Some of the top artists of Waterloo Region gathered to be recognized as nominees of the 2011 Arts Awards Waterloo Region.

Last nights red-carpet style event packed the Walper Terrace Hotel, downtown Kitchener, with artists, their supporters, and community leaders alike. The evening kicked off with a performance by Youth In Error, a four-piece band of  teenage boys.

What is the importance of Arts? Chair of the Arts Awards Waterloo Region, Rebecca Short told 570 News, “Arts are really important in terms of having a livable community, and a vibrant community. It’s one of the things that gives a community life, it’s one of the things that makes people interested to stay here.”

“When people come to Waterloo Region for jobs, and especially in high-tech, and the creative people, and knowledge people, one of the things they’re really looking for is an interesting place to be,” Short said.

One of the nominees, Care Finch, the operator of I.R.I.S. Entertainment, and the TABU Music Festival, echoes Shorts sentiment, “the Arts are imperative,” Finch said, “we’re so lucky here in Kitchener-Waterloo that we have both; this huge, giant Arts sector, and this huge technology centre, and when you see these two sectors forge in different facets, we just keep getting luckier here.”

There are 11 award categories, “two categories are decided by the jury, the Life-Time Achievement Award, and the Corporate Art Supporter Award,” Short said.

“Literary Award, Visual Arts Award, Performing Award, Music Award, there is an award for Mentors, there is an award for an open category, which is often people who are kind of behind the scenes in arts organizations, and then there are three festival or event awards, which are; the Best Festival or Event, New Festival or Event, and Festival or Event Volunteer,”

There is also an award which comes through the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation, Short said “the Amy Hallman Snyder Award, for Textile Fibre and Quilting Arts.”

There is a Leading Edge Award as well, “which is for people who are under 25. They can be in any category, they can be musicians, performers, writers,” Short said.

The nominees and art enthusiasts look forward to the 24th Annual Awards Ceremony and Performance.  It takes place Sunday, June the 3rd, at Centre In The Square. More information is available here.