Events on: Fri, Jun 16, 2017
Reception for Winner of Award of Excellence 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Bridget O’Flaherty is the recipient of the 2017 MERA Award for Excellence in the Fine Arts and Fine Crafts, with Honourable mention going to Sarah Wright in recognition of her work.

A three-person jury has chosen a winner for this year’s Award Of Excellence in Fine Arts and Fine Crafts supporting the work of Fibre Artist and Quilt Maker, Bridget O’Flaherty. Jurors Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Gallery at Queens University in Kingston, Victoria Henry, curator and art critic, and the former Director of the Canada Council Art Bank, and Ankaret Dean, Artistic Director MERA (McDonalds Corners/Elphin Recreation and Arts), unanimously selected Bridget O’Flaherty for the 2017 award. Victoria Henry said of O’Flaherty’s entry, “Her unique and technically brilliant quilts recognized both the old tradition of quilt making in Canada and the merits of a sensitive aesthetic.”  Bridget O’Flaherty describes her process, “I learned traditional quilting from my mother over 25 years ago, but I had always been drawn to natural landscapes and exploring the blend of contemporary fibre art techniques with the traditions of quilting. I utilize layers of thread for shading effects, much like pencil crayon or pen and ink, stitching techniques, traditional piecing of fabric and quilting techniques to convey my landscape art.”

According to Ankaret Dean, “This year, the entries to the MERA Award Excellence again demonstrated the amazing talent, skill, and variety that exists in our community.  We chose the work of Bridget O 'Flaherty as the winner. She combines the traditional art of quilting with machine embroidery to create the effect of painting.  Her images reflect the beauty and colour of the natural environment.” 

Honorable mention was awarded to Sarah Wright for her “exquisite and very personal pen and ink drawings” according to Victoria Henry.  Dean stated that ”The drawings of Sarah Wright were quite unique and personal, and a delight in their simplicity. We chose Sarah that her work be recognized with an honourable mention.” The artist commented “"If an image makes someone feel uncomfortable, I think it’s important to not turn away but to take a closer look.  Why does this make me feel this way, what does that discomfort say about me, our society, our expectations of women, our views on sexuality, gender, and mental health?”

The MERA Award, consisting of a $1000 prize, will be presented to Bridget O’Flaherty at a reception on Friday, June 16th. 2015 from 4:30 pm until 6 pm at the Schoolhouse in McDonald’s Corners. Sarah Wright will also be present. Both of these artists will show examples of their work at the reception.

The MERA Award, which is given every two years, was conceived and made possible by a generous donation by Lanark Highlands residents Chris and David Dodge to the Perth and District Community Foundation, which manages the funds. Recognizing MERA’s important contribution to the arts community, the Dodges chose MERA to select the Award winners.

Anyone interested in learning more about the MERA Award is invited to send an email to, visit MERA’s website:,  or leave a telephone message at 613-278-0388. The next award will be given in 2019.