FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BMO Announces Top Graduating Student Artists in Canada
Distinctive artwork created by thirteen outstanding artists from across the country win top awards at the 7th annual BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition

August 31, 2009

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 and exhibition.

The remarkable works of art produced by the 2009 winners cover a range of themes in a variety of media including:

• A photograph examining feelings of longing and death that is both disturbing and smile-inducing
• A pixilated painting and needlepoint mug shot portrait of Mike Tyson that addresses issues of conflict
• A hand-woven silk and wool structure that pays tribute to Monet
• A print depicting an old Inuit legend about a band of murderous mini humans
• A photograph that represents the desire to acquire material goods in an attempt to achieve power, satisfaction and status

The competition received a record 218 entries from students from all across Canada, a testament to the prestige and esteem of the BMO 1st Art! awards. 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.

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 province and territory.

2009 Winners

BMO 1st Art! 2009 National Winner:
Alex Kisilevich, Ontario College of Art and Design

BMO 1st Art! 2009 Regional Winners:

2009 Winners

BMO 1st Art! 2009 National Winner:
Alex Kisilevich, Ontario College of Art and Design
BMO 1st Art! 2009 Regional Winners:

Alberta – Andy Yang, Alberta College of Art & Design

British Columbia – Michael Macri, University of British Columbia

Manitoba – Betino Assa, University of Manitoba

New Brunswick – Bronwyn Gallagher, New Brunswick College of
Craft & Design

Newfoundland – Hope Clarke, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College,
Memorial University

Nova Scotia – Jody Zinner, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

Nunavut – Quppa Jaw, Nunavut Arctic College

Ontario – Mark Kasumovic, Ryerson University

Prince Edward Island – Natasha Kudashkina, Holland College

Quebec – Véronique Côté, Université du Québec à Montréal

Saskatchewan – Rachel Ludlow, University of Saskatchewan

Yukon Territory – Suzanne Hale, Klondike Institute of Arts & Culture   – Andy Yang, Alberta College of Art & Design

British Columbia – Michael Macri, University of British Columbia

Manitoba – Betino Assa, University of Manitoba

New Brunswick – Bronwyn Gallagher, New Brunswick College of
Craft & Design

Newfoundland – Hope Clarke, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College,
Memorial University

Nova Scotia – Jody Zinner, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

Nunavut – Quppa Jaw, Nunavut Arctic College

Ontario – Mark Kasumovic, Ryerson University

Prince Edward Island – Natasha Kudashkina, Holland College

Quebec – Véronique Côté, Université du Québec à Montréal

Saskatchewan – Rachel Ludlow, University of Saskatchewan

Yukon Territory – Suzanne Hale, 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.

“The immense talent and creativity of Canada’s new artists is truly something worth celebrating,” said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO, Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group, and Deputy Chair, BMO Nesbitt Burns.  “By recognizing these graduating students, it is our hope that BMO 1st Art! will  help foster young and emerging artists and help them become a strong and vital part of our country’s cultural landscape.”

“The winning 1st Art! submissions provide us with a unique sneak peak at some of this country’s most exciting rising visual art stars,” said Dawn Cain, Curator, BMO Financial Group, Corporate Art Collection. “We are delighted to celebrate the accomplishments of these exceptional artists as we shine a spotlight on the creativity, ability, and accomplishments of this country’s visual arts graduates.”

Mr. Ouellette and Ms. Cain served as selection committee members for the 7th annual BMO 1st Art! Competition, along with art luminaries Camilla Singh, Curator and Artist; Paul Butler, Artist, Curator and Director of The Other Gallery; Marnie Fleming, Curator of Contemporary Art, Oakville Galleries and Steven Loft, Curator in Residence, Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada.

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 7 to November 1, 2009. 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

Since 1817, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility to the communities it serves. BMO contributes millions of dollars each year in corporate donations, sponsorships and events, supporting thousands of communities, charities and not-for-profit organizations in Canada. In 2006, BMO was the recipient of a Globe and Mail Business for the Arts Award, which recognizes “outstanding partnerships between business and the arts” and in 2005, BMO was named Best Corporate Citizen of the Year in Canada by Corporate Knights magazine.

- 30 -
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

Applause Communications
Holly Beetham, Toronto, holly@applausecommunications.com, (416) 217-0700 ext. 301