Announcing 2021 Awards Recipients

Mayor Tory joined municipal, provincial and federal elected leaders to celebrate the achievements of Toronto artists at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch (at home), hosted by Toronto Arts Foundation, on May 11, 2020. A total of $72,000 was distributed in awards to recipients and finalists.

"We would not have made it through the pandemic if it wasn’t for the arts," said Mayor, John Tory. "I know that the arts and artists will play a huge role in inspiring [and] getting people back out in our city."

The 2021 Mayor's Arts Lunch was hosted by the celebrated Jesse Wente, a leader in Canada's film industry and Chair of the Board of Canada Council for the Arts. Denise Fujiwara, dancer, educator, and a recipient of our Muriel Sherrin Award in 2017 provided entertainment for the event.

“Arts and our artists are what make Toronto the city it is,” said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. “Our artists are a symbol of resilience, perseverance and strength, and I am delighted we could come together to celebrate them on this special occasion. I look forward to the time when we can do so in person once again.”

The award recipients are:

Toronto Arts and Business Award
Recipient - Canada Life
Presented in partnership with Toronto Star and Business / Arts

“Canada Life is proud to support arts programs that make a strong social impact, especially in diverse, under-represented, marginalized or at-risk communities. We believe in the power of the arts to connect us and bring positive change for the well-being of all Canadians.” Jeff Macoun, President & COO, Canada Life

Emerging Artist Award
Recipient - Britta B.
Finalists - Irma Villafuerte, Olivia Shortt
Award supported by Susan Crocker & John Hunkin
Finalists Awards supported by the Bulmash-Siegel Foundation

"Thank you so much. This award is a symbol of my community. I feel so privileged to have the relationships with so many people in my community. I remember when I was being nominated, and my community said, ‘you don’t need this award, you ARE an award.’ This award humbles me.” Britta B.

The Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Dance
Recipient - Vivine Scarlett
Finalists - Emily Cheung, Mi Young Kim
Recipient Award supported by the Muriel Sherrin Award Fund and Valleyview Artist Retreat
Finalist Awards supported by the Muriel Sherrin Award Fund

“I give thanks for the many blessings. I give thanks to ancestors for the path they have paved. I do what I do because I believe in the greatness of who we are, sharing knowledge of past and learning for the future. There’s so many people to thank. I thank everyone who has been part of my journey.” Vivine Scarlett

The Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award
Recipient - Denise Bolduc
Finalists - Del Mahabadi, Dwayne Morgan
Finalist Awards supported by Neera Chopra

"There’s so many people in this city who deserve this award. I’m honoured. To follow in Margo and Rita’s footsteps… I’m humbled." Denise Bolduc

Emerging Jazz Artist Award
Recipient - Joanna Majoko
Finalists - Virginia MacDonald, Sarah Thawer
Recipient and Finalist Awards supported by Cheryl & Manuel Buchwald and presented in partnership with TD Toronto Jazz Festival

“I just want to thank you all so much. I did not expect this to happen. Thank you to Toronto Arts Foundation. I know this wasn’t an easy decision to come to. Thank you to my nominator – thank you for believing in me.” Joanna Majoko

Arts for Youth Award
Recipient - Paprika Festival
Finalists - BAM Collective, Xpace

"Thank you so very much for this honour. It’s so important that this award exists. We need places where young people can collaborate, learn and step up to be our future leaders. We’re so excited for the future of art-making. We are deeply grateful for this game-changing support." Paprika Festival

For more details about the finalists and recipients (including interviews and portraits of each finalist) and Toronto Arts Foundation's awards, please visit