They were fêted and they were honoured. It was a night of accolades and celebration.
The Manitoba Arts Council presented the Award of Distinction on May 16 at the airy and light-filled Qualico Family Centre at Assiniboine Park.
Writer Roger Léveillé was honoured with the award, worth $30,000. It is a lifetime career award that is given to an artist who has contributed significantly to the arts community.
Léveillé is the first Franco-Manitoban writer to receive this award. Two years ago, another Francophone, Roland Mahé, then artistic director of Cercle Molière, received the award.
Léveillé accepted the award, saying "Through me, Francophone literature takes its rightful place in the major art discipline."
He was also pleased and surprised when Bertrand Nayet and Marie-Eve Fontaine performed an excerpt from his award-winning book Le soleil du lac qui se couche/The Setting Lake Sun.
"I think there's a real awareness now that's been building around the Francophone literary community," said Douglas Riske, executive director of the Manitoba Arts Council, adding "The contribution is quite extraordinary -- of Roger's and other writers in the community. It's growing and changing and being recognized nationally and internationally."
As well, Art City was honoured with the Manitoba Foundation Above and Beyond Award for the Arts - Urban Community. Wanda Koop, founder of Art City, and Eddie Ayoub, current artistic director, accepted the award.
MAC communications manager Leanne Foley commented on the pleasure of seeing two distinct arts groups coming together and to see young artists mingling with some of Manitoba's most senior artists.
The MAC Awards of Distinction are given out every two years.
Listen to Roger Léveillé in conversation with Larry Updike on Up to Speed.