The Abbotsford Arts Council recently announced the nominees for the 2017 Arty Awards, and of the 31 listed, three are from Chilliwack.
In the Lifestyle Award category, Jil Sonia McDonald has been nominated, along with two in the Performing Arts category: Cliff Prang and Shashi Lata Virk.
McDonald is a five-time award-winning interior designer. Winning the Best of Houzz in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, being a featured designer in HGTV and being published in Home Trends Magazine with a full 12-page spread, are highlights of her career.
Cliff Prang has been a full-time professional comedian for four years, but has decades of prior comedy and acting experience. He does corporate comedy, club/bar stand-up comedy, improv, TV and commercial acting, plus he emcees and speaks at events. He regularly performs with Fraser Valley Comedy, and was also one of the entertainment acts at TEDx Chilliwack in April.
Virk is one of the most profound vocal talents of All India Radio (AIR) with a Top Grade vocal artist title. With her devotion and background from Rajasthan, she became the youngest Top Grade artist of AIR and TV station Delhi. Virk is recognized by the Canadian Cultural Association for promoting Indian music, and is honoured by the British Columbia Cultural Association as outstanding Indians, along with Justice Wally Oppal and broadcaster Sushma Dutt.
One person from Chilliwack was also given an honourable mention. Brander Raven McDonald is a First Nations singer/songwriter — much of his work deals with telling the stories of the residential schools through Indigenous eyes.
Jurors for this year’s Arty Awards included four of the winners from last year’s awards, two previous Lifetime Achievement recipients, City of Abbotsford Councillor Sandy Blue as well as the City of Abbotsford’s recreation and culture director Allyson D. Friesen, and many other respected members of the Abbotsford arts community.
Additional jurors from outside of the area who lent their expertise include This Hour Has 22 Minutes creator and recipient of the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Mary Walsh; Juno Award winning musician Colin Nairne; CBC writer, producer and television host Jonathan Torrens; musician from The Odds and composer with Corner Gas and Kids In The Hall, Craig Northey; Curator at the Surrey Art Gallery Jordan Strom; one of the founding members of the band Hedley, musician Kevin Giesbrecht; and award-winning playwrite and author, and Leacock Literary Prize recipient Mark Leiren-Young.
The 13th annual Arty Awards will be presented at The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20 and available at abbotsfordartscouncil.com/arty-awards.