Arts Recognition Awards and Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts : Current year

Each year for over 25 years, the Quinte Arts Council recognizes those individuals, artist groups or businesses who have made a difference to the arts in our community with our Arts Recognition Awards. Without exception, these individuals are making Quinte a destination for those craving a vibrant arts and culture scene. Recipients are celebrated at The Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts, which is traditionally held in the fall.

The Quinte Arts Council is pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2021 Arts Recognition Awards:

Over the past 15 years, local photographer Mark Hopper has been honing his signature style of stunning landscapes that dance the line between painting and photography, and images of nature that are both intimate and expansive. Besides his technical and artistic proficiency, Hopper uses his photography for good: Pam Smith, coordinator of the Christmas Sharing program, commends Hopper for raising thousands of dollars to help feed families in need through the sale of his annual photography calendars. Kerri-Lee Roy of Hastings Manor adds, “Our most vulnerable community members that were ‘shut in’ through the pandemic had pure joy brought to them monthly as Mark dropped off thousands of his prints in poster size form to bring a smile to their faces.” And Pam McKibbon, who first learned of Hopper through a golf tournament fundraiser where each year he donated a print for a raffle to raise money for breast cancer, commends him for providing “those of us who were ‘staying at home’ in the lockdown, daily puzzles on the computer to keep us challenged and busy.” 

Nominator Frank Gielen submitted a glowing recommendation for prolific and eclectic local artist Lisa Morris because she “embodies what it is to be a pure artist.” Adds Gielen, “Many artists have one medium to allow their art to manifest itself. Lisa has an artistic drive that manifests itself in any medium that is available to her, and if it isn’t available, she finds it somehow. Her artistic practice has included remarkable jewelry from parts of a bicycle, computer or anything else that she finds; she makes unique clothes and has done costume designs; she writes, she does theatre, she makes puppets and yes, she has made art in the traditional sense. But the most important of Lisa’s attributes is her unpretentious way of dealing with art; it seems that everything she does is, at least in part, a manifestation of her art.”

More than an artist, Morris is a community builder, advocate and activist: says Lindy Powell of Belleville, “She makes art accessible, uses it as a way to build community. She has great generosity of spirit and encourages and inspires others to express themselves creatively… Collaborating with others and supporting individuals and non-profits is Lisa’s way.” Marvin Tucker says one of her greatest contributions was through Artists + Artisans Gallery that Morris and her partner Peter Paylor co-owned in downtown Belleville until last year: “The gallery provided an outlet for many artists who may not have had an opportunity to have a showing in more established art galleries in Belleville. So many burgeoning artists were given this wonderful opportunity through the gallery project.” 

The QAC is pleased to recognize local photographer Bob House who, as noted by nominator Jane Gardner of the Quinte Ballet School of Canada (QBSC), is a “tireless champion of the arts and a firm believer that the arts are for everyone.” After his retirement from Nortel in 1999, House opened a photography studio and gallery on Front Street that he operated for 20 years. He was founding member of PhotoMatrix that provided a network for local photographers to organize exhibits and workshops. House is known for his “vibrant and dramatic images of dancers in performance,” says Gardner: “Over his 20 years donating his time as QBSC’s photographer, House helped dancers build their portfolios, photographed all performances, and served on the board. In 2015, House found a creative way to help raise over $16,000 for the School by agreeing to cut his legendary beard.”

Drew Berry, who currently works in Toronto as a dancer, creator, arts administrator, photographer and videographer, attended QBSC as a student in 2011-12. She credits House for helping her develop confidence in front of the camera and for fostering her own fascination with photography: “As an artist who is now working primarily in dance photography and film, I owe so much to Bob House for being such a generous and caring individual and allowing my mind as a young artist to be inspired by his work and experience the world of photography. I know that many students at QBSC, who have used his photos for auditions, portfolios, websites, and promotional material have greatly benefited from all of his incredible work.”

The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board team – Courtney Klumper, Dug Stevenson, Jennifer Achilles, and Trevor Norris – are tireless advocates for everything Quinte Region has to offer for both residents and visitors through their Bay of Quinte Discovery Guide, blog, event promotion and social media, as well as their marketing grant programs and regional campaigns, including their recent pandemic campaign, “Take A Drive & Meet Us Here (safely),” which was recognized with an Economic Developers Organization of Ontario award.  What’s more, BofQ is an enthusiastic – and inclusive – supporter of the arts community. Writes Tyendinaga-based nominator David R. Tehanenia’kwe:tarons Maracle, “Over the many years of my multifaceted career in the arts and music, I have had the pleasure to work with the Bay Of Quinte RMB and they have been by far so inclusive and respectful with regards to myself and the Indigenous community. They have surpassed my expectations of a tourism authority — always reaching out to us for every event possible, or any funding that would be beneficial to us as an Indigenous business within the Bay Of Quinte tourism.” 

In addition, in late 2020, BoQ was selected for a destination assessment and audit program conducted on behalf of Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) as part of an initiative to help Canadian destinations become more LGBT+ market ready, and has since spearheaded initiatives with local stakeholders (including the QAC) in helping implement recommendations throughout the Region.

And finally, the QAC celebrates local arts enthusiast and philanthropist Ralph Johnston who was nominated by our Board of Directors. Part of our core programming activities include production of Umbrella arts magazine, our arts education program (both our artists in schools program and six bursaries for graduating students pursuing the arts at a post-secondary level) and support of artists through event promotion and professional development. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the arts community, both operationally and financially, and the QAC is no exception. “We have patrons of the arts to thank for stepping up in what has been one of the most challenging years for QAC operations,” says Jarrell. “What has been critical to the QAC at this time, is having the means to continue engagement with our community. The support of Ralph Johnston, along with his husband Tony Martin, has made that possible.”


Due to COVID-19 regulations, these local arts champions will be celebrated at a private in-invite only reception at Dinkel’s Restaurant. We look forward to celebrating with the community again in 2022.

Click here for a complete list of past recipients.