Established earlier this year by John Lacey in association with the gallery, the biennial prize recognizes the critical role artist-run centres and small arts organizations play in supporting artists and fostering emerging practices in Canada.
“One of the challenges for an artist-run centre like ours is that our aspirations are sometimes larger than our budgets,” said Julie Dring, executive director of Hamilton Artists Inc., in a release. “The Inc. has been quite ambitious lately, and we are eager to continue growing. The Lacey Prize gives us some stability to keep listening and learning as we continue to engage with our communities, support our artists, and be responsive to change.”
As part of the prize, a contemporary curator from the National Gallery of Canada will visit the winning organization in the coming year to conduct in-person meetings and studio visits.
The winners and runners-up were selected from 51 submissions. The prize jury included curator Glenn Alteen, National Gallery of Canada assistant curator of contemporary art Nicole Burisch and artist Louise Lacey-Rokosh.
“Jury members stressed the relevance of the new prize, observing that nominators repeatedly emphasized the often large or isolated areas serviced by organizations working tirelessly and inventively, typically with limited resources, to meet the diverse needs of their artistic communities,” said a release. “The jurors identified four centres which they felt merited honourable mentions for the important work they are doing in their respective communities: Struts Gallery (NB); this town is small (PEI); Critical Distance (ON), and Blinkers (MB).”
Nominations for the second biennial Lacey Prize open in summer 2021.