The Richmond Arts Awards program recognizes the achievements in and contributions to the arts by Richmond residents, artists, educators, organizers and business leaders. All artistic disciplines are eligible: visual, performing, literary and culinary arts, as well as craft, environmental arts and new media. The Richmond Arts Awards are presented through a partnership between the City of Richmond and the Richmond Arts Coalition, and are supported by the Richmond News. The 2023 Arts Awards Recipients are as follows:
Recipient: Mike Booton and Donna J. Wilson
Mike Booton and Donna J. Wilson have been at the heart of community-based music-making in Richmond for much of the last decade. While not a formal teaching duo, Mike and Donna have worked in close collaboration providing access to the transformative power of music for ages 55+ through a wide range of activities.
Mike and Donna started weekly Ukulele Circles in 2014 at Steveston community Centre and West Richmond Community Centre providing opportunities to experience the joy of music-making with others. In addition to the circles, they offer sessions for newcomers, in-person and virtual programming, community events, outreach to seniors’ facilities, and an innovative wellness program for isolated and vulnerable seniors. In 2021, they established the Linda Perron Ukulele Lending Library in partnership with the Richmond Public Library. The community’s generous support of the legacy project for Linda was an expression of love for her, a desire to share the joy of music-making with Richmond residents and demonstrated the strong bonds created through community-based music activities.
Mike and Donna’s individual initiatives and combined efforts have undeniably changed many lives offering welcoming, safe places for Richmond residents of all abilities and backgrounds to learn, play, sing and listen to music while increasing skills and improving health, wellness and social connectedness.
Recipient: Nikhat Izhar Qureshi
Nikhat Izhat Qureshi, a self-taught visual artist and calligrapher, has a deep passion for Islamic art and its connection to the Divine Truth. She employs contemporary techniques while blending traditional Arabic script using her creativity as a medium to express her connection with the soulful world. In 2018, she founded the Islamic Art of British Columbia and BC Muslim Art House to promote education and awareness of Islamic art within the Muslim community and beyond. Her efforts include organizing workshops, exhibitions, and community events for individuals of all ages. Nikhat’s commitment to building cultural connections and fostering collaborations culminated in the Islamic Art Experience 2022, the first-ever event of its kind in Richmond. The celebration of International Day of Islamic Art provides an opportunity for all communities to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Islamic art.
Recipient: Steveston Harbour Authority
Steveston Harbour Authority is Canada’s largest commercial fishing harbour and the hub of British Columbia’s fishing industry. One of the Harbour Authority’s missions is to enhance public awareness and appreciation of our thriving fishing community. In 2014, the Board of Directors made the decision to increase the organization’s visibility and engage with the public in creative ways. Since that time, the Harbour Authority has developed exciting initiatives to educate and connect with the community, including partnering with local artists and organizations to create stunning works of art that celebrate our shared maritime heritage. Steveston Harbour Authority is proud to foster a vibrant cultural scene that brings joy to locals and visitors alike and explores the rich history and beauty of its bustling fishing community.
Recipient: Dr. Jim Tanaka
Dr. Jim Tanaka has been engaged in Richmond’s arts and cultural community since 1981, alongside his wife, Irene, and following his parents’ influential community service and contributions in Steveston and the Japanese Canadian community. Jim has focused on preserving, commemorating and honouring the accomplishments and contributions made by pioneering Japanese immigrants made to the communities as well as the preservation of buildings and historical sites that offer insight and a deeper appreciation for what the Japanese Canadian community endured in the past.
He is the co-founder and co-organizer of the Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival (2017-2023), and has spearheaded or helped organize a number of projects and initiatives, including planting 255 Akebono cherry trees at Garry Point Park, the Nikkei Fishermen’s Reunion Project, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and the Japanese Fishermen’s Hospital Complex. He is a co-author and editor of Changing Tides: Vanishing voices of Nikkei Fishermen and Their Families, among many other accomplishments.
Recipient: Gabby Cometa
Gabby is an alumni of the Richmond Youth Media Program (RYMP), and has put in countless hours improving her media arts skills, learning new ones, and applying those skills to various projects and volunteer opportunities. Through RYMP, Gabby has participated in many projects and volunteer opportunities such as designing posters, editing videos, doing live camerawork, photographing for events, DJing, and so much more. Now a graduate of the Program, to this day she still jumps at any opportunity to enrich her community through media arts.
Recipient: Botao Chen
Botao Chen is a young creative with a passion for arts and giving back to his community. Botao joined the Richmond Youth Media Program (RYMP) in 2018 and is active both within RYMP (1000+ Media Lab hours) and the Richmond community. Botao is a U-ROC Award recipient, and has placed highly or received awards for the 2021 WorkSafe BC Student Safety Video Contest, Richmond’s inaugural Music Video Contest and the Pink Shirt Day Design Contest. He is active in his school community as well as Youth Services, notably as a camera operator for the annual Richmond Remembers simulcast, a Youth DJ, photographer and videographer, and has worked with agencies such as Foundry Richmond and Richmond Addictions Services Society (RASS).
The Richmond Arts Awards are presented through a partnership between the City of Richmond and Richmond Arts Coalition, and are sponsored by the Richmond News.
We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia and the BC Arts Council.