Calgary's Untitled Art Society wins $20K runner-up prize for inaugural national award

A Calgary artist-run centre has won $20,000 as the runner-up for an inaugural national arts award.

Untitled Art Society came in second for the 2019 Lacey Prize, tied with Vancouver's Gallery Gachet. Hamilton Artists Inc. took first place, winning $50,000.

The biennial prize, which was established this year by philanthropist Dr. John Lacey — a longtime supporter of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra — and the National Gallery of Canada, is meant to support the work of small arts organizations and artist-run centres. 

The prize is the only one of its kind in Canada. 

"We are so incredibly grateful, humbled, moved to be a recipient of one of the inaugural Lacey Prizes," UAS director Natasha Chaykowski said in a release.

"Ineffable gratitude to our community … and to the artists we've been so fortunate to work with, artists who ceaselessly map new ways of being in relation to our incomprehensibly complex and beautiful world."

UAS was founded in 1994 as a studio collective by graduates from the Alberta College of Art (now Alberta University of the Arts).

The winners were selected by three jurors.

"Jury members stressed the relevance of the new prize, observing that nominators repeatedly emphasized the often large or isolated areas serviced by organizations working tirelessly and inventively, typically with limited resources, to meet the diverse needs of their artistic communities," a release read.