Arts Recognition Awards

Meet the winners of the QAC’s 2015 Arts Recognition Awards

The Arts Recognition Awards presentation at the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts on June 25 will honour those who have made a significant contribution in support of the arts in the Quinte region. This year’s award winners are Suzanne Andrews, Suzanne Pasternak, Gordon Craig, William Fisher, Susan Walsh, and the Baxter Arts Centre.

Suzanne Andrews
Suzanne Andrews

Suzanne Andrews

Suzanne Andrews has been a driving force behind Arts Quinte West (AQW). She is currently the manager of the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce and uses her expertise and skill to support the arts in her community. “She is not an artist, but an intense lover of art,” writes Frances E. Luymes, vice-president of AQW, adding that Suzanne has been an invaluable asset to her organization with everything from the incorporation to finding locations within Quinte West for artists to show their work.

Artist Mandy Bing also praises Suzanne for her promotion of the arts and adds that she is “magnificently organized… her commitment to Quinte West is impeccable.” Christine Pellati, one of the founding members of AQW, calls her “the glue that holds the group together. An avid lover of the arts, she has been on the board in various capacities, most recently Chair and Treasurer, and is the person who has the business experience, contacts and know-how that we have always been able to depend on. Her enthusiasm and sense of obligation to the club knows no bounds and she continues to promote our mandate whenever and wherever she has the chance.”

Suzanne Pasternak
Suzanne Pasternak (photo by Graham Davies)

Suzanne Pasternak

Suzanne Pasternak is a singer, songwriter, composer, musician, recording artist, storyteller, researcher, writer, director, and producer, best known for her many musical theatre productions. Coming from the U.S., a nation that loves its heroes, Suzanne found plenty of heroes in the colourful history of PEC. Her folk opera, Minerva, tells the story of a 17-year-old ship’s cook who, in 1882, during a blinding snowstorm on Lake Ontario, bravely and skillfully rescued all the men aboard. She co-wrote Ship of Fire, a musical about a tragic moment in the marine history of PEC, presented by the Festival Players of PEC in 2012.

Suzanne spent years interviewing, filming and documenting the stories of long-time County residents, capturing the disappearing life of the commercial fisherman on Lake Ontario, before it is lost forever. She started the Kerosene Lamp Series in the Chapel at Black Creek, which presented musicians from near and far in a venue without electrical power, allowing audiences to experience uniquely intimate performances. Suzanne is the producer and artistic director of the first Prince Edward County storytelling festival, premiering this July at Macaulay Museum in Picton.

Recently, Suzanne learned the incredible story of the Halifax Explosion, and how the City of Boston dispatched doctors, soldiers and other personnel to help the devastated citizens of Halifax, and how they struggled to arrive with help through a blinding snowstorm, risking their own lives. To honour their heroism, the City of Halifax donates a Christmas tree to the City of Boston each year. Suzanne is currently working with the City of Boston, the government of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Boston Children’s Chorus to have a choral work, (written by Suzanne, Tom Leighton and Mark Despault) performed at the lighting of the Boston Christmas Tree in 2015.

Gordon Craig
Gordon Craig

Gordon Craig

“For 25 years, Gordon Craig was the highly esteemed Music Director and Conductor of Quinte Symphony,” states Ann Pickett. “When he arrived in 1990 it was with the understanding that he would transform the small pops orchestra into a small symphonic orchestra, capable of playing from the standard symphonic repertoire. And so the journey began…. As our luck would have it, Gordon possesses the whole package of skill sets. As an individual performer, Gordon has the education, talent and musical expertise; he was and is a highly respected clarinetist performing in recitals and with orchestras as a soloist. As an orchestra member he is experienced on both sides of the podium: as a conductor of four orchestras at one time and as principal clarinetist for more than 25 years in Kingston Symphony. As well as experience in performing, he also has expertise in teaching individuals at university and in private classes, over many years.”

Ann also described Gordon’s commitment to developing the musical talents of young people by initiating the woodwind workshops through local school boards, his active participation in fundraising for the orchestra and his patience, kindness and sense of humour that he shared with the orchestra and his students. “Gordon deserves the award for his professionalism and dedication for 25 years to the development of a very fine community symphonic orchestra, which is an enhancement to the community and an enticement for people to make their homes here.”

William Fisher
William Fisher


William Fisher


Ashley-Ann Loft describes William Fisher as “an artist who goes above and beyond originality and creativity. Commonly, carvers use a large variety of power tools; however, this young man only uses a knife, file and a variety of different sand paper grades. The end results of his work are very poetic and beautiful, each masterpiece is a one-of-a-kind and never duplicated. Each one also has a story behind it.” Kerri Smart comments that, “He genuinely creates his artwork from scratch with much effort and time put into each piece. It is also great to see how Will recreates cultural stories and events in his art pieces that are relevant to his ancestral background.”


“Will is not just an aboriginal, and Will is not just an artist,” says April McNamara, “he is the embodiment of Mohawk tradition and spirituality.” Will creates a diverse range of pieces, from bows, arrows and lacrosse sticks to sculpture and Wampum Herkimer diamond jewelry. He also has a successful business, Kehnteke Designs.

Susan Walsh
Susan Walsh

Susan Walsh


Andy Forgie writes in his nomination, “Susan has been so very important to our performing arts scene over these past many years. My personal connection goes back to the various festivals we were both involved in and organizing in the early 90s. Susan’s many productions with her For the Love Of A Song shows have raised, and continue to raise, many thousands of dollars for a wide variety of charities in our community. She has also been on the ground level in introducing two of our city’s musical ambassadors: Freddy Vette & The Beatles Celebration-All You Need is Love. I have only begun to scratch the surface… I haven’t even mentioned her organizing of our annual Waterfront Festival, Santa Claus Parade and so much more.”

Baxter Art Centre
Baxter Art Centre


Baxter Arts Centre


Susan Holland, Curator of the John M. Parrott Gallery, nominated the board of the Baxter Arts Centre. “They have seen to fruition their vision for an arts centre for all mediums and all ages in Prince Edward County. When the old Baxter Canning Factory lunch room became surplus to the municipality, a group of dedicated individuals sprang into action and secured the building and came a step closer to fulfilling their dream. They have worked tirelessly over the past several years to establish the centre as an entity, to update the structure and facilities and to offer an opportunity for all community members to get involved in the creation of this crucial element to enhance our creative lives in Prince Edward County.


“At present there is a vibrant and thriving programme of events taking place at the Baxter Arts Centre encompassing visual arts, music, dance, film and holistic health. There are programmes for kids and adults and the space is available at a very reasonable rate for community groups and individuals to hold meetings and events. The existence of the Centre encourages all of us to explore our creativity and to access exposure to the arts in a comfortable and welcoming place which will continue to grow and enrich lives for many years to come. I believe that the dedicated volunteers, who share this common mandate to bring the arts to everyone in our community, deserve to be honored for their foresight, imagination and determination.”


Each of the nominees will receive a hand-crafted award by glass artist, Kirei Samuel of Lalaland and a certificate from the city of Belleville that will be presented at the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts on June 25 at the Greek Hall in Belleville from 11:30 am to 2 pm. There will be a delicious 3-course lunch, entertainment by the Starpainters and a cash bar. Tickets are $35 each and must be purchased by June 18 by calling 613-962-1232.


The QAC’s Arts Recognition Awards and the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts are sponsored by Veridian Connections, Cool 100 and 95.5 Classic Hits.

The Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts will be held on Thursday, June 25 at the Greek Hall in Belleville. Entertainment by The Starpainters. The Quinte Arts Council’s Arts Recognition Awards acknowledge and celebrate those artists, individuals, volunteers and supporters who make a difference to the arts in our community. Tickets are $35 and that includes lunch, tax and gratuities. Call 613-962-1232 to order by phone or drop by the QAC office, 36 Bridge St. East, Belleville.

The menu is: First Course is Arugula and frisée leaves with assorted garnishes, fresh dill vinaigrette OR Grilled Market vegetable antipasti with shaved prosciutto and bocconcini; Second Course is Wild Mushroom, asparagus herbed ziti mix, rosé OR Classic Chicken Marsalla, Yukon gold garlic mashed, olive oil and sea salt vegetable toss; Dessert is Baklava Cheese cake; Coffee and Tea.


The deadline to nominate is April 15, 2015.  The winners will be honoured at the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts, held on Thursday, June 25 at the Greek Hall in Belleville. Entertainment by The Starpainters. Tickets: $35 at the Quinte Arts Council, 36 Bridge St. E., Belleville or call 613-962-1232.

The Quinte Arts Council’s Arts Recognition Awards acknowledge and celebrate those artists, individuals, volunteers and supporters who make a difference to the arts in our community.


  • Check the past nominees (see the bottom of this page).
  • Fill in the form (link at bottom of this page) or pick one up at the QAC office, 36 Bridge St., East, Belleville.
  • Tell us in 250 words why you think the person, organization or supporter should receive an award.
  • Get two letters of support.
  • Mail or deliver your package to: Quinte Arts Council, 36 Bridge St. East, P.O. Box 22113, Belleville ON K8N 2Z5 on or before April 15.

If your nomination is accepted you will be invited as our guest to attend the luncheon along with your nominee.

Winners of the Arts Recognition Award will receive a hand-crafted trophy and a certificate.



Quinte Arts Council’s Arts Recognition Awards 2014 – 20th Anniversary

2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Arts Recognition Awards which began in 1994 as part of QAC’s Two Weeks in May festival. Each spring, members of the community send in their nominations, accompanied by at least two letters of support.

2014 Award Winners
2014 Award Winners

The winners were… Back row, left to right: musician, Richard Penner; sound technicians, Paul Johnson and Rob Kellough of Through The Cedars Music Production; writer and historian, Gerald Boyce. Front row, left to right: artisans, Connie Yrjola, Barb Forgie and Cara Hunter of We Create Artisan Events; and theatre director, Elizabeth Marshall. PHOTO BY MICHAEL BRETHOUR

They were honoured at the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts, held on May 15 in the Park Ballroom at the Travelodge, in Belleville.  Over 145 guests were treated to a four-course lunch before the awards presentation, as well as to music by the Starpainters Duo, Andy Sparling and Dave Reed, and accordionist, Jessica Melchiorre.

Gerald Boyce was nominated for his tenacious support and promotion of local history.  “His own books, such as Belleville, a Popular History (2008) have helped preserve the historical record of this city while Historic Hastings (1967) is the definitive history of the region… As an educator, historian, volunteer with the Historical Society, lecturer, author of many books, publications and historical papers, member of Belleville City Council and other Civic bodies and boards, he is without equal in the Bay of Quinte area… At age 80, he continues to serve as an active heritage advisor to the Hastings County Historical Society.”

Elizabeth (Liz) Marshall has been a strong pillar of the Belleville Theatre Guild for more than four decades. “Her involvement has covered almost every facet of the life of the Guild. She has served on the Boards of Directors, Play-reading Committees planning the productions for each season, and in many capacities behind the scenes, as producer, designer, and actor…  In 1991 she won the Ottawa Little Theatre Trophy as Best Director for The Death of a Salesman, the Theatre Guild’s entry in that year’s Eastern Ontario Drama League Spring Play Festival… In addition to her full-time career as a teacher, (now retired), Liz has devoted 42 years of her life to the Belleville Theatre Guild, helping to bring outstanding community theatre… to countless audiences in those decades.”

Richard (Rick) Penner’s love of music, both secular and religious, has moved him to volunteer his time and talent wherever he has lived.  He has played for a number of Belleville Theatre Guild productions.  He has played organ and directed the choir at St. Matthews United Church in Belleville and at St. John the Baptist Anglican Church in Madoc.  According one supporter, Rick is “a very talented musician who is always willing to use his talent to entertain, educate and assist others in their endeavours.  Rick brought a highly professional level of musicianship to an amateur church choir and raised its standard of performance singing four part harmony, far above what the choir thought possible.”  Many of you will know Rick for his free monthly Musical Gifts program in the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.  So far, he’s researched and presented the music of 34 individual composers, groups, stylists, or musical periods.  He often invites young singers to join him for these performances and his guidance gives them confidence and stage presence in front of an audience.

A group award went to Connie Yrjola, Barb Forgie and Cara Hunter of We Create Artisan Events.  “All three ladies are wonderful and tireless contributors to our arts community through their many artistic projects. Between them, they have produced countless artisan shows…  2014 will mark the fifth annual Mother of All Craft Shows, the third annual Kaleidoscope…a celebration of craft and design and the fifth annual Mistletoe Magic Artisan Show.  These shows not only support local artisans by giving them an opportunity to showcase their unique talents but also support many worthwhile causes.  Along the way they have raised many thousands of dollars and awareness for local charities including the Quinte Humane Society, Adam’s Hope, Fixed Fur Life, Heal with Horses and the Food for Learning program.”

Paul Johnson and Rob Kellough received an award for their business, Through the Cedars Music Production.  “They are deeply entrenched in the artistic fabric of their community and do their job without question or complaint. Quite often, event technicians are the first to arrive and last to leave and long days can be the norm. Both Paul and Rob exemplify a professional standard that the ‘big city’ technicians could learn from. Whether it’s being polite and understanding with young artists new to the stage or addressing all the little things that ‘come up’ as an act is setting up and sound-checking, these guys do it to a standard that makes me proud to work with them.”

Each winner was presented with a certificate from the City of Belleville as well as a trophy created by glass artist and sculptor, Marc ‘Budgie’ Bourdon.

The Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts was sponsored by Veridian Connections, McDougall Insurance and Financial, Tim Hortons/The Hanley Corporation, The Intelligencer, Cool 100 and 95.5 Hits FM.


Previous Recipients

  • 2014 – CaraHunter, Connie Yrjola, Barb Forgie (We Create Artisans Events); Liz Marshall; Rick Penner; Rob Kellough and Paul Johnso (Through The Cedars Music Production); and Gerry Boyce.
  • 2013 – Joan Reive, In-Four-Mation, Robert Kranendonk, Sam Brady, and Bill and Debbie Morton
  • 2012 – Mary-Lynne Morgan, Artists Below The Line, Nancy Garrod, Rev. John Uttley, Dona Knudsen, Sylvin Pineau, Ross McDougall, Doug Thompson and Harvey Gere of the Belleville Lions Club
  • 2011 – Al Hazel, Jack Evans, Stephane Lemelin, Lise Lindenberg, Shawn Patriquin, Teresa Bell and Paul Thompson
  • 2009 – Bob Long, Don Pinder, Quinte Symphony Orchestra
  • 2008 – Andrew and Adam Gray, Carlyn Moulton, Debra Tosh, Marc Bourdon, Georgette Fry, Peta Hall, and the Marilyn and Maurice Rollins Foundation
  • 2007 – Quinte Opera Guild, Quinte Rotary Music Festival, Rob Brown, Anne Buckley, Muriel Gibson, Bob Clute Pontiac Buick GMC
  • 2006 – Wayne McFaul, Quinte Film Alternative, Moira Nikander Forrester, Sharon Campbell, Chantale Brisson, the Leona Riggs Charitable Foundation
  • 2005 – Marilyn Holden, Ann Pickett, Rudy Heijdens, Andy Forgie, and Jack and Bernice Parrott
  • 2004 – Caroline Smith, Mark Rashotte, Charlie Kammer
  • 2003 – Campbell Monuments, Warren McFaul, Barbara Whelan
  • 2002 – Wilma Alexander, Procter & Gamble, Quinte Ballet School Guild
  • 2001 – The Leona Riggs Foundation, Marion Stratton, Wilma Donald, The Marysburgh Mummers
  • 2000 – Beryl Rutland, Stirling Performing Arts Committee, Belleville Art Association
  • 1999 – Dorothy Aitchison, Eugene Lang, The Belleville Theatre Guild
  • 1998 – Tony Lassing, Susan Richardson, Marilyn and Maurice Rollins, Lee Jourard, Nortel
  • 1997 – Linda Hamer-Harris Mustard, Jim Alexander, Stan Wiggins
  • 1996 – Harlan House R.C.A., Paul Dinkel, Jane Hull
  • 1995 – William Maddox, Brian Scott, Corby Distilleries
  • 1994 – Florence Lennox, Gordon and Audrey Davies, Diana Koechlin