CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Celebrating our student art bursary recipients

Top left clockwise: Andie Csafordi, Ella Reed, Heather Jones, Marina Sproule, Sarah MacDonald

By Fiona Campbell and Allen Steinberg/Quinte Arts Council

The arts are a critical part of a well-rounded education. The importance of investing in creativity is well documented: studies show that students who take arts courses have higher verbal and math SAT scores, as well as gains in both critical and abstract thinking and decision-making. Anecdotally, we know how important the arts have been to weathering the pandemic. So many of us have turned to books, films, music and art to soothe, inspire and bring joy.

In 2011, UNESCO declared the fourth week of May International Arts Education Week, and since then arts and learning communities have shared the far-reaching impact that arts education has on children, their futures and our societies.

“Creativity builds the resilience we need in times of crisis. It has to be nurtured from the earliest age to unlock the imagination, awaken curiosity and develop appreciation for the richness of human talent and diversity. Education is the place where this starts,” writes Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.
The Quinte Arts Council considers arts education a core part of our mandate. Our Artists in Schools program helps to fill gaps left by funding shortfalls and connects students with practicing artists; our Bursaries for Graduating Students help support next generation artists as they further their post-secondary education in the arts.

“Students have demonstrated incredible tenacity and resilience during the past year and we are so happy to support these incredible emerging artists as they take their next steps,” says QAC Executive Director Janet Jarrell. “Supporting arts education for students of all ages gives credibility to art as a viable career. Art is an essential part of the human experience.”

In celebration of International Arts Education Week, we are proud to announce this year’s recipients of six bursaries:

Andie Csafordi of Bloomfield is a graduating student of Centennial Secondary School and is this year’s recipient of both the Quinte Arts Council and Hugh O’Neil bursaries. Andie is extremely involved in the arts in and outside of school, serving as VP of Centennial’s Art Council as well as being a youth member of Quinte Arts Council and Prince Edward County Arts Council respectively. In the fall, Andie is pursuing Material Art and Design at OCADU where she ultimately plans to bring greener alternatives to the fashion industry. “My hope is to develop new ways to reuse materials and minimize waste and demand on our natural resources,” she says.

Marina Sproule of Trenton is graduating from St. Paul’s Secondary School and is another winner of the Hugh O’Neil bursary. She has been accepted into Algonquin

College’s Animation and Illustration program where she aims to pursue her lifelong passion for drawing. “I know I want to be an animator / illustrator because it is all I know, and all I have ever dreamed of since I was first asked what I wanted to be as a child,” says Marina. In the future, she dreams of bringing her creations to life at companies like DreamWorks or the Cartoon Network.

Heather Jones of Consecon is graduating from Centennial Secondary School and has also been awarded the Quinte Arts Council bursary. Heather is a true performer, combining her talent in both music and drama in her several appearances in local musicals. Musically, she has training in musical theatre, classical and opera. She has accepted her offer from Wilfrid Laurier University for their Bachelor of Music Honours program where she plans to carve out a career for herself in performing. Although Heather recognizes that pursuing a career in music may not seem to be a realistic goal, she says has put her utmost trust in music to guide her in her future endeavours:“ I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing as a career after graduation, but I do know music will be the driving force that shapes my future.”

Ella Reed of Belleville is graduating from Centennial Secondary School and is the recipient of the Elaine A. Small bursary. Ella’s artistic merit runs in the family as her mother teaches art and her father teaches music. These influences have shaped her into a versatile artist as she’s skilled in painting, drawing, printmaking, pottery and photography and has a keen interest in makeup and fashion. Throughout the years, these mediums have provided her a calm escape from reality to help cope with her Sensory Processing Disorder, a condition that causes extreme discomfort and anxiety when placed in busy, noisy or unstructured environments. Ella aims to learn more about how the business and art worlds intertwine as she has accepted her offer from Ryerson University to attend their Creative Industries program in the fall.

Sarah MacDonald is graduating from Centennial Secondary School and is this year’s recipient of the Susan Richardson bursary, given to an exceptional student who aims to pursue a career in music. Sarah has a particular passion for musical theatre. She loves how the mediums of music, dance and acting come together to create a magical experience for the audience. She ultimately hopes to bring people joy with her art in the future. “If someone is feeling down and I can cheer them up by doing the thing I love most, that would make me so happy.” Sarah will start her journey in the fall as she has accepted her offer from St. Lawrence College to attend their joint Musical Theatre program with Queen’s University.

For more information about our Arts Education Programs, please visit