The Saidye Bronfman Award
As Canada's foremost distinction for excellence in the fine crafts, the Saidye Bronfman Award recognizes the exceptional work of individuals who have 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. Though it was initially administered by the Canadian Crafts Council, in 1997 it became the shared responsibility of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization). In 2007, in celebration of its 30th anniversary, the award was transferred to the Canada Council to join 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, every year, the Canadian Museum of History acquires works from the winner for its permanent collection.
The award is adjudicated by a peer assessment committee comprised of craftspeople from across Canada. 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 time. As masters in disciplines such as ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, book binding and metalwork/jewellery, award-winning artists represent the country’s best and most influential craftspeople.
The Samuel & Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation
The Foundation was established by Montréal-based philanthropists Samuel and 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 the Award through a $1.5 million endowment to the Canada Council.
Canadian Museum of History
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, it annually purchases work by the winning artist for its permanent collection.