June 22nd, 2024

U of L looks to recognize Indigenous artists with Spirit Prize Award

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 29, 2022.

The University of Lethbridge is calling on its Indigenous artists to get their submissions ready for the Spirit Prize Award.

Supported by uLethbridge alumnus Terry Whitehead, the prize aims to support emerging Indigenous visual artists working in traditional or contemporary practices to help advance them as artists. Students are asked to submit a proposal for an art project they wish to create with Indigenous elements, receiving a cash prize of $2,500 to be used towards residency, mentorship, a workshop to develop their skills, materials for their project, and the support of an exhibition.

“The Spirit Prize is designed to give a significant boost to an emerging Indigenous artist. The artist puts in the proposal for the project they would like to do, and then the successful candidate gets to produce this significant body of work,” said Josephine Mills, Director and Curator of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery in a press release. “A barrier to artists could be not having money for materials or the money to pay for mentorship. This gives artists access to funds, purely dedicated to making their artwork.”

The full list of requirements can be found online at ulethbridge.ca/fine-arts/awards/spirit-prize.

“The Prize is meant to support students in being able to have an ambitious idea and then actually being able to realize it, actually be able to be creative,” said Mills. “It is also set up to give some professional development and experience. The way the application process is designed is that it directly follows normal professional standards, like applying for grants or an art gallery. So even for hose who aren’t successful, they at least get the experience and know how to put an application together the next time something comes up. It is like a stepping stone to seek understanding, it gives experience to emerging artists.”

Applications are due on Jan. 31 with results being announced around the middle of February. Submissions will be assessed and selected by a committee of the Director and Curator of the U of L Art Gallery, and Indigenous Art Studio faculty and member, and the Manager of Iikaisskini.

Hoping to give an opportunity to upcoming Indigenous artists while creating a platform for them to bring their work to life. The Spirit Prize will see a collection of artists come together to celebrate heritage and culture through their work. “In March is when there will be a public announcement of the winner, and there will be and event for the Spirit Prize winner.”

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