OAF News

Composer Suad Bushnaq is awarded the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award

Toronto, January 17, 2022 -  Suad Bushnaq (Toronto) is the recipient of this year’s $10,000 Kathleen McMorrow Music Award. The award recognizes the composition and presentation of contemporary classical music by Ontario composers.  This award is in support of Suad’s composition SinBach commissioned by the Mississauga-based Canadian Arabic Orchestra (CAO) which will perform and tour the work in 2022. 

About Suad Bushnaq

Hailed as an ‘incredible artist’ by the legendary Hans Zimmer, Suad Bushnaq is an award-winning, musically multi-lingual first-generation Jordanian-Canadian composer of Bosnian, Syrian, and Palestinian roots. She is active in both the film and concert world with her music performed worldwide. With 35 film credits to date, she has scored award-winning features and shorts that have screened at festivals including the Locarno, Hot Docs, Edinburgh, Dubai, Red Sea, and Seattle International Film Festivals. Her compositions which include works for solo piano, chamber ensemble, choir, and electroacoustics have been performed in venues from Hawaii to Dubai, including Carnegie Hall. 

In addition to her commission SinBach for the Canadian Arabic Orchestra, she is currently scoring a CBC Nature of Things documentary, as well as a commission for the Boston Children’s Chorus. Recently, she was commissioned by the Vermont Symphony for a Cello Concerto which premiered in October 2021, and by Betty Productions to compose music for the 48th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates, subsequently recorded by the London Symphony.

Suad has won several prestigious film score awards and residencies, including the Canadian Film Centre Slaight Music Residency.  She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University in Music Composition.

Music from the Original Soundtrack of "The Borrowed Dress", The Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra live at Konzertsaal Universität der Künste Berlin, October 3, 2017.  Composed and Orchestrated by Suad Bushnaq.  Conducted by Ghassan Alaboud, with Manfred Leuchter, Accordion and Salah Namek, Cello.

About the Award
The Kathleen McMorrow Music Award was established in 2015. Kathleen McMorrow headed the Music Library at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music from 1974 to 2013. She established the award to recognize and encourage the composition and presentation of Canadian contemporary classical music.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award. The Ontario Arts Council is responsible for the selection process. The award recipient is selected from the applicants to the Ontario Arts Council Music Creation Projects program deadlines.

Previous award winners include Parisa Sabet (2020), Jordan Pal (2019), and Chan Ka Nin (2018).


 For more information, please contact:

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

 Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2020-2021, the OAF paid over $5.2 million in endowment income and $220,000 in awards and scholarships.

For more than 55 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2020-2021 the Ontario Arts Council invested $78.6 million in 206 communities across Ontario through 2,176 grants to individual artists and 1,312 grants to organizations. 

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2021 Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program Grants Announced

Toronto, December 13, 2021 - The Ontario Arts Foundation and The Gordon Foundation are pleased to announce the 2021 grants from the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program:

Acquisition Grants

Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton $9,000

Canadian Clay & Glass, Waterloo $3,600

Museum London, London $7,000

Oakville Galleries, Oakville $9,000

Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Markham $8,900

Development Grants

Art Gallery of York University $7,500

Art Gallery of Hamilton acquisition, Raven’s World 2015, Shelley Niro (Mohawk b. 1954), oil on canvas, 80 x 56.

“This year a strong mix of projects received funding for the acquisition of works by both established and early-career artists, adding great value to collections that will have lasting impact on the galleries and the communities they serve” says Bruce Bennett, Executive Director of the Ontario Arts Foundation.  “The Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program continues to be a valuable means of support for galleries seeking to build community engagement, provide education opportunities and encourage Canadian visual art appreciation.”  

Acquisition grants assist galleries and museums with the acquisition of Canadian works of art for their permanent collection.  Development grants support initiatives that increase the public’s knowledge of collecting or a gallery or museum’s permanent collection, and help make a gallery or museum’s permanent collection more accessible to the public.

The grant decisions were made by an Ontario Arts Council jury made up of arts professionals with broad knowledge and experience of public gallery activities in Ontario. The 2021 jury members were Sebastien De Line (Kingston); Pamela Edmonds (Hamilton); and Nahed Mansour (Toronto).

The Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program aims to foster a broader appreciation of Canadian visual art and artists by assisting public art galleries and museums in Ontario to grow their permanent collections, and support community engagement between a gallery or museum and its local community.

For information, please contact:
Bruce Bennett, Executive Director

416-969-7413 | bbennett@oafdn.ca


Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2020-2021, the OAF paid out over $5.2 million in endowment income and $220,000 in awards and scholarships.

The Gordon Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to protecting Canada's water and empowering Canada's North. The Foundation seeks opportunities to amplify underrepresented voices, elevate emerging issues, and collaborate with like-minded organizations to drive powerful, sustainable outcomes.


About Elizabeth L. Gordon
Elizabeth L. Gordon
a founder of The Gordon Foundation, held a lifelong interest in art, history, and culture. Her passions, in addition to friends and family, included art, museums – for showing and sharing art – and the public value of good design.  Her contribution to The Gordon Foundation was to insist on grants for the arts. For many years, she volunteered regularly with the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario), taking great interest in stimulating Gallery membership. Through The Gordon Foundation, Elizabeth Gordon encouraged emerging art galleries and museums across Ontario by providing grants to enable them to purchase original works of art. To honour her, the Foundation established the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program, providing an enduring memory of Mrs. Gordon’s patronage and appreciation of Canadian art.

 Ce document existe également en français.


Cassandra DeStellis Awarded the Tim Sims Encouragement Award

Toronto, November 22, 2021 – Cassandra DeStellis is the 2021 recipient of the $2,500 Tim Sims Encouragement Award.  The Tim Sims Encouragement Award honours a promising Canadian comedic performer who is in the early stages of their career.  Cassandra DeStellis was selected for the award by the faculty of Humber College’s Comedy Writing and Performance program.

About Cassandra DeStellis

Cassandra DeStellis is a writer, comedian, musician, storyteller, dungeon master, and all-around geek. Fresh on the Toronto comedy scene, Cassandra is a recent honours graduate from Humber College's Comedy Writing and Performance program and is eager to get her hands into everything she can. 

While interested in everything from improv to YouTube sketch comedy, the circumstances of the pandemic are now turning Cassandra's attention to refining her written scripts and rewriting most of her stand-up material. Her comedy has been described as a blend of self-deprecation and social commentary, and she is a big believer in teaching through humour. She has performed for FRESH New Comedians Showcase, Replay Storytelling, Humber Nights at Yuk Yuk's, and can be seen popping into various shows around the city.

"Receiving this award is an incredible honour. I am so grateful to be chosen and recognized for my work and the progress I've made in my art,” says Cassandra. “For what should be obvious reasons, going through more than a year of a performance program in online classes was a struggle to say the least, and being chosen for this award makes me feel like I made the right decision sticking with it through these tough times. For someone this early in their career, the recognition and financial support that this award brings means a great deal and will go a long way towards launching my career. I hope I can live up to what this award stands for and be an example for anyone who might follow."

About the Award
The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund was founded by Lindsay Leese and established in 1995 in the spirit and memory of Tim Sims, a well-known comedic performer, writer, director, and charity fund-raiser from Toronto. From 1996-2014, the Fund awarded prize money totaling $65,000 to young comedians in the early stages of their careers at the annual Cream of Comedy award show at Second City.  Beginning in 2015, the $2,500 award is given annually to a graduate of the Comedy Writing and Performance program at the Humber College, School of Creative and Performing Arts and until 2019, to a Conservatory Program Graduate at the Second City Training Program.

Previous Tim Sims Encouragement award winners from Humber College include Nate Friedman (2020), Bria Hiebert (2019), and Glenys Marshall (2018). See the full list of past recipients.


For more information, please contact:
Bruce Bennett, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation

416-969-7413 | bbennett@oafdn.ca


Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2020-2021, the OAF paid out over $5.2 million in endowment income and $220,000 in awards and scholarships.

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