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Whitehorse couple funding $20K prize for Yukon artist in 2021

A $20,000 prize will be up for grabs next year for one visual artist in Yukon, courtesy of a couple from Whitehorse.

One artist will get the top prize, and five finalists will get $1K each

Julie Jai (left) and David Trick are funding the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts. (Steve Silva/CBC)

A $20,000 prize will be up for grabs next year for one visual artist in Yukon, courtesy of a couple from Whitehorse.

The Yukon Prize for Visual Arts was announced Thursday.

Julie Jai said she and her husband, David Trick, noticed that something holding some artists back from working on their art full time is having to work another job.

So they came up with the idea of the prize, "like one small contribution we could make to this community, which we feel has given us so much," she said.

The competition will be open to Yukon residents who produce works based in drawing, glass, painting, photography, or sculpture, among other types.

Six finalists will be chosen; one will get the top prize, and five will get $1,000 each.

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Jai said the competition is also meant to draw more national attention to Yukon artists.

The jury is made up of a curator of an art gallery in Calgary, an Ottawa-based curator who is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation, and the director of an art gallery in Toronto.

The finalists' works will be displayed at the Yukon Arts Centre 

"This is incredibly unique for a region of our size to have this prize dedicated to art," said Mary Bradshaw, director of visual arts at the centre.

Applications will be accepted starting in January, and the winner will be chosen in September.

Trick said the plan is to run this competition every year or every other year. 

"We need to sustain this, we need to build on it every year. We're hoping that others in the community may find ways to amplify on what we're doing so that Yukon artists can become as well-known as they deserve to be," he said.

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