Finalists Announced for the 2010 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards

The shortlist for the 2010 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards, celebrating artists, cultural professionals and arts supporters who have made outstanding contributions to Toronto’s artistic and cultural life, were announced today.

For Immediate Release: August 12, 2010


The shortlist for the 2010 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards, celebrating artists, cultural professionals and arts supporters who have made outstanding contributions to Toronto’s artistic and cultural life, were announced today. The 2010 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards finalists are:

Arts for Youth Award – this $15,000 cash prize established in 2007 by Martha Burns, Jim Fleck and Jim Pitblado celebrates an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging Toronto youth in the arts.

  • Art Starts builds healthier communities using the arts, offering responsive and relevant creative opportunities to those living in underserved and stressed neighbourhoods. Art Starts brings together professional artists from all artistic disciplines to work with Toronto residents on projects that reflect the culture of the neighbourhood and involve participants from various ethnic backgrounds.
  • Manifesto Community Projects showcases diverse local artists and uses art to inspire social change – to transform conflict into creativity, adversity into opportunity, and oppression into expression. In addition to producing an annual festival which showcases over three hundred artists, Manifesto organizes public town hall meetings, arts education and professional development workshops, art exhibitions, and fundraising events typically centered around the youth arts sector. Manifesto’s origin lies in hip hop culture – in its spirit of ingenuity, raw creativity, self-starting, and people power.
  • Supporting Our Youth (SOY) was established to increase support and services to LGBT youth. A program of the Sherbourne Health Centre, Supporting Our Youth works within an anti-oppression framework to create opportunities for queer and Trans youth and adults to build an inclusive, welcoming community together. SOY currently provides arts, cultural and recreational spaces for young people, supportive housing and employment opportunities, as well as access to adult mentoring and support.

Toronto Arts & Business Award – celebrates a local business which has made an important contribution to the arts in Toronto through innovative, transformative and entrepreneurial partnerships. Established in 2006, this award is presented in partnership with The Globe and Mail, Business for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Foundation. The recipient will receive an original work of art and will be recognized for their achievement in the Report on Business section of The Globe and Mail.

  • BMO Financial Group, since 1817, has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility to the communities it serves. BMO Financial Group is one of Canada’s top corporate donors and remains steadfast in the belief that arts and culture enrich all our lives. BMO is being recognized for its long-standing commitment to mid-sized Toronto theatre organizations, as it continues to support companies who take profound artistic risks, forge new producing and presenting models and push ideas of what theatre might be.
  • George Brown College has established a reputation for equipping students with the skills, industry experience and credentials to pursue the careers of their choice. From its two main campuses located across the downtown core, George Brown offers nearly 160 programs across a wide variety of professions to a student body of 60,000 (including those enrolled in full-time, part-time and continuing education programs). George Brown College has helped transform the arts community in Toronto through a series of innovative and entrepreneurial partnerships including a full scale collaborative partnership with Ballet Jörgen Canada and the development of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts with Soulpepper Theatre Company.
  • St. Joseph Communications demonstrates a deeply rooted sense of social responsibility, instilled by company founder Gaetano Gagliano, who believed that his life and business could only be successful if the community in which he lived and worked was thriving. To help commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2006, St. Joseph Communications announced a multi-million, multi-year donation to Canadian arts and cultural organizations. This support is intended to increase public awareness of the arts, help develop cultural facilities and artist’s spaces, and encourage new talent and artistic excellence. With co-founder; the late David Pecaut, CEO Tony Gagliano became the creative and organizing force behind Luminato. After successfully convincing the federal government to include arts funding as part of the 2009 stimulus package, Tony and David were hailed as “Canada’s all-time most successful lobbyists for public arts funding.” After only four years, Luminato is one of the world’s most important multi-national arts festivals.

RBC Emerging Artist Award – a $7,500 cash prize presented to an emerging Toronto artist working in any medium or performing arts discipline in celebration of current accomplishments and future potential. In addition, the two runners-up will receive $1,000 each. Established in 2006 by RBC Foundation, this award is intended to support the development or completion of new work.

  • Constantine Caravassilis is regarded as one of the most prolific and highly gifted emerging composers in Canada. Toronto-born Caravassilis has been hailed as “the most important Hellenic-descent composer of his generation”, as well as commanding a “beyond the ordinary sense of musicality.”
  • Jamie Travis is a Toronto-based filmmaker who has written and directed two trilogies of award-winning short films. His six shorts – Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner, The Saddest Boy in the World, The Armoire and the Patterns Trilogy – all premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to international acclaim. Critics have drawn comparisons to Travis’ work with filmmakers as disparate as David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock and Todd Solondz. Travis’ growing body of work was played extensively in film festivals and at art galleries, from Toronto to Sundance to the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
  • Michael Wheeler is a director, actor, producer and online collaborator. As Co-Artistic Director of Praxis Theatre he directed Section 98, Tim Buck 2, DYAD, The Master and Margarita, Checkpoint, Steel, and Eugene. As a performer he has appeared on stage with Crate Productions, Praxis Theatre, The American Repertory Theatre, and The American Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre. In 2009, he trained as an Artistic Producer with Volcano Theatre on The Africa Trilogy for Luminato and worked as a Stage Coordinator for Nightswimming on the epic 7-play cycle City of Wine . He is currently working on an in-depth exploration of the relationship between direction and design as Director in Training at The Tarragon Theatre and continuing his work with Praxis Theatre and playwright Tara Beagan on an original Canadian civil rights-themed work titled Jesus Chrysler for the LabCab Festival at The Factory Theatre. An active member of The Wrecking Ball and The Indie Caucus, he is also editor of, voted Canada's #1 Cultural Blog in 2009. Michael holds a B.A. from McGill University, a Certificate from Harvard University, and a M.F.A. from the Moscow Art Theatre.

Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition – a $10,000 cash prize presented biennially to an individual, ensemble or organization to recognize creative, performing, administrative, volunteer or philanthropic contributions to Toronto’s musical life. This award was originally established by the Volunteer Committee of Roy Thomson Hall in 1984 to recognize and thank the community that supported the conception, building and establishment of the new concert hall.

  • Lydia Adams is a conductor, pianist, composer, producer and arranger who demonstrates true dedication to Canadian choral music. Lydia is the Artistic Director of the Amadeus Choir and Elmer Iseler Singers, both national leaders in commissioning, premiering, performing and recording Canadian choral works. Lydia has also conducted on numerous stellar compact discs dedicated to the choral works of Canadian composers.
  • Art of Time Ensemble, created by renowned classical pianist and Artistic Director Andrew Burashko, is one of Canada’s most innovative and artistically accomplished music ensembles. Its mandate is to give classical music the contemporary relevance and context it needs to maintain a broader audience to survive. Since its inception, Art of Time has steadily grown in reputation as an ensemble that undertakes and delivers programs that are at once thought provoking and compelling.
  • Jose Ortega has served as the Artistic Director of Lula Music and Arts Centre and the live music Lula Lounge for almost a decade. As the artistic director of LMAC, Jose also oversees the organization’s outreach and educational programs – including the family dance series, high school programs and musicians’ workshops. As a volunteer, Ortega has contributed his expertise in World and Latin music to programming committees for Harbourfront’s Ritmo y Color festival, Salsa on St. Clair, Samba on Dundas, and Luminato. An internationally-recognized, commercial illustrator and public artist, Jose has generously donated his artwork to countless projects, including CD covers, postcards and posters for concerts at Lula, and for Samba on Dundas and Salsa on St. Clair.

William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life – a $5,000 cash prize presented biennially to an individual performer, teacher, administrator or creator in any arts discipline, including architecture and design, whose work is a celebration of life through the arts in Toronto. Established in 1996, this award is funded through an endowment made possible by private donors who wished to celebrate and remember the life of writer, teacher, city councillor and former TAC president William Kilbourn.

  • Mallory Gilbert joined Tarragon Theatre in 1972, serving as General Manager from 1978-2006, and is currently an arts consultant for small to midsize theatre companies. She served on the board of PACT for over 20 years and was its President from 1989-1993. One of the founders of Creative Trust in 1998, she is currently the President. She has received many awards in recognition of her achievements and contributions to Canadian theatre and in 2006, Tarragon Theatre and PACT jointly created an annual award in her honour – The Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award. She was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007.
  • Menaka Thakkar is a master dance artist of three classical Indian styles – Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Kuchipudi. Menaka settled in Canada over 38 years ago at the peak of her career and is credited with being the first artist to introduce Indian dance to Canadian audiences. She is the founder of the first school of Indian dance and the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, Canada’s premier Indian dance company. Thakkar continues to nurture the next generation of Indian dancers and develops uncompromising choreographies which consistently change the face of dance in Canada.
  • R.M. Vaughan is a Toronto-based writer and video artist originally from New Brunswick. Since moving to Toronto in the early 1990s, Vaughan has published 8 books (four poetry collections, two novels and two plays) and contributed poems, essays, stories and plays to over 50 anthologies. Vaughan’s plays have been performed across Canada and in the US and his short video works have played in galleries and festivals around the world. Vaughan writes about art and culture for numerous publications, and is a four-time National Magazine Award winner. Vaughan has participated in hundreds of community-based initiatives from performance events to prize juries to film screenings to charity fundraisers, as a performer, a lecturer, and a curator, and is currently curating a major exhibition of early Canadian video art for V-Tape.

This year’s jury included David Angelo, Franco Boni, Natalie De Vito, Loie Fallis, Simon Foster, Ravi Jain, Marilyn Lerner, Andy McKim, Alexander Neef, Janice Price, and Susanna Rosenstock.

Winners of the 2010 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards will be announced on Friday, October 8, 2010 at the Mayor’s Arts Awards Lunch. All recipients will receive an original work of art by Jon Sasaki, commissioned by the Toronto Arts Foundation.

Toronto Arts Foundation exists to provide the creative opportunity for donors to support the arts in Toronto. TAF believes that a great city demands great art, and by supporting, celebrating, financing and advocating for Toronto’s local artists, we’re improving the quality of life of all Torontonians. Although separate entities, the Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation benefit by being run as sister organizations, ensuring close contact with the arts sector in Toronto and an ongoing awareness of activities and needs throughout the community. For more information on the awards and the work of the Toronto Arts Foundation, please visit


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