OAF News

2017 K.M. Hunter Artist Awards Winners Announced

Toronto, April 4, 2017 – The winners of the 2017 K.M. Hunter Artist Awards were announced today. The six winners will be honoured by the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation at an event at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto later in May.

A prize of $8,000 was awarded in each of six arts disciplines to:

Dance   Apolonia Velasquez, Toronto
Literature        Marianne Apostolides, Toronto
Media Arts   Elizabeth Lazebnik, Toronto
Music (world music)   Jaron Freeman-Fox, Toronto
Theatre   Claire Calnan, Hamilton
Visual Arts   Maura Doyle, Ottawa

The annual awards are given to Ontario residents to support mid-career, professional artists who have a reasonable body of work, a fair degree of public exposure, have made an impact in their chosen field and demonstrate an original artistic voice within their artistic tradition.  The awards are a means of encouraging their craft and propelling them to the next level.

“We are very impressed at the caliber of artists our awards attract and wish all the winners this year great success in the pursuit of their work,” says Sarah Hunter, President, K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation. “We also would like to thank Eleanor Hart, Damiano Pietropaolo, and Bernard Leroux in helping chair our juries this year.  We welcome this year's winners into the growing family of artists who have received the K.M. Hunter Artist Awards.” 

Since the awards were created in 1995, 133 artists have received awards totaling $892,500.

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Awards Office administers the nomination process for the K.M. Hunter Artist Awards.  OAC juries nominate candidates from OAC project grant programs that accept applications from professional artists in each of the Award categories. The K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation convenes six juries to select the winners of the awards.  The awards are financed by a gift from the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation to the Ontario Arts Foundation.

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For more information, please contact:

Alan Walker
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation     
(416) 969-7413, awalker@arts.on.ca
Sarah Hunter
President, K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation


The K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation is committed to supporting organizations in Social Services, the Arts, the LGBTQ community, homeless and disadvantaged youth, Aboriginal voices, Women, and Environmental Issues. 

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2015-2016, OAC funded 1,676 individual artists and 1,125 organizations in 209 Ontario communities, for a total of $50.5 million.

Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2015-2016, the OAF paid over $3.0 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships."

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Kimberley Rampersad awarded Gina’s Prize for 2017

Toronto  – March 10, 2017 – The Gina Wilkinson Prize Committee is pleased to announce that Kimberley Rampersad of Winnipeg, Manitoba is the recipient of the sixth annual Gina Wilkinson Prize for an Emerging Female Director.

Kimberley Rampersad has been working as an actor over the last twenty years. Her growth as an artist has lead to choreography and now direction. She has participated as a director in the Mentor-Apprentice program (Obsidian), the Jean Murray - Moray Sinclair Apprenticeship (RMTC), and as both director and choreographer as an Artist-in-Residence (Rainbow Stage). Her credits this season include directing Routes (MTYP), and choreographing Seussical: The Musical (YPT), Passing Strange (Acting Up Stage/Obsidian) and Bittergirl: The Musical (RMTC).

"The encouragement this gives me - being acknowledged by the committee as an artist capable of making a meaningful contribution to our craft - is beyond measure. The extraordinary spirit of Gina is embodied in this honour and I am humbled to be touched by her magic, and to be in the company of the nominees and past recipients. Thank you to Steven Schipper and RMTC for the nomination, along with Pablo Felices-Luna, and Philip Akin for his continued mentorship."

Ms. Rampersad was selected from a short list that includes Tamara Brown, (Montreal), Kim Harvey, (Vancouver) and Severn Thompson (Toronto). See bios below.

The Committee received twenty three nominations from across the country and was thrilled by the calibre of the artists vying for the Prize. The nominations spoke to an incredibly diverse, intelligent and passionate group of artists who, as emerging directors, are clearly dedicated to creating not only a lively, rigorous and positive environment for theatre-making but also to providing audiences in their communities with theatre experiences of the highest order.

Gina's Prize honours a Canadian female theatre artist who is transitioning from one theatre discipline (acting, stage managing, playwriting, administration, etc.) to that of directing. The Prize pays tribute to actor/playwright/director Gina Wilkinson, who passed away in 2010, and whose dedication, vision and indomitable spirit imbued her work and her life. An actor for over twenty years, Ms Wilkinson began turning her attention to both writing and directing and, in the last few years of her too-short life, established herself as a daring, strong, inventive director and collaborator in the Canadian theatre. In the spirit of Ms Wilkinson's appetite for life, the Prize of $5,000 is a gift to be used in any way the recipient chooses.

Tamara Brown is an Montreal-based actress, singer, director, and poet with a love for storytelling, geekery, and social justice. Co -founder of Montreal’s Metachroma Theatre, her favourite acting credits include Afrika Solo, The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (Black Theatre Workshop/Centaur Theatre/NAC), Richard III (Metachroma), Robin Hood (Geordie Productions), and Da Kink In My Hair (Theatre Calgary/NAC).TV credits include Helix, Quantico, The Art of More, This Life, 19-2, The Game,Gothica, LARPs: The Webseries, and video games for Eidos Ubisoft. As a director, her work has been seen in Toronto, Winnipeg, New York, Stratford, and Montreal. Her most recent work, Black Theatre Workshop's 2017 TYA production of Bluenose, a musical comedy written by Emil Sher, currently touring elementary and high schools in Montreal.

Kim Harvey is from the Tshilqot'in, Syilx, Kutenai, Dakelh and Canada Nations and has spent the last 10 years working across Canada as an Actor. Kim is excited to be working with Savage Society, Rumble Theatre, Western Canada Theatre, the Arts Club, Bard on the Beach, Urban Ink and The Cultch in Directing and Assistant Directing roles. She is deeply invested in community and youth engagement and is currently the Youth Program Manager at The Cultch, she’s worked on the Mayors Task Force for Mental Health and Addiction as well as the City of Vancouver's Urban Aboriginal Peoples Advisory Committee. Kim believes in equitable opportunity and looks forward to more women and minorities being decision makers in the Canadian Theatre community.

As an actor, Severn Thompson has performed in theatres across the country including several seasons at both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals. This past winter, she completed a tour performing the title role in Elle, a play that she also adapted (Dora nominated). She is an acting graduate of the National Theatre School as well as Stratford’s Birmingham Conservatory. Most recently, Severn directed a musical production of Peter Pan for Bad Hats Theatre that toured Toronto breweries. Other directing credits include Madam Mao (SummerWorks and remount), Beyond the Farm Show (Blyth Festival), and The Munsch Bunch (George Brown). Severn has recently been announced as Blyth Festival’s Associate Artistic Director and will be directing the collectively created play, ”The Pigeon King” for Blyth’s upcoming season.

The past recipients of Gina's Prize are Ann-Marie Kerr of Halifax, Krista Jackson of Winnipeg, Christine Brubaker of Toronto, Valerie Planche of Calgary, and Kelli Fox of Toronto.

The Gina Wilkinson Prize was established through the generous support of Gina's colleagues and admirers from across the country. The Committee (Micheline Chevrier, Bonnie Green, Eda Holmes, Krista Jackson, Jackie Maxwell, Tom Rooney and Bob White) extends its heartfelt thanks to all those supporters. Through their incredible generosity, the spirit of Gina lives on.

The Committee would also like to thank Alan Walker and the Ontario Arts Foundation for their administration of the Gina Wilkinson Prize. Anyone wishing to donate may do so at www.ontarioartsfoundation.on.ca.


For further information, on the Gina Wilkinson Prize:
Tom Rooney

Ontario Arts Foundation contact:
Alan Walker
Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation
T. 416-969-7413


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Ontario Arts Foundation disburses $3.2 million to arts organizations across Ontario

Toronto - March 9, 2017 - The Ontario Arts Foundation announced today $ 3.2 million in endowment income payments have been made to 260 arts organizations in over 60 communities across the Province of Ontario. The annual payout represents income earned on endowments created by arts organizations and funded jointly by the private sector and the government through two matching programs:  the Arts Endowment Fund, and the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, Endowment Incentives Component.

“The Ontario Arts Foundation is pleased to make the annual disbursement of income from the endowment funds established under the federal and provincial matching programs,” says Anthony Graham, Board Chair, Ontario Arts Foundation.  “Matching programs provide arts organizations and their donors the satisfaction of knowing their gifts have been leveraged for an arts organization's long-term benefit.  The Foundation is available to assist organizations that are interested in making endowment building a part of their fundraising activities.”

Arts Endowment Fund (AEF)
The Arts Endowment Fund (AEF) is a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation.  Under the AEF Program, money raised for endowment was matched, dollar for dollar, up to a predetermined maximum. Each year organizations receive income to be used for their ongoing operations. The Province of Ontario committed $60 million in matching funds between 1998 and 2008. Since inception, over $68 million in income has been paid from the endowment funds to Ontario arts organizations. Endowments established under the AEF Program now total over
$145 million

Canada Cultural Investment Fund - Endowment Incentives
The Canada Cultural Investment Fund - Endowment Incentives Component is a program of the Department of Canadian Heritage that provides matching funds of up to one dollar for every dollar raised privately for endowment.  Since its inception in 2001-2002, the Endowment Incentives Component has provided a total of $212 million in matching grants, leveraging private sector donations of $276 million, for a total of $488 million invested in public charitable foundations and benefitting the long-term financial health of 189 arts organizations across Canada. 


For further information, please contact:

Alan Walker
Executive Director Ontario Arts Foundation
T. 416-969-7413 awalker@arts.on.ca

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2015-2016, the OAF paid over $3.0 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

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