ARA Gala 2023

An Evening For The Arts

By Matilda Aide


ARA Gala 2023

An evening of fantastic music, daring acrobatics, beautiful ballet- that is a taste of what the attendees witnessed at the 29th annual Arts Recognition Awards on October 13th, 2023. Previously held during the Mayors Luncheon, the QAC kicked things into gear this year, turning the Arts Recognition Awards into a fundraising gala held at The Grand in Belleville. The event raised $42,000 for the QAC Arts Education Bursary program and the publication of Umbrella Magazine. The night honored seven deserving winners and highlighted some amazing talent here in the Bay of Quinte; The Dan Douglas Band, Quinte Ballet, Quinte Youth Theatre and The Impish Grins dazzled the crowd throughout the evening! 

“The Arts Recognition Awards are a chance for the community to come together to witness the extraordinary talent here in the Quinte region,” says Janet Jarrell, Executive Director of the Quinte Arts Council. “We are on the flipside of a few years of isolation and quiet; it was time to celebrate together and honor the recipients of this year’s awards, while raising funds for arts education, and enjoying a fantastic lineup of live entertainment.”

Our community has nominated seven recipients for their artistic excellence, cultural leadership or contribution to the arts in the Quinte region. 


Dan Douglas “The Musical Community Builder”

Dan Douglas is a musician who has been performing and honing his craft for over four decades! He has a passion for passing on the love of music to others and has been a music instructor, clinician and adjudicator for Drum Corps and marching bands across North America. He performs both jazz and commercial music and is a member of Quinte Symphony. He founded the jazz band, The Dixie Demons, who perform across Ontario and recently had a sold out show at the Belleville Club.


Hannah Georgas “Canadian Indie Rockstar”

Hannah Georgas is relatively new to the Quinte region. A Juno nominated Indie musician with a passion for community she is already making waves here. She recently completed an international tour performing her latest album “I’d Be Lying If I Said I Didn’t Care”. Nominator Sam Brady says “Hannah is an incredibly talented Canadian music icon and she’s giving back to her new community through her time and efforts.” 


Michelle Hauser “The Creative Space-Maker”

Michelle Hauser created the non-profit Harmony Lounge and Music Club in Napanee. It is a youth-oriented program that provides mentorship, a gathering space, and professional-quality music lessons for high-school-aged students from Greater Napanee and surrounding area as well as employment opportunities for high school students and other members of the community. Hauser developed the program after observing the effects of isolation and anxiety due to the pandemic on high school children.


Oeno Gallery – Carlyn Moulton “International Gallery” 

Carlyn Moulton is the owner and curator at Oeno Gallery. About Oeno Gallery’s impact on the arts community nominator Dana Charles says, “This year, Oeno Gallery celebrates its 20th Anniversary and its history of enriching the local arts community with monthly gallery exhibitions, artist talks, community events, and the Sculpture Garden, which sees 30,000 visitors a year. Carlyn has established relationships with art buyers worldwide, garnering an international reputation and furthering the growth of the local tourism industry.” 


Randy Stewart “The Musical Force”

Randy Stewart is a singer songwriter who works and plays throughout the Quinte Region. Nominator Ron Marshall says Stewart is a musical force in the region. “He just wrapped up a year where he organized over 40 musical events around the region that put more than 120 musicians in front of an audience,” says Marshall. “Randy performs solo on stage regularly and in a variety of venues, from bars and coffee houses to outdoor stages to concert venues.”


Christina Taylor “The Mentor of Movement” 

Christina Taylor is the Board Chair at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada and a dedicated volunteer to arts organizations in Quinte, including the Quinte Symphony. In a letter of support QBSC Board member Dan Atkinson says “She is a continuing supporter of arts and culture in our community and puts an extraordinary amount of time and effort into helping organizations both as a Board member and as a volunteer. She is a wonderful credit to our community.”


Sarah Winn “The Artistic Powerhouse” 

Sarah Winn is a well-respected member of the Quinte arts community both as an artist and as a supporter of the arts. She is always willing to donate her time and expertise in order to support the arts community. She has taught several classes over the past year. Many know Winn thanks to her impressive feat “The 100 Day Project” that has been shown two years in a row in the QAC Cultural Hub. 


These fantastic individuals have dedicated their lives to the arts, through sharing their talent, teaching and supporting others to flourish. The QAC is proud to honor each of them. From attendees to sponsors the night would not have been a success without the generosity and participation of everyone involved. With a special acknowledgement to Ralph Johnston who donated $10,000 at the evening for the arts!

Thank you to the event sponsors Elexicon Energy, McDougall Insurance and Financial, Ralph Johnston, The John M. & Bernice Parrott Foundation, and The City of Belleville and a special thank you to emcee Dug Stephenson and local artist Mark Armstrong for designing the awards.

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