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Recipients of 2021 Orangeville Arts and Culture Awards announced

October 13, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By August Bettinelli

Recipients of the 2021 Arts & Culture Awards in Orangeville were announced last Thursday (Oct. 7), with eight awards being given out to the 32 individuals who were nominated this year.

The annual ceremony was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and can be found on the Town of Orangeville’s YouTube channel.

Wayne Townsend, local Arts and Culture Awards winner in 2020, was the Master of Ceremonies for this year’s event, welcoming viewers and celebrating the award recipients.

“Despite the many challenges of the past year, each nominee has persevered and found ways to continue to share their talents. In addition to being creative, they’ve also had to innovate and adapt. The results are inspiring,” Mr. Townshend enthused.

Orangeville Councillor Lisa Post, who’s also Chair of the Town’s Cultural Plan Task Force participated in the awards presentation and congratulated all nominees on their local impact to arts and culture.

“These incredible nominees have kept arts and culture alive and relevant through some of the most trying times we have ever seen,” said Coun. Post. “Congratulations to all nominees and thank you for offering your time and talent to creating such a vibrant creative sector in our region.”

The eight categories, as well as the award recipients are as follows:

Established Artist, which is an award that honours an artist that has built themselves up within the local community, as well as having a recognizable impact based on their work. This years’ Established Artist Award went to Emilia Perri: owner of Maggiolly Art Supplies, who’s an art teacher and painter.

Perri’s style is described as expressive abstract painting, and her recent work includes bright and colourful representations of landscapes and nature.

Emerging Artist recognizes someone within the community in the early years of their artistic career. Erin Bolten, a folk singer passionate about creating simple music primarily focused on the story and lyric element, was this year’s winner. Going by the stage name “Arlo Sun” – Arlo meaning “between two hills” in Gaelic, and “Sun” representing the music that is her happy place – she plans to release her debut album in 2022. Arlo emphasized that this award represents her connection to the local arts community, along with the relationships formed within. Arlo mentioned being at a “loss for words” at the prospect of her nomination, and her first thoughts when her name was called were, “Wow. I am so lucky”.

Bolten told the Citizen that although she expects a life full of music, recognition for her efforts is exciting and unexpected.

Art encourages connections, as well as allowing individuals to expand their minds and relieve stress. The Arts Educator Award acknowledges an individual whose efforts have and are enriching the minds of students.

Tiffany McCabe, owner of the private practice “The Creative Social Worker”, was this year’s Arts Educator Award recipient. Growing up in Amaranth, Tiffany used art as a way to handle grief. In high school she decided, based on her love of psychology and art, that she wanted to be an art therapist.

“Art is the process of healing and the understanding that we are all creative individuals,” says McCabe.

When hearing her name, she said she felt “humbled, grateful and excited”, She told the Citizen that she called her husband and mother right away to tell them that she won. As a therapist, McCabe is often cheering for others, so despite being out of her comfort zone in the spotlight, the award recognizes her personal efforts; education, time and effort along with spreading awareness of her practice.

Jim Waddington won in the Community Arts Volunteer category; an award bestowed upon someone who contributes to arts and culture through volunteer service and/or creative work. Waddington is a photographer whose key goals are to encourage equality, diversity, as well as making an impact on those around him. Being a person who is usually behind the camera, he described his experience as “humbling” and “unexpected”. 

Acting as sort of a “double whammy” for Waddington, the Creative Cultural Event award was presented to Celebrate Your Awesome. Created in a pub in 2017, Celebrate Your Awesome works to recognize diversity, push for equality, and encourage others to be more accepting.

“Awesome is the key word,” Waddington says, encouraging members of the Dufferin County community to “celebrate it” and “embrace it”.

Waddington also said that you “need a good crew to run a ship” and that without the hard work and dedication of the Celebrate Your Awesome committee, the event would not be as impactful.

Furthermore, these awards provide a “sticker of validation” to the events and those involved, as well as recognizing the efforts to make them what they are.

To acknowledge a person who, while studying full time, is considered an emerging artist within their community, there is the category of Student Artist. This year’s winner is Katrina Creelman: an artistic force with 12 productions, who works with organizations such as “Creative Partners on Stage”. Creelman is a current student at Trent University enrolled in the “Cultural Studies” program. 

Community Impact by Business is the category representing and recognizing a business that supports arts and culture in the community. Marshal Bobechko, the property manager of the Old Mill Hub – the winner in this category – wanted to encourage connection within the community through art. This sparked the idea of effectively turning what was formerly the Mill Street Mall into an arts gallery. Watching the awards with his family, Bobechko says they popped the champagne when Old Mill Hub was announced as the winner, and he described feeling as “ecstatic”. The hard work and dedication puts the location “on the map”, and the award recognizes all that has gone into this project, Bobechko noted.

The final award is the Community Impact by Organization Award, which celebrates an organization that fosters creativity, arts, and culture within the community. The recipient in this category is the Orangeville Business Improvement Area (BIA), responsible for supporting downtown businesses by providing safe and socially distanced events such as the interactive mural Downtown, seasonal displays, along with larger scale events like Winter Marker and the Tree Lighting Ceremony.

All the nominees and winners have contributed to the quality and quantity of Arts and Culture in Orangeville. The Town would like to send a huge congratulations to all those involved.

Furthermore, in a time where interactions have lessened and connections are formed more sparingly, art is a way to bring the community together. Provocation of emotions, stress relief, and adding what is described as “heart and soul” to a community is important, says Jada Milne-Doucette, one of the awards nominees.

This year’s winners were presented with their award at socially distanced meeting this week.

Nominations for the Town of Orangeville’s Arts & Culture Awards open every spring for individuals, businesses, and organizations in Dufferin County. Watch for the nomination announcement at

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