BMO Announces Top Graduating Student Artists in Canada

    Distinctive artwork created by thirteen outstanding artists from across
    the country win top awards at the 7th annual BMO 1st Art! Invitational
    Student Art Competition

    TORONTO, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group today announced one national
and 12 regional winners of the BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art
Competition, Canada's only national graduating artist competition and
    The remarkable works of art produced by the 2009 winners cover a range of
themes in a variety of media including:

    -   A photograph examining feelings of longing and death that is both
        disturbing and smile-inducing
    -   A pixilated painting and needlepoint mug shot portrait of Mike Tyson
        that addresses issues of conflict
    -   A hand-woven silk and wool structure that pays tribute to Monet
    -   A print depicting an old Inuit legend about a band of murderous mini
    -   A photograph that represents the desire to acquire material goods in
        an attempt to achieve power, satisfaction and status

    The competition received a record 218 entries from students from all
across Canada, a testament to the prestige and esteem of the BMO 1st Art!
awards. The winning works showcase the diverse influences and artistic visions
of this country, with each piece reflecting the unique nature of the artists
and the communities in which they live and study.
    BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition is a celebration of the
creative excellence of art students from post-secondary institutions across
Canada. Deans and instructors of undergraduate certificate, diploma, and
degree programs in visual art are invited to select three students from their
graduating classes whose ability and imagination place them top among their
peers. A distinguished panel of judges chooses an overall national winner and
one winner from each province and territory.

    2009 Winners

    BMO 1st Art! 2009 National Winner:
    Alex Kisilevich, Ontario College of Art and Design

    BMO 1st Art! 2009 Regional Winners:

    Alberta -                Andy Yang, Alberta College of Art & Design

    British Columbia -       Michael Macri, University of British Columbia

    Manitoba -               Betino Assa, University of Manitoba

    New Brunswick -          Bronwyn Gallagher, New Brunswick College of
                             Craft & Design

    Newfoundland -           Hope Clarke, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College,
                             Memorial University

    Nova Scotia -            Jody Zinner, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

    Nunavut -                Quppa Jaw, Nunavut Arctic College

    Ontario -                Mark Kasumovic, Ryerson University

    Prince Edward Island -   Natasha Kudashkina, Holland College

    Quebec -                 Véronique Côté, Université du Québec à Montréal

    Saskatchewan -           Rachel Ludlow, University of Regina

    Yukon Territory -        Suzanne Hale, Klondike Institute of Arts &

    The national winner receives $5,000 and the regional winners each receive
$2,500 for his or her artwork. The national winner's artwork will become part
of the BMO Corporate Art Collection, which includes historical and
contemporary Canadian masters such as Kenojuak Ashevak, Emily Carr, Paterson
Ewen, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Lawren Harris, Ian Wallace and many others.
    "The immense talent and creativity of Canada's new artists is truly
something worth celebrating," said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO,
Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group, and Deputy Chair, BMO Nesbitt
Burns. "By recognizing these graduating students, it is our hope that BMO 1st
Art! will help foster young and emerging artists and help them become a strong
and vital part of our country's cultural landscape."
    "The winning 1st Art! submissions provide us with a unique sneak peak at
some of this country's most exciting rising visual art stars," said Dawn Cain,
Curator, BMO Financial Group, Corporate Art Collection. "We are delighted to
celebrate the accomplishments of these exceptional artists as we shine a
spotlight on the creativity, ability, and accomplishments of this country's
visual arts graduates."
    Mr. Ouellette and Ms. Cain served as selection committee members for the
7th annual BMO 1st Art! Competition, along with art luminaries Camilla Singh,
Curator and Artist; Paul Butler, Artist, Curator and Director of The Other
Gallery; Marnie Fleming, Curator of Contemporary Art, Oakville Galleries and
Steven Loft, Curator in Residence, Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada.
    Representing the best of Canada's newest generation of artists, all of
the BMO 1st Art! winners' works will be on display at the Museum of
Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) 952 Queen Street West in Toronto from
October 7 to November 1, 2009. The winning pieces can also be viewed on BMO
Financial Group's website at:

    BMO 1st Art! 2008 Regional Winners:

    Alberta - Penny Chase, Alberta College of Art & Design

    British Columbia - Alistair Rance, University of British Columbia,

    Manitoba - Maria Baker, University of Manitoba

    New Brunswick - Cheryl Ryan, New Brunswick College of Craft & Design

    Newfoundland - Stephanie Power, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial

    Northwest Territories - Ruth Wright, Aurora College

    Nova Scotia - Thomas Chisholm, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

    Nunavut - Jamasee Pitseolak, Nunavut Arctic College

    Ontario - Devin Jeffrey, Ryerson University

    Prince Edward Island - Stephanie Martens, Holland College

    Quebec - Keren Epstein, Concordia University

    Saskatchewan - Rowan Pantel, University of Saskatchewan

    Yukon Territory - Mitch Holder, Klondike Institute of Arts & Culture

    Since 1817, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment
and corporate and social responsibility to the communities it serves. BMO
contributes millions of dollars each year in corporate donations, sponsorships
and events, supporting thousands of communities, charities and not-for-profit
organizations in Canada. In 2006, BMO was the recipient of a Globe and Mail
Business for the Arts Award, which recognizes "outstanding partnerships
between business and the arts" and in 2005, BMO was named Best Corporate
Citizen of the Year in Canada by Corporate Knights magazine.

For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries: BMO Financial Group: Martha
McInnis, Toronto,, (416) 867-3915; Ronald Monet,
Montreal,, (514) 877-1873; Laurie Grant, Vancouver,, (604) 665-7596; Applause Communications: Holly Beetham,
Toronto,, (416) 217-0700 ext. 301

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