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White Rock concert venue/studio among Surrey Art & Business Award winners, for innovation

Blue Frog Studios, Lyn Verra-Lay, Argel Monte De Ramos and Liane Davison won awards Tuesday evening
A “Ladies Sing the Blues” benefit concert at Blue Frog Studios in White Rock in July 2021. The concert venue and recording studio won the Arts and Innovation Award during the Surrey Arts & Business Awards on Tuesday, Nov. 22. (Photo:

Winners of the sixth Surrey Art & Business Awards were announced Tuesday evening (Nov. 22) during an event at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

The awards, presented by Scotiabank, are organized by Surrey Board of Trade to celebrate people and businesses that enhance Surrey’s arts community.

“We need the arts now more than ever, for our city’s economic development, mental health, and creativity,” said Anita Huberman, SBOT’s president and CEO.

White Rock’s Blue Frog Studios won the Arts and Innovation Award, Lyn Vera-Lay won the Cultural Ambassador Award for her work with the Arts Council of Surrey, singer Argel Monte De Ramos earned the Music Award and Liane Davison was given the Legacy Award for her work as Surrey’s cultural manager.

The event’s keynote speaker, Mayor Brenda Locke, talked about her economic plans to support Surrey’s arts and culture industry.

Biographies of the award winners are posted below, as submitted by Surrey Board of Trade.

Arts and Innovation Award: Blue Frog Studios (other finalists were Royal Canadian Theatre Co. and XBa Centre of Dance)

“Blue Frog Studios is a concert theatre and commercial recording studio. This state-of-the-art 5,000 square foot facility can accommodate an 80-piece orchestra and seats 100 studio audiences for unique, up close and personal concerts with some of the world’s most talented entertainers. The studio provides world-class sound, lighting, and 4K video and audio recording technology with an exceptional production team. Blue Frog Studios produces over 200 concerts a year and has hosted several concert artists and Juno and Grammy Award winners, including Jim Byrnes, 54-40, The Washboard Union, Jimmy Rankin, Jeff Martin of The Tea Party, Chilliwack, Valdy, Dan Hill, Shari Ulrich, and many more. In 2021, the Heritage Canada Creative Export program chose Blue Frog Studios to promote Canadian musicians and performers outside Canada. With a significant grant, Blue Frog Studios developed the “Canadian Music Unearthed” project, which greatly benefited artists, musicians, video production support and staff while capitalizing on a global online entertainment sector estimated to reach $150 billion annually by 2025.”

Cultural Ambassador Award: Lyn Verra-Lay, Arts Council of Surrey (other finalists were Face the Music and Semiahmoo Arts Society)

“Lyn Verra-Lay comes from a family tradition of giving back to the community. As a child, she played for the Whalley Legion Community Band, practicing her flute in a community marching and concert band led by her father. She served as an arts instructor for 23 years at the Surrey Arts Centre. She also volunteered for over 30 years with the Fraser Valley Musical Society as a CTC-nominated performer, producing many local musical theatre events. She volunteered as a producer for A Night on Broadway, a benefit concert for the Surrey Food Bank, which has helped raise over $10,000 to support the food security challenge. In 2017, she was named the BC Culture Days Ambassador, representing Surrey’s various cultures and arts. Currently, she works as a Coordinator for the Youth Arts Council and the Wandering Angels Lantern Festival.”

Music Award: Argel Monte De Ramos (other finalists were Joash-Alvin Almeda/Babylung and JJ Lavalee)

“Argel Monte de Ramos is a talented Filipino singer and songwriter. He started his music career in 2014 when he sang at a fundraiser in Fleetwood for the BC Cancer Society. Since then, he has been a part of many community events in the Lower Mainland, including the Surrey Night Market, Surrey Doors Open, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Open House, and most recently, Surrey Fusion Festival at Holland Park. In 2021, Argel was awarded the Excellence by a BIMPOC Artist Award at the Fraser Valley Music Awards. The same year, he also won Music BC’s Canadian Songwriter Challenge. He is also a gold award recipient in song writing and silver awardee for vocals at the World Championships of Performing Arts held in Los Angeles. Aside from music, Argel is also into performing arts and works as a theatre actor, playwright, and director. His dedication and passion inspire young immigrants who dream of making a name in the music and art industry. Argel also works as an Assistant for Arts Umbrella’s community programs in Surrey, helping students access arts classes free of charge.”

Legacy Award: Liane Davison

“Liane Davison has served 32 years of unparalleled dedication and passion for the arts and culture in Surrey before retiring as the City of Surrey’s Culture Manager earlier this year. Liane started her career as the Curator of the Surrey Art Gallery and was recognized by the BC Business Magazine as one of the Top 30 Under 30 to watch in terms of future accomplishments. For 18 years, she curated numerous exhibitions, which included the sound installation Forty-Part Motet by Janet Cardiff and the Quilt of Belonging by Esther Bryan. Under her leadership, Liane enabled the acquisition of critical works in the Gallery’s permanent collection, many of which are national treasures. She facilitated community engagement initiatives that completed over 100 public art projects like the Eagle Calling, an elegant sculpture at Frank Hurt Park Secondary commissioned by Robert Davidson, one of Canada’s acclaimed visual artists. Liane was integral in developing the Surrey Cultural Plan (2012-2016) and later was a member of the staff working group for the City of Surrey’s award-winning Parks Recreation Culture Strategic Plan (2018-2027), which included numerous cultural goals and strategies. She also brought forward the concept of the Interactive Art Museum – ensuring the Gallery’s future at three times its current size in City Centre (a $15 million-dollar commitment in the City’s 2024 - 2025 Capital Projects Budget). The City’s cultural community will continue growing from decades of seeds planted during Liane’s tenure to champion art and artists in Surrey for generations to come. Liane’s contribution to Surrey’s art and culture industry is a true legacy.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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