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City of St. Catharines Arts Awards

Arts Awards: 2019 nominations open

Your City. Your Arts. Your Awards.

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.

The 2019 recipients of the City of St. Catharines Arts Awards were recognized on Friday, May 3, 2019, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. 

2019 Recipients

This year’s recipients are…

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

2019 Nominees

These amazing artists, administrators and volunteers will be recognized to represent the St. Catharines community through their commitment, talent, and contribution to the community. 

 Arts in Education Award

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.

Sponsored by the St. Catharines Downtown Association


PERFORMING with Chorus Niagara Children's Choir | As the Artistic Director of the Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir, Amanda Nelli teaches over eighty local youth vocal music skills and performance development. She has organized festivals and outreach for students that celebrate learning, collaboration, and the love of choral music.

Joe Norris has pioneered the use of the arts as a research method as an author, and Chair of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) Dramatic Arts department. Locally, he teaches the medium of theatre through playful, creative and participatory methods, providing workshops for his students, and organizing drama performances.

PERFORMING | PK Hummingbird (Patrick Nunes and Kay Charles) teaches youth in the region about the culture of their native Trinidad and Tobago through the exploration of steel drum music. They provide hands-on workshops at many local schools, and teach leadership skills, as well as engaging their youth members in public performances.

Danielle Wilson is invested in local theatre education, teaching voice and acting. She takes inspiration from her students, who offer her the chance to open up spaces of experimentation, reflection, and evaluation. She is a co-founder of the Stolen Theatre Collective, and is involved with Essential Collective Theatre.

 Emerging Artist Award

The Emerging Artist Award is presented to two emerging St. Catharines artists working in any discipline to celebrate current accomplishments and future potential. Emerging Artists are establishing careers in their field and are working to become recognized professional artists. The Jury will consider nominees who are 18 years or older, who are based and active in
St. Catharines.

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


Kylie Haveron is a graduate of the Visual Arts Program at Brock University, recently exhibiting her first solo show “Not Dark Yet”. Through painting, drawing and sculpture, her work explores how abstract figures can also represent emotion and human behaviour.

Rea Kelly is a visual artist and poet and who incorporates her illustrative style and a fascination with architecture and psychology into her work. She also highlights the often forgotten historical buildings of downtown St. Catharines.

PERFORMING | Ola Kiermacz explores both songwriting and performing in her unique style that she describes as “a little bit of everything.” She gives back to her community by donating proceeds from her songs to local charities and collaborating with her peers through music creation and presenting performance events. 

PERFORMING | Mel Monaco is a singer / songwriter with a unique R&B / soul / pop sound who also plays both guitar and piano. Mel finds inspiration from the people she encounters, turning those experiences in to lyrical memories in her music. 

Established Artist Award

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.

Sponsored by Meridian Credit Union


Ayo Adewumi is a professional filmmaker, director, stage manager and actor who is passionate about sharing his Nigerian culture with our community. He has won numerous international awards for his films, and his full-length documentary “Wilma” explores the connection of the Underground Railroad to Niagara.  

Colin Bruce Anthes is a critically acclaimed artistic director and producer, who is committed to creating original theatrical works. He provides grass-roots community engagement, and supports the development of emerging artists through his work with both Twitches & Itches and Essential Collective Theatre groups.

Working primarily with oils on canvas, Wayne Corlis showcases the potential for expression through colour and texture. His works can be found in galleries and collections internationally, and he is mentoring the next generation of artists through his teaching.

Geoff Farnsworth paints the relationships between the figurative and abstract while expressing the unconscious mind through a vibrant colour palette. Geoff’s work has been shown widely across Canada and internationally and can be found in many galleries and private collections.

Clelia Scala is a mask and puppet designer, installation artist, illustrator and puppeteer. She also teaches these skills locally to high school students and participants at the Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre. 

Making a Difference Award

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.

Sponsored by the Pen Centre


Rhiannon Barry is a visual artist who has a deep love for her community and making a difference. She is passionate about providing arts engagement activities to our residents through programs at the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre and as part of Culture Days.

PERFORMING | Juliet Dunn is the co-founder and executive director of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival, which celebrates the art of jazz across the Niagara Region, presenting internationally acclaimed musicians, and showcasing local performers at a variety of events. She is a performer herself, known widely for her musical talents and expertise as a jazz singer.

Mark Elliott is a practicing visual artist who has been an avid supporter of the arts in St. Catharines for many years. He believes in downtown revitalization and champions the importance of culture in our community. His work has provided the city with transformative public features such as the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and the Meridian Centre.

Through her curatorial work, Emma German encourages new ways of thinking about the act of viewing art and explores her exhibition spaces as sites of embodied experimentation. Her recent projects aim to showcase our local cultural and artistic history.

Chris Illich created The Sound STC as a way to connect artists and art supporters, while recognizing the diverse talent of our arts community. With 4,500 copies published monthly, his free newspaper is one of the leading sources of arts and culture in Niagara.

Laurie Sadowski is the first Arts in Medicine Coordinator at Niagara Health, where she develops, researches, and facilitates programs using both art and music. She is currently linking multidisciplinary artists and musicians with the community through her programs.

Jeanette Tossounian is an artist, author and activist, who has recently delved into the world of filmmaking. Her sculptural and literary works are heavily influenced by her surroundings, as she allows her creations to come to life from the depths of her soul.

PERFORMING | Established in 2015, the Willow Arts Community is a non-profit arts and mental health organization operating in partnership with Rodman Hall Art Centre. They support the creative goals of aspiring, emerging, and established artists with lived experience of mental health/addictions by providing a safe, nurturing environment where artistic projects, professional opportunities and personal and professional networks are developed and fostered. 

Patron of the Arts Award

The Patron of the Arts Award celebrates 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.

Sponsored by Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.

Nominee: Joe and Anita Robertson


Jury's Pick Award

The Jury’s Pick Award, graciously sponsored by an anonymous donor… to whom we say thank you!

Selected from an outstanding nominee, from any category, not already recognized.

Event Details

2019 Sponsors

We would like to thank the following event sponsors for their support:

Meridian Credit Union | Event Sponsor

The Foster Festival | Production Sponsor

Flashbox Photography | Photography Sponsor

Niagara This Week | Print Media Sponsor

YourTV / Cogeco | Broadcast Media Sponsor

And the Award Designer – Clayton Haigh of Balance Glassworks.


We would also like to thank the Mayor's Art Fund Reception sponsors for their support:

Mehan Group | Performance Sponsor

Partridge Wealth Management | Reception Sponsor

Performance Auto Group, CAA Niagara, Niagara Casino's | Community Sponsors

The Yellow Pear | Catering Sponsor

Chocolates Etc. | Chocolate Sponsor


And the Award Sponsors:

The St. Catharines Downtown Association, Marilyn l. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Meridian Credit Union, The Pen Centre, and Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. 


 Nominee and Recipient Recognition

All nominees will be provided with two 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 

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 (click for past recipients list) demonstrate St. Catharines' breadth of talent and commitment to the arts.


All nominations will be evaluated by an independent jury comprised of three artists and/or arts professionals. The jury will be chaired by a member of the Arts Awards Subcommittee and will select the award recipients. All decisions of the jury are final.

Event Tickets 

Tickets for the 2020 event will be available in Spring 2020.

For More Information


Michelle Nicholls
Culture Coordinator
Telephone: 905.688.5601 ext 5232.

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