The St. Catharines Arts Awards

I had the benefit of attending the 2019 St. Catharines Arts Awards on Friday night – a great rundown from city hall here:

The City of St. Catharines continues to celebrate excellence in the arts community.

On Friday, May 3, the City recognized the 2019 Arts Awards recipients during a special event at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, the City’s home for arts and culture in downtown St. Catharines.

The 2019 St. Catharines Arts Awards recipients are:

  • Arts in Education Award, sponsored by the St. Catharines Downtown Association: Amanda Nelli.
  • Emerging Artist Award, sponsored by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University (two recipients): Ola Kiermacz; Mel Monaco.
  • Established Artist Award, sponsored by Meridian Credit Union: Clelia Scala.
  • Making a Difference Award, sponsored by the Pen Centre: Mark Elliott.
  • Patron of the Arts Award, sponsored by Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery: Joe and Anita Robertson, in Memoriam.
  • Jury’s Pick Award, anonymously sponsored: Ayo Adewumi.

“Congratulations to the recipients and nominees of this year’s awards. Their dedication and outstanding achievements contribute significantly to the vibrant arts scene in St. Catharines,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. “Our arts community connects people, fosters social interaction and builds communities through its passion and dedication to its craft.”

The Jury’s Pick Award is presented at the jury’s discretion to an individual, collective or organization nominated in any category but not already receiving an award. The recipient must have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the arts in St. Catharines. The jury decides on a yearly basis whether or not the Jury’s Pick Award will be presented.

Previous Arts Awards recipient Patricia Vanstone, artistic director of the Foster Festival hosted the evening while Arts Awards nominees, PK Hummingbird, Amanda Nelli with Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir, Ola Kiermacz, Ayo Adewumi, Juliet Dunn, and members of Willow Arts Community treated attendees to fantastic live performances.

Incidental music for the evening was provided by nominee 2018 recipient Jessica Wilson.

Arts Awards recipients each received a hand-crafted award and $500 to support future projects. Emerging Artist recipients received $500 and a civic certificate. Arts Awards winners were selected by a jury comprised of past recipients Mendelt Hoekstra, Debbie Slade and Dr. Peter Vietgen.

Nominees and community sponsors were also celebrated before the Arts Awards at the Mayor’s Arts Fund Reception, an annual fundraiser that supports the arts through the St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program. Nominees Mel Monaco and Clelia Scala entertained the reception guests. Since 2016 the Mayor’s Art Fund Reception has raised $60,000 for SCCIP. The 2019 reception was sponsored by Meridian Credit Union, The Mehan Group, RBC Partridge Wealth Management, Niagara Casinos,
Performance Auto Group, CAA Niagara, and the Yellow Pear.

Since its start in 2005, the Arts Awards have increased the visibility of St. Catharines’ artists and cultural industries, honoured cultural leaders and cultivated financial and volunteer support for the arts sector.