Achievements of Toronto Artists Celebrated at 2022 Mayor’s Arts Lunch

$52,000 in awards presented at Toronto Arts Foundation’s annual awards ceremony

For Immediate Release

TORONTO, April 25, 2022 - After two years of celebrating virtually, artists, arts supporters, business and elected leaders gathered in-person to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Toronto’s artists and arts organizations at Toronto Arts Foundation’s annual Mayor’s Arts Lunch. Artists and arts organizations working in a variety of disciplines were recognized for their dedication to their craft, leadership, commitment to engaging community and youth through the arts, innovation and more. Thanks to the support of generous sponsors, $52,000 in total was awarded to the Award recipients and finalists.

The Lunch was hosted by Amanda Parris, celebrated broadcaster and writer, and recent winner of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's inaugural Changemaker Award. Guests enjoyed a performance by the Gryphon Trio, one of the world’s preeminent piano trios. Among many municipal, provincial and elected leaders in attendance, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, also joined the celebration and presented an award. 

In his speech, arts champion Mayor John Tory congratulated the Award recipients and finalists, and acknowledged the leadership shown by Toronto Arts Foundation particularly in the past two years. "It is so important to collectively share the challenges and celebrations of the arts in the past years. The arts are fundamentally important to the success, prosperity and future of our city," he said.

This Mayor’s Arts Lunch was particularly special for Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. “I love the intimacy of the Mayor’s Arts Lunch and how it brings together folks from different walks of life,” said Hopkinson. “The Mayor’s Art Lunch celebrates the contribution of our artists to the vibrancy of our beautiful city. While this will be my last year as Director & CEO, I will always be a part of this family of incredible colleagues, artists, and supporters who play their part in strengthening the arts in Toronto.” 

The 2022 Toronto Arts Foundation Award recipients are:

Arts for Youth Award: a $20,000 cash prize, supported by Martha Burns, Jim Fleck, and Sandra and Jim Pitblado. Thanks to Diana Bennett and Spencer Lanthier, finalists receive $2,000.

Never Gallery Ready
Never Gallery Ready delivers media-literacy-focused multidisciplinary arts programs in schools, libraries and museums. The assessment panel noted Never Gallery Ready’s 15-year commitment to their work, and the importance of connecting youth to media literacy arts programs. 

Finalists Erin Brubacher and Flaunt It Movement were also celebrated. 

Breakthrough Artist Award: a $10,000 cash prize, with finalists receiving $2,000, sponsored by Susan Crocker and John Hunkin.

Shelly Grace
Shelly Grace is a spoken word poet and photographer. She uses her art for community building and healing, focusing on the experiences of women and the Black community. The assessment panel was impressed with Shelly’s poetry and loved the feeling and emotion that it brings. 

Finalists Nathan Cole and Eponine Lee were also celebrated. 

Celebration of Cultural Life Award: a $10,000 cash prize, supported by Maureen and Victor Dodig, with finalists receiving $2,000. In addition to the prize money, the 2022 recipient will receive a complimentary week long stay at Valleyview Artist Retreat.

Dwayne Morgan
Dwayne Morgan is a spoken word artist, who has published 14 written and nine audio collections of his work. The assessment panel noted Dwayne’s impact; "the work he does in the community and Toronto as a whole is amazing," they said. 

Finalists Esmeralda Enrique and Joy MacFadyen were also celebrated.

The Toronto Arts and Business Award: Recognizing a  local business that has made an important contribution to the arts in Toronto, through innovative and transformational partnerships.

Meridian Credit Union
With more than 75 years of banking history, Meridian is Ontario's largest credit union, and second largest in Canada. In 2019, Meridian and TO Live announced a visionary partnership, with Meridian committing $30.75 million over 15 years; one of the largest agreements of its kind in the arts and culture community in Canada. For its outstanding support for the arts through this partnership, Meridian is being awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation Arts and Business Award. 

All recipients were presented with a commemorative Award Plate, designed by interdisciplinary artist Sameer Farooq.

Joining us in congratulating the recipients and the finalists of the 2022 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards!

For more details about the recipients, finalists and Toronto Arts Foundation awards, please visit our website.

Thank you to our 2022 Table Host Sponsors, who make the Mayor’s Arts Lunch possible.
Bell Canada, Carpenters & Allied Workers Local 27, Centennial College, City of Toronto, Susan Crocker & John Hunkin, Daniels, Diamond Corp., Humber College, Donald Johnson, O.C., LiUNA Local 183, Ontario Creates, Power Corporation. Benefactors: Canadian Museum of History, Diamond Schmitt Architects Incorporated, John & Kay McKellar, Dani Reiss.

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About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city through private-sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit

Contact information
For more information or to book an interview with the finalists or Claire Hopkinson, please contact: Haroon Khalid, Associate Communications Manager, at or 416-392-6802 x 207.