Elspeth Pratt, director of the School for the Contemporary Arts, in her art studio.

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Professor Elspeth Pratt wins Mayor of Vancouver's Visual Arts Award

November 25, 2014
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Visual artist and professor Elspeth Pratt, director of SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, has been recognized with the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s 2014 Visual Arts award for her sculptural work exploring the built environment and public spaces.

“Public architectural spaces are of special interest to me,” she says. “That’s where we live our daily lives—we play out our own dramas in relation to these social structures.”

In 2011, she produced “Second Date,” a large-scale, site-specific installation commissioned for Offsite, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s outdoor public art program. The installation featured curved metallic structures that cast eerie reflections across a shimmering yellow pond made of vinyl.

Pratt has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, and it can be found in collections throughout Canada.

Pratt was surprised and honoured to receive the Mayor’s award.

“You don’t apply, you receive a phone call,” she says. “Your peers sit down and decide.”

“What’s particularly wonderful about receiving this award is that winners are asked to select an emerging artist to receive an award as well.”

Pratt selected Vancouver painter Laura Piasta because she has been intrigued by Piasta’s work, and her practices echo Pratt’s own.

In Pratt’s role as director of the School for the Contemporary Arts she oversees administration, academic renewal and future vision. She also teaches courses in the core undergraduate curriculum as well as in the graduate fine arts program.