Surrey Board of Trade’s 4th Annual Surrey Arts and Business Awards recognized people and organizations in five categories on Thursday (Dec. 3).
The digital broadcast of the event took place on the business organization’s YouTube channel, with emcee Keri Adams and guest speaker Colin Basran, mayor of Kelowna.
The award winners were Sher Vancouver LGBTQ Friends Society (Arts and Innovation category), musician Asad Khan a.k.a Khanvict (Cultural Ambassador), Edith Lando Charitable Foundation (Philanthropy), choir leader Stephen Horning (Legacy) and record label Snakes x Ladders (Music).
In his keynote speech, Basran talked about Kelowna’s innovation in bringing arts and culture into the city as a way to build economic development.
“We agreed with Mayor Basran that the arts and culture industry enhances the livability of a city,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “We need the arts now more than ever: For our city’s economic development, for our mental health, for our creativity.”
In a “Call to Action,” Surrey Board of Trade said it “stands in solidarity with arts organizations, their employees, and artists as the pandemic continues to unfold. We want the community of audience members, donors, and grant-makers to do what they can to continue their support to arts and culture through this time of uncertainty.”
Posted below are biographies of the five award winners, as submitted by Surrey Board of Trade.
Arts and Innovation Award: Sher Vancouver LGBTQ Friends Society
Sher Vancouver is a social, cultural, and support non-profit society for LGBTQ+ South Asians and their friends and families. Everyone is welcome. Sher provides advocacy, free crisis counselling, information, referral peer support groups, volunteer opportunities, and outreach presentations to combat bullying and racism and other forms of discrimination. Sher also offers an annual youth leadership award and produces short and feature-length social justice documentary films for high schools, colleges, universities, and the educational market, as well as for film festivals and broadcast. One of the documentary films that Sher produced is My Name Was January which has won 15 international awards and garnered 64 official selections at film festivals around the world. Most recently, My Name Was January was awarded as Best Short Documentary at the Director’s Cut International Film Festival in New Westminster.
Cultural Ambassador Award: Asad Khan a.k.a Khanvict
Asad Khan is the founder and owner of Decibel Entertainment, a multi-award-winning private event company that provides DJ, photobooth, sound and lighting services for over 1000 events a year, mostly in Surrey. Decibel has single-handedly changed the sector, redefining what it is to be young and South Asian in the city and spawning a generation of DJs and producers that are making a global impact. He is also a globe-trotting electronic music producer by the name Khanvict and has played hundreds of events and festivals across the globe – bringing his Surrey roots worldwide. Asad mentors, books and manages 19 young Surrey DJs, and is one of the driving forces behind Beats by Her, a female-focused DJ workshop series meant to address the severe gender imbalance in the South Asian music industry. He is on the advisory board of 5X Festival, the largest South Asian youth event in Canada.
Philanthropy Award: Edith Lando Charitable Foundation
Established in 1974 and named after Edith Lando, a philanthropist and visionary, the Edith Lando Charitable Foundation is dedicated to fostering the self-esteem of children and encouraging adults to treat children with more understanding and compassion. Arts Umbrella is one of the organizations that have received support from the Foundation and these include the creation of dedicated space for vulnerable children and youth, the launch of Head Start, an early childhood outreach program that provides young learners with broad experiences in artistic disciplines such as dance, theater, and visual art classes. As a result, the foundation has supported a wide range of projects within the Canadian arts and culture sector, encouraging creativity amongst the next generation of artists.
Legacy Award: Stephen Horning
Stephen founded the award-winning Surrey Children’s Choir in 1992 and the Surrey Community Chorus in 1999. He taught for 11 years in the Campbell River School District where he founded the Campbell River Children’s Choir and conducted the North Island Choral Society. Stephen has been appointed conductor of the Douglas College Children’s Choir and has directed the Surrey District Honour Choir in the past years. He represented the Greater Vancouver Schools on the board of the BC Choral Federation. Stephen has been recognized for his achievement and significant contributions to the arts and culture, among which are the Willan Award for Outstanding Service to the BC Choral Federation, Surrey Civic Treasures Award in 2008, Professional Music Award Elementary from British Columbia Music Educators Association in 2019 and in February 2020, he was presented the Certificate of Recognition by The Surrey Board of Education for his outstanding contribution to Surrey Schools.
Music Award: Snakes x Ladders
Snakes x Ladders is a Surrey-based record label and cultural channel that seeks to empower local youth by helping them create global impact with their music. Only a year old, Snakes x Ladders has released 15 albums and singles by local artists amounting to over 100K streams on various platforms, hosted numerous events, and defined itself as the voice of the young creative community in Surrey. They curated the music at the Indian edition at the Celebration of Lights in 2019, the largest civic event in the city curated the afterparty for Skookum Festival 2018 and for Rifflandia (Victoria) in 2019. In Spring of 2019, the label traveled to music conference FIMPRO in Guadalajara, Mexico to represent the sound of Surrey. They are a frequent collaborator with 5X Festival and Blueprint Events, and most recently are co-producing the first North American tour of India’s biggest rapper DIVINE.