City of St. Catharines Arts Awards

arts awards

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.

2020 Event Details

On Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 the Arts Awards went virtual!

The awards were celebrated live online as a co-presentation by the City of St. Catharines with presenting partner FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

Hosted by Jessica Wilson, our 2018 Emerging Artist Recipient and featuring performances by 2020 nominee Juliet Dunn accompanied by Peter Shea.

Watch the live-stream recording online on the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Youtube:

Or on Facebook:

(Click here) for the digital event program.

 2020 Arts Awards Recipients

The 2020 Arts in Education recipient Kari-Lynn Winters is an award-winning children’s author, playwright, poet, performer, and academic scholar. An experienced teacher of writing, she has worked with students across North America and currently teaches Drama in Education to future educators at Brock University. 


The Emerging Artist recipient Erica Sherwood is a multi-disciplinary artist who has held roles as a director, actor, editor, producer, marketer, promoter, camera operator, cohost, organizer, singer, improviser, film-maker and sound designer. She has received critical recognition for her work both as an actor and film-maker. Erica frequently collaborates with local organizations and has created a youth film initiative/non profit ‘Jarico Films’ to promote youth involvement in film in Niagara.


The Established Artist recipient Danny Custodio is a photo-based artist who has been living and working in St. Catharines since 2009. Beginning with his studies of Photography, Custodio has developed a rigorous practice that explores his familial histories and cultural traditions. His work has been presented in exhibitions throughout North America and is held in many collections. Custodio’s most recent works: ‘Flower Carpets/Tapetes Floridos’, were featured in solo exhibitions at Rodman Hall Art Centre and Smokestack Gallery.


The Making a Difference recipient 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 throughout the year. Juliet is a performer herself, known widely for her talents as a Jazz singer and actress.


The Jury’s Pick recipient Candice Turner-Smith is an arts administrator who is known for serving as the Executive Director of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra from 2012 until her retirement in 2019. Since leaving the Niagara Symphony, Candice is once again focussed on her extensive consulting career, working with many organizations including The Foster Festival, Bravo Niagara, Carousel Players, Chorus Niagara and Music Niagara, just to name a few. Candice was originally nominated in the Making a Difference Category.

2020 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 in the following categories: 

 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.

2020 Nominees:

Steven Azzopardi | Visual Arts Education

Jean Paul (JP) Dupont | Music Education

Katia Perez Mendez | Visual Arts Education

Curtis Tye | Performing Arts Education

Willow Arts Community | Multi-Disciplinary Arts Education

Kari-Lynn Winters | Literary and Performing Arts Education


Sponsored by: The St. Catharines Downtown Association

 Emerging Artist Award

The Emerging Artist Award is presented to an emerging St. Catharines artist 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 and who have been practicing their art form for less than 10 years.

2020 Nominees:

Kate Gottli | Visual Arts

Erica Sherwood | Media/Film

Colleen McTigue | Visual Arts


Sponsored by: Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery

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.

2020 Nominees:

Danny Custodio | Visual Arts

Floyd Elzinga | Visual Arts

and Jon Shaw | Visual Arts

Sponsored by: The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

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.

2020 Nominees:

Mazie Bishop | Artisan Market Organizer

Juliet Dunn | Founder, TD Niagara Jazz Festival

Bart Gazzola | Art Writing | The Sound STC

Thomas (Tom) Inglis | Music Direction

Alison Thomson | Music Librarian

Candice Turner-Smith | Formerly Executive Director, Niagara Symphony Orchestra


Sponsored by: the Pen Centre.

Jury's Pick Award

Each year we provide the Jury the opportunity to present the Jury's Pick award, at the Jury's discretion. This recipient is selected from an outstanding nomination not recognized in their category. The individual, collective or organization will have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the arts in St. Catharines.

Recipient to be announced during the Awards Presentation.

Sponsored by an anonymous donor - thank-you!

 General Eligibiliy Criteria for Nominees

  • All nominees must be St. Catharines residents, or have made a consistent, significant and recent contribution to the arts in St. Catharines, or a significant portion of their practice is based in St. Catharines. 
  • Note: owner / tenant of land in St. Catharines will also be considered a “resident.”
  • All nominations are screened to ensure eligibility.
  • Posthumous nominations will be considered.
  • Nominations may be submitted by an individual or organization.
  • Only nominations received between November 1, 2019 and December 13, 2019 will be considered for the 2020 Awards.
  • Nominators may make one nomination per year in each of the 5 award categories.
  • Nominators may not nominate themselves for an award.
  • Nominees must consent to the use of photos and biographical material to be used for promotions.
  • The Arts Awards are not grants. The receipt of an Arts Award is not a requirement for the rewarding of any municipal grants.
  • The City of St. Catharines reserves the right to accept or reject nominations and reserves the right to accept or reject any or all nominations in a particular category.
  • Proposed nominees must score a minimum of 60% average from the Jury to move forward and be confirmed as an award nominee.
  • The City reserves the right to cancel any and/or all awards at any time.
  • Please see detailed eligibility for each category below.

Please consult the "Nomination Guidelines" (click here) for detailed eligibility criteria and Jury Scoring Criteria.

The Awards Jury

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. The Jury will remain anonymous until event day.

Please consult the "Nomination Guidelines" (click here) for detailed eligibility criteria and Jury Scoring Criteria.


sponsor thank you


Previous Awards Recipients & Sponsors

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

  • 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

We would like to thank the following event sponsors for their support of our 2019 event:

Meridian Credit Union, The Foster Festival, Flashbox Photography, Niagara This Week, YourTV / Cogeco, Mehan Group, Partridge Wealth Management, Performance Auto Group, CAA Niagara, Niagara Casino's, The Yellow Pear, Chocolates Etc.

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. 

And the Award Designer – Clayton Haigh of Balance Glassworks.

For More Information


Michelle Nicholls
Culture Coordinator
Telephone: 905.688.5601 ext 5232.

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