Spotlight 2019

2019 Spotlight Winners

Returning for its second year, the Spotlight Recognition Program provides an opportunity to recognize exemplary Ontario Culture Days initiatives. These cross-disciplinary Spotlights serve to recognize those who honour Culture Days’ goal to build a thriving arts network through the celebration of innovative and accessible public programming.

Winners have been nominated by artists, organizers or attendees and chosen by volunteer members of the 2019 Spotlight Committee. The full list of these inspirational programs can be found below.

Congratulations to all our Spotlight winners and thank you to the members of our Spotlight Committee!

Take a look at the 2018 winners.

Spotlight Categories:

Nia Instructors leading the So You Think You Can’t Dance program on the Culture Days weekend. Image: courtesy of the Town of Halton Hills

Best Exemplification of Theme

As one of our 10-year anniversary initiatives, Culture Days is examining the arts and culture sector through the lens of creativity, the arts, and well-being. This category celebrates organizers who addressed the theme to create a unique program for the Culture Days weekend.

Nia in Halton Hills
Instructors from Nia inspired the public to get moving this Culture Days weekend, combining a fusion of moves set to music and inspired by martial arts, dance, yoga and mindfulness. Nia is aimed at improving mobility, strength and balance in body, mind and spirit for all levels and abilities.

Art as Therapy
Art as Therapy Art Hive is a new addition to the Milton art scene. As part of their Culture Days program with Arts Milton they ran an arts workshop that encouraged participants to experience mindful art-making though meditation. Prompts such as “Energy Sketch” and “Peaceful Places” were used as a starting place for getting creative.

Best Hub

From dynamic cultural centres to local festivals, Culture Days hubs can take many forms. Hubs are consortiums of collaborative cultural programs that are linked geographically or thematically. Think main streets, studio tours, museums or community centres. This Spotlight is for organizers who successfully created a hub in their community.

Credit Valley Trail ‘First Steps along the Path’ Celebration
The Town of Halton Hills, Credit Valley Conservation, and Credit Valley Trail Indigenous Roundtable kicked-off the Culture Days weekend in Glen Williams Park. The Credit Valley ‘First Steps on the Path’ Celebration showcased a unique connective set of activities capturing the themes of wellbeing, local heritage and Indigenous history. Some programming highlights included an Indigenous Water Ceremony, interactive arts activities, themed trail walks and tasting traditional Indigenous cuisine. A number of organizations took part in the event including: The Credit River Metis Council, The Moccasin Identifier Project, The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, EcoSource, Willow Park Ecology Centre, Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, and the Decolonizing the Heart Workshop.

Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre
The Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre hosted over 3500 people with 36 activities this Culture Days weekend. Events featured in their one-of-a-kind, multi-use arts, culture and recreation facility, included town-planned activities as well as programs organized by local community groups. Working with the theme of “Wellness” this hub incorporated recreational swims, yoga and meditation classes alongside arts activities like printmaking cards, exhibitions by local artists, dance and theatre workshops.

Arts and Culture Council of Burlington
The Arts and Culture Council of Burlington hosted over 25 volunteer-run events at the Art Gallery of Burlington. The programming included a roster participatory activities for all ages such as performances by professional musicians and playwrights, children’s workshops, storytelling groups and choral singing. In addition, many of the activities were performed against the backdrop of a screen that shared information about the health benefits of participating in various artistic and cultural activities.

Find Fossils in Your Own Backyard workshop at the Orillia Public Library How-To Festival Image: courtesy of Alyssa Trudeau

Outstanding Participatory Program

Participatory programs encourage audience members’ own creativity and support meaningful relationships between artists, organizers and the general public. This category recognizes programming that effectively engages participants and creates opportunities for new experiences.

ArtHouse Pollinator Canoe Painting
As part of Milton Culture Days, ArtHouse for Children and Youth in partnership with Halton Environmental Network brought a canoe to FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton to be decorated in a two-part workshop, under the guidance of ArtHouse Artist Elena Martoglio. The canoe is one in a series of six, all to be filled with indigenous plants from the Kayanese Greenhouse and transformed into butterfly pollinator gardens. This project was created in collaboration with Culture Days host Arts Milton, various artist facilitators, and the participation of the public. The program featured interactivity, prompted important eco discussion, and contributed to creating public art in Milton. The Canoe will be permanently located at Milton’s Library Garden and maintained with lots of care by the Milton and District Horticultural Society’s Members.

Orillia Public Library
The Orillia Public Library’s 2019 How-To Festival offered over 40 unique workshops as part of the 2019 Culture Days celebration. This cooperative learning program offered participants the chance to experience and learn practical, hands-on skills in short sessions. The workshops covered a wide range of interests for all ages, including arts and crafts, food and drink, repairs, outdoor experiences, and health and wellness. Congratulations to all our Spotlight winners and thank you to the members of our Spotlight Committee!

Breakout Organizer

The Breakout Organizer category recognizes the hard work and creative contributions of a first-time Culture Days activity organizer. This accolade will be awarded to an individual who has fully embraced the spirit of Culture Days to bring exceptional arts and culture programming to their community.

Living Hyphen
Living Hyphen participated in Culture Days by hosting a writing workshop at the Malvern Branch of the Toronto Public Library. The program was designed for writers of all ages and experience levels who identified as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC). Participants explored their hyphenated identities as individuals who call Canada home, but who have roots in different, faraway places. Through writing prompts, the group played with their creativity while also giving time and space to learn about the experiences of others.

Meagan Speakman
Meagan Speakerman, owner of Acton’s The Dance Impact, brought an energetic lineup of activities by offering nine free dance classes over the weekend. The classes ranged from disciplines such as dance fit, cheer, and musical theatre, all of which were targeted to a variety of ages. These classes offered the community the opportunity to try something new and experience the beneficial impacts of dance.

The Halton Hills Chinese Association leading the Plaza Dance program on the Culture Days Weekend. Image: courtesy of the Town of Halton Hills

Removing Barriers to Access

There are many barriers that exist which stop people from participating in arts and culture, and unfortunately, such impediments frequently go unacknowledged. This category recognizes those who have created more inclusive and accessible programming.

Halton Hills Chinese Association
The Halton Hills Chinese Association provided accessible and inclusive dance and art programs including a Tai Chi exercise, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese paper-cutting and plaza dancing. Each program featured a live translator that provided instructions in both English and Chinese for attendees. The Association partnered with the local seniors center to transport participants to and from their Culture Days events, giving everyone the opportunity to get involved and learn something new about their community.

Town of Huntsville
Every year since 2010 The Town of Huntsville has supported audience engagement by removing physical and financial barriers to provide accessible spaces for community programs. Events such as their annual Artist on the Street festival provide opportunities for education and community enrichment for visitors and residents alike. Huntsville’s many dedicated volunteers and creative cultural organizations are proud of their collaborative leadership, allowing them to expand public interest in the arts and create opportunities for everyone to access culture in their community.

Dr Jeff Sutherland
To celebrate Culture Days, Dr Jeff Sutherland hosted a book launch at the Halton Hills Public Library. The event welcomed over 200 patrons who listened to the heartwarming and personal story of former family physician Dr. Jeff Sutherland, who lives with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His memoir talks about not only personal losses associated with ALS but also details the author’s grief journey following the loss of his oldest son and his son’s partner in a freak accident. It is a manual to help people find hope following tragedy and live life with resiliency. The program provided an opportunity for the community to gather, hear about the author’s life, learn about ALS, and how important accessibility is for everyone.

People’s Choice

The People’s Choice Spotlight is an open-category accolade that allows the general public to recognize any program and its overall contribution to Culture Days.

Renaissance Robotics
Renaissance Robotics Team 4525 created an outstanding program that showcased the innovation and creativity found in London’s downtown youth culture. The public was invited to come check out the ways science & technology intersected with art & design at their robotics exhibit and competition on the Culture Days weekend.

Art Bomb Festival
Artbomb Festival transformed the Gananoque community into an open air gallery for one day inviting the community to engage and experience the Arts in all forms. This one day event took place all around this community. From the waterfront to downtown, in participating galleries, restaurants and shops, as well as public spaces.