The Gift of Art one of three Indigenous Tourism Award finalists

Jasyn Lucas’s studio/art gallery/tattoo parlour The Gift of Art is one of 31 finalists for the 2018 Manitoba Tourism Awards, Travel Manitoba announced last week.

The Thompson artist’s shop is one of three finalists in the Indigenous Tourism Award category, where he is up against the Manitoba Ahbee Festival and Traditional Trails, both in Winnipeg. Lucas is one of only two Northern Manitobans chosen as a finalist for an award, along with Mike Reimer of Churchill, who is up for an individual award of distinction.

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The Gift of Art opened in 2015 and Lucas was nominated for the award by Community Futures North Central Development (CFNCD), which helped him launch his business.

“We wanted to nominate Jasyn because we send for all our visitors there,” CFNCD development officer Charlene Kissick said in a July news release announcing his nomination. “People want the opportunity to purchase locally made products and this is truly the authentic experience they’re looking for.” 

“He is setting an example for youth and the business community on how you can truly create a career out of your passion,” said CFNCD chairperson Darlene Beck at that time.

“That’s pretty sweet to be recognized like that,” said Lucas of the nomination, crediting CFNCD with helping him to make a dream into a reality. “They were always there for support.”

Lucas says he doesn’t view The Gift of Art, which he runs with his partner Nikki Brightnose, as simply a place to sell art and do tattoos but as a welcoming space for anybody interested in art.

“Often we’ll get people who come in in here and they really love to have a visit and talk and learn about the area but don’t necessarily have the funds to invest in art,” Lucas says. “We don’t just serve as a retail service. We’re also kind of ambassadors for the city.”

The Indigenous tourism category recognizes excellence in the delivery of culturally based experiences that are respectful of the cultural and economic integrity of the local community and surrounding area.

All Manitoba Tourism Award finalists will be honoured at the annual award celebration Sept. 13 in Winnipeg.

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