Simon Docking, a classical pianist known for his performance of works of 20th and 21st century composers in across Canada and internationally Sue Goyette, a poet and novelist who recently received the Earl Birney Poetry Prize and the CBC Literary Award. Sheilagh Hunt, a celebrated dancer-choreographer who has created more than 30 original dance works that have been staged by Symphony Nova Scotia, Kinetic Studio and Atlantic Fringe Festival Daniel O’Neill, a printmaker, visual artist and educator who trained at the Ontario College of Art and Design and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Dinuk Wijeratne, a composer, pianist and conductor of a diverse array of original compositions. The province awarded its most important arts and culture prizes at the sixth Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala today, Oct. 28, at Halifax’s Cunard Centre. The annual gala is hosted by the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council and recognizes the contributions of arts and culture to the quality of life for Nova Scotians. Acclaimed photographer, visual artist and filmmaker James MacSwain received the $18,000 Portia White prize in recognition of his artistic accomplishments and work as a mentor, educator and arts administrator. “James MacSwain has set a high standard for excellence and community involvement with his work,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister David Wilson. “He exemplifies the very best qualities of an artist and citizen and richly deserves this recognition.” An independent jury of artists reviewed nominations for the Portia White Prize which promotes excellence, innovation and expression in the arts. As this year’s winner, Mr. MacSwain is able to name a protégé to receive a $7,000 prize. He named Visual Arts Nova Scotia’s mentorship program as his protégé. The program matches emerging artists with established artists over a 10-month period. Participants benefit from an exchange of knowledge and expertise that encourages creative achievement. The community of Chéticamp was recognized for its leadership with the $10,000 Community Arts and Culture Recognition Award at the gala. The award recognized the community’s work to encourage artistic and cultural programming, and for preserving the connection to the province’s Acadian and francophone roots. Chéticamp is home to a vibrant arts scene that is supported by the Conseil des Arts de Chéticamp, recognized as one of the most active regional arts councils in Nova Scotia. “Arts and culture build strong communities that make life better for families in every region,” said Mr. Wilson. “The work taking place in Chéticamp and other communities to support creative expression is in line with government’s commitment to develop Nova Scotia’s creative economy.” Five individuals received Established Artist Recognition awards worth $5,000: The Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council provides advice and recommendations to government programs and policies regarding ongoing investment in Nova Scotia’s artists, cultural industries and cultural activities. More information about the province’s arts and culture awards and prizes is available at www.gov.ns.ca/tch/culture_prizes.asp.