About the Ontario Arts Foundation

       

Steven Volpe

Visual Artist

Laura Ciruls Painting Award

2016 Recipient

" Receiving the Laura Ciruls Painting Award was the most meaningful accolade in my artistic career. As it was set up through a bequest by Laura, a painter herself, I felt a strong obligation to carry the torch within an extended artistic family."

     

What are you currently doing?

I continue to create figurative paintings that encourage the viewer to observe closely and make connections between elements, all within open-ended narratives. My preference is to add subtly ironic twists to everyday scenes while keeping a comfortable distance from the surreal. Currently, I have paintings in the Focus Gallery in Hamilton and Galerie d’Avignon in Montreal. I also exhibit in local juried shows, most recently with the Ontario Society of Artists where I earned a second place award for a painting entitled “Counterfeiter”.


What did receiving the Laura Ciruls Painting Award mean to you? 

Receiving the Laura Ciruls Painting Award was the most meaningful accolade in my artistic career. As it was set up through a bequest by Laura, a painter herself, I felt a strong obligation to “carry the torch” within an extended artistic family. Some synchronous events added to the emotional component of the award: We were both graphic designers and painters; I received the award at the same age that she was when she passed away; and the year that she passed away was my first year as a full-time painter. Although I never knew Laura, I feel a real sense of connection and gratitude towards her. Additionally, since this isn’t an award that solicits applications, it was a great thrill getting the phone call from Alan Walker, Executive Director of the Ontario Arts Foundation, out of the blue. 

 

What does private arts philanthropy mean to you as a working artist?

It’s reassuring to know that there are philanthropists, both private and corporate, who value the arts and understand that investing in ideas not only carries with it a lasting cultural importance, but it fosters a strong sense of community and affiliation. From my personal experience with art collectors and philanthropists, I have witnessed firsthand their deeply personal appreciation of the visual arts, and their ability to tune out the political and commercial noise to allow in a few insightful voices of the public imagination that resonate with their own sensibilities. I am very grateful that there are people like that who have faith in the very dedicated and often solitary endeavours of an artist.

 

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