: March 2, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $40 admission, $20 students, available at Urban Fare, Mosaic Books, Lake Country Art Gallery or online at artsco.ca