Set and Costume Designer
"What makes private arts philanthropy so uniquely special compared to grants, is the opportunity to meet and make those personal connections with the people who are making these philanthropic contributions to organizations and individual artists."
What are you currently doing?
I designed the set and the costumes for a new production of Simon Boccanegra at Pacific Opera Victoria, in collaboration with the wonderful production artists who built it at POV, and I am just working on the set and costume designs for a new production of Turandot that will open at the Helikon Opera in Moscow, Russia in January 2018. After the opening night of Simon Boccanegra, I’ll be heading back home to Toronto after a long year of being on the road a lot, for a much needed mini break, and then back to staying on top of deadlines.
What did receiving the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design mean to you?
Receiving the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design really gave me the confidence to finally own up to being a costume designer in addition to being a set designer. Before then, I did design costumes, but nowhere near with as much confidence as I did designing scenery. I keep in mind the company I am in amongst past winners of this prestigious and unique award and it both keeps me humble as well as pushes me to live up to all of their collective reputations! They provide a very high standard of excellence to constantly strive for and I am extremely honoured to be given the chance to be counted among them.
What does private arts philanthropy mean to you as a working artist?
As a working artist, private arts philanthropy is such an honour to be on the receiving end of such generosity. It means that someone is really noticing and connecting with your work on a personal level and they have an interest in supporting you as an artist. Any support and encouragement along the way is always a huge confidence booster. I’ve never given myself a deadline for “success”; I’m only trying to sustain a long term career in a field that I am passionate about, so receiving such a unique gift has definitely given me some very much needed confidence and financial support to keep going in my constant development as an artist.
What makes private arts philanthropy so uniquely special compared to grants, is the opportunity to meet and make those personal connections with the people who are making these philanthropic contributions to organizations and individual artists. I only wish I could have had the opportunity to meet Virginia Cooper so that I could thank her myself for creating such a unique gift, but I am still very grateful that I was able to meet her close friends that are carrying her gift forward every year.