First thing’s first … these guesses are not necessarily whom the paper is secretly rooting for, but rather, an educated or well-reasoned guess. Also, these are the thoughts of editor Chad Pelley, not our body of arts writers. 

Secondly, what are the NLAC Awards? They’re an annual celebration of the arts, run by the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council. What makes them great is their shortlists include artists from all disciplines. 2015 marks their 30th anniversary.

The awards will be doled out tomorrow evening at The Rooms. Due to limited seating, the event is invite only for the nominees, their guests, and some industry/media personalities. Someone from The Overcast will be present to see how we did with our guesses here:

BMO Bank of Montreal Artist of the Year 2014

Recognizes the art or activity of a person, group or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2014. This year’s shortlist:

  • Paul Bowdring – writing
  • Deanne Foley – film
  • Rob Power – music

Best Guess to Win It: Deanne Foley

In a nutshell, she’ll win on the success of her new feature film, Relative Happiness, because it screened at the most prestigious film festival on the planet: Cannes. A very big deal. It’s so big a deal that the terrific award recognition the other two received this year can’t even touch it. Relative Happiness also won Best Actress at the LA Comedy Festival. It also opened this year’s St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, and won additional awards at other festivals. It’s one of six Canadian films selected for Telefilms first Cinema Tour across the US. Also in 2014, she was selected for the prestigious TIFF Talent Lab where she was mentored by individuals like Claire Denis and Sandra Oh (of Grey’s Anatomy fame). She also somehow found time to help her fellow filmmakers this year: she directed a tv pitch for CBC’s ComedyCoup called The Lease (something Matt Wright was behind) and was a producer for the NIFCO PictureStart film Sadie. Foley currently has two features in development funded by Telefilm, called Shoot Me and I Hate Rich KidsClick here for a list of previous winners.

Cox & Palmer Arts Achievement 2014

Recognizes a practicing artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador over a number of years. The finalists are:

  • Jim Duff – music
  • Pam Hall – visual
  • Janet McNaughton – writing

Best Guess to Win It: Pam Hall
(unless also being inducted into the hall of honour at the same gala was deemed “too much”)

She’s a household name and a true multi-disciplinarian, from the visual arts to film (Under the Knife even bagged an award at the Atlantic Film Festival). She’s even an educator and advocate. And anyone who did the illustrations for Al Pittman’s classic kids’ story Down by Jim Long’s Stage (1978) has a special place in the hearts of Newfoundlanders. Her first exhibition of work dates all the way back to 1986, at Eastern Edge … and she’s considered a founding member of Eastern Edge. She has also been involved with many arts organizations through the years including NIFCO, RCA, and ACI. Fun fact: Hall was the inaugural artist-in-residence for MUN’s School of Medicine from 1997 to 2000, and she’s been a senior faculty member at Goddard College in Vermont since 1998. Her contemporary artwork is rooted in provincial rural communities and culture. Hall’s successful installation HouseWorks at The Rooms last year and The Coil (which toured nationally and to Japan in 1994-95) are but two shining examples of her talents. Click here for a list of previous winners

Memorial University Arts in Education 2014

This award recognizes an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to arts in education in Newfoundland and Labrador over a number of years. The finalists are:

  • Grant Etchegary – music
  • Jean Hewson – music
  • Dr. Caroline Schiller – music

Best Guess to Win It: Grant Etchgary

If Jean Hewson’s impressive and commendable resume wins her this award, no one will be upset, but, it might be safe to say Grant has this one, for 2 reasons … one of which being he just retired from Holy Heart so, it’d be timely. But the real reason he’d deserve to win is his innovative teaching techniques and philosophies. He does not approach teaching typically, and has long felt that music enriches a student’s learning experience – emotionally, creatively, socially, and intellectually.   Etchegary was the recipient of a Prime Ministers Award for Teaching Excellence in 2003. He’s also responsible for Holy Heart’s involvement in an international online music project connecting five Canadian schools with students in Finland, Switzerland, and China, and he’s commissioned a number of original works for the concert band (all tied to Newfoundland and Labrador themes). He’s also been the director of the Eastern School District Band. He is himself a noted musician, who has performed across Canada. Lastly, he’s heavily involved with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, as a principal bassoonist, and played a key role in launching the Rotary Music Festival, and is currently the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra. Click here for a list of previous winners

CBC Emerging Artist 2014

Recognizes new and undisputed talent. It is awarded to an emerging artist, group, or arts organization that has earned significant recognition for a piece of work or a generally out-sized impact on the scene. The finalists are:

  • Ally Baird – visual
  • Aaron Collis & Emilia Bartellas – music
  • Audrey Hurd – visual

Best Guess: Anyone’s Game, but Most Likely Hurd’s (given she’s already emerged)

Will it be Ally Baird, the prolific NSCAD Grad who burst onto the scene this year with 100+ moody paintings that incorporate her training in sculpting …  or will be the commendable trad music duo who broke away from The Dardenelles (a band that’s toured throughout North American, and even played in Scotland and Australia) to act as true ambassadors of local trad music, going so far as to post sheet music on their website so others can learn the music?

Most likely it’ll be Audrey Hurd, for the richness of her bio and uniqueness of her work. She hit the ground running upon moving here in 2011, by completing the Don Wright Scholarship, through St. Michael’s Printshop, which acknowledges demonstrated technical competence and innovation in the print medium. That resulted in the exhibition Stone Tracks. The following year, Hurd was exhibited in a solo show at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY where she was also the Carolee Schneemann Legacy artist-in-residence. In 2013, she also held exhibits in Eastern Edge’s Rogue Gallery and picked up the VANL-CARFAC Emerging Artist award. Hurd spent 2014 on a yearlong work exchange with the Banff Centre for the Arts and participated in the Elbow Room Residency at The Rooms, through which she created the work for a solo exhibition called Until it remembers you which is currently on display at The Rooms. (Read our review of it here.) Click here for a list of previous winners .

Also Being Presented Tomorrow Night: 

Fortis Properties Arts Hall of Honour
This award recognizes a person, group or organization that has made a distinguished lifetime contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador. The inductees for 2015 include visual artist Pam Hall and Eastern Edge.

Patron of the Arts
This year’s Patron of the Arts is John O’Dea. This award is given to a person, business, or organization that recognizes an ongoing commitment to the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador through innovative, community, or sustained support of artistic activity.