The City of Richmond and the Richmond Arts Coalition have announced the recipients of the 15th annual Richmond Arts Awards, which recognize Richmond residents, artists, business leaders, educators and change-makers for their achievements and contributions to the local arts community.
This year’s recipients reflect the vibrancy of Richmond’s arts scene, as well as the city’s next generation of creative talent. A selection committee comprised of community members, artists and previous honourees reviewed 57 applications to determine the recipients in each of the six categories. The 2023 Richmond Arts Awards recipients are:
Artistic Innovation and Excellence
Nikhat Izhar Qureshi
A self-taught visual artist and calligrapher, Nikhat Izhat Qureshi has a passion for Islamic art. She founded the Islamic Art of British Columbia and BC Muslim Art House in 2018 to promote Islamic art within the Muslim community and beyond. Her efforts include organizing workshops, exhibitions and community events for individuals of all ages. The artist’s commitment to building cultural connections and fostering collaborations culminated in the Islamic Art Experience 2022, the first event of its kind in Richmond.
Mike Booton and Donna J. Wilson
Artist collaborators Mike and Donna have been at the heart of community-based music-making in Richmond for the last decade. They started weekly Ukulele Circles in 2014 at Steveston Community Centre and West Richmond Community Centre, providing opportunities to experience the joy of making music with others. In addition to the circles, Mike and Donna offer community events, sessions for newcomers and outreach to seniors including an innovative wellness program for isolated and vulnerable seniors. In 2021, they established the Linda Perron Ukulele Lending Library in partnership with the Richmond Public Library.
Business and the Arts
Steveston Harbour Authority
Steveston Harbour Authority is Canada’s largest small craft harbour and the hub of British Columbia’s fishing industry. One of the Harbour Authority’s missions is to enhance public awareness and appreciation of Richmond’s thriving fishing community. In 2014, the Board of Directors made the decision to increase the organization’s visibility and engage with the public in creative ways. Since that time, the Harbour Authority has developed exciting initiatives to educate and connect with the community, including partnering with local artists and organizations to create stunning works of art that celebrate our shared maritime heritage.
Dr. Jim Tanaka
Dr. Jim Tanaka has been engaged in Richmond’s arts and cultural community since 1981, alongside his wife, Irene, and following his parents’ influential community service and contributions in Steveston. Jim has focussed on commemorating and honoring the contributions of pioneering Japanese immigrants as well as the preservation of buildings and historical sites. He is the co-founder of the Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival, and has spearheaded or helped organize a number of projects, including planting 255 Akebono cherry trees at Garry Point Park, the Nikkei Fishermen’s Reunion Project, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Japanese Fishermen’s Hospital Complex. He is a co-author and editor of Changing Tides: Vanishing voices of Nikkei Fishermen and Their Families, among many other accomplishments.
Gabby Cometa is an alumni of the Richmond Youth Media Program (RYMP), and has put in countless hours improving her media arts skills, learning new ones and applying those skills to various projects and volunteer opportunities. Through the RYMP, Gabby has participated in many projects and volunteer opportunities such as designing posters, editing videos, doing live camerawork, photographing for events, DJing and more.
Botao Chen is a young creative with a passion for arts and giving back to his community. An active member of the Richmond Youth Media Program (RYMP) since 2018, he supports the City’s Youth Services, notably as a camera operator for the annual Richmond Remembers simulcast. He is also a DJ, photographer and videographer, and has worked with agencies such as Foundry Richmond and Richmond Addictions Services Society (RASS). Botao is a U-ROC Award recipient, and received awards for the 2021 WorkSafe BC Student Safety Video Contest, Richmond’s inaugural Music Video Contest and the Pink Shirt Day Design Contest. The Richmond Arts Coalition awards a $300 cash prize to the winner of the Youth Arts category.
Held at the Gateway Theatre on Wednesday, May 17 and hosted by Mayor Malcolm Brodie, the awards ceremony featured a keynote speech by CBC’s Margaret Gallagher, as well as performances by Canada Y.C. Music Academy, Edward Sembatya and the Richmond Singers.
The Richmond Arts Awards are presented in partnership with the Richmond Arts Coalition with promotional support from the Richmond News. For more information, visit www.richmond.ca/artsawards.