2017 Arts Awards Recipients photographed following the evening presentations.
The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing arts celebrates the nominees and award winners of the 2017 St. Catharines Arts Awards.
The evening of June 03, 2017 brought the arts and culture community together for the presentation of the awards in a special ceremony at the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. This is an annual celebration of the arts of St. Catharines, a night to say thank you, to honour excellence and to reflect on the many achievements of local artists and cultural
workers. All of this year’s Arts Awards nominees are helping to build a dynamic, inclusive arts community in our city that will thrive for years to come.
The Rodman Hall Art Centre of Brock University was nominated for the Arts in Education Award, sponsored by the Pen Centre. This award celebrates an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging St. Catharines residents through arts education activities.
Serving Niagara since 1960, Rodman Hall Art Centre was designated a national exhibition centre for the Niagara region in 1975. The Gallery has received seven Ontario Association of Art Gallery awards and two St. Catharines Standard Readers Choice awards since 2010. The talented staff at Rodman Hall Art Centre, led by Acting Director and Curator Marcie Bronson, connect our community with contemporary art through a year-round program of thought-provoking exhibits, special events and art classes for all ages. They are the leading centre for visual arts education and creative expression in St. Catharines. Rodman Hall’s arts education programs promote art making as a healthy activity that cultivates and enhances an appreciation for the arts. Their programs and community partnerships have inspired creativity in thousands of children and adults and helped to develop the talent and skills of Niagara residents. Congratulations, Rodman Hall Art Centre!
Also nominated for the Arts in Education Award was Kasia Dupuis. Kasia is an educator, artist, mother, wife and arts advocate who blends art, creativity and education. Kasia studied Arts and Culture at Brock University and successfully completed her diploma in Primary Education at the University of Edinburgh. She has led adult workshops and community projects including Art Night events at local schools. Kasia has been spreading her love of art with this community since 2011, when she opened the 4Cats St. Catharines Studio. She has been a part of Culture Days, offers educational workshops with the DSBN and happily organizes birthdays, scouting, and guiding group art activities. 4Cats remains a hive of creativity under her leadership where she encourages all students to “love what you do and make good art.” Congratulations, Kasia!
Sponsored by the St. Catharines Downtown Association, the Making A Difference Award celebrates a St. Catharines arts entrepreneur, arts administrator, arts organization, arts animator or volunteer in the arts whose leadership and innovation have significantly contributed to the growth and development of arts and culture in St. Catharines. The 2017 award was presented to Marcie Bronson, curator of the Rodman Hall Art Centre of Brock University.
Marcie has played a central role in the transformation of Rodman Hall Art Centre into the nationally recognized institution of excellence that residents of St. Catharines now enjoy. Her curatorial accomplishments — both exhibitions and publications — are outlined in her curriculum vitae, but what cannot be captured on paper is the esteem with which she is regarded in the arts community and beyond. She has steadfastly promoted local artists throughout her curatorial career – half of her exhibitions have been by local artists. She has fought tirelessly for the future of Rodman Hall with her nuanced understanding of how it affects community on many levels and her commitment is evident not only through Rodman Hall but also at Brock University with students and faculty. The excitement expressed by students when Bronson attends and shares her appreciation of their work is important to their growth as young artists. She is a remarkable mentor and highly respected by students and staff alike. Congratulations, Marcie!
Also nominated for the Making A Difference Award was Gregory Betts, Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature.
The poet and author has been publishing cutting edge literature for 18 years and has released seven books and 18 chapbooks from the best avant-garde presses across North America. Not only is he a successful author, Betts is a genuine activist for the literary community in St. Catharines. Since arriving in 2006 to teach at Brock University, Betts has organized events that have brought hundreds of the best authors from around the world to St. Catharines. Gregory has been a tireless advocate for literature and has helped to foster and create a robust literary community in the city, working as an artist, volunteer, and organizer of all things cultural. His work has culminated in the establishment of a new literary festival of which Betts is artistic director. The Festival of Readers is a three-day literary extravaganza that brought over 40 authors to the city in October 2016 and attracted over 400 people. With this festival, not only has he built a stage for the best literature in the country, but he has insisted that the focus of that stage be for developing and encouraging readers in the city of St. Catharines.
Gregory was awarded the Jury’s Pick Award, presented at the Jury’s discretion to an individual, collective or organization nominated but not receiving an award in any other category. This individual, collective or organization must have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the arts in St. Catharines, and cannot have received an Arts Award in the past. It is the Jury’s choice to determine, on a yearly basis, whether or not the Jury’s Pick Award will be presented. Congratulations, Gregory!
Professor Danielle Wilson of the Department of Dramatic Arts was nominated for the Established Artist Award sponsored by Meridian Credit Union. This award is presented to a professional St. Catharines artist in any discipline who has received recognition for excellence in their art practice in St. Catharines and beyond.
Danielle holds an MFA in performance and a graduate Voice Teaching Diploma, both from York University. She is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) teaching voice and performance. Danielle is an actor who has worked across Canada with such companies as Repercussion Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Magnus Theatre, Tarragon Theatre and The Georgian Theatre Festival. She is co-founder and co-Artistic Director of Stolen Theatre Collective, collaborating on the company’s shows The Diaries of Adam and Eve and The Nona which toured to the London Fringe Festival. Danielle directed The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter and recently, she co-created and performed in the original production of The Ash Mouth Man which was re-mounted for the In the Soil Arts Festival in April. For the DART, she has directed Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock, Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson, codirected Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare with her colleague Gyllian Raby and directed Good night Desdemona (Good morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Congratulations, Danielle!
Also nominated for the Established Artist Award was Gordon Cleland. Principal cellist of the Niagara Symphony, Gordon has performed across North America. He has appeared as soloist with the Niagara Symphony (Schumann Concerto in A minor and Vivaldi Double Concerto in G minor with Gisela Depkat), for the Debut Series in Montreal, and with Mercredi Musique (Boccherini Bb Major). He has extensive experience as a chamber musician, has broadcast frequently for CBC FM Radio and has performed on
TV5, the international French television network. Gordon teaches cello at Brock University and is an instructor with Suzuki Niagara and the Niagara Youth Orchestra. He has been a featured performer for the Concertino Program of Jeunesses musicales, whose artists are carefully chosen for their pedagogical skills and their ability to communicate with young people. His strong interest in contemporary and Canadian music is reflected in the repertoire he performs. Congratulations, Gordon!
Twitches and Itches Theatre shared the Emerging Artists Award with comedian David Green. For this award two emerging St. Catharines artists working in any discipline are recognized, celebrating current accomplishments and future potential. The award is sponsored by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University.
Colin Bruce Anthes and Tom DiMartino founded Twitches and Itches Theatre in 2009. The company includes alumni of Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts. In September of 2014, Twitches and Itches began a new initiative called Open Creation Labs (a series of workshops guided by Anthes) that became a way to introduce St. Catharines theatre artists to accessible, yet challenging devising methods. From The Creation Labs emerged a core ensemble that began creating two shows: Once (2015) and Time, Again (2016). Both pieces premiered at St. Catharines’ In the Soil Festival to glowing praise and large audiences. In 2015, Twitches and Itches led a 24-hour play creation as part of the Culture Days celebration, and hosted a free vocal workshop in 2016. Twitches and Itches has just completed its most recent show, The Bacchae and will premiere an original piece, September Songs, this fall. Congratulations, Twitches and Itches!
Other nominees for the Emerging Artist Award include Jo Pacinda and Lauren Regier. Jo has a degree in Dramatic Arts with a Concentration in Production and Design from the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University. Recent credits include Costume Design Assistant for The Fighting Days, Poor and Falling: A Wake with Essential Collective Theatre (ECT). Jo has served as Wardrobe Assistant on ECT’s The Drawer Boy, Yellow Door Theatre’s The Little Prince and The Foster Festival’s Halfway to the North Pole. Jo designs custom costumes and clothing for select individuals and regularly works or volunteers as a designer and assistant designer for many local theatre companies, demonstrating her commitment to her artistic practice and to local St. Catharines arts. Congratulations, Jo!
Lauren Regier graduated from Brock University’s Visual Arts program in 2014. Interested in the dynamic relationship between nature and machines, she investigates this subject though photography, video, performance and installation art. She participated in the annual STRUTT Wearable Art Show in 2011 and 2013. In 2012, she participated in a two-week social justice trip in Peru volunteering in a children’s art class . Her experience was later channeled into a performance piece at St. Catharines’ Market Square in the show, Time and Space. In 2015, Lauren was hired by Rodman Hall to provide gallery assistance on weekends, she currently assists with exhibition and historical tours for visitors and groups. Lauren has exhibited her work at various venues throughout St. Catharines including Mahtay Café and Market Square and has been featured in both the Brock News and The Sound. Congratulations, Lauren!
First presented in 2005, The St. Catharines Arts Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in all areas of artistic creation. The Arts Awards seek to increase the visibility of St. Catharines’ artists and cultural industries, honour cultural leaders and their achievements, and cultivate financial and volunteer support for the arts sector. Arts Award recipients demonstrate St. Catharines’ breadth of talent and commitment to the arts. Since 2005, fifty-one awards have been given to artists, businesses, individuals and organizations to recognize their contributions to the cultural vitality of our community. The City of St. Catharines produces the Arts Awards, which are supported by the St. Catharines Arts & Culture Advisory Committee and produced by staff from the Parks, Recreation and Culture Services department.
The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts congratulates all the faculty, staff, students and alumni recognized for their profound contribution to arts and culture in St. Catharines!
Information about the awards, the nominees and the award winners was gleaned from these sources:
City of St. Catharines Arts Awards
“St. Catharines arts community in the spotlight: Awards handed out at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.“ Niagara This Week – St. Catharines: WhatsOn June 06, 2017 by Melinda Cheevers,
“Rodman Hall curator wins St. Catharines Arts Award.” The Brock News. June 12, 2017 by Danny Custodio