Virtual Tribute Night 2020

Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts
A celebration of our award winners!
Founders Achievement Award:
Robert HouleArtist Prize Winner:
Anique JordanArtist Prize Finalists:
Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Lisa Myers

Project Support:
First Toronto Biennial of Art

YYZ Books for Community of Images: Strategies of Appropriation in Canadian Art, 1977 – 1990, by Art + Research initiatives Toronto

Evergreen Brick Works for the re-creation of  Rita Letendre’s Sunrise Mural


As President of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts, I am thrilled to present this year’s amazing recipients of $70,000 in prize money.

Although this year we cannot come together to award cheques, I invite you to raise your glass to celebrate our skilled and talented winners at our Virtual Tribute Night. This is indeed good news in tough times.

Our Prize Committee Chairs: Francis Price (Founders Achievement Award), Kaye Beeston (Project Support) and Harriet Stairs (Artist Prize) along with their committees did their due diligence to research, analyze, present, vote, and award prizes based on merit.

Since our founding twenty-one years ago, the TFVA is proud to have awarded $928,000 in prize money to Toronto’s Visual Arts community. TFVA is an independent, non-profit organization which provides financial assistance to the visual arts and provides an educational program for its 250 members.


Founders Achievement Award: Robert Houle
Frances Price, Chair

$15, 000 to Robert Houle, whose long and accomplished career as an artist has paralleled his numerous achievements as an activist, curator, educator, writer and critic. His academic credentials alone are impressive; a graduate in art history from the University of Manitoba and in education from McGill University. A hallmark of his career has been his continuous study and teaching both in Canada and abroad. As an Indigenous artist from Sandy Bay First Nation in Manitoba and a survivor of the residential school system, Houle has continually challenged the treatment of First Nations artists in our public and private gallery system and in society. Houle has received many awards and citations, including two honorary doctorates and the 2015 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, for his contributions to our visual culture and for his stature as a pre-eminent artist. In 1995 when the TFVA launched a lecture series entitled Artists Talk the first lecturer was Robert Houle.

To see Robert’s work please visit Robert Houle on the National Gallery of Canada website

Click here to see Robert Houle accept his award.


Artist Prize Awards
Harriet Stairs, Chair

Winner: Anique Jordan
$15,000 to Anique Jordan, a Toronto-based artist, writer and curator, working primarily in photography, sculpture and performance. Through extensive research and community engagement, her work combines history, myth and intuition to draw attention to existing struggles, challenge dominant narratives and offer new possibilities. Jordan has lectured in numerous institutions across the Americas, exhibited and curated widely, and is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist of the Year award (2017).

To see Anique’s work please visit

Click here to see Anique accept her award.


Artist Prize Finalist: Vanessa Dion Fletcher
$5,000 to Vanessa Dion Fletcher, a Lenape and Potawatomi two-spirited indigenous artist. Her work is materially and socially driven, using porcupine quills, Wampum belts and menstrual blood to understand decolonization, disability, and the physical/cultural body. Dion Fletcher has an MFA in performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her work is widely exhibited and collected across Canada and the United States.

To see Vanessa’s work please visit

Click here to see Vanessa accept her award.


Artist Prize Finalist: Lisa Myers
$5,000 to Lisa Myers, a member of Beausoleil First Nation. She has her Masters of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial practice from OCAD University and is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. She has a keen interest in inter-disciplinary collaboration, drawing from her experiences as an educator, curator, writer, musician and chef.

To see Lisa’s work please visit

Click here to see Lisa accept her award.


Project Support Awards,
Beeston, chair

First Toronto Biennial of Art
$20,000 to the Toronto Biennial of Art (TBA) in the 2020 inaugural year of its three month, artist centred, city-wide, multi-disciplinary arts project. Its principal locales were along the Toronto shoreline, and its curatorial framework informed by Indigenous history as well as recent settler, immigrant and refugee histories.

To see more about this project please visit

Patrizia Libralato,
Founder and Executive Director, the Toronto Biennial of Art

Click here to see Patricia accept the award.


YYZ Books for Community of Images: Strategies of Appropriation in Canadian Art, 1977 – 1990, by Art + Research initiatives Toronto
$3,000 to YYZ Books to support the inclusion of high quality colour images in its book Community of Images: Strategies of Appropriation in Canadian Art, 1977 – 1990, by Art + Research initiatives Toronto, Janice Gurney and Julian Haladyn, editors, an important academic publication for teaching and research.

To see more about this project please visit YYZ Books

Click here to see some images of the project and hear Janice accept the award.


Evergreen Brick Works for Rita Letendre’s Sunrise Mural
$7,000 to The Don River Valley Art Program to support a re-creation of Sunrise, a work by noted Indigenous Artist Rita Letendre, to be installed at Evergreen Brick Works. The original Sunrise exists at Ryerson University but is currently obscured.

To see more about this project please visit Evergreen Brick Works

Sarah Hillyer,
Senior Manager, Philanthropy, Evergreen

Click here to see Sarah accept the award.

Congratulations one and all! We hope next year to be together in person for Tribute Night, on Monday, May 10, 2021. Save the date.

Until we can meet again, be well, stay safe, and invest in art. Sheltering in place has underscored the power art in our homes has to transport us…

Alice Adelkind,
President, TFVA










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