Expanded on February 14, 2013

Ottawa jazz vocalist Renée Yoxon is one of three finalists for the Council for the Arts in Ottawa's (CAO) RBC Emerging Artist award. The finalists (chosen by a selection panel from a pool of nominations) were announced February 12 at the council's Sweetheart Cocktail for the Arts.

An expanded selection panel will select the winner in late March/early April, and the name will be announced in mid-April at the CAO's annual awards luncheon.

The previous three winners of the award have been a theatre director and two visual artists. Yoxon is the first jazz musician to be a finalist.

CAO Executive Director Peter Honeywell said that, while the council would not reveal the number of nominations for 2013, there was a "good representation" from artists from music, theatre, writing, visual artists, and film.

Yoxon was nominated by local jazz musician Mark Ferguson. She said she was honoured to be a finalist: "I know a lot of extremely talented artists applied. It was truly a wonderful shock." 

The award recognizes and encourages "the achievements of Ottawa artists who are founding careers in the arts and are working towards becoming recognized professional artists while engaging with the community". The winner is awarded $5000, and the other finalists $1000.

Honeywell said previous finalists and winners have put the awards money back into their careers, for expenses like mentoring, lessons, or studio expansions. He said they have also told him that the recognition was very important to them: the "extraordinary honour" of having a jury of their peers recognizing the value of their work.

The award is funded by the Royal Bank of Canada, who approached the CAO to start an Ottawa program based on the success of a similar program in Toronto.

    – Alayne McGregor

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