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Media Release: Arts Council of New Westminster supports local 55+ community with arts awards

‘Seniors Expressions Through the Arts’ project changes gears to support ten local residents with funding $5,000 for art projects and professional development.

May 17, 2020 (New Westminster, BC) —

In this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has never been more important to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable members of our society. This shift in priorities has triggered changes in the way arts organizations are delivering programming. The Arts Council of New Westminster saw the need to adapt and rapidly redeployed its ‘Seniors Expressions Through the Arts’ project to promote creative expression and professional development for the emerging, mid-career, and senior level artists in New Westminster’s 55+ community.

In late April, the ACNW put out an artist call for a one-time Seniors Arts Awards, allocating $5,000 towards local arts projects. The awards presented an opportunity for arts projects to receive up to $500 in reimbursements for costs related to materials for art projects, technology upgrades, and professional courses offered online encouraged dozens of applicants to apply.

“The opportunity to engage creativity through the pursuit of arts, crafts, design, and learning can help dissolve the boundaries and challenges experienced in isolation.” says Olivia C. Davies, Arts Council of New Westminster Seniors Coordinator. “These arts awards will promote the health and welfare of our senior community by encouraging new creative expression and help ease the financial burden of purchasing non-essential items that help fulfill the artist’s desires to create something beautiful in these difficult times of social distancing.”

A volunteer adjudication committee of 55+ New Westers connected to the arts & culture community was struck to measure the merit of each application and accompanying budget. Ten successful applicants were awarded funds and each of the projects developed with this funding will be considered for public exhibition at The Gallery at Queen’s Park in 2021. Additional online content and virtual exhibition will be available on the Arts Council’s website in early Fall 2020. This initiative is part of the Seniors Expressions Through the Arts project, coordinated by Indigenous arts administrator and choreographer, Olivia C. Davies, and funded through the Government of Canada’s New Horizons For Seniors program.

Award recipients include:
Candace Colmer – series of acrylic paintings and online learning
Carolyn McLaughlin – Batik art fashion designs
Janet Kvammen – Senior’s Weekend Pop Up Show Event with live demos
Jim Keyes – series of acrylic paintings for exhibition and online portfolio upgrades
Lanta Meng – series of oil paintings for exhibition
Lavana La Brey – software and equipment for online teaching and presentations
Lee Down – series of acrylic paintings for exhibition
Melissa Mary Duncan – equipment for online presentations of Fantasy Art practise
Susan Ormsby – series of watercolor paintings for exhibition
Rodrigo Sarrat Cave – printing series of photobooks as teaching tools


About the Arts Council of New Westminster

Founded in 1967, The Arts Council of New Westminster is a community arts organization built by artists, audiences, and arts groups who share an interest in visual, performing and literary arts. The Arts Council’s role in the community is to advocate for the arts and foster support for those engaging in artistic and cultural endeavours.

For more information about The Arts Council of New Westminster, visit We can be reached at

Media Contact:
Stephen O’Shea, Executive Director
Arts Council of New Westminster | 604 525 3244 |

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