Polaris Music Prize Debuts 12 New Art Pieces, Announces Poster Tour, Unveils Community Partnership Program
The Polaris Music Prize, presented by CBC Music, has unveiled the 12 newest additions to its signature Polaris poster series along with a traveling exhibition in four provinces across Canada. The exhibition kicks off the re-launch of the Polaris Community Development Program and announcement of the first ever Community Reception to take place at the annual Polaris Gala and Award Ceremony on September 19, 2023.
Each year 10 Canadian visual artists are commissioned to create a unique art piece inspired by a nominated album on the Polaris Music Prize Short List. These vivid graphic interpretations of the nominees’ music are then developed into limited edition, silk-screened prints. This year’s Short List poster creators are:
Raz Latif for Alvvays’s Blue Rev
Alanah Jewell for Aysanabee’s Watin
Mia Carnevale for Begonia’s Powder Blue
Jenelle Lewis for Daniel Caesar’s Never Enough
Andy Akangah for Feist’s Multitudes
Lauren Armstrong for Debby Friday’s Good Luck
G L O W Z I for Gayance’s Masquerade
Jud Haynes for Dan Mangan’s Being Somewhere
Jeremy Bruneel for The Sadies’ Colder Streams
Chris Chipak for Snotty Nose Rez Kids’ I’m Good, HBU?
Additionally, Polaris has also commissioned two new works to honour its most recent Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize winners with their own commemorative posters — SNFU’s …And No One Else Wanted To Play by Nessy, and Four the Moment’s We’re Still Standing by Kaitlynn Copithorne. This year’s works and the entire Polaris Poster archive can be found here.
For the first time ever, these newly commissioned artworks will be displayed across Canada as part of the four-city Polaris Traveling Poster Exhibition taking place in Calgary, AB (Sloth Records), Toronto, ON (Sonic Boom), Halifax, NS (Taz Records) and Montreal, QC (Librairie Résonance Bookstore) between September 1 and September 15. Each exhibition will include displays of this year’s works. Posters will be available to order at exhibition locations and are currently on sale now via the Polaris website. To celebrate the tour and the release of these new posters Polaris has also launched a sale on all of our legacy posters for the reduced rate of $30 each. The sale will last until November 1, 2023.
Polaris has commissioned over 200 original artworks as part of its poster program since the organization began in 2006. These unique gig poster-inspired gifts are presented to each of the 10 acts on a given year’s Short List as well as each year’s Heritage Prize honourees. Several of these works have gone on to win prizes of their own from the likes of the Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts Annual. Select pieces have been exhibited at the National Arts Centre, the Canada Council, the London Museum and were featured in Heritage Toronto’s Sounds Like Toronto digital music history project. Polaris prints are prominently displayed in the offices of leading cultural and music institutions, and posters representing Haviah Mighty and Backxwash (2019 and 2020 Polaris Prize winners, respectively) have been turned into giant murals in downtown Toronto.
Polaris is also using this year’s Polaris Poster reveal to launch our innovative new Polaris Partnership Program. Developed to create meaningful partnerships with not-for-profit, affiliate events and business partners invested in supporting Canadian musicians, the program’s goal is to offer opportunities for partners and Polaris Music Prize to support and elevate one another through cross-promotional and resource sharing opportunities. A full list of our current partners can be found here.
For the first major activation of the partnership program Polaris partnered with the iconic Toronto record store Sonic Boom to announce the 2023 Long List in June. In partnership with the City of Toronto’s Music Office, Polaris will be supporting representatives from more than 20 different community organizations to attend the first-ever Polaris Gala Community Reception taking place September 19 at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario. The Community Reception is an opportunity for all participating partners to come together for the first time to network, celebrate, and participate in the annual award ceremony as a guest of Polaris.
The marquee date on our annual calendar, the Polaris Gala is our prestige winner reveal event featuring live musical performances from the nominated acts on the Polaris Short List. In addition to the announcement of this year’s Polaris Prize-winning album, the Gala will include performances from Short List nominees Aysanabee, Begonia, Debby Friday, Gayance, Dan Mangan, The Sadies and Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and will feature live coverage from CBC Music.
Tickets for the Polaris Gala are available to the public right now online and via the Massey Hall box office. To celebrate our poster launch Polaris is making available a promotional code for 23 per cent off ticket prices to attend the Gala (input “Shortlist23” into Massey’s “Have a promo code?” prompt). This year’s Polaris Gala attendees can expect the legendary 129-year-old Massey Hall to be transformed on the evening with an experience for your senses like no other, all in the name of celebrating exceptional Canadian music and the artists who create it.
The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction. A select panel of music critics judge and award the Prize without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity. The Polaris Music Prize awards an annual prize of $50,000 to the selected winner thanks to Slaight Music.
Albums eligible for 2023 Polaris Music Prize consideration must be released between May 1, 2022 and May 1, 2023. An independent jury of music media from across Canada determines the Long List and Short List. Eleven people from the larger jury pool are then chosen to serve on the Grand Jury. This Grand Jury convenes at the Polaris Gala to select the Polaris Music Prize winner.
The past winners are Pierre Kwenders (2022), Cadence Weapon (2021), Backxwash (2020), Haviah Mighty (2019), Jeremy Dutcher (2018), Lido Pimienta (2017), Kaytranada (2016), Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015), Tanya Tagaq (2014), Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013), Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007) and Final Fantasy / Owen Pallett (2006).
Polaris Music Prize 2023 Event Season:
June 13 – Long List Announcement: The Long List is where Polaris reveals the 40 nominated albums that will be considered for a given year’s Prize.
July 13 – Short List Announcement: Selected from the 40 album Long List, the Short List is where Polaris reveals the 10 finalist albums that will be considered for a given year’s Prize.
September 19 – Polaris Gala: Our prestige winner reveal event, the Polaris Gala features live musical performances from the nominated acts on the Polaris Short List. The Polaris Prize winner is determined day-of at the Gala by an 11-member Polaris Grand Jury selected from the greater Polaris juror pool.
October 19 – Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize: The Heritage Prize is a hall of fame-minded critics prize/public polling campaign meant to celebrate classic Canadian albums created before Polaris began in 2006. Like the Polaris Music Prize, winners and nominees of the Heritage Prize are albums of the highest artistic distinction, without regard to sales or affiliations.
We acknowledge the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters.
See all the posters below: