‘Fireworks’ for arts notables

Jury honours MTC manager, MAWA founder


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Zaz Bajon, who is about to retire after a remarkable 30-year run as the general manager of Manitoba Theatre Centre, tied with painter/educator Diane Whitehouse for the $2,500 Making a Difference award at the Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts on Thursday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/06/2011 (4188 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Zaz Bajon, who is about to retire after a remarkable 30-year run as the general manager of Manitoba Theatre Centre, tied with painter/educator Diane Whitehouse for the $2,500 Making a Difference award at the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts on Thursday.

The Winnipeg Arts Council awards jury decided to honour both nominees for their contributions to the growth and development of the arts locally.

Bajon, much respected for being a responsible holder of the MTC purse strings, noted he has successfully worked with four artistic directors in his 30 seasons — a Canadian theatre record.

HADAS.PARUSH@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Diane Whitehouse and Zaz Bajon are co-winners of the Making a Difference award from the Winnipeg Arts Council.

He said it was a great honour to be acknowledged by his peers. Refusing to reveal his age, he joked about his retirement on Canada Day, “There’ll be fireworks when I leave.”

The British-born Whitehouse, 70, taught painting at the University of Manitoba and has dedicated herself to community work. She founded the intergenerational Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA) more than 25 years ago and continues to personally mentor young women.

The fifth annual luncheon at the Fairmont Winnipeg was hosted by actor/playwright Debbie Patterson and visual artist Dominique Rey, two of the arts ambassadors appointed for Winnipeg’s 2010 Cultural Capital year. It attracted 450 members of the arts community — down slightly from past years’ crowds of 500. Mayor Sam Katz was represented by Paula Havixbeck, acting deputy mayor.

Visions for the city’s cultural future were at the forefront as speaker Alan Freeman, a British economist and visiting research fellow at the U of M, talked about urban place-making, and WAC touted its just-released Ticket to the Future 10-year cultural plan.

For the first time in the awards’ history, an architecture firm was honoured.

5468796 Architecture Inc. took the $2,500 Making a Mark award for a mid-career artist who is receiving critical recognition for excellence.

The cutting-edge 12-member firm led by Johanna Hurme, 35, and Sasa Radulovic, 38, is best known for designing the Cube, the controversial outdoor stage at Old Market Square. The firm and partner Jae Sung Chon have been chosen to represent Canada at the prestigious 2012 Venice Biennale in Architecture.

Hurme and Radulovic said it is vital for Winnipeg’s future that we treat built structures as more than bottom-line-driven projects.

“Architecture is seen as more of a business,” Hurme said, “but we think architecture that really moves people has a spirit, and an ability to feed one’s soul, the same way that art does.”

Ming Hon, boundary-crossing dancer/choreographer and performance artist, received the $2,500 On the Rise award for a promising artist.

Great-West Life and Investors Group jointly won the Arts Champion award for sustained support of the arts in Winnipeg.

Jean Giguère, who has given her time to MTC, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and other organizations, won the first Making a Difference award for an outstanding volunteer.

The 2011 jurors were curator/writer Sigrid Dahle, art educator Louise Duguay, music educator Spencer Duncanson, musical-theatre director Reid Harrison and choreographer Natasha Torres-Garner.


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