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Meet the winners of the 2021 Richmond Art Awards

The Richmond Arts Awards honours the exceptional community members who made Richmond a great place to live with their artistic contributions during the pandemic

During challenging times, the arts can uplift us.

This year’s Richmond Arts Awards salute the exceptional community members who made Richmond a great place to live through their artistic contributions during the pandemic. 

The Awards recipients, primarily volunteers, are dedicated to the wellbeing of their community and provided education, entertainment and community support with skill and passion. 

For the second year in a row, the awards ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19. However, the City of Richmond, and partner Richmond Arts Coalition, congratulate the winners and thank them for their commitment to spreading joy.

Winner - Artistic Innovation
Artists Rendering Tales Collective Inc.

This collaborative group of professional artists created impactful narratives by integrating personal and historical knowledge with honour and respect using the latest digital media tools. Their stunning story-based workshops, performances, art installations, video productions and literary publications showcased diverse voices and points of view. 

“Arts provides people with the opportunity to lean in, listen deeply and have those brave conversations,” collective member Shelley MacDonald says.

“I’m grateful Richmond goes above and beyond to support art in the community,” member Lori Sherritt says.

Winner - Arts Education
Brigid Coult 

Since 1994, Brigid Coult has been the chorus conductor with Richmond Orchestra and Chorus Association. When many choirs went on hiatus during the pandemic, Coult worked in creative ways to keep her chorus viable and active.

Coult developed a history of music course for her choir. Starting with the 14th century, her choir learned about the great works of music and sang along virtually with legendary choirs.

“It was something we couldn’t have done in an ordinary season and it was wonderful to see them take it on,” Coult says.

Winner - Business and the Arts
Aberdeen Centre

Aberdeen Centre is the city’s only ‘Shoppertainment Destination’ with a distinctive retail concept, integrating shopping, dining and entertainment in combination with weekly arts and cultural performances, seasonal celebrations, themed exhibitions and the only state-of-the-art musical fountain show in town. 

“Our goal is to provide opportunities for performing, visual artists, multicultural groups and community groups to share their arts, culture, and heritage with the general public,” Tiffany Ho, senior vice president of Fairchild Developments Ltd., says.

Winner - Cultural Leadership
Chiyoko ‘Mary’ Hirano

Chiyoko Hirano developed a keen interest in Buyo (traditional Japanese dance) at an early age and has devoted herself to a life-long study providing people of all ages an opportunity to enjoy learning, performing and showcasing Japanese culture. In April 1970, Hirano founded the Tatsumi Kai (Tatsumi-ryu Japanese Dance Society) with students performing at local, national and international events, including the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. 

“The people in the community have always appreciated and supported our performing arts. It is my small way of contributing to our multicultural society,” Hirano says. 

Winner- Volunteerism
Jiliang Yao

Born in Shanghai, China, Jiliang Yao is a well-known Chinese ink painter, calligrapher and avid volunteer in the community. His volunteer activities have included countless hours of providing free calligraphy workshops at the Richmond Public Library. His vision is to promote calligraphy as a bridge to connect people and cultures and bring harmony to the community. He is currently looking for a new space to offer his workshops.

“When I arrived in Canada in 2004, I saw calligraphy as something I could contribute to as a retired Canadian, immigrated artist,” Yao says. 

“I also considered it an opportunity for me to get involved in Canadian societies at a multicultural level.”

Winner - Youth Arts
Jackie Lai

Jackie Lai is a multidisciplinary artist passionate about uplifting the Richmond community through visual art, environmentalism and community-based events. Lai has been involved with City Centre Community Centre’s Youth programs since 2016, contributing over 100 hours in planning and coordinating numerous events such as their annual talent show and youth art exhibition. In 2020, Lai also designed, lead and produced a collaborative community mural at Richmond Secondary School to prompt students to reflect and improve their environmental impact.

“Ultimately, it’s not my mural. It’s for everyone who sees it to take their own meaning from it,” Lai says. 

“I’m not narrating. It’s a story that me and the viewer create together.”

To learn more about the Arts Awards, visit