FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BMO Announces 8th Annual 1st Art! Award Recipients
Dynamic artwork created by thirteen graduating student artists from across the country win top awards at the 8th annual BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition

TORONTO, September 2, 2010 – BMO Financial Group today announced one national and 12 regional winners of the BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition –Canada’s only national graduating artist competition.

BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition is a celebration of the creative excellence of art students from post-secondary institutions across Canada. Deans and instructors of undergraduate certificate, diploma, and degree programs in visual art are invited to select three students from their graduating classes whose ability and imagination place them top among their peers. A distinguished panel of judges chooses an overall national winner and one winner from each eligible province and territory.

The remarkable works of art produced by the 2010 winners cover a range of themes in a variety of media including:

• An autobiographical sculpture of a decaying loaf of bread that symbolizes a difficult childhood
• A digital print that uses whole and fragmented light bulbs to represent success and failure
• An oil painting that features characters and settings to address the themes of irrationality and absurdity
• A prosthetic spine that represents literal and figurative support
• An etching that tells the story of human transformation into animal form

The competition received 221 entries from art schools across Canada. The winning works showcase the diverse influences and artistic visions of this country, with each piece reflecting the unique nature of the artists and the communities in which they live and study.

2010 Winners

BMO 1st Art! 2010 National Winner:
Sherrie Rennie, University of Manitoba

BMO 1st Art! 2010 Regional Winners:

Alberta Chris Mandseth, University of Calgary

British Columbia Liza Eurich, Emily Carr University of Art & Design

Manitoba Laura Magnusson, University of Manitoba

New Brunswick Celine Gorham, New Brunswick College of
Craft & Design

Newfoundland Jillian Murphy, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College,
Memorial University

Nova Scotia Adam Gunn, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

Nunavut Kaajuk Kablalik, Nunavut Arctic College

Ontario Winnie Truong, Ontario College of Art & Design

Prince Edward Island Mitch Smith, Holland College

Quebec Pierre-Luc Verville, Université du Québec à Montréal

Saskatchewan Janice Weber, University of Saskatchewan

Yukon Territory Tess Griebel, Klondike Institute of Arts & Culture

The national winner receives $5,000 and the regional winners each receive $2,500 for his or her artwork. The national winner’s artwork will become part of the BMO Corporate Art Collection, which includes historical and contemporary Canadian masters such as Kenojuak Ashevak, Emily Carr, Paterson Ewen, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Lawren Harris, Ian Wallace and many others.

“Each year the submissions we receive highlight the enormous talent and creativity of Canada’s new artists,” said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO, Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group.  “In recognizing these recent graduates, it is our hope that BMO 1st Art! will help foster young and emerging artists and aid them in becoming a vital part of our nation’s cultural landscape.”

“1st Art! is a unique opportunity for graduating artists to introduce their art practice to the Canadian public and for Canadians to view work by some of our country’s rising art stars as they leave school and embark on their careers,” said Dawn Cain, Curator, BMO Financial Group, Corporate Art Collection. “We are thrilled to celebrate the imagination and ingenuity of these exceptional artists and shine a spotlight on the accomplishments of Canada’s visual arts graduates.”

Representing the best of Canada’s newest generation of artists, all of the BMO 1st Art! winners’ works will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) 952 Queen Street West in Toronto from October 6 – 31, 2010. The winning pieces can also be viewed on BMO Financial Group’s website at:
http://www2.bmo.com/bmo/files/images/7/1/BMOfirstArt.html

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Media Inquiries
BMO Financial Group
Martha McInnis, Toronto, Martha.mcinnis@bmo.com, (416) 867-3915
Ronald Monet, Montreal, ronald.monet@bmo.com, (514) 877-1101
Laurie Grant, Vancouver, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596

To arrange to speak with any of the winners, please contact:
Holly Beetham, Toronto, hollybeetham@yahoo.ca, 416.777.0368