One of the foremost awards honoring extraordinary women leaders is recognizing one of our own: Artemis Gordon. The Arts Umbrella Artistic Director Dance is among the 2016 Arts, Culture & Design nominees for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.

“This nomination represents the work of many people,” says Arty. “The monumental effort in redefining and reshaping the traditions of dance training required the commitment, vision, and passion of many artists. I have been in the presence of so many wonderful colleagues, and the Arts Umbrella Dance Program is a reflection of all of our hopes for education and dance.”

The Arts, Culture & Design award recognizes women leaders who enrich Vancouver through a commitment to the arts, who promote the artistry of others, and who build community.

And what an inspiring community Arty has built around the Arts Umbrella Dance Program – a community that positively impacts the lives of thousands of young people.

“She cares so deeply about every one of us,” says Dance post-secondary student Sabine Raskin. “She cares about providing her students with the best possible opportunities to succeed and realize our dreams.”

For more than 20 years, Arty has developed the Arts Umbrella Dance Program’s unique, well-balanced curriculum. Various exchanges, tours, and collaborations have spanned Europe, New York, Montreal, and Japan, and Arts Umbrella students have grown artistic confidence under mentorship of a highly respected faculty and through collaborations with international heavy-weights such as Ballet BC and Nederlands Dans Theatre. All told, the program provides outstanding access to dance education for students of all socio-economic backgrounds.

“The nomination speaks to Arty’s level of professionalism and to her contributions to the dance profession and community overall,” says Paul Larocque, Arts Umbrella President & CEO. “We are so proud of Arty, the Dance Program, and our students.”

Without the Arts Umbrella Dance Program and Arty’s driving force, many students might not be able to afford such a high level of training, which includes regular opportunities to perform world-class choreography and work with international artists. This access is rare, even for professional companies, and at Arts Umbrella it is available to young artists. The result is a high-calibre program that is increasingly applauded around the world.

Arts Umbrella congratulates Arty on the award nomination, and even more so for developing the Arts Umbrella Dance Program into a life-altering experience for young dancers. Our shared vision at Arts Umbrella is a world where young people express themselves creatively for all of their lives – and Arty contributes to that is such a beautiful way.