Friday, May 12, 2017

The K.W.Irmisch 'Arts Person of the Year', M.L.Holton

The K.W.Irmisch 'Arts Person of the Year' Trophy, photo, & presented, by Ellen Irmisch, in memory of her parents.
Wow. Very humbled and honoured to receive
 The K.W. Irmisch 'Arts Person of the Year' award - and trophy!
Awards  celebration was held at the Royal Botanical Gardens on May 11th, 2017,
hosted and organized by the City of Burlington.  

When I was notified that I was 'in the running', and knowing too that I would not be able to attend that night, I prepared a little 'speech' ... just in case .... because you never know ....  
I was asked to have a 'stand in', and asked local arts champion, Kim Varrell, to act on my behalf. 
Little did we both know that I would WIN!!! 

'Art Person of the Year in 2016' - Margaret Lindsay Holton
Here's my speech, delivered with great grace & aplomb, by Kim - (THANK YOU Kim!!!)

"I am very sorry I could not be with you all tonight. I am humbled and truly honored by this award, especially as everyone else in this category is so deserving.

I grew up in the rural North-end of the City on a sheep farm, up on top of the Escarpment, far from the lakeside downtown core. .... As a child, Burlington, as a City, was miles away! - Our family roots are deep in this area: first, as pre-Confederation farmers, then, post-Confederation, as Loyalist manufacturers, who fanned out, building and contributing, to the well-being of this region. Today, I stand as the sole professional artist from a large extended family that is now spread across much of Southern Ontario. - We are Canadians.

I do consider it my role - and responsibility - as a mature artist - to be a cultural witness of our Times - to interpret the issues of our day - through my pencil, pen and paint brush. Photography and film-making are newer additions to my work, but, fundamentally, my work is what I DO - as a multi-disciplined Canadian artist - rooted to this land - HERE - on this amazing planet.

Burlington, as a City, is now a rapidly evolving collection of diverse neighbourhoods. We are perched between one of the greatest of Lakes in North America, Lake Ontario, and the ancient primordial rock of the Niagara Escarpment. Our little patch of turf stands as a beacon of civility and safety in a larger war-torn and increasingly troubled world. To my mind, we all have a responsibility to maintain that civility through our words and neighbourly deeds. It is how we create "community" amongst ourselves.

Art, in whatever form, is a neuron bridge. It shares IDEAS. Some may be critical and unsettling, Others can be super positive and celebratory. All together, art expresses WHO we are to each other. Art makes us human.

I am very happy to receive this honour.  Thank you."

Burlington’s Best Awards are managed by a citizen’s committee that was established in 1965 with the mandate of recognizing local residents who bring honour to the city and make a significant difference in the community.

p.s. Highlighted in the nomination video was one of my more recent art projects, The Frozen Goose (about a rural family coping in the aftermath of WW1.). It is the ONLY Canadian film, as far as I know, that includes two outstanding local locations in Burlington, Ontario, Canada - Mount Nemo & Rattlesnake Point. Both are timeless landscapes. See it here.


Plus a few shots of the event, courtesy of the City of Burlington -
Burlington BEST AWARD winners - without me :)

Nominees & BEST Awards Committee at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre

Mayor of Burlington, Rick Goldring at the City BEST Awards Gala

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