At Civic Hotel on Friday morning (June 14), Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman (left) with winners of the 2019 Surrey Arts & Business Awards, including members of the Brotherhood Dance Crew (Arts & Innovation category winner), Charan Sethi (Philanthropy), Richard Tichelman (Music) and Renee Sarojini Saklikar (Cultural Ambassador). Not pictured is Legacy award recipient Chris Thornley. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey Arts & Business Awards winners named at breakfast event

Winners in five categories honoured at Civic Hotel gathering

Award winners in five categories were announced during the third annual Surrey Arts & Business Awards event Friday morning (June 14).

The breakfast gathering, hosted by Surrey Board of Trade, was held at Civic Hotel.

This year’s award winners are Surrey’s Brotherhood Dance Crew (in the Arts & Innovation category), Renee Sarojini Saklikar (Cultural Ambassador), Chris Thornley (Legacy), Richard Tichelman (Music) and Charan Sethi (Philanthropy).

Founded in the basement of a Surrey church in 2011, Brotherhood is a 15-member all-male hip hop dance group that has performed internationally and won several awards, including a recent Vibe Dance Competition championship in California. Brotherhood was recently featured on NBC’s World Of Dance TV show and also travels the world “to showcase, judge, teach and inspire millions of dancers,” notes a post at brotherhoodcrew.com.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey’s Brotherhood dance crew silences all the ‘haters’ with another Vibe competition win.

Saklikar served as Surrey’s first Poet Laureate for a three-year term starting in the fall of 2015. Her legacy projects were the publication of the anthology Surrey Stories Connect: Teens and Seniors Write Surrey, and a series of teen chapbook-making workshops. In April, Saklikar began work as writer-in-residence for Surrey English Teachers Association, a role that involves doing poetry workshops across the school district.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey searches for next Poet Laureate, with Saklikar’s three-year term ended and funding OK’d.

Legacy award winner Thornley has supported arts and culture causes in Surrey for many years, including the annual Blues for the Bank benefit concert he founded as a fundraiser for Surrey Food Bank. A musician and graphic artist, Thornley retired in 2018 from his agency, Thornley Creative, following a merger with another, Cloverdale-based Studiothink.

• RELATED STORY: Chris Thornley’s urge to play historic blues bar led to annual benefit concert in Surrey.

Tichelman, a musician who grew up on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, is a rising-star singer-songwriter who has played everywhere from the Roxy nightclub in Vancouver to Surrey International Children’s Festival. This year he was a recipient of Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25 award, and in 2018 he won an award at the Calgary Stampede for Most Promising Artist.

• RELATED STORY: Success accelerates for Richard Tichelman, from 2017.

Philanthropy award winner Sethi is a developer who operates the Tien Sher Group of Companies. He has been “a strong supporter of Surrey and in particular, Whalley,” a bio says. “Through his efforts in partnership with others in the Whalley community, they were able to get the Whalley name recognized as historical and to create the Historic Whalley District. This prevented Whalley from being swallowed up into City Centre. It allowed an area to begin to reinvent itself around arts, culture and sport.”

• RELATED STORY: Surrey land developer wants to give Whalley’s arts and culture community a home, from 2017.

Friday’s event featured a speech by Lisa Beare, B.C.’s Tourism, Arts & Culture Minister.

Previously known as Surrey Mayor’s Art Awards in 2017 and 2018, the Surrey Arts & Business Awards was rebranded for 2019 by Surrey Board of Trade. The organization had partnered with former mayor Linda Hepner to host the event for the past two years, but a new title was found for the event after organizers didn’t hear back from Mayor Doug McCallum whether he would attend the 2019 event.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey Mayor’s Art Awards rebranding after no response from McCallum.

In 2018, Surrey Little Theatre, Ellie King, Concord Pacific Developments Inc. and Peninsula Productions Society were the winners at the Surrey Mayor’s Art Awards.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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