Billie Bridgman, President and CEO of The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada (CBAC), announced today that Michael M. Koerner is the 2006 winner of the prestigious Edmund C. Bovey Award which will be celebrated at a gala dinner at the Art Gallery of Ontario next October.
This unique national award recognizes an individual from the business community who has contributed leadership, time, money and expertise over many years to benefit the arts. Created as a tribute to the Founding Chairman of CBAC, Edmund Bovey, its winners personify the organization’s mission: to deepen and broaden the relationship between Canada’s private sector and its cultural community.
For more than 40 years, Mr. Koerner, who is President of Canada Overseas Investments Limited, has been a quiet but tireless supporter of the arts. His nomination for the Bovey award, which was prepared and submitted by the Art Gallery of Ontario, contained 30 personal letters of endorsement, many from Canadian cultural icons who received personal support from Mr. Koerner at key times in their careers. Mr. Koerner has been a member of dozens of cultural boards across Canada including more than 25 years on the Board of Trustees of the AGO where he currently chairs the Transformation AGO Campaign. Mr. Koerner has supported individual artists, new organizations, festivals and established companies all with equal loyalty, enthusiasm and a good business sense. He is a member of the Order of Canada and has served or is serving as a Director on numerous corporate Boards including CAE Inc., Co-Steel Inc., Finning International Inc., J.P. Morgan Bank of Canada, Suncor Energy Inc. He is also a life trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of which he is a graduate.
“Michael Koerner’s generosity of spirit and personal contributions have given so much to so many – projects, companies and individual artists. We are delighted to recognize his lifelong commitment to the arts in Canada through the Edmund C. Bovey Award.” said Ms. Bridgman
Matthew Teitelbaum , Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario, emphasized Mr. Koerner’s role as a true philanthropist: “he is an accomplished leader who lives a personal passion for the arts through his active contribution to their strength and presence in the community.”
“To say I owe it all to Michael Koerner is an understatement. He is generous and kind and he supports seemingly outlandish ideas because no one else does. He trusts artists and leaves them to do what they do best. And they honour him by doing it.” Niv Fichman, Rhombus Media
“For us Michael Koerner epitomizes a Bovey Award recipient: he is passionate and knowledgeable about the arts, he cares about excellence and he is generous and supportive.” Colleen Blake, Shaw Festival
“He supports new music and Canadian composers.” Ginny Medland-Green, Toronto Symphony
“There is one project alone for which Michael Koerner should be presented the Edmund C. Bovey Award and that is the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.” Robert Aitken, New Music Concerts
“With Michael’s support we were able to launch a program specifically for boys… today we have 47 young boys in our program.” Lucille Pacey, Arts Umbrella (Vancouver)
“His investment in our nation’s growth and development as an entrepreneurial and artistic power has been substantial and truly appreciated.” Richard Bradshaw, Canadian Opera Company
The annual prize consists of two parts: a specially-commissioned sculpture by the late William McElcheran as well as a $20,000 to direct from the Bovey Award fund to the arts organization(s) of his or her choice. This prestigious national honour has, to date, recognized the achievements of fifteen outstanding Canadians and leveraged more than $400,000 for the arts across the country.
This year’s Jury included 2005 Bovey Award winner David Fountain, President of Longwood Investments Ltd. (Halifax); Arlene Gladstone, Chair, Board of Governors, Vancouver Opera; Jean Grand-Maître, Artistic Director, Alberta Ballet Company (Calgary); Pierre Théberge, Director, the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), and Chip Vallis, President & CEO of Covington Capital and Chair, CanStage (Toronto).