Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts



1 June, 2016
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Prize Amount


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The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and welcomes applications from diverse Aboriginal, cultural and regional communities, and from people with disabilities.

Please refer to the complete Award Guidelines [PDF, 260.5 KB].

Visit the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts website.

Program Description

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.


1 June, 2016: Nomination Deadline

If this date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

Prize Amount

Up to 8 awards of $25,000 given annually.


By nomination only

Nominees (all awards)

Nominees must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They do not need to be living in Canada.

Nominees must be living as of the nomination deadline date.


  • Members of the Board of the Canada Council for the Arts are not eligible to be considered for these awards during their term as members and for six months following the end of their term.
  • Individuals may only be nominated in one of the three categories (Artistic Achievement, Saidye Bronfman Award or Outstanding Contribution).
  • A nominee may only receive one award from each of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts’ categories (Artistic Achievement, Saidye Bronfman Award and Outstanding Contribution) in his or her lifetime.

Nominators (for all categories)

A nominator must be a recognized Canadian specialist in the visual or media arts or fine craft, such as:

  • the director (current or former) or a member of the board of directors of a Canadian museum, public gallery, cinematheque or artist-run centre that has demonstrated a strong commitment to producing, collecting, distributing and/or exhibiting contemporary Canadian art 
  • a professional association of artists or a national service organization in the visual arts, media arts or fine craft
  • the dean or chair responsible for studies in the visual and/or media arts or fine craft at a Canadian university or art college, or a professor at such an institution
  • a Canadian private dealer in visual and/or media arts or fine craft
  • an established visual and/or media arts or fine craft critic or curator
  • a professional visual artist, media artist or fine craft artist.

Further Information

1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, and the extension

Jennifer Cherniack, Visual Arts Program Officer, ext. 5265

José Niaison
, Visual Arts Program Officer (Saidye Bronfman Award), ext. 5269

Ian Reid
, Media Arts Program Officer, ext. 5203

TTY: 1-866-585-5559