Islanders make 2019 SSNAP finalists list

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The finalists for the 2019 Salt Spring National Art Prize have been announced, and islanders continue to hold a strong place among their Canadian peers with five of the 50 finalists hailing from the local community.

A press release issued by the Salt Spring Arts Council Tuesday morning names Bronwyn Austin, Josephine Fletcher, Krysta Furioso, John David James and Carol Narod as the Salt Spring-based finalists. Their works were selected “blind” by an independent jury from among 1,200 submissions.

SSNAP spokesperson and founding director Ronald T. Crawford observed Salt Spring artists continue to measure up against the best in the country.

“The third biennial SSNAP exhibition exemplifies the best in Canadian art and it’s exciting to see a pattern of local artists being among Canada’s best,” Crawford said. “We’re delighted that a diverse and inclusive selection of artists, representing every region of the country, will participate in an exhibition that promises to be as inclusive, diverse and culturally rich as Canada itself.”

In an exciting development, James not only represents Salt Spring but is the only Canadian artist to be a finalist in all three SSNAP exhibitions to date. He reported he is thrilled to be able to push the boundaries of his work and continue to create art that is relevant today.

“I always try to make something that is new that I have never created before. To me I never want to repeat myself, I’m always observing, expanding my skill, and in some ways looking at the history of art and trying to push it forward,” James said.

“The calibre of work in the SSNAP exhibition is outstanding,” he added. “It’s a point of pride to me to be included in new works that are contemporary, fresh and topical; it’s our supportive Salt Spring community that makes it possible.”

Finalists are eligible to win one of nine awards, six selected by jurors and three selected by public vote. The event’s grand prize, the Joan McConnell Award, is worth $20,000.

The SSNAP finalists exhibition opens Sept. 21, with the award winners announced on Oct. 21.

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