Toronto Artist Nurielle Stern Wins $10,000 Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics

Image: Unswept Floor (Tesserae), 2019. Nurielle Stern. Glazed and unglazed ceramic, found glass and ceramic mosaic tiles, wood.

The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery is pleased to announce that Nurielle Stern of Toronto, Ontario has won the 2019 Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics. The finalists of the award are Trevor Baird (Montreal, QC), Naomi Clement (London, ON), Grace Han (Winnipeg, MB), Joon Hee Kim (Oakville, ON), Jocelyn Reid (Calgary, AB) and Zane Wilcox (Regina, SK).

The winner and finalists will be celebrated in a group exhibition which will run from September 21 to November 17, 2019. The opening reception will be held at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery on Sunday, September 29 at 2:00pm. Award winner Nurielle Stern will provide a brief artist talk during the reception. Click here to learn more about the exhibition.

The Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics is supported by The Keith and Winifred Shantz Fund for the Arts, held at Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation. This prestigious $10,000 award allows practising early career ceramic artists to undertake a period of independent research, or other activities that advance their artistic and professional practice.

Nurielle Stern is a ceramic sculpture and installation artist and a graduate of Alfred University’s renowned MFA program in Ceramic Art (2014). She has also studied ceramics at Sheridan College and holds a BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD University. Stern’s most recent exhibition, Unswept Floor (Tesserae), was commissioned by the Gardiner Museum in response to Ai Weiwei: Unbroken. Stern’s upcoming exhibitions  include a collaborative exhibition at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario (with Nicholas Crombach, July-September), and large-scale commission for Gardiner Museum’s new Joan Courtois Gallery to be installed this coming Fall.

The 2019 Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics was juried by Pascale Girardin, Michele Hardy and Rory MacDonald. The jury would like to acknowledge a very competitive field of emerging ceramic artists who applied. The jury is unanimous in selecting Nurielle Stern as the recipient of this year’s award.  In her work, Stern demonstrates a combination of daring, rich investigation of narrative and subject matter and a mastery of her craft. The jury was impressed with the quality of her strong exhibition production combining work of installation and display as well as the strength of her proposed award project.  As part of her project, Stern will produce large-scale ceramic sculptures for exhibition, beginning with her participation in a residency at the California State University Long Beach Center for Contemporary Ceramics.

About the Award:

Past recipients of the award truly represent the best of the emerging ceramic artists in Canada. Lindsay Montgomery of Toronto, Ontario was the winner of the 2018 Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics. Click here to learn more about winners of the award in past years.

About Winifred Shantz: The late Winifred Shantz was a driving force for the arts in Waterloo Region for more than 40 years. A successful ceramist, entrepreneur and visionary philanthropist, she was committed to finding ways to enable artists to reach their full potential.

About Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation: Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) enables people, companies and organizations to do more good by making it easy for Fundholders to give and for charities to receive money. When you make a donation to KWCF, they invest that gift into a permanent endowment fund which generates income that is then distributed through grants to support a wide range of charitable causes within our community. As a leading community-building organization in Waterloo Region, KWCF is focused on collaborating with partners to identify and meet current and future needs of our community, by enabling social capital and developing creative forward-thinking innovative solutions for place-based philanthropy.

Since 1996, Pascale Girardin has been investigating clay’s potential both as a signifier and as a device within a broader sculptural practice. Her installations, performances and sculptures stem from her extensive experience in craft, design and visual arts in order to study how know-how and materiality contribute to the development of theoretical knowledge.

Michele A. Hardy is a Curator with Nickle Galleries and Program Coordinator for the Museum and Heritage Studies Program, University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Hardy studied textiles and craft before turning to cultural anthropology (PhD. UBC’03).  Her ongoing research examines the changes affecting rural Muslim craftspeople in India as well as changing craft traditions across Asia. 

Rory MacDonald is interested in the many roles for ceramics within the practice of craft, design and art concentrating on the development of new public audiences and spaces for contemporary ceramics. MacDonald received his M.F.A from Alfred University (1999) and is currently Associate Professor of Ceramics at NSCAD University, One of the Principals of Craft Institute, Chair of NSCAD Senate.

Contact Information:

For additional information, contact Executive Director Denis Longchamps: 519.746.1882 x231 or