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For Immediate Release: May 18, 2005, Calgary, Alberta
Topic: Canadian Down Syndrome
Jessie Huggett, of Ottawa, ON, is a 14 year old who uses dance to tell her stories. The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) announced that Ms Huggett was the recipient of this year's Jane Cameron Award at the recent 17th Annual CDSS National Conference. This award, given in memory of Jane Cameron, an artist and an individual with Down syndrome , who was born in 1949 in Alberta. In her lifetime Jane's colorful tapestries, brilliant paintings and poetry were commissioned by Prime Ministers and national magazines. The annual competition is jointly administered by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society and the Jane Cameron Archives Committee to increase the awareness of the artistic accomplishments of individuals with Down syndrome. The award recognizes expertise in an area of the arts, whether that is visual, written, or performing art. Submissions are evaluated on their creativity, imagination, quality and effort. Jessie was presented with a cash prize and a bronze medallion based on a tapestry by the world-renowned artist, Jane Cameron, and produced by another celebrated Canadian artist, Jeff de Boer.
The 2005 winner, Jessie states that, "I really love dance, I think it is a really great way to express deeper thoughts and feelings to the world. Sometimes people don't listen very well to me because I might take a while to get my thoughts together and get them out. Dancing makes them see that even if you have a disability, you have lots of thoughts and lots of things to say, even if you don't have the words". Jessie wrote a poem and choreographed an accompanying dance entitled "I Am" to win the award. These were introduced to a capacity audience and performed at the CDSS annual conference held in Waterloo, ON, last week.
The quality of the 2005 submissions led the selection committee to denote two honorable mentions. These additional awards, cash prizes for their artwork, were funded by the Keyes family of NB who has an on-going commitment to recognizing artists with Down syndrome. The first Honorable mention was made to Phillip Davis, a recognized painter from Victoria BC. His paintings have been shown in international exhibitions. The second honourable mention was awarded to Benjamin Chain from North Bay, ON. Benjamin is also a painter who focuses on pastels, pencil drawings and collage.
The CDSS emphasizes that the Jane Cameron award winners are an example of the potential that may exist within everyone - a talent that is all too often left hidden and undeveloped in individuals who have Down syndrome.
Canadian Down Syndrome Society