Three new recipients of the Surrey Civic Treasures were named at the annual Business and the Arts reception Tuesday (Oct. 7) at Surrey Arts Centre.
South Surrey potter and ceramics teacher Don Hutchinson, Crescent Beach-based fabric artist, dancer/mentor and educator Elizabeth Carefoot and former Surrey Arts Council director and president Eileen Gratland were selected as this year’s medal winners.
Now in their seventh year, the Surrey Civic Treasure awards honour those who have made a significant contribution to culture within the city.
Hutchinson spent 30 years at Langara College as a ceramics teacher and is past-president of the Potters Guild of B.C.
His ceramics works reflect his interest in ancient cultures such as Turkey, Crete, Sicily, Japan and Korea but also show his concern with the Surrey landscape through the use of locally-sourced materials (a study he conducted on using B.C. raw minerals for glazes led to a publication that is used by ceramic artists across Canada).
Extremely knowledgeable in his craft, he is not hesitant to share his experience with students and peers, through workshops for Semiahmoo Potters members, mentoring and advice to individual artists, and talks at arts, community and civic events in White Rock and Surrey.
Carefoot, who has created in fibre, pottery, oils, latex and watercolour as well as fabric is often inspired by history, ancient religions and the rich diversity of cultures around the world.
She, in turn, has inspired many others in the city both with her colourful art and workshops and with her love of ethnic dance forms.
Five childhood years experiencing the privations of an internment camp near Shanghai (she and her family were prisoners of the Japanese during World War II) fostered a passion for creating from very modest material resources and thriftily using scraps, and other flotsam and jetsam, in her work.
Gratland, who spent 30 years with the Surrey Arts Council, has long been a champion of the arts as an essential component of social and economic growth.
Among her accomplishments have been creating the Surrey Art Gallery’s annual juried art competition, the Greater Vancouver Golf Open juried art competition and exhibition, and the Let Me Sing community theatre project to raise funds to establish a Youth Arts Council.
Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee commemorative medal, as well as other accolades for outstanding service to the arts, she has also spearheaded the arts council’s involvement in such events as the Cloverdale Blueberry Festival, Whalley Days, the Parade of Light and the Cloverdale Rodeo, and served as its representative on the International Board of Trade.