About the Distinguished Artist Award

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award is Alberta’s most prestigious recognition of outstanding achievement in the arts.

The awards are presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta at a celebration hosted by a different Alberta community each year. The 2019 celebration was hosted by The Battle River Group at Maskwacis on Saturday, September 21, 2019.


Katie Ohe, "Sky Block," 1981-82 aluminum, installation view in motion at Esker Foundation, 2020 (photo by Elyse Bouvier)


Up to three awards of $30,000 each are awarded every other year (odd years). Recipients also receive a hand-cast medal, a pin, a framed citation, and, where appropriate, a two-week residency at The Banff Centre Leighton Artists Colony.

Who is a Distinguished Artist?

Individuals or organizations may nominate an artist, artist collective, or arts builder and supporter for a Distinguished Artist Award. (Self-nominations, posthumous nominations, and nominations from family members, however, will not be considered.)

Eligible nominees must be:

  • Canadian citizens
  • Current Alberta residents, or those who have had a significant connection to the province over time
  • Artists who have achieved excellence in their discipline
  • Arts supporters and builders who have contributed in a major way to the arts in Alberta.

The Award Medals

Medals, which feature a sculpted outline of the Alberta wild rose surrounding a cut out star, were designed by Wei Yew. They are hand-cast in sterling silver and plated in 18 karat gold by Wayne Mackenzie. Miniatures of the medals are cast in 18 karat gold as lapel pins for Award recipients.