City Announces 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards Recipients

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Kingston City Hall

Last evening at a ceremony in Memorial Hall in Kingston City Hall, Mayor Bryan Paterson presented Mayor’s Arts Awards to five recipients. The award winners will be recognized formally at city council this evening.

“Congratulations to all the recipients of the inaugural Mayor’s Arts Awards! It was an absolute pleasure to recognize individuals who champion the arts in Kingston and who have contributed to the character and the vitality of our community in such diverse ways!” says Mayor Paterson.

The Mayor’s Arts Awards will be an annual recognition program that celebrates artistic achievement and recognizes extraordinary contributions in and to the arts. By increasing the profile and appreciation of the arts, the awards enhance the cultural vitality and civic identity of Kingston. Through this program, the City affirms the value of the arts in City life, and nurtures and inspires sustained development of the cultural sector to the benefit of all its citizens.

The City administered the Mayor’s Arts Awards program and worked in collaboration with the Kingston Arts Council (KAC) who led the documentation and promotion of the award recipients.

2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards recipients

Creator Awards
The Creator Award recognizes living artists, artistic collectives, or arts organizations. Three Creator Awards will be given each year to honour artistic merit and/or innovation that advances the arts in the city, contributes to the development of the art form and expresses the cultural vitality of Kingston.

The first Creator Award recipient is Armand Garnet Ruffo.

Ruffo is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) scholar, filmmaker, writer and poet. He is the Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Literature and teaches creative writing, supporting and inspiring generations of new writers in the development of their craft. His writing and his filmmaking are both award-winning. Armand has published five books (poetry and prose), three plays and has written, directed and produced a short film and a feature film. His monograph on the Indigenous painter Norval Morisseau is a seminal achievement. Armand’s subtle and personal poetry collection, The Thunderbird Poems (2015), inspired by Morrisseau’s work, embodies multi-disciplinary and research-creation. The recognition that Armand’s work has received and his ongoing support of other artists and the literary community, inspire other creators, particularly Indigenous artists.

The second Creator Award recipient is Su Sheedy.

Sheedy began painting in 2001 and has marshalled her fascination with surface effects and her assured colour sense into a substantial art practice, exhibiting in Kingston, Toronto, Prince Edward County, Ottawa and Montreal, and has been active with the organization of Kingston Women Artists, Kingston Arts Council and, notably, in activist work with Lake Ontario Waterkeepers.

The heavily worked, light-filled surfaces of her art evoke natural processes, often expressing Su’s passion for natural waterways and wetlands. The artistic merit of her work is matched by her generous leadership in inspiring visual, media and audio artists to mobilize for conservation of, and public access to, Kingston’s waterfront in the high-impact Shoreline Shuffle (2013) public art and action event, and through subsequent exhibitions and actions at the Pump House Steam Museum (2014) and the Tett Centre (2017).


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The third Creator Award recipient is Matt Rogalsky.

Matt Rogalsky has specialized as a media artist in electronic and electroacoustic music for the past dozen years. He has composed, created and performed locally and across North America and Europe. A founding member of The Gertrudes, he is also the force behind the successful Tone Deaf Festival of Experimental Sound and numerous smaller performance series such as Musical Chairs and is a key member of the board of the Skeleton Park Arts Festival. Talented and widely respected, Matt provides his technical and artistic expertise and encouragement to an enormous range of art activities in Kingston, spanning visual and performance art, storytelling, classical to experimental music, film and theatre.

Arts Champion Award
The Arts Champion Award (medallion and certificate) recognizes a living individual, organization or corporation making an extraordinary, leading contribution to the arts in Kingston as a volunteer, advocate, supporter, sponsor and/or philanthropist.

The Arts Champion Award recipient is Yessica Rivera Belsham.

Belsham is a multi-disciplinary artist with a deep passion for culture, the arts, community spirit, humanitarian work, holistic care and wellness, dance, drumming, and singing. An alumni of OCAD University (formerly Ontario College Art & Design), Yessica widely shares and engages people in her passion for her own Mexican heritage. Working in the intersection of painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry design, sewing, drumming and singing, Yessica facilitates inclusive holistic performance workshops and cultural events throughout the Kingston community.

Yessica has been a drummer and dancer in countries around the world. She has a background in health care and creative arts, rooted in her healing arts practice which she utilizes in the programs of Circle of Wellness, which she founded, and which offers inclusive intergenerational cultural artistic opportunities such as Kingston Drum Circle, Rhythm Momentum, the annual Dia de los Muertos Kingston Festival, and Quetzalcoatl: a celebration of the arts of Mexico.

Limestone Arts Legacy Award
The Limestone Arts Legacy Award recognizes individuals from the past whose sustained and substantial contributions have built the artistic vitality of the city, nurturing and enabling forms of creation, participation, presentation and enjoyment, whose leadership has inspired others, and whose influence has been felt in the region and beyond.

David Kemp is this year’s Limestone Arts Legacy Award recipient.

David was an accomplished playwright, theatre artist and educator who advocated for theatre education for all ages. He brought arts to the people and people to the arts. David was the artistic director of the Frontenac Children’s Teacher’s Theatre Company, which performed children’s theatre at local schools. In co-founding the Artists in Community Education program (ACE), which provides practicing artists with the teaching tools they needed to pursue classroom, community outreach and arts leadership careers, he has inspired successive generations of youth while integrating artistic practices in all disciplines with community life, making Kingston a leading centre for arts education.

Video profiles were created by Make Hay Media.

For more information about the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards recipients, please visit the City’s Mayor’s Arts Awards page.


Release source: City of Kingston
PhotoDoug Kerr (cc)