Portia White Prize

Who was Portia White?

Born in Truro in 1911, Portia White was a Nova Scotian who rose through adversity to achieve international acclaim as a classical singer on the stages of Europe and North America and the first Black Canadian to do so. Although she began her career teaching in Africville, she eventually turned her energy to developing her enormous musical talent. She became a world-renowned contralto through much hard work and dedication and the financial support of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, a charitable organization created in 1944 by the Halifax Ladies Music Club, the music community and the Province. Upon retiring from the stage, Ms. White devoted her time to teaching coaching young singers. Portia White passed away in Toronto in 1968 at age 56, however her achievements continue to instill a sense of pride and stand as a model to all Nova Scotians.

The $25,000 Portia White prize is awarded to a primary recipient -- an established artist -- and a secondary recipient, known as a protégé, who is an emerging artist or cultural organization. The primary recipient receives $18,000 and a certificate of recognition. The secondary recipient, receives $7,000 and a certificate of recognition.

Thinking of nominating someone for next year? Visit the Arts NS website for more details.

The videos on this page are used with the kind permission of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Maroon Films.