History of the award:

The Saidye Bronfman Award is Canada's foremost distinction for excellence in fine craft. The award was created by The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation in1977 to honour Saidye Bronfman's 80th birthday and recognize her strong personal interest in the decorative arts.

The prize, now $25,000.00, is awarded annually to an exceptional Canadian craftsperson. In addition, works by each recipient are acquired by the Canadian Museum of Civilization for its permanent collection. Candidates are nominated by their peers. Nominees are then reviewed by a jury of craftspeople and enthusiasts who consider all aspects of aesthetics including creativity, innovation and technical mastery.

The award was created to demonstrate the wealth of artistic production in craft media, to encourage and celebrate this talent, and to give some of this work a permanent home in the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Craft holds an important position at the crossroads of many different fields including design, architecture, and the decorative arts. The popularity of craft in the late 20th century is in contrast to the century's increasing emphasis on technology.

The current vitality of craft is part of a much larger realignment of our artistic values, one that recognizes the value of functional objects in other societies. The impact of globalization has been that the more globally conscious we become, the more aware and protective we are of our local identities.

In the early decades of the 20th century, craft was often called "applied arts". Fine art and craft were exhibited together, in venues ranging from art galleries to agricultural fairs. As the century progressed, the hierarchy of fine art increasingly made itself felt. Handcrafts were separated from painting and sculpture even though many exhibitors showed both fine art and craft. Fine craft continued to be widely exhibited and to attract large audiences, but no public collections of Canadian craft existed.

In the mid-1960's, craft began finding it's way into museum collections by default rather than intent. It wasn't until the mid-1970's that curators began a conscious effort to collect this work for museum collections.