Ceramic artist Robin DuPont is Nelson’s 2023 Cultural Ambassador.
Dupont teaches at the Kootenay School of the Arts, where he was educated when he first moved to Nelson 25 years ago.
The award is presented to artists who practice not only locally but outside the Kootenays, spreading the word about arts and culture in Nelson.
In 2023, DuPont will lead a month-long artist residency in northern California, jury the Alberta Potters’ Association teapot exhibition, bring a curated exhibition to the Canadian Craft Symposium in Burnaby, lead a firing workshop in Prince George, and mount an exhibition with KSA students at The Craft Connection in Nelson.
Presenting the award at the Feb. 14 meeting of Nelson City Council, cultural development officer Joy Barrett said Dupont has garnered both national and international attention as a ceramic artist and educator, receiving many grants and awards, most recently the the prestigious Northwest Ceramics Foundation Mayer Wosk Award in 2021.
“His work continues to push boundaries of form and surface, while his research into new ceramic surfaces, diagnosing and resolving technical challenges, and the development of new clay bodies and kiln design is unparalleled in current Canadian studio ceramics,” Barrett said.
Co-presenter Sydney Black of the Nelson and District Arts Council said that through his international connections, DuPont connects his KSA students to visiting artists and opportunities after graduation.
“His knowledge and enthusiasm for the medium of clay has re-invigorated this well-established studio-based program, encouraging the next generation of working potters to make well-crafted pots that demonstrate technical proficiency and dedicate themselves to personal creative development,” Black said.
“Each of these commitments contribute to the visibility and cultural reputation of our region.”
The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium. Dupont was chosen by a jury of the city’s previous cultural ambassadors.
“This is an amazing honour,” said Dupont. “When my wife Eden and I moved here 20-ish years ago, the very reason we moved here was because of the cultural identity, so this award means a lot. It is a bit strange to hear someone read my accomplishments, because there are people here that definitely contributed to those, so I stand on their shoulders.”
Previous cultural ambassadors are writer Jane Byers, writer Roz Nay, musician Marilyn Hatfield, singer and choir director Allison Girvan, dancer and choreographer Slava Doval, writer Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, visual artist Ian Johnston, musician and actor Bessie Wapp, dancer and choreographer Hiromoto Ida, writer Anne DeGrace, filmmaker Amy Bohigian, writer and actor Lucas Myers, fabric artist Angelika Werth, and the Corazón youth choir.
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