In the words of Lolly Bennett, 2017 Community Award recipient

Ellen Woodsworth (left), 2019 Mitchell Awardee & Lolly Bennett (right), 2017 Community Awardee and 2019-2020 Jury Member

I have volunteered in my community for approximately 25 years. I didn’t feel compelled to, nor self-pressured to, nor was it a conscious duty, I met a group of energetic and passionate women who promoted education for women and girls. A Foundation recognized women helping women, the fundamental rights of all women. And so my journey began. 

Over the years, I have witnessed, many times, the immediate result of acknowledgement, a type of joy from being recognized, a pleasure so powerful, it lights up a room. Certificates, scrolls, trophies, given to the prominent business person or the eight-year-old in the bowling alley, same joy, same powerful reaction: ‘home town proud’. 

When I received “the” call from BC Achievement Executive Director, Cathryn Wilson, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing. What I am not able to articulate is the range of emotions simultaneously flooding my mind. I was overwhelmed, elated for sure, but overwhelmed and not quite sure where to go with it all. I finally settled down and came to grips, what an honour for me, I felt so proud of myself, but not quite sure what I did to deserve such recognition. 

The award presentation was grand – a pivotal moment. Listening to the accolades describing my fellow recipients, I was astounded at what I didn’t know! The many awardees, past recipients, outstanding accomplishments that profile an unwavering dedication to the improvement and betterment of their communities.  In each case that someone took the time to nominate, they recognized an exceptional effort and lifted them up as examples to others. 

I am now an ambassador, and wholeheartedly believe that my award is a gift that keeps on giving. The BC Achievement Community Award program is open to everyone! Look around you, our communities are abundant with individuals worthy of this prestigious award. Get involved and nominate, I assure you, the resulting joy will be palpable. 

The 2021 Community Award is open for nominations at  #nominatenowbc 

Lolly Bennett, 2017 Recipient Current Chair: National Congress of Black Women Foundation 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Crafted Vancouver

BC Achievement is a proud event partner of Crafted Vancouver, an annual celebration of craft artists and curated events taking place throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. What makes this partnership exciting is the opportunity to share the works of BC Achievement art awardees with a new audience while collectively elevating the province as a hub for craft and those who practice it.  

Last year, alumni from the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design and the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art, participated in several unique events. Crafted Vancouver is an opportunity to meet like-minded artists, designers, collectors and crafters and share knowledge and provide inspiration. For some of BC Achievement’s alumni, it’s a chance to speak about their craft, or demonstrate their well-honed skill. 

With the hands-on series of Crafted Vancouver engaging events cancelled this past year, it is encouraging to see their programs are gearing up for a more promising 2021. 

Crafted Vancouver is calling on Event Partners to join them in welcoming craft appreciators and collectors to immerse themselves in exclusive events including:  

Gallery Exhibitions 
Artist Talks & Presentations 
Crafted in the City – Retail Shop & Showroom Events  
Craft Is Everywhere – Window Installations 
Food & Drinks Events 
Hands-On Workshops 
Fashion Runway & Retail Events 
Guided Studio Tours 
Opening Receptions 
Reading Salon  
REEL Crafted Film Festival 
Live Podcast 
Product Launches 
Walking Tours & Performances 

If you are interested in taking part in Crafted Vancouver in 2021, you can apply to become an event partner until Jan 3rd. Check out for details. See you there! 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Guest blogger: Phil Gray, Fulmer Award in First Nations Art
2014 Awardee and Jury Member

In my early days as an aspiring artist and carver I would look in awe at pictures of the modern-day masters in catalogues and books, dreaming of one day reaching the level of excellence that they made look so effortless. I never really thought that I could achieve that level of artistry, it always seemed so out of reach to me because I had such an unrealistic view of what made them so exceptional.  

A few years into my journey I actually accepted the idea that there was a ceiling to my development as an artist. I even had a part-time job in mind that was suitable for my level of education, working at a gas station. I never intended on giving up carving, I loved it too much, I just wanted to supplement my income so I could continue with my albeit “limited” artistic career.  

Luckily this mentality didn’t last long, and I continued to work hard towards achieving my dream of having my name mentioned alongside those modern-day masters. This is why receiving the BC Achievement First Nations Art Award was such an honour for me. It felt like a nod of appreciation to the years of sacrifice and hard work that brought me here, and it felt great to be validated by the belief my nominators have in me.   

Of course, this does not mean I am anywhere near complete, my self-critical nature won’t allow me to dwell on this accolade for too long. It was however a welcome reassurance and a chance for me to step back and positively reflect on my artistic career so far. I know that I am on the right path and I will continue my lifelong mission of proving my unknowing eighteen-year-old self wrong.  

Phil Gray, is a Tsimshian artist based in Vancouver BC who works in cedar, alder and boxwood creating masks, sculptures, panels, poles and drums. His work can be found at major galleries in the Pacific Northwest. Watch Phil Gray’s film at 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

Introducing the British Columbia Reconciliation Award

With great excitement, BC Achievement is honoured to embark on a journey to recognize those who further reconciliation efforts and support endeavours that promote truth and understanding with Indigenous Peoples. 

This new award is launched in partnership with The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, under the leadership of The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.  The concept draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point, 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, who is a founder of the Award Program. His Honour’s hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of Reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward. 

Her Honour shared her vision and commitment to reconciliation in her blog post found here

The online nomination form for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award can be found at

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the BC Achievement Foundation Announce Launch of Reconciliation Award

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, in partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation, is pleased to announce the launch of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award. This award recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect and commitment to furthering reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province of British Columbia, or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts.

The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, has made Reconciliation one of the key themes of her mandate. This includes participation in promotion of public awareness of the ongoing journey of reconciliation.

“As the Crown’s representative in British Columbia, I have a responsibility to show leadership in furthering the cause of reconciliation. I am deeply honoured for this opportunity to recognize the exemplary individuals and organizations who advance reconciliation in our province,” said Austin. “Reconciliation must take root in our hearts, within families, between generations, and throughout our communities. I look forward to supporting this award and its deeply meaningful goal of building our relationships with each other across cultures and social barriers.”

The BC Achievement Foundation has several established programs honouring excellence and inspiring achievement throughout British Columbia, including the Indigenous Business Award and the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art.

“Reconciliation builds relationships and bridges the gap between two worlds through the efforts of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. By recognizing the truths of past wrongs and showcasing examples of how to make things right, others will be inspired to follow,” said BC Achievement Foundation board member Judith Sayers. “The British Columbia Reconciliation Award will celebrate innovative and empowering ways to embark on this journey, designed and decided by Indigenous peoples, allowing them to thrive while making the world a better place.”

The British Columbia Reconciliation Award draws inspiration from the work of the Honourable Steven Point, 28th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and a founder of the Award. His hand-carved red cedar canoe, Shxwtitostel, currently on display at the BC Legislature buildings, was created as a symbol of reconciliation, with the understanding that “we are all in the same canoe” and must “paddle together” to move forward.

“It is a very proud moment for me to witness the launch of the British Columbia Reconciliation Award,” said Point. “Our world and its issues are not apart from us but rather are a part of who we are. We must not stand by and observe the world but rather take steps to bring positive change.”

A selection committee for the British Columbia Reconciliation Award will include representation by Indigenous Elders, BC First Nations leadership and government partners.

Nomination forms are now available on the BC Achievement Foundation website, The nomination period will be open until January 15, 2021.

Rachel Rilkoff
A/Director, Communications, Programs and Outreach
Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
778.974.5534 |

Cathryn Wilson
Executive Director
BC Achievement Foundation
604.261.9777 |

“Serving future generations” First Nations Artist and Award of Distinction Laureate, Marianne Nicolson

Marianne Nicolson, ‘Tayagila’ogwa, the 2019 Award of Distinction Laureate is celebrated for her extraordinary and sustained accomplishment in First Nations Art. Thirteen years ago, Marianne received recognition from BC Achievement with the Award in First Nations Art. Her practice is well-known for utilizing painting, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, and installation to create modern depictions of traditional  Kwakwaka’wakw concepts. 

As an artist of Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations descent from Kingcome Inlet, Marianne has exhibited widely in Canada and throughout the world since 1992 and has been vocal on issues of Indigenous histories and politics arising from a passionate involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability. 

Marianne’s training encompassed both traditional Kwakwaka’wakw forms and culture and Western European based art practice. She was trained by a master carver in traditional Kwakwaka’wakw design and followed this with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, along with a Masters in Linguistics and Anthropology, and a PhD in Linguistics, Anthropology and Art History. 

Marianne credits her success to the richness of her community’s history. At the presentation ceremony of the 2019 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art, she spoke of her gratitude. “I’m really grateful to be honoured as an individual, but I feel really that any kind of accolades that come my way really belong to my community, and the ideas and the history that they’ve brought forward, because it was such a rich place to come from and many spectacular people have come from Kingcome Inlet. I feel really honoured that I’ve been able to walk the path that they laid out before me.” 

Marianne also recognized that her contributions would serve future generations “I’m hopeful that myself, in turn, am helping to create a path that others can then also follow behind me.” 

The BC Achievement First Nations Art program was launched in 2007 to honour excellence in First Nations Art and has recognized over 85 talented artists within its alumni. BC Achievement is grateful to The Fulmer Foundation for its generous support of the program.