Canada's foremost distinction for excellence in the fine crafts, the Saidye Bronfman Award recognizes the exceptional work of individuals who have also made significant contributions to the development of the fine crafts in Canada.
The award was created in 1977 to honour the 80th birthday of Saidye Bronfman, O.B.E., a long-time supporter of the arts, by her children Minda, Phyllis, Edgar and Charles. Initially administered by the Canadian Crafts Council, the award became, in 1997, the shared responsibility of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization). In celebration of its 30th anniversary, in 2007, the award was transferred to the Canada Council as part of its prestigious Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
The $25,000 annual award is one of the largest individual prizes for fine craft in Canada. In addition to the cash prize, works by the recipient are acquired by the Canadian Museum of History for its permanent collection.
The award is adjudicated by a peer assessment committee comprised of craftspeople from across the country. Together they consider all aspects of aesthetics, including creativity, innovation and technical mastery. They also consider the nominee's contribution to the development of the fine crafts in Canada over a significant period of time. The award-winning artists represent the country’s best and most influential craftspeople, including masters in ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, book binding, and metalwork/jewellery.
By Leopold Kowolik
For 40 years the Saidye Bronfman Award has been celebrating Canada’s best fine craft artists. For these exceptional makers, the impact of the award goes far beyond its monetary value ($25,000) – it gives them national validation and encourages them to continue pushing the boundaries of their art form.
Candidates must be nominated by a recognized expert in the fine arts (deadline: June 1).
A peer assessment committee selects the recipient from among the nominations.
The winner receives $25,000 and the acquisition of work by the Canadian Museum of History.
For more details on the award, eligibility criteria, and the nomination form, see #GGARTS Guidelines.
The Foundation was established by Montréal-based philanthropists Samuel & Saidye Bronfman in 1952. One of Canada’s major private granting foundations, it provides funds to qualified donees that are focused on social, cultural and environmental programs. It created the Saidye Bronfman Award in 1977 to honour Mrs. Bronfman’s 80th birthday, and continues to fund it through a $1.5 million endowment to the Canada Council.
With roots stretching back to 1856, the Canadian Museum of History is one of Canada’s oldest public institutions and a respected centre of museological excellence, sharing its expertise in history, archaeology, ethnology and cultural studies both within Canada and abroad. A valuable partner in the Saidye Bronfman Award, each year it purchase work by the winning artist for its permanent collection.