2015 Jury Speech

Author and Spokesperson: Natasha MacLellan

Your Honour, Mesdames et Messieurs, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

It is my privilege to be the Spokesperson of the Jury for this year’s Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award. 

Having sat on my share of juries over the years, what I found most compelling about this one, was that it elevated the level of conversation about art, in a way that was refreshing and gratifying for all five members of the jury. But that curiosity which fueled our conversation was matched by how exacting it was,  not only because of the multi-disciplinary nature of the competition, but also because this award differs from many other arts awards in that it is earned, not by a particular artist, but by a particular work – the elusive Masterwork.

The work can be in any artistic discipline or genre and may be the product of an individual, group or collaborative team. By definition, the Masterwork must be of outstanding quality, exhibiting originality and artistic merit, and having significant impact in terms of public reception and critical response from its peers.  

The arm’s-length, multidisciplinary Masterworks jury is selected in response to each year’s unique mix of nominated works, and jurors follow a rigorous process of evaluation in order to reach consensus on the five finalists. Which was no easy feat! Have you read that list?! Each work was so bold and beautiful and frankly, impressive; I feel nothing short of gratitude for having spent so much time with them, contemplating them. I am also struck by the broad range of experience and insight of my fellow jurors, and the collegiality with which they worked.  I will now tell you who the jurors were.

In alphabetical order:

  • Peter Dykhuis
  • Ruth-Ellen Kroll-Jackson
  • Natasha MacLellan
  • Alex Pierce
  • Jeff Reilly

And now, I extend a thank you to all the nominators, who embraced the task of recommending the works, taking the time to put together dossiers on the creators. It was a pleasure to see such a remarkable range of works, with such high technical and conceptual abilities. 

Last, but not least, BIG congratulations to the creators of all five Finalist works: all of these works are worthy of the title “Masterwork” and although only one can be the overall winner tomorrow, today is your day. Today you are all deserving winners.  Thank you.