Cultivating Creativity: Celebrating 25 Years of Arts Excellence in Quinte


The Quinte Arts Council is celebrating 25 years of hosting their Luncheon for the Arts to recognize those who have made a difference the Quinte Region. Art and culture play an important role in defining who we are as a community, and contribute to a healthy local economy and lifestyle for those who live and work in the area.

“Without exception, these individuals are making Quinte a destination for those craving a vibrant arts and culture scene,” says Executive Director Janet Jarrell.

This year, QAC celebrates Catherine Taylor, Artist Director at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada (QBSC) – a passionate and exceptional teacher who inspires the very best in her students. When she was just 11, dancer Shae Jones moved from British Columbia to Belleville to study at QBSC: “Ms. Taylor was one of the first people that I met and I will always remember how welcome she made me feel.”

Holly Dewar has been a member of the organizing committee of Belleville Downtown DocFest for eight years and committee Chair for the past four. Nominator Frank Gielen says, “…she has worked tirelessly… fostering deep engagements within the Quinte community.” Adds Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board Executive Director Dug Stevenson, who supported Dewar’s nomination: “If you had 1,000 fingers, you still couldn’t count the hours that Holly Dewar has given in her role.” We couldn’t agree more.

QAC is pleased to recognize Dave Bush, organizer of Front Porch Shenanigans; and annual must-attend of music that has grown from a three-hour show to a four-day live music event. “Dave and some community volunteers have made Front Porch Shenanigans an incredible success, filling the village of Stirling with music and entertainment for an entire weekend,” says nominator Sam Brady. “Though he may not have been performing that long, it seems like Dave has been supporting local artists for his entire life,” adds seconder Deb O’Connor. “So many local musicians have been given great opportunities thank to Dave’s support.”

Part of QAC’s core mission is to support the next generation of artists, and we applaud the nomination of Andrea Kerr, Arts Education Coordinator, HPEDSB. “She is an avid promoter and supporter of the Arts programs in all 40 of our schools K-12,” says nominator Liane Woodley, Principal, Centennial Secondary School.  “This includes the coordination of increased opportunities for learning and performances in all areas of the Arts: drama, dance, music and visual arts.” Tina Jones, system lead at HPEDSB, says “Andrea believes that the arts allow our students to express who they are and will always move mountains to ensure our students know they are painters, singers, musicians, and ultimately artists telling their story for the world to hear, see and understand.”

And finally, QAC celebrates Mayor Mitch Panchiuk, who was nominated by Tim McKinney. As a politician, Mitch has significantly supported the arts and culture in our area: “Belleville has excellent facilities to help us look after the human body, but the arts look after our souls,” he says, “We’re going to have a new renaissance, meaning new birth, of arts, culture and heritage in Belleville.” This past May Mayor Panciuk created a Mayor’s Week for the Arts, and in April announced doubling the Belleville community Arts and Culture Fund to $50,000, allowing applicants to request $5,000 in funding, up from the previous $2,500.

The Quinte Arts Council congratulates all of the recipients of the Arts Recognition Awards for 2019, and we look forward to celebrating you at the upcoming Luncheon to be held at Dinkel’s in downtown Belleville on September 19. Dug Stevenson will be MC, and folk musician/singer-songwriter Melanie Hilmi will perform. Tickets are $40 and are available at the QAC and online at Eventbrite. We expect this event to sell out very soon, so don’t delay. Your community thanks you for supporting the arts!