The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts are Canada’s foremost distinctions for excellence in visual and media arts. These awards were created in 1999 through a partnership of the Canada Council for the Arts and the then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, who committed Government House to hosting the gala ceremony to honour the winners at Rideau Hall, in perpetuity. The Canada Council funds and administers the awards.
As a result of a $1.5 million donation to the Canada Council from The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation, the Saidye Bronfman Award became a Governor General’s Award, reserved for fine craft artists as of March 2007. The name “Saidye Bronfman Award” is retained under the overall banner of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
Up to eight awards are given annually:
- up to six awards of $25,000 each are available for distinguished artistic achievement in the visual (including architecture and photography) and/or media arts
- one award of $25,000 is presented as the Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the fine crafts
- one award of $25,000 is given to recognize the outstanding contribution to the visual arts (including architecture and photography), media arts or to fine craft of an individual or group in a volunteer or professional capacity, through philanthropy, board governance, community outreach activities, or as a director of an organization, curator, programmer, educator, critic or dealer/distributor.
The Canada Council for the Arts wishes to acknowledge its appreciation to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, for his patronage of the awards.