On Thursday, September 28th, the Saint John Community Arts Board hosted The Originals, its fourth arts awards ceremony. Approximately 175 came dressed to impress at this high-society arts and culture event at UNB’s Grand Hall on Charlotte Street. The event was emceed by Stephen Tobias, Executive Director of the Saint John Theatre Company, who did a stellar job hosting the over-two-hours long event, not failing to keep us entertained for a second.
The Penny Blacks, winners of the 2014 Originals Pop Music Award, returned to perform three sets during the award show. Memorably, in 2014, Penny Blacks lead singer Jason Ogden was unable to attend as he was in Toronto, leaving room for Adam Keirstead to deliver a colourful acceptance speech in his absence.
Tim Turnell also gave a performance this year: a projection of images of Saint John landscapes like the King Square band stand, depicted with celebrities like Charlie Chaplin photoshopped in with a very comical account of all of Saint John’s lesser known ‘firsts’ given by Turnell himself. He also read a “heavily edited piece” called ‘Lecture to Art Students’ by Oscar Wilde. Tim Turnell and The Penny Blacks did not disappoint.
As for the awards, The Originals are awarded by jury and celebrate 13 categories of arts and culture. This year’s finalists were (with winners underlined):
- Emerging Artist Award: Maggie Higgins, Pamela Marie Pierce, Munami Fukuda Stokes-Rees
- Visual Arts Award: Deanna Musgrave, Elma Johnston McKay
- Literary Arts Award: Fog Lit Festival, Joan Hall-Hovey, Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
- Performing Arts Award (Theatre): Andrea Arbour, Sandra Bell, Dean Turner
- Patron of the Arts Award (Business): Loch Lomond Home Hardware, Stewart McKelvey
- Classical Music Award: Hok Kwan, Robert McCausland, Andrew Miller
- Popular Music Award: Elephant Skeletons, Jessica Rhaye, Whitewater
- Performing Arts Award (Dance): Nawal Doucette, Andrea Scott, Kelli L. Wray
- Arts Supporter Award: Saint John Free Public Library, Don Mitchener, Chuck Teed
- Film & New Media Award: Brian Cleveland, Jarrod R. F. Hachey, Greg Hemmings
- Arts Organization Award: Local 107.3 FM, InterAction School of Performing Arts, Third Space Gallery
- Progression Award: Sculpture Saint John
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Buckland
The Originals are awarded based on overall contributions to the arts in each category and each winner has made meaningful contributions to the arts within Saint John.
Power couple Deanna Musgrave and Andrew Miller took home two Originals. Deanna stunned the city with her latest high-profile masterpiece, Nest, which graces the ceiling of the Market Square pedway, and Andrew is well-known for his original musical compositions and work with Symphony NB.
Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, whose 2016 publication Shadow of Doubt: The Trial of Dennis Oland faced enormous success, won the Literary Arts Award.
Sandra Bell, the winner of Theatre Arts Original, is a board member of the Saint John Theatre Company. She teaches theatre arts and English, and is directing the upcoming March 2018 SJTC production Shakespeare in Love.
Jessica Rhaye, winner of Popular Music and nominee for four MNB Awards later this month, was unable to attend but had a band member accept on her behalf.
Nawal Doucette, who brought authentic tribal belly dancing to the region with her studio Maritime Tribal, took home the Performing Arts Award in Dance.
The winner of the Arts Supporter Award was Chuck Teed. Chuck played an instrumental role in bringing the ECMA’s to Saint John last April as Co-Chair of its Local Engagement Committee.
Winner of Arts Organization is Third Space Gallery; Executive Director Emily Saab accepted the award for the artist-run centre responsible for Third Shift, which is possibly the pinnacle of the Saint John arts calendar.
The Progression Award is the one award the Saint John Community Arts Board decides upon by itself and this year it was handed to Sculpture SJ. Sculpture SJ compares to none in its contribution to both local and international artists and, more importantly, to the local communities who get to adore these works of art forever.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Saint John gallery owner Peter Buckland. Buckland began his career in fine arts with Windrush Galleries in 1981. He was a founding member of the SJ Community Arts Board, Chair of Saint John 225 and two-time Vice Chair of Sculpture SJ. Peter is set to retire from his role within the year, though promised he would remain involved.