The St. Catharines Arts Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in all areas of artistic creation and contribution. First presented in 2005 as part of the City of St. Catharines' Trillium Awards, the list of arts award recipients since then have demonstrated the talent and commitment of the arts in St. Catharines.
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 Design Selection
In June 2014, the City of St. Catharines invited Ontario based artists to submit conceptual designs for a St. Catharines arts award. Designs in all mediums including clay, wood, glass, metal, paper, and ceramic were welcomed. All submissions were reviewed by the Arts Awards Design Selection Panel, and three artist's designs were shortlisted.
The recipients of the City of St. Catharines Arts Awards were announced on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre, Centre for the Arts, Brock University.
The 2015 recipients are listed in each category below.
The Arts in Education Award celebrates an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging St. Catharines residents through arts education activities.
2015 Recipient | Dena Colling Gelentso
Dena is a freelance arts educator and frequently teaches in schools across Niagara, integrating visual arts activities based on teacher directed themes. Dena has led teaching placement at the St. Catharines Museum and co-authored the Traveling Museum Kit which is currently implemented in local elementary schools. She initiated the Discovery Table at the St. Catharines Farmers Market as well as various creative activities in the Fairview Mall. Dena brings a genuine love of life and art to her arts education work, is quick with an encouraging word, and fills a room with her infectious laugh.
The Emerging Artist Award is presented to an emerging St. Catharines artist working in any discipline in celebration of current accomplishments and future potential. Emerging Artists are establishing careers in the arts and are working towards becoming recognized professional artists. The Jury may consider nominees of any age who have recently embarked on an artistic career.
2015 Recipient | Mike Enns
Mike Enns is a filmmaker in the Niagara Region. His first feature-length documentary Restrung premiered at the Niagara International Film Festival (NIFF) in 2014 and won RBC's Emerging Artist Award. Restrung coupled Mike's two loves: filmmaking and music. Along with producing documentaries, Mike works on short films that also collect accolades: Mike was presented with the Top Knotts' 2014 Best Wedding Film award last year. Filmmaking has unveiled numerous opportunities to Mike: he has annually enjoyed being a mentor and contest judge for "Frames," a film competition organized by the District School Board of Niagara; and he volunteered as Technical Director for NIFF's inaugural event. This led to a staff position for NIFF's second year. A storyteller to the core, he continues to search out projects full of heart.
The Established Artist Award is presented to a professional St. Catharines artist in any discipline who has received critical recognition for excellence in their art practice in St. Catharines and beyond. The Jury will consider nominees who have been actively practicing their art form for at least 10 years and whose work has made an impact on the St. Catharines' community.
2015 Recipient | Duncan MacDonald
Duncan MacDonald is a contemporary artist and Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University. His artworks take form in diverse modes such as audio art, performance, video, installation, and drawing. MacDonald received a BFA from York University and an MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. His works have been exhibited, performed, and recorded throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and South America at venues including: Mercer Union Centre for Contemporary Art and the Tranz Tech Media Festival, Toronto; Centro Dragao do Mar de Arte e Cultura, Brazil; and Nuit Blanche in Paris, France. He has received numerous awards and grants and has participated in residencies at La Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France; Royal College of Art, London, England; and the Danish International Visiting Artist Residency in Copenhagen, Denmark. MacDonald currently lives and works in St. Catharines and is represented by p|m Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
The Making a Difference Award celebrates the contribution of a St. Catharines artist, arts administrator, arts entrepreneur or arts organization to the growth and development of the arts in St. Catharines.
2015 Recipient | Debbie Slade
Director for the Centre for the Arts, Brock University since 1987, Debbie has been responsible for the city's primary performing arts venue, staging more than 300 events per year, including 70+ performances by celebrated artists from Canada and around the world. Under Debbie's leadership, the Centre has been a supporter, sponsor and contributor to St. Catharines' performing and visual arts scene. She has served on numerous industry boards and committees locally, provincially and nationally; is a former member of the Cultural Policy Steering Committee, City of St. Catharines; and was a founding committee member and contributor to the development of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Awards include the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Arts and Culture 2001; Community Leader, Women in Business 2010; Presenter of the Year, CCI 2010-2011- Ontario's Presenting Network and Presenter of the Year, Canadian Arts Presenting Association/l'Assocation canadienne des organizmes artistiques (CAPACOA) 2011-2012.
Sponsored by The St. Catharines Downtown Association
The Patron of the Arts Award celebrates an individual or business that has made an important contribution to the arts in St. Catharines through innovative, transformative, and entrepreneurial partnerships and/or philanthropic contributions.
2015 Recipient | Chris Lowes and Catharine Lowes -Mahtay Café
Since opening its doors in August of 2011, owners Chris and Catharine Lowes have worked untiringly to establish Mahtay Café as a community oriented café that also serves as a platform for local artists. Regular programmed events at Mahtay include: monthly gallery exhibits by local artists; the St. Catharines Poetry Slam; SOUND SOUND: an experimental improvised music series; and the Twilight Jazz series. Mahtay has also been a venue for the S.C.E.N.E Music Festival, participated at the In the Soil Arts Festival and has hosted events for the Niagara Literary Arts Festival and the Fulton Graffiti Jam. The Café's mantra, Live Explore Create, is reflected in its eclectic programming and constant support of the many artists that exhibit and perform at the space.
The Volunteer in the Arts Award recognizes the work of a St. Catharines resident who has given their time and energy to one or more arts organizations and in doing so has contributed substantially to enriching the cultural life of the city.
2015 Recipient | Janis A. Barlow
Janis is an arts consultant, specializing in the performing arts. Since 1978, Janis has consulted on the design, rehabilitation and management of over 200 theatres. Her client groups have included governments, real estate developers, funding agencies and theatre producers and proprietors throughout Canada and the United States. Her background combines comprehensive project planning and management experience with education and training in theatre, sociology, architectural technology and group facilitation. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Theatre Alliance, the World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre and the Theatre Museum Canada. Locally, she has provided paid and pro bono services to Carousel Players, Niagara Artists Centre, Stray Theatre, Chorus Niagara, Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Suitcase in Point, Essential Collective Theatre, Gallery Players of Niagara and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
It is the goal of the Arts Awards Design Selection Panel to select the new St. Catharines Arts Award design in the fall of 2015. The three shortlisted designs are on display at the St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre for the summer months, allowing residents an opportunity to view all three designs, and share their feedback with City staff.
One of these three designs will become the iconic representation of the awards program for a minimum of ten years. The successful design will be the new award presented at the 2016 St. Catharines Arts Awards ceremony, to take place in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
Complete our St. Catharines Arts Award Design Prototypes survey.
Clayton Haigh is an emerging glass artist and a native of St. Catharines. Haigh apprenticed with Angelo Rossi and was an artist-in-residence at Harbourfront Centre. His company, Balance Glassworks of Toronto, produces a line of functional and decorative handmade glass with a minimalist aesthetic. Haigh draws inspiration from the curiosities of everyday life.
As an artist originally from St. Catharines, I believe that my work is permanently marked by my experience growing up here. Now, living in Toronto and working in my chosen medium of glass, I am excited at the chance to put a mark of my own on the St. Catharines arts community. My design speaks to the permanence of the St. Catharines arts community as well as its fluidity. The ovoid form is inherently tactile and brings to mind themes of incubation and birth. The harsh cuts and polished windows stand in contrast to the organic influences, and allow the viewer to see into the three dimensional form that is suspended inside.
Teresa Seaton is a stained-glass artist who works in her studio-gallery located across from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. Teresa creates dynamic landscape and floral designs. Her uniquely sculptural work is a trademark, featuring multiple layers of panels and glass with spun wire incorporated as a structural element and design accent.
St. Catharines is a unique city with a proud history of arts and culture. Nestled between Lake Ontario to the north and the Niagara region to the east, its culture is both diverse and renowned. I have tried to capture elements of change, longevity and a sense of community in my design that will reflect the light of the city's past as well as its path to the future. My design incorporates three panels, each representing the rich heritage and the many artistic disciplines present in St. Catharines. The first panel is dedicated to the performing arts, which include dance, theatre, and music, the second panel captures the beauty of the region that helps define the community, and the third panel is dedicated to the visual, literary, and contemporary arts. I have assembled these three panels into an arch, so that the St. Catharines community is reflected behind the panels that embody the arts. Just as community influences an artist's work, the back panels will reflect onto the two front panels, having the same effect, but with light.
Steven Tippin is a glass artist living and working in Wellesley, Ontario. He is currently the Vice President and the Ontario representative for the Glass Art Association of Canada. Steven's glass works draw inspiration from grainy black and white photography, halftone print media, and various drawing processes.
My concept for this design reflects the St. Catharines community, its history as well as the organizational body that has awarded it. I have incorporated the historic Port Dalhousie lighthouse, a beacon that serves both the inhabitants of the region and its welcomed visitors, into my design. The grey panel in the background forms a subtle contrast to the imagery of the lighthouse. The top edge of each award, which is reminiscent of a shoreline, will be different to recognize the uniqueness of each recipient.