Collette Murray wins the 2019 Community Arts Award

Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network recognizes Collette ‘Miss Coco’ Murray with the $10,000 Community Arts Award

TORONTO, October 28, 2019 – Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network is thrilled to announce Collette Murray as the recipient of the 2019 Community Arts Award. The award celebrates an individual artist or organization that has made a significant contribution in Toronto by working collaboratively with culturally diverse communities and creating access to arts and culture.

Presented by Neighbourhood Arts Network and sponsored by MOD Developments, the $10,000 award was presented to Murray at a reception on October 22 at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. This year’s finalists, Paola Gomez and Sage Lovell, were also recognized for their work, receiving $1,000 each.

Collette Murray is a dance performer, instructor, mentor, and cultural arts programmer. Also known as “Miss Coco,” her performance background includes traditional West African drum/dance and Caribbean folk dance. Murray’s mobile dance education business offers dance instruction and performance rooted in African and Caribbean experiences. She is also a contributing writer for The Dance Current and Dance Collection Danse. Currently, Murray is a MEd candidate at York University’s Faculty of Education, where her graduate research focuses on the successes and challenges of culturally responsive artists teaching in the Ontario education system.

"This overwhelming honour recognizes my unwavering dedication to ensuring generations and neighbourhoods experience the multiple ways cultural arts and knowledge impacts communities," said Murray upon receiving the award. "This award affirms that I continue my socially innovative pathway so that cultural arts work thrives and that African, Caribbean and Black creative excellence is valued."

"MOD Developments’ mission is to create mindful development that pays homage to our city’s rich cultural heritage," said Noorez Lalani, President, MOD Developments. "MOD Developments is proud to support the 2019 Community Arts Award and congratulates this year’s winner, Collette 'Miss Coco' Murray, on her longtime work animating communities through African/Caribbean arts."

The finalists for the 2019 Community Arts Award included human rights lawyer and community organizer Paola Gomez, co-founder and director of Muse Arts; and artist, educator and writer Sage Lovell, founder of Deaf Spectrum, a collective established to promote the accessible usage of American Sign Language (ASL).

"This year’s Community Arts Award finalists exemplify an enormous amount of heart, talent and sheer hard work," said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Foundation. "Congratulations to Collette Murray on being recognized for her work transforming communities through dance, and many thanks to MOD Developments for their generous support of this award."

Established in 2013 as the Arts Diversity Award, the award was re-named the Community Arts Award in 2018. This year’s award jury included spoken-word poet Britta Badour; Charles Hong, artistic director of Ensemble Jeng Yi; Lindy Kinoshameg, community engagement facilitator at Young People’s Theatre; lyricist and spoken-word poet Brittany Exmiranda Manu; and multidisciplinary artist Nadijah Robinson.

To learn more about the Community Arts Awards and the 2019 finalists, visit the Neighbourhood Arts Network’s website.


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 torontoartsfoundation.org.

About Neighbourhood Arts Network

Neighbourhood Arts Network, a network of over 1,900 members, is a strategic initiative of the Toronto Arts Foundation, offering accessible arts programming, awards, and partnership opportunities to local artists, arts workers, and arts organizations working throughout the City of Toronto. To learn more, visit neighbourhoodartsnetwork.org.

Contact information:

For more information about the Community Arts Award or to arrange an interview with recipient Collette Murray, please contact Tabassum Siddiqui, Interim Communications Manager, at tabassum@torontoarts.org or 416-392-6802 x 217.