The Barbara Laronde award was created to honour the legacy of NWIA founder Sandra Laronde, and her vision and commitment to Indigenous artists. It celebrates and acknowledges the career of one outstanding, emerging artist who is: Northern-Ontario based, Indigenous, and gender marginalized/gender diverse (women, transfeminine and transmasculine folks, Two Spirit & non-binary folks). The award recognizing the geographic and economic barriers that many Northern Ontario artists face.
Sandra Laronde’s 19 years of leadership at NWIA paved the way for many Indigenous artists at various stages of their careers. The award is named after her mother, Barbara, who has been the backbone of her family and a leader in the Northern Ontario community, Temagami First Nation. Barbara inspired her children to be creative and entrepreneurial, and it is with this spirit that NWIA launched this award.