Winners of Surrey’s Arts & Business Awards were revealed during an virtual broadcast on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 12).
The fifth annual awards were hosted by Surrey Board of Trade as part of the organization’s “cultural industry strategy.”
Twelve finalists in four categories were announced three weeks ahead of the awards event, held online for a second year in a row.
The event’s Legacy Award was given to Fraser Valley Musical Theatre, which has spent the last 39 years bringing high-quality musical theatre to tens of thousands of people in Surrey and region.
The Cultural Ambassador Award went to Comfort Adesuwa Ero, with African Stages Society.
The Arts & Innovation Award was given to artist Sandeep Johal, whose work is currently shown at Surrey Art Gallery.
Luv Randhawa earned the Music Award for his work as a singer, songwriter and entertainer since 1999.
Also, a “Recognition for Philanthropy” award was given to Shaw Communications Inc. for being “a leading connectivity company that is actively engaged in Surrey and understands the importance of supporting the organizations that are working hard to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of youths across Canada.”
Bios for the 2021 award winners are posted below.
I'll be watching @SBofT's Arts & Business Awards starting at noon. Stay tuned for news about award winners, with @Keri_Adams returning as emcee. @SurreyNowLeader
For background, here are the nominees in four categories: https://t.co/oQKs4L79va
— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) October 12, 2021
Broadcaster Keri Adams returned to emcee this year’s event. Guest speakers included Bob D’Eith (B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film), Prem Gill (CEO of Creative BC) and Keely Rammage-Scott (Face the Music Entertainment), and music was performed by Surrey’s Richard Tichelman.
“The Surrey Board of Trade stands in solidarity with arts organizations, their employees, and artists,” said Anita Huberman, Surrey Board of Trade’s president and CEO. “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.”
Award winners were judged on the degree to which they had a positive impact on Surrey, the number of people they served, their history and involvement in performances, exhibits, commissions and fellowships, and their artistic and professional affiliations.
Cultural Ambassador Award: Comfort Adesuwa Ero, with African Stages Society
“Since she arrived in Canada over 20 years ago, Comfort Ero has used hundreds of storytelling and artistic events to foster inclusive schools and communities across British Columbia, including Victoria, Burnaby, Vancouver, and Surrey for the past 15 years. One of her most successful endeavours is the afterschool homework club for children of immigrants and refugees. She has also successfully led the Story-Powering Youth Program (SPOY), which uses story-based workshops to help youth deal with social exclusion positively. Comfort is an award-winning author of several works of literature in English and French. Among them are La Fuite and The Diary of an African Woman. In 2019, the Legislative Assembly of BC publicly recognized her work with youth. In the same year, she won the Storysaver Award of the Storytellers of Canada / Conteurs du Canada.”
Legacy Award: Fraser Valley Musical Theatre
“Fraser Valley Musical Theatre, formerly Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society, has spent the last 39 years bringing high-quality musical theatre to tens of thousands of people in Surrey. Whether light opera, pantomime, or Broadway musical, the productions are hilarious, fast-paced and fun. In ‘normal’ years, the premium pantomime of the Christmas season is followed by a springtime major musical. This pattern has won the hearts of many, along with countless awards and accolades. During the pandemic, Fraser Valley Musical Theatre learned to adapt and still be exceptional. Thus, the very successful Fairy-Tale Mysteries Radio Show was born and made available at fvgss.org and on podcast apps. The society’s 40th anniversary will kick off with Cole Porter’s Anything Goes at the Surrey Arts Centre on July 2, 2022.”
Arts & Innovation Award: Sandeep Johal
“Sandeep Johal is a multidisciplinary visual artist who engages in drawing, collage, textiles, and large-scale mural painting. Through her Indo-folk-feminine aesthetic, Johal typically communicates the stories of women. Though she highlights female suffering in its many forms, these are ultimately stories of resistance and resilience. Johal has worked on notable projects with the Vancouver Art Gallery, Burrard Arts Foundation, Indian Summer Festival, Vancouver Mural Festival, and clients such as the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and Lululemon. Johal holds a Diploma in Fine Arts with honours from Langara College in 2007.”
Music Award: Luv Randhawa
“Luv Randhawa is a singer, songwriter and entertainer. His career in the music industry dates back to 1999 with North America’s first Fusion Bhangra band Signia. He has topped World iTunes charts with many of his catchy singles and album releases during his LuvMusicOnline solo career. Recently, he was #2 on the Canadian iTunes R&B/Soul Charts with his mainstream album entitled ‘Believe in Me.’ Luv has received recognition from the House of Commons and was awarded the 2020 Best International Artist by the UK Bhangra Awards. Luv has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to the music and arts industry.”
Recognition for Philanthropy award: Shaw Communications Inc.
“Shaw is a leading connectivity company that is actively engaged in Surrey and understands the importance of supporting the organizations that are working hard to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of youths across Canada. As part of their commitment to the community, Shaw partners with organizations across the country that are working to make the arts accessible to children and youth from all backgrounds. This includes working with organizations like Arts Umbrella, which through the Shaw Creative Journey’s program, has given more than 3,500 youth across the Lower Mainland free arts activities to help develop their creative expression and help them build more inclusive communities for a brighter future.”