St. Catharines celebrates the shining lights in their city’s creative community

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Published November 24, 2021 at 3:51 pm

The best and the brightest of the St. Catharines creative community all met at the FirstOntario Performing Art Centre on November 21 for the annual City of St. Catharines Arts Awards.

“A big congratulations to all the recipients and nominees, we can’t thank them enough for sharing their gifts with us and enriching our community,” said City Cultural Services Supervisor Noora Rizvi.

“This year’s award winners represent only a small segment of the hundreds of talented individuals who make the arts happen in St. Catharines. This event is just one of the ways the community expresses its gratitude and shines a light on the artists, arts workers and volunteers who contribute to our vibrant creative city.”

Curtis Tye was chosen for the Arts in Education Award. Judges said he has a diverse background including a career as an actor, director, theatre administrator, classroom educator, consultant, and school principal.

“He is currently teaching future educators at Brock University and is involved with educational initiatives locally with Start Me Up Niagara, Carousel Players and Willow Arts Community.”

Elise Naccarato was selected for the Emerging Artist Award. The judges recognized her as a conductor and vocalist who is deeply involved in the local choral music scene as an apprentice conductor and vocalist for Chorus Niagara and administrative director for the Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir.

“She also assisted in developing the Treble Festival and the Niagara Honours Choir for students with financial barriers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been instrumental in developing digital rehearsals and performance recordings.”

Peter Shea was selected for the Established Artist Award. Judges said he  began his lifelong love affair with music surrounded by a family of musicians and music lovers, and is considered one of Niagara’s eminent jazz pianists, percussionists, vocalists, composers, and arrangers.

“He is passionate about bringing jazz, world music and culture to St. Catharines, through his work as co-creator of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival.”

OPIRG Brock collected the Making a Difference Award. Judges said since 2017, Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Brock has expanded their social justice mandate to include a focus on the arts and has developed many projects that bridge the arts and social justice communities in the city.

“The group partners with local organizations and festivals and have presented performances of The Coming Out Monologues and the Queer & Trans Concert. They support the artistic community by showcasing Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (QTBIPOC) artists-performers.

Jean Bridge won the Jury’s Pick Award. Judges acknowledged that Bridge is a multidisciplinary visual artist and former professor of Digital Humanities at Brock University. In 2019, Bridge helped to create the Rodman Art Institute of Niagara, seeking to advance a new public art gallery project in St. Catharines.

“Her work with the institute aims to develop partnerships and feasibility studies for the gallery project and relocation of the Rodman Hall outdoor sculptures to the downtown core in partnership with the city.”

Several days before the big awards night, Janet Partridge was selected this year’s Patron of the Arts Award winner for her work in supporting the arts and arts facilities in the community.

Arts Awards winners were selected by a jury comprised of past recipients Danny Custodio, Erica Sherwood, Candice Turner-Smith, and awards committee representative Wynne Nicholson.

(The Arts Award winners shown below, courtesy of St. Catharines)

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