Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts

Governor General’s Awards
in Visual and Media Arts

The awards were created in 1999 by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Governor General of Canada. Over the past 18 years, the awards have celebrated Canada’s vibrant arts community and recognized remarkable careers in the visual and media arts.

Each year, the awards honour up to 7 artists for their artistic achievements, and 1 person for their outstanding contribution to contemporary visual and/or media arts. The award-winners receive a medallion and a cash prize of $25,000 each.

View the archive of previous GGArts winners

Celebrate 40 years
of the Saidye Bronfman Award
for excellence in fine crafts

Visit the website

The Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the fine crafts (originally created in 1977) is part of the prestigious family of GGArts awards. This ensures that Canada’s outstanding craft artists receive national recognition each year alongside their peers in the visual and media arts. Explore the website and discover Canada’s best fine craft artists and their work.


GGArts winners are selected by independent peer juries. The peers who adjudicated the 2017 awards are:

Artistic Achievement and Outstanding Contribution categories

  • Bruce Barber, interdisciplinary media artist, cultural historian and curator (Halifax)
  • Jessica Bradley, curator (Toronto)
  • Richard Fung, artist, writer (Toronto)
  • Faye Heavyshield, installation artist (Calgary)
  • Nicole Jolicoeur, photo/video installation artist (Montréal)
  • Thecla Schiphorst, dance, media artist (Vancouver)

Saidye Bronfman Award

  • Sandra Alfoldy, curator, craft historian, professor (Halifax)
  • Jean-Pierre Larocque, ceramist (Montréal)
  • Paul Leathers, jewellery artist, metalsmith (Red Deer, Alberta)

The Medallion

All 2017 winners receive special-edition medallions produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.

The bronze medallion, 75 mm (three inches) in diameter, bears the emblem of a maple tree flanked by two crowned lion's heads. The maple is the symbol used to represent the Canada Council. The lions represent the vice-regal emblem of the Governor General; their crowns represent Canada; and their number, the two disciplines recognized by the award. The motto "Excellentiae in artibus causa" [for excellence in the arts] adorns the face of the medallion, while the name Canada Council for the Arts is engraved on the edge. The name of the award, the year of its attribution and the name of the laureate are engraved on the back of the medallion.

Logo Royal Canadian Mint
Royal Canadian Mint Bronze Medallion
VIA Rail

All Aboard with GGArts!

Until 2021, you can view video portraits of the 2017 winners on VIA Rail Canada’s Quebec-Windsor corridor routes.

VIA Rail

GGArts Take Flight!

Videos portraits of the 2017 winners are available on Air Canada’s national and international flights from April to May 2017.

Logo - Air Canada
Passengers on an Air Canada flight

Special Thanks to our 2017 Partners

Logo The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation
Logo National Gallery of CanadaLogo Winnipeg Art GalleryLogo Canadian museum of historyLogo Independent Media Arts AllianceLogo Royal Canadian MintLogo Governor GeneralVIA RailLogo Air Canada