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Civic Treasure Award Receipent 2014


Elizabeth Carefoot



            When people talk about Elizabeth - it is with awe.  The usual statement describes her endless creativity, the diversity of her expression, and the generosity of her sharing.

  • Many of her achievements have been accomplished against a history and background of adversity.  Elizabeth and her family had been prisoners of the Japanese in an internment camp near Shanghai – where she had spent the five years of World War II.  Her supporters believe it was this experience of making a fulfilling life out of virtually no material resources – for example, dancing was free and children’s dresses were made from worn-out adult garments (or those of fellow-prisoners who had died) - which has informed her present and continuing artistic life. Objects of beauty are made from flotsam and jetsam –she has an eye for the creative potential of everyday bits and pieces, both natural and man-made; nothing need be wasted.
  • A resident of Crescent Beach, retired after a long career at the Instructional Media Centre at SFU Burnaby, Elizabeth has been an artist all her life and has worked with all different types of media including fibre, pottery, oil, latex and water colour.  She currently calls herself a fabric artist.  She always has a story behind her artwork and often her art is inspired by history or ancient religions or old stories from different countries and cultures which have been passed down from generation to generation.
  • She is a prolific artist - very unique and amazing and she spear-headed an artists’ group that met regularly to discuss their work and processes.
  • There is generosity in her availability - she is always out there - talking about the work - and sharing it through sales that make the work very accessible.  The turnouts for her shows indicate how much interest she collects.  Her fame is well deserved.
  • She has served on Surrey’s Public Art Advisory Committee.
  • She has had many art shows in galleries over the years, both small and large.  Last year Elizabeth held an art sale at the local community centre in Surrey with the goal being to raise money for an art fund to support “starving artists”.  She has given away the monies to a deserving artist who could not afford the paint and brushes she needed to continue with her art.
  • She has not only taught Middle Eastern dancing but has had her groups perform in the community.  She is an educator who has conveyed the richness of the dance as it represents various cultures, forms, intentions and meanings.
  • She gives lectures on Middle Eastern art and culture in an effort to engender cross-cultural understanding.
  • Her supporters know Elizabeth as an open and sharing soul, a seeming unending source of cultural knowledge inspiration and beauty.
  • At present, she serves as a volunteer board member in the Surrey Art Gallery Association.
  • Elizabeth is gifted and giving, delightfully versatile with her talents, a woman of wisdom, community minded and proud of where she resides.  She is most deserving of being named a Surrey Civic Treasure.



Eileen Gratland


Eileen moved to Surrey with her young family in 1978. She soon enrolled her daughters in ballet classes and found out she had a knack for leading and organizing. As her children grew, so did her participation in community events.

Her reputation as a strong leader in the volunteer sector brought her an invitation to join the Arts Council of Surrey. Over the next thirty years – as Arts Council director and president – she was a tireless and passionate advocate for the arts.

Long before governments accepted that the arts are an essential component of the social and economic growth, and health and prosperity of our country, Eileen was promoting the benefits, forging partnerships and creating new arts initiatives.

Her accomplishments include many firsts:

  • Annual Juried Art Competition & Exhibition with Surrey Art Gallery
  • Arts Council committee, with Marc Pelech and Surrey School Board to create the High Tech Media Lab in Sullivan Heights School
  • Arts Council participation in Cloverdale Blueberry Festival, Whalley Days, Parade of Light, Surrey Children’s Festival, and many other events
  • Arts Council representative for International Board of Trade
  • BC Lions participating in ‘Convergence’ event at Central City Brew Pub
  • Breakfast with Santa
  • Cloverdale Rodeo – Arts, Crafts & Literature Event
  • Community Village 2000 Tent Millennium Magic, Arts Council Tent, Art is the Heart
  • Founding Director, Surrey Tourism & Convention Association
  • Greater Vancouver Golf Open Juried Art Competition & Exhibition
  • Let Me Sing community theatre project to raise funds to establish Youth Arts Council
  • Member of Sullivan Heights Theatre Fundraising committee
  • Strawberry Mother’s Day Tea
  • Sweetheart of a Craft Fair

Eileen has received several awards for her dedication and support for the arts.

  • 1999 – Outstanding Service to the Arts
  • 2002 – Golden Jubilee commemorative medal of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
  • 2002 – Festival of the Arts, Eileen was asked to manage the hospitality component of the event in recognition of the abilities and respect that she has to bring out the very best in everyone she meets
  • 2003 – Women of Distinction nomination (YMCA Community Legend)
  • 2004 – City of Surrey Good Citizen of the Year

Comments about Eileen:

  • Being an advocate for the things you believe in such as the arts, the business community and the City you live in, takes skill, patience and courage, and embodies the essence of being a Surrey Civic Treasure.
  • A former arts council staff person said, “I looked forward to going to work every single day. It was fun, it was exciting. And I knew that I was working with a woman whose passion, conviction and energy could change the world if people would only stop and listen …”


Don Hutchinson

  • For thirty (30) years, Don Hutchinson worked for Langara College as a ceramics teacher, where he influenced the lives of many emerging young artists.
  • Don has lived in South Surrey and has maintains his studio here for close to forty (40) years.
  • He has raised his family here, and contributes his good counsel and strong support to the cultural scene on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
  • Don won a Canada Council grant to research using raw minerals of B.C. for glazes, and then introduced his findings to local potters so they, too, could use the resources in their own back yard to develop their own glazes.  This work lead to a publication on locally produced glazes that are used by ceramic artists across Canada.
  • The themes in his art work reflect the multiple natures of Surrey as both rural and urban, local and cosmopolitan, and he purposely incorporates the natural environment into his ceramics by sourcing his clay bodies and minerals from the local landscape. His creations are the artifacts of Surrey’s cultural history.
  • Very few artists are as knowledgeable about their craft as Don.  His quest to understand ‘art making’ is extremely broad and where others might be satisfied with surface understanding of processes Don’s curiosity is relentless in its drive to understand and integrate the different cultures of the world. Don and his wife have travelled the globe, and Don has found inspiration from studying in cultural meccas like Japan, Turkey, Crete, Korea, and Sicily. In turn he has used what he learned from ancient ceramics as a stimulus to create and to communicate.
  • Since 2008, he has provided affordable studio space to the members of the Semiahmoo Potters; he is, indeed, an arts patron.
  • Don generously shares his knowledge of the craft, and still finds excitement in creating new forms and decorating techniques. Don has provided workshops to the Semiahmoo Potters members for twenty (20) years.
  • His artistic contributions reach far beyond our community. Besides having shows and speaking at White Rock and Surrey recreational, arts council, community, and civic events, Don’s expertise has been in demand for years by his peers.
  • Serving as president to the Potters Guild of B.C. Don was awarded a guild honorary lifetime membership.
  • The Grandville Island studio he shares with potter Bob Kingsmill is known internationally; the name “Don Hutchinson” is known by potters throughout the country.  Several of his Langara students who have become recognized ceramicists credit Don for arousing their talents.
  • His humility masks his great stores of wisdom, which he shares without reservation, or ego.  Through all his years of teaching, mentoring, or demonstration workshops, few are as generous Don is his art making practices. He has been a tremendous role model and mentor for many local artists.
  • The creative artisan community would not be the vibrant establishment it is without the contributions of Don Hutchinson.