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. Since then, the awards have celebrated Canada’s vibrant arts community and recognized remarkable careers in the visual and media arts.

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

The GGArts awards are part of the Canada Council’s suite of 39+ prizes recognizing excellence in the arts.

See the 2019 winners

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

The Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the fine crafts (originally created in 1977) is part of the prestigious family of the Governor Generals’ Awards in Visual and Media Arts. This ensures that Canada’s outstanding craft artists receive national recognition each year alongside their peers in the visual and media arts. Our partners at the Canadian Museum of History maintain a collection of the work of all Saidye Bronfman Award winners. Explore the website and discover Canada’s best fine craft artists and their work.

Peer Assessment

GGArts winners are selected by independent peer assessment committees.

The peers who adjudicated the 2019 awards are:

Artistic Achievement and Outstanding Contribution categories

  • Carlos Ferrand, Filmmaker (Montreal, Quebec)
  • Colleen Cutschall, Visual Artist and Professor Emerita (Eden, Manitoba)
  • Isabelle Hayeur, Independent Media Artist and Photographer (Rawdon, Quebec)
  • Andrea Fatona, Curator and Professor (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Michael Fernandes, Visual Artist (East Dover, Nova Scotia)
  • Kevin Schmidt, Visual Artist (Kelowna/Heffley Creek, British Columbia)

Saidye Bronfman Award

  • Alexandra McCurdy, RCA, Ceramic Artist, (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Corrine Hunt, Jewellery and Visual Artist (Tsakis, British Columbia)
  • Denis Longchamps, Executive Director, Curator and Critic (Hamilton, Ontario)
  • Marcel Marois, Tapestry Artist (Quebec City, Quebec)

The Ceremony

The Canada Council for the Arts thanks the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General for hosting an award ceremony at Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence in the Nation’s Capital, each year where the Laureates are celebrated by their peers and members of the Canadian arts community from across the country.

Reideau Hall

The Medallion

All GGArts 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.

Royal Canadian Mint Bronze Medallion

The Exhibition

Through a partnership with the National Gallery of Canada, the winners of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts are featured in an exclusive exhibition showcasing their work for Canadians to see during the spring and summer months. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see the works of this diverse group of outstanding Canadian artists on your next visit of the National Gallery of Canada.


All Aboard with GGArts!

You can view video portraits of the winners on VIA Rail Canada’s Quebec-Windsor corridor routes throughout the year.

VIA Rail
VIA Rail
Passengers on an Air Canada flight

GGArts Take Flight!

Videos portraits of the winners are available on Air Canada’s national and international flights from May to December 2019.

Logo Air Canada