Winnipeg’s West End was well-represented at the Western Canadian Music Awards this year.
Resident and graphic designer Roberta Landreth received the excellence in visual design award; and the West End Cultural Centre took home both the community excellence and impact in music marketing awards. The winners were announced at the WCMA event in Kelowna, B.C., on Oct. 13.
Landreth says the win was particularly unexpected because she and her business partner had designed all the materials for Breakout West, which hosts the awards.
"It was a real surprise," she said. "He had found out like two weeks ago and was just keeping it a secret from me."
Landreth originally went to school to become a psychologist but changed course when she realized how much math was involved in the profession. She studied graphic design at Red River College and worked at a marketing agency before setting out on her own. Today, she works largely with musicians and music festivals.
"It’s great because there’s just a constant well of inspiration because you’re relying on their art to create this art," she said.
For Landreth — who also won a Juno in 2015 for her work with musician Steve Bell — the WCMA win is evidence that she’s working in the right industry.
"I love my job and it’s just kind of confirmation that I’m doing the right thing with my career," she said. "It’s honestly just a reflection of all the great people I get to work with."
This is the third year in a row the West End Cultural Centre has received the WCMA’s community excellence award.
"You work so hard and sometimes you don’t really see the bigger picture or know if what you’re doing is being seen and so, when you get acknowledged like that it’s a very good feeling," said West End executive director Jason Hooper.
The centre at 586 Ellice Ave. is a non-profit charity that is one part music venue and one part community outreach centre. It offers free drop-in music classes, professional instruction, a community concert series and a variety of other arts-focused programming.
"Part of our philosophy is to ensure access to the arts and that everyone has the chance to try out a musical instrument and try out being in a band, have an opportunity to be on a stage," Hooper said.
Other Manitoba winners at the WCMA this year include, Attica Riots (recording of the year, Stingray rising stars); Fred Penner (best children’s artist; Apollo Suns (best instrumental artist); and Keri Latimer (best visual media composer).
Eva Wasney reports on arts, culture and life for the Winnipeg Free Press.