UPDATE:Snuneymuxw artist and performing arts community champion receiving awards

The 2023 Culture and Heritage Recipients are announced


The City of Nanaimo has celebrated local excellence in arts and culture through its annual Culture Awards event since 1998. The awards honour extraordinary achievement and raise awareness and pride for the calibre of arts and culture activity in Nanaimo, as well as the dynamic impact of the sector on our community’s economic, social and cultural well-being. This year, the public is invited to an in-person celebration of award recipients at a free community event at the Port Theatre on April 25 at 7 pm.

The two 2023 Culture Heritage Award recipients are:

Excellence in Culture, Joel Good

Joel Good won the Excellence in Culture Award for his achievements in visual art. He is a traditional Coast Salish artist from Snuneymuxw First Nation, well-known for several inspiring local public art installations. Good's designs are informed by Snuneymuxw oral history, taught to him by his father, as well as research into traditional Coast Salish art forms. He adeptly fuses Snuneymuxw teachings and classical painting inspired by the work of his mother, artist and painter Sandra Moorhouse-Good, to form his own traditional style.

Good and his father, master carver and historian Dr. William Good collaborated on two Coast Salish house post totem poles in st’lilup (Departure Bay). Together, they also created a pole in honour of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, for Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Nanaimo.

Using Snuneymuxw techniques, Good also creates steam-bent boxes. A video showing this process is available on the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools YouTube channel.

A selection of Good’s other prominent commissions include the Spindle Whorl and Dancing Eagle panel for the City of Nanaimo, along with art for the Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, Snuneymuxw First Nation, Leadership Vancouver Island, BC Hydro and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Good’s art has received both national and international attention featured on garments created by Ay Lelum - The Good House of Design, run by his sisters Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward Good. Joel’s designs on Ay Lelum couture and ready-to-wear garments have been on the runways of Vancouver Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, and have graced the pages of numerous publications like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Honour in Culture, Margot Holmes

Margot Holmes won an Honour in Culture Award for her long-time career as the Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Island Symphony, promoting Canadian culture and championing the performing arts community for over three decades. Holmes continues to develop community partnerships and find new ways of connecting the arts to audiences and sponsors.

Caline Artists International, owned by Holmes for the past 32 years, has played an integral role in developing the careers of hundreds of Canadian musicians. As an agent and manager for professional musicians, she’s toured artists, including the British Columbia Boys Choir, around the globe as cultural ambassadors for Nanaimo and Canada while assisting them to build successful long-term careers.

She has worked with a variety of non-profit arts organizations presenting hundreds of arts events both large and small. In 2015, she spearheaded the creation of Festival Nanaimo, coordinating an annual month-long festival each March. During the pandemic she kept Nanaimo culture alive by instigating Vancouver Island Symphony summer pop-up concerts, the Nanaimo Big Band Festival, the Chapters series of four multi-genre events at the Port Theatre and the Music from Edges of Canada series - 11 double bill concerts live streamed from theatres coast to coast.

Holmes is a dynamic supporter of veteran and emerging artists in our city and constantly creates opportunities for them to connect, grow and thrive. She has a long list of awards including the 2007 Arts and Culture Advocate of the year, the 2008 Agent of the Year, the 2014 Cultural Champion Award for Arts Leadership awarded by Business for Arts Canada, the 2014 City of Nanaimo Award of Distinction for her contribution to the Arts, and the 2015 Agent of the Year awarded by Canadian Arts Presenters.

Award recipients are named by Council. The City accepts nominations from the community each fall, which are reviewed by a panel before recommendations go to Council.

Link to Strategic Plan: Creating a vibrant culture of innovation, stewardship and partnership to encourage a diverse and healthy economy now and into the future; supporting arts and culture as an integral part of everyday life; and strengthening the creative sector by investing in organizations and people who animate our cultural spaces.

Key Points

  • The annual Culture and Heritage Awards program celebrates and honours local excellence and achievement.
  • The 2023 Excellence in Culture Award recipient is Joel Good.
  • The 2023 Honour in Culture Award recipient is Margot Holmes.
  • The 2023 awards will be granted at an in-person celebration at the Port Theatre on April 25 at 7 pm. Tickets are free and everyone is welcome.


"On behalf of City Council, I heartily congratulate Joel Good and Margot Holmes, our 2023 Culture Award recipients. Their talent, imagination, long hours of dedicated effort and leadership contribute to the beauty and richness of our arts and culture community and benefit all of us."

Mayor of Nanaimo
City of Nanaimo


For media enquiries, please contact
City of Nanaimo

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