OAF NEWS

First Recipient Of The Virginia And Myrtle Cooper Award In Costume Design Announced

Toronto – June 28, 2007 – The first recipient of the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design was announced at a reception held at the Arts and Letters Club on Wednesday, June 27th. The award will be given annually to professional Canadian costume designers in Ontario in mid-career to further enrich their careers through research and travel. 

Costume designer, Judith Bowden was awarded the $15,000 prize.  Ms Bowden has extensive experience designing for both set and costume in theatres across the country, including Shaw Festival, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Manitoba Theatre Centre, National Arts Centre, Citadel Theatre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, the Grand Theatre and Canadian Stage Company.  A finalist for the Siminovitch Prize, Ms Bowden's designs can currently be seen in ìTop Girlsî at Soulpepper Theatre Company and ìThe Philandererî at Shaw Festival.

Judith Bowden stated, ìIt is a great honour to be the first recipient of the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award.  Virginia Cooper's generosity will benefit the career development of costume designers in Ontario and in turn the theatre arts as a whole.î

The Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design was established through a generous gift under the will of the late Dr. Virginia S. Cooper of Toronto who died on August 27, 2006. The award is to be given "For the Love of Creation".

Dr. Cooper served as a director of the Tarragon Theatre, and was a charter woman member of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and active in its activities.  She had a keen interest in the performing arts, particularly in costume design, and was working on a book titled "Pins and Needles", which featured some of the dresses that her mother, Myrtle Cooper, designed and made for her. 

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award.  The Ontario Arts Council administered the selection process for the first award.  A jury consisting of Astrid Janson, designer, Diana LeBlanc, theatre director, and William Schmuck, designer, selected Ms Bowden as the winner from a field of nominated costume designers from across Ontario.

The Ontario Arts Foundation holds over 270 endowments established by individuals, private foundations, corporations and arts organizations.  With over $47 million in assets, the Foundation disburses over $2.5 million annually in support of the arts. 

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For information, please contact:
Janet Stubbs, Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413    jstubbs@arts.on.ca

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