Have you seen a performance this year that took your breath away? Have you attended an event you will remember forever? If so, then it is possible you have seen someone or something worthy of a Culture Award.
The Journal Culture Awards, in association with Arts Council England, North-East, have been launched to celebrate and bring together the best in the region's cultural talent - and we don't think we could have picked a better time to get them under way. There has never been more going on in the North-East and with the demise of the old Northern Electric Arts Awards, the new awards will more than fill a void.
The ceremony will take place on March 26, 2007 at the rebuilt and revamped Northern Stage, and will recognise and reward spectacular achievements in the field of culture, which incorporates museums and heritage as well as the arts.
Sponsored by the partners of The Journal's Culture initiative, as well as Newcastle Building Society and Newcastle College, there will be awards for best newcomer, best performance, artist of the year and best event.
Further awards will be given to those who, in the opinion of the judges, achieved the most in using culture in the community or forged the most effective partnership between the arts and business - and members of The Journal Culture Club can pick the winner of their special award.
As can be seen from the endorsements which pepper this page, the awards have been welcomed by a host of senior figures from the region's cultural quarter - and you can get involved too.
We are welcoming nominations in the categories listed, with a selection of prize draws taking place after the December 14 nomination deadline. Anyone who submits a nomination will be put in the hat to win a selection of Culture goody bags and tickets to the awards too, of course.
Best Event - individual awards for the Tees Valley, Tyneside, Sunderland, Northumberland and Durham (sponsored by Tees Valley Partnership, Tyne and Wear Partnership, Sunderland City Council, Northumberland Strategic Partnership and Durham Council respectively)
Have you been to a locally organised event in 2006, which made you proud? These awards are to recognise large and small events. The event could have featured, local artists, performance art or visual artists for example.
Newcomer of the Year (Newcastle Building Society)
This award is to recognise any North-East based writer, artist, performer or visual artist who has exhibited, performed or been brought to the public's attention for the first time in 2006.
Performance of the Year (NGI)
This award is to recognise any individual or group collective whom you have seen or heard in 2006. Has a performance in the North-East raised the hairs up on the back of your neck, moved or inspired you? We want to hear about it so we can celebrate the success of performances in the North-East.
Artist of the Year (Newcastle College)
This is to recognise any North-East based artist you have seen in 2006 and who made a lasting impression. It could be a performing artist, a visual artist, an individual piece of work or exhibition.
Arts Council Award (Arts Council)
This award is to recognise and celebrate the achievement of an organisation or individual who has demonstrated a successful, creative and innovative way of using arts within the communities in the North-East.
Renaissance in the Region Award, (Tyne & Wear Museums and the North East Regional Museums Hub)
This award will recognise the contribution by a North-East museum or gallery for its work in engaging its local community in a meaningful, sustainable and innovative way. The focus can be heritage, environment or arts, and can be delivered on site, through outreach work or virtually.
Culture Club Award (The Journal Culture Club)
This category is open to all Culture Club members. This award is to recognise the commitment Culture Partners have made to Culture Club members. The Culture initiative has held numerous events in 2006 but which was your favourite?
Best Arts and Business Partnership (The Sponsors Club for Arts and Business)
This award is to recognise an outstanding business/arts partnership, which has demonstrated an innovative way of working together to achieve their respective goals.
Anyone can nominate a person, event or organisation to win one of the Culture Awards. To make your nomination, visit www.journallive.co.uk/cultureawards, www.thejournalcultureclub.co.uk or request a form from Julie Moorhouse on (0191) 201-6119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
"Arts and culture have played an enormous role in the successful regeneration of the North-East and we are fast gaining a national and international reputation for producing world-class events, festivals, individual artists and performers. We are delighted to support these awards which will recognise and reward the contribution made by organisations and individuals who continue to make this region a cultural force to be reckoned with."
Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative
"The 2006 Culture Awards will be a celebration of the artistic and cultural excellence which can be found throughout North-East England."
Beamish director, Miriam Harte
"It's great to see the return of an awards ceremony which will recognise the talents of the region's cultural community. "
Paul Tappenden, marketing manager at Metro Radio Arena
"As a major educational and training business integral to the development and supply of cultural activity for the region, Newcastle College is proud to be part of the Cultural Awards 2006. In particular, the Performance Academy is delighted to sponsor the Artist of the Year award."
David R Turner, Director of School - Performance Academy, Newcastle College
"People working in the arts contribute so much to the region's internationally distinctive profile, and to the quality of life of people living and working here - it will be marvellous to see some of those achievements recognised by these exciting new awards."
Anthony Sargent, general director of The Sage Gateshead
"We are delighted to support The Journal's Culture Awards and sponsor the Newcomer of the Year. The North-East is blessed with an abundance of artistic talent and, as a mutual building society based in the region, we are very proud to play a part in recognising and rewarding new talent."
Colin Seccombe, Chief Executive, Newcastle Building Society
"The creation of these awards is illustrative of the value culture now has in North-East England, intrinsic and as an economic driver."
Ruth Robson, head of marketing and development at The Bowes Museum.
"I am thrilled that the region is formally celebrating it's fantastic cultural projects with the Culture Awards. As the English region with the highest per capita business investment in the arts and the highest investment per vat registered company outside of London it is doubly exciting to be celebrating the support the business community gives to culture in the region."
Adam Lopardo, director, The Sponsors Club for Arts & Business
"We are proud to be a partner in the launch of the Culture Awards and the sponsor of the Arts Council Award. The awards will recognise the value and contribution that arts and culture make to our region and our everyday lives."
Mark Robinson, executive director of Arts Council England, North-East
"I am very pleased that Northern Stage is hosting the 2006 Culture Awards. It is another example of how our partnership with The Journal is helping to celebrate the creativity and achievements of artists, performers and cultural organisations in our region."
Northern Stage director, Erica Whyman
"The inaugural Culture Awards are a fantastic way for people to celebrate some of the amazing arts and cultural events to have been staged in and around the region. The awards will allow everyone to become more involved in the arts community and feedback their thoughts on what has been achieved in 2006."
Philip Bernays, chief executive Newcastle Theatre Royal
"Tyne & Wear Museums and the Regional Museums Hub are sponsoring the Renaissance in the Regions Award to reward and recognise the outstanding work that is taking place to engage local people in museums and galleries. There is so much creative and innovative work taking place in all of the region's museums and it is appropriate that we celebrate it!"
Alec Coles, director of Tyne & Wear Museums
"The Culture Awards are another great way in which the rest of the world is getting the message about the region's growing cultural strengths as well as rewarding the very people who actively contribute to life in North-East England. These are the people and organisations who touch us with their enthusiasm and make this area such a great place to which to live, work, study and visit."
Chris Lines, head of public relations at One NorthEast