Arts Awards

Shirley Elford Emerging Artist Commission Prize

Thank you to all those who responded to this Call for Artists for The Shirley Elford Emerging Artist Commission Prize. This Prize - supported by the Hamilton Community Foundation's Shirley M. Elford Artists’ Fund - recognizes artistic excellence and is intended to help support emerging artists in furthering their work and to provide opportunities for artists to promote and showcase their work.

Call for Artists is now closed

An independent jury comprised of emerging artists and arts professionals representing a variety of disciplines will evaluate the applications. A member of the Arts Advisory Commission or 2021 Arts Awards Final Jury will audit the jury session to ensure a fair and transparent process (non-voting position). Adjudication will take place in Spring 2021 and Prize recipients announced at a public event (or online presentation) in June 2021 as part of Hamilton Arts Week.

The City of Hamilton Arts Awards program is pleased to join with Hamilton Community Foundation's Shirley M. Elford Artists’ Fund to present the Shirley Elford Emerging Artist Commission Prize. As a new Arts Awards program development, in 2021 two emerging artists (practicing in any discipline) will each be given a $2000 commission fee to create an artwork that explores contemporary themes related to Hamilton’s evolving identity. The commissions will be presented at the 2022 City of Hamilton Arts Awards Event. This Prize is awarded in memory of the late Shirley Elford, a Hamilton artist celebrated for her excellence in glass work and her work giving back to the local arts community and community at large.

  • The artwork must be presented at the 2022 City of Hamilton Arts Awards, which will take place in early June (exact date TBD). It is anticipated that this will be an in-person event however artwork that could be presented in either an in-person or online format is encouraged due to uncertainty regarding the pandemic.
  • Due to time limitations at the event, if the artwork is a full-length play, album, film or other longer work, the commissioned artist will be asked to select an excerpt for presentation.
  • The commission fee is $2000. This fee includes the recipient’s artist fee and all costs related to the creation / production of the artwork.
  • The Arts Awards program will provide support and resources to assist with the public presentation of the work (e.g. equipment rental, audio / visual equipment, artist fees for performers other than the commission recipient, staffing to assist with installation, etc.).  A budget of approximately $500 per commission has been allocated for costs related to the presentation of the artwork.
  • The commissioned artists will retain all moral rights and copyright to the artwork.  As part of the terms of the commission, the City will license the artworks for the promotion of and display at the Arts Awards event; the artist will take possession of the work following the event.
  • The commissioned artists will be expected to prepare a detailed project proposal in early 2022, once additional event details and location are confirmed.  The commission fee will be paid subject to the approval of the project proposal by the Director of Tourism and Culture or their designate.

Please read the following guidelines to ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements.

  • Artist or majority of collective members (minimum 75%) have been practicing professionally for less than five years (full-time students are not eligible).
  • Individual artist who is 18 years of age or older or an artistic collective (e.g. band, duo, troupe, collaborative, etc.) whose members are 18 years of age or older.  Note, performers under the age of 18 years are permitted provided the project leaders / lead applicants are 18 years or older.
  • Current resident of Hamilton (including Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek, Waterdown) who has lived in Hamilton consecutively for the past two years or longer at the time of submission.
  • Artistic collectives are eligible for nomination provided that a minimum of 75% of the collective has lived in Hamilton consecutively for the past two years or longer.
  • Must be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident (Landed Immigrant) or have an application pending for Permanent Residency.
  • May be self-taught or have art training through formal education, apprenticeship, or with a mentor or elder.
  • Previous Shirley Elford Emerging Artist Prize winners are not eligible to apply.
  • Previous City of Hamilton Emerging Artist Award recipients may apply.

An independent jury comprised of emerging artists and arts professionals representing a variety of disciplines will evaluate the applications. A member of the Arts Advisory Commission or 2021 Arts Awards Final Jury will audit the jury session to ensure a fair and transparent process (non-voting position).

The jurors will select the strongest application based on scoring criteria shared in the application form and subsequent jury deliberation. Nominations must achieve a minimum benchmark score to be eligible for the award.  If the benchmark is not met, the jury reserves the right to not select a winner.

Adjudication will take place in Spring 2021 and Prize recipients announced at a public event (or online presentation) in June 2021 as part of Hamilton Arts Week.

Contact us

If you have questions contact:
Phone 905-546-2424 ext. 7612
Email [email protected]