The Canadian Women Artists’ Award

The Canadian Women Artists’ Award is open to emerging or early career female artists in New York State.

The $5,000 award is designed to provide financial support to an emerging or early career artist working in Visual Arts, Media & Design, and Literary Arts, and can be used in any manner the recipient deems necessary to further their artistic goals. It is supported by funding granted to NYFA by the Canadian Women’s Club (CWC) of New York as a way to continue its philanthropic work when it disbanded.


Applications for the 2021 cycle are now closed.

In 2021, CWC and NYFA will be awarding two (2) $5,000 awards, one in each of the following categories:

  1. Visual Arts: Painting, Photography, Craft/Sculpture, Printmaking/Drawing, or Interdisciplinary Work
  2. Media and Design: Video/Film, Experimental Sound, or Design


Literary Arts will be open for submission in 2022.


The Canadian Women Artists’ Award is open to women artists who meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a Canadian citizen, and able to provide proof of citizenship with legal documentation upon receipt of the award.
  • Must be between the ages of 25 and 40 before the application deadline.
  • Must be a current resident of New York State.
  • Must apply in only one of the eligible discipline categories.
  • Must be the originators of the work.
  • Must not be a previous recipient of the Canadian Women Artists’ Award.
  • Must not be a NYFA employee, member of the NYFA Board of Trustees or Artists’ Advisory Committee, and/or an immediate family member of any of the previous.

Students in bachelor’s or master’s degree programs are eligible to apply.


The Canadian Women Artists’ Award accepts applications in the following categories:

  • Visual Arts: This category will accept applications from artists creating work in Painting, Photography, Craft/Sculpture, Printmaking/Drawing or Interdisciplinary Work
  • Media & Design: This category will accept applications from artists creating work in Video/Film, Experimental Sound, or Design.
  • Literary Arts: This category will accept applications from artists creating work in Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction, or Playwriting/Screenwriting.


NYFA has announced interdisciplinary artist Rena Anakwe and filmmaker Sana A. Malik as its 2021 Canadian Women Artists’ Award recipients.

Rena Anakwe is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, and healer working primarily with sound, visuals, and scent. Exploring intersections between traditional healing practices, spirituality, and performance, she creates works focused on sensory-based, experiential interactions using creative technology. She is based in Brooklyn, NY, by way of Nigeria and Canada.

Sana A. Malik is a UK-born, Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker living in New York, NY. Her work explores the intimacies and contrasts of immigrant life, depicting ancestral memory, generational resilience, and celebration even as separation carries deep loss. Malik’s 2019 film Guanajuato Norte, which she co-directed, won a BAFTA Student Film Award and can be viewed on The New Yorker’s documentary channel. She is writer and director of the short film Away, Together, and is currently co-directing the short documentary Citizen Khan.


Destinie Adelakun was named a 2020 recipient of the Canadian Women Artists’ Award. She is a Lagos, Nigeria-born, Nagpur, India-raised Canadian artist whose work extends from mixed-media, painting, and photography to film and sculpture, and explores topics ranging from African history, mythology, and spirituality. She utilizes individuals in her work as a personification of principles and ideas, and a way to re-illustrate African and Indian mythological tales. She lives and works in New York, NY.

Sara Jimenez was named a 2020 recipient of the Canadian Women Artists’ Award. Her work explores the material embodiment of deep transcultural memories. As an interdisciplinary Filipinx-Canadian artist, she is interested in materializing existing global narratives around concepts of origins and home, loss and absence. She works in collage, sculpture, installation, and performance to create visual metaphors that allude to mythical environments and forgotten artifacts. Jimenez is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Playwright and Screenwriter Celeste Yim was named the 2019 recipient of the Canadian Women Artists’ Award. Yim, who was born in Toronto, Ontario, received a Master of Fine Arts degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2020. In May 2019, Yim’s Not Only Is Everyone As Wonderful was produced by Theater Masters in the National MFA Playwrights Festival at Theater Row in New York City. It is published by Samuel French.

Filmmaker Émilie Martel was named the 2018 recipient of the Canadian Women Artists’ Award. Martel is a New York City-based filmmaker from Ottawa who has spent years producing, filming, and editing short web content for media organizations worldwide. Martel directed and produced the documentary film Uproot, and is founder of the production house Kannon Films.

Composer and musician Anna Webber was named the first-ever Canadian Women Artists’ Award recipient in 2017. Webber, a British Columbia-born, Brooklyn-based composer, flutist, and saxophonist, studied music at McGill University and holds master’s degrees from Manhattan School of Music and the Jazz Institute Berlin. Recent albums include Clockwise (2019), Binary (2016) and SIMPLE (2014).

Image Credit: Destinie Adelakun, ADE – Oshun and Oya’s crown, 2020