Following the American election, the new political scene is dominated by the conflict between elitism and populism, and these poorly-defined concepts are now being discussed here in Canada. The debate is often divisive, and could affect what ordinary people think about a portrait prize event like The Kingston Prize.
Formerly, most portraits showed people of power or wealth, and were made by elite artists. If the Kingston Prize is seen as essentially elitist, then interest in our exhibitions will be limited, and it will be difficult to increase attendance at the exhibitions, to raise the money, and to get access to the gallery space we need.
The Kingston Prize competition is open to all Canadian artists, and the portraits in the exhibitions are chosen on the basis of artistic merit alone. The subjects of the portraits are not restricted to elite people, and all minority groups are welcome. The portraits exhibited show the diversity of Canadians, and of Canadian artists.
The Kingston Prize belongs to Canadians everywhere, and cuts right across all social and political boundaries.