Photo Credit: Amauri Meija via Unsplash

 

St. Catharines’ annual Arts Awards returned last Sunday in a new online format. The event, which was hosted by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC), capped off a month of Culture Days celebrations in the city.

 

Aimed at celebrating excellence in all areas of artistic creation, the awards seek not only to recognize artistic talent, but to promote the growing arts scene in St. Catharines. Awards were presented to recognize creators as well as those that supported them through their leadership, financial assistance and volunteer efforts.

 

“Culture has exploded in our city, it’s such a diverse community and it shows, everywhere you look, artists and their supporters are stepping up to make our community a dynamic, vibrant and inclusive space to live,” said Kathleen Powell, acting supervisor of Cultural Services in St. Catharines. “It’s important we recognize all these efforts, not only to thank the artists themselves, but to promote and expand the cultural landscape of our city.”

 

Major award categories included: the Arts in Education award sponsored by the City of St. Catharines, which recognizes a commitment to arts education; the Emerging Artist award which recognizes a new artist, their accomplishments and their potential; the Established Artist award, which is presented to an artist who has spent a decade or more creating in St. Catharines; the Making a Difference award which recognizes leadership and innovation in the growth and development of arts and culture and is sponsored by the Pen Centre and Jury’s Pick.

 

The winners of this year’s awards were as follows:

Arts in Education – Children’s author and teacher Kari-Lynn Winters

Emerging Artist – Multi-disciplinary artist Erica Sherwood

Established Artist – Photo-based artist Danny Custodio

Making a Difference – Jazz singer Juliet Dunn

Jury’s Pick – Arts administrator Candice Turner-Smith

 

The PAC streamed the awards via their YouTube channel and Facebook page. Viewers were treated to not only an award ceremony but also entertainment from an array of local talent. An additional performance was given by Making a Difference Award nominee Juliet Dunn, who performed from the PAC’s Partridge Hall Stage along with another singer, Peter Shea.

 

Jessica Wilson, who won the Emerging Artist award in 2018, played the role of host to the online edition of the awards this year.

 

“I was beyond honoured to receive the 2018 award and I’m excited to step up to host [this year]. It is flattering to be recognized with the role given how talented and diverse culture is in the city,” said Wilson. “For artists, recognition like this can be so important. It’s nice to know our work is not only being received but that it is being recognized.”

 

Though the event has passed, interested individuals are still able to view the ceremony on the PAC’s YouTube channel. Additionally, those who desire to engage with the centre outside of this event are encouraged to do so through their website. 

For more details on the awards, including this year’s winners, interested individuals can visit www.stcatharines.ca/ArtsAwards. To view the ceremony, visit PAC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/FirstOntarioPerformingArtsCentre. Individuals who wish to engage with PAC can visit www.firstontariopac.ca.