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City of St. Catharines Arts Awards

2017 Arts Awards | Your City! Your Arts! Your Awards!

Sponsored by Meridian Credit Union

Meridian Credit Union




The recipients of the City of St. Catharines Arts Awards were announced on Monday June 5, 2017 in Cairns Recital Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

2017 Arts Awards Recipients

The 2018 Arts Awards nomination forms will be available in November 2017.

2017 Award Recipients

Arts in Education Award

Sponsored by The Pen Centre

Celebrates an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging St. Catharines residents through arts education activities.

Mendelt Hoekstra

Mendelt HoekstraMendelt was born and raised in St. Catharines and has a degree in music therapy from Capilano University, North Vancouver, BC. He is the founder, musical conductor/artistic director and executive director of Momentum Choir, a group of uniquely talented musicians from Niagara and based in St. Catharines. Momentum Choir is comprised of adults with developmental disabilities, the first choir of its kind in Canada. The choir has performed sold-out shows throughout Niagara. In the fall of 2012 the choir performed at the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Momentum not only provides an outlet for the membership to highlight their talents but promotes inclusion, highlights ability rather than disability, and spreads joy. This year marks Momentum's 10th season. Hoekstra is an advocate for vocal talent with a special twist - hearing Momentum Choir makes you a forever fan.

Emerging Artist Award

Sponsored by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University

Two emerging St. Catharines artists working in any discipline will be recognized, celebrating current accomplishments and future potential.

David Green

David GreenDavid strives to be original and stand out by being a 'clean' comedian specializing in puns and wordplay. He books/promotes/hosts the bi-weekly amateur nights at Showtime Comedy Club and regularly features there on weekends as MC. He is a highly sought after MC for other events, such as the In the Soil Suitcase In Point Cabaret Show and monthly poetry slam nights at Mahtay Café. He organized the annual "Niagara's Top Comic' contest that promoted local talent and produces a monthly comedy showcase at Mahtay Café. David is in the midst of organizing the inaugural Garden City Comedy Festival, a multi-day, multi-venue event. When he is not working a gig, he can be found working on new jokes at open mic nights across the city.



Twitches and Itches Theatre

Twitches and Itches TheatreColin Bruce Anthes and Tom DiMartino founded Twitches and Itches Theatre in 2009. 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.

Established Artist Award

Sponsored by Meridian Credit Union 

For a professional St. Catharines artist in any discipline who has received critical recognition for excellence in their art practice in St. Catharines and beyond. 

Jessica Carmichael

Jessica CarmichaelJessica (Abenaki/Haudenosaunee) is a graduate of the University of Alberta, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King's College London, and The National Theatre School of Canada. She became artistic director of Carousel Players in February 2015 and is a director, dramaturge, actor, playwright and drama educator. She is a past artistic associate with Native Earth Performing Arts and was the program director of their Animikiig Playwriting Unit. Carmichael has made arts education and student involvement in the arts a core tenant of her work at Carousel Players. In the fall of 2016, she created a project called iChild with Carousel Players to bring St Catharines' students into the theatre creation process. This immersive, site-specific performance was developed by students from local elementary and high schools who worked in collaboration with professional artists. Carmichael's commitment to creating the highest quality of professional, respectful, thoughtful, and entertaining theatre for young audiences has been praised by students and teachers alike.

Making A Difference Award

Sponsored by the St. Catharines Downtown Association

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.

Marcie Bronson

Marcie BronsonMarcie 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.

Patron of the Arts Award

Sponsored by Sullivan Mahoney LLP

For an individual or business that has made a meaningful contribution to the arts in St. Catharines through innovative, transformative, and entrepreneurial partnerships or philanthropic investments.

Lancaster, Brooks and Welch LLP

Lancaster, Brooks and Welch LLPLaw firm Lancaster, Brooks and Welch LLP (Harry Thorsteinson, pictured) celebrate their 135th anniversary in 2017. One of oldest law firms in Niagara Lancaster, Brooks and Welch has made significant investments in cultural organizations that serve young people. In 1997, firm members Dave Thomas (Carousel Players' board member for many years) and Harry Thorsteinson both appeared as performers in Carousel's fundraising performance of The Caine Mutiny that raised thousands of dollars for Carousel Players and featured a number of other lawyers from Niagara on stage. In 2012, the firm made a significant contribution to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts which helped to kickstart the university's community campaign. They were the lead donors on local film Hotshots (2016) which celebrates individuals from St. Catharines who have gone on to success in film, television and performing arts.


Lancaster, Brooks and Welch LLP, selected Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) and TD Niagara Jazz Festival to receive the donation portion of their award.

Jury's Pick Award

Sponsored by Anonymous

The Jury's Pick Award is 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.

Gregory Betts

Gregory BettsPoet and author Gregory Betts 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.


Thanks to our community sponsors:

  • Cogeco TV and Niagara This Week (Media Sponsors)
  • Form & Affect (Photography Sponsor)
  • Essential Collective Theatre (Production Sponsor)

A special thank you on behalf of Mayor Walter Sendzik to the following businesses for their support of the Mayor's Art Fund which supports the arts through the St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program

  • Mehan Group (Performance Sponsor)
  • Partridge Wealth Management (Reception Sponsor)
  • Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort (Community Sponsor)
  • Performance Auto Group (Community Sponsor)
  • TAG Art Gallery (Community Sponsor) 


All nominees will be provided with two (2) tickets to the event and a pre-show reception. Award recognition will be presented as follows:

  • Arts in Education, Established Artist, and Making A Difference - a $500 cheque and a beautifully hand-crafted St. Catharines Arts Award
  • Emerging Artists (2) - a $500 cheque and civic certificate of appreciation
  • Patron of the Arts - a beautifully hand-crafted St. Catharines Arts Award and a $500 contribution to be directed to an artist or arts organization of the recipient's choice

First presented in 2005, the Arts Awards celebrate St. Catharines' artists and cultural industries, honour cultural leaders and their achievements, and cultivate support for the arts sector. Arts Award recipients demonstrate St. Catharines' breadth of talent and commitment to the arts.

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines