Last week on the 29th, I and the Mrs. attended the reception for the BMO Seed Fund Awards at Artscape Youngplace, which despite having had a months-long art therapy placement right across the street at the House of Compassion was actually my first time going there. I admit I was a wee bit nervous: we’d been asked the day before about preparing a “creative offering”, which could very well be limited to a brief description of one’s work, but even so, for some reason the idea of presenting really weirded me out! (Which it does fairly rarely.) It took some of the punch out of the unknown that the first face greeting us upon arrival was Margo Charlton’s, who I’d met back in 2012 at the first Banner Project in St James Town, and then the next year, when she came here to present her research study, Transforming Communities through the Arts: A Study of Three Toronto Neighbourhoods, which in addition to Malvern and Weston Mt. Dennis featured our ‘hood as the prominent third member.
We were one of the earliest to arrive – which meant no lineup for snagging some delish little finger dishes before all the official stuff in the big room at Sketch Studios with the neato Hollywood-style photo thingy set up for pictures. I was introduced to award recipients and other dignitaries and so forth, getting clammier by the second. There was not a lot of pomp, and people hopped on the mic in short order to start ceremonies – I was, third maybe? Fourth? My wife filmed my tiny speech, and I was delighted that in retrospect that I ended up sounding relatively normal! I’m pretty sure my nerves came as a direct result of the Facebook voting process. Since only 6 of we 10 finalists would make the cut, I couldn’t help hitting ‘Refresh! Refresh! Refresh!’ on my screen for, like, a week before we’d find out who won. Holy stressful!
Essencia Arts Collective, Sean Martindale, “Steelpan” Suzette Vidale, Piece of Mind Festival, The Conversation Project, and myself figured in the top 6, with very worthy competitors Michael Nguyen, Young Artists Hub, Limitless Productions, and Lorenzo Pagnotta also winning a prize for their impressive array of projects (I hope I’ve got that list right!). Before the evening wound down, we were treated to a spoken word performance by Adiyana Morris from Piece of Mind and Suzette Vidale rocking out on her trademark steelpan. In a few days time, Suzette would also delightfully make a cameo appearance at the St James Town Arts Launch Party, which will get its due in the next article.
Thanks once again to everyone in my network for making this happen! I look forward to updating you all on the progress of the “Welcome Home” project this summer in SJT.
For more pix from the reception, check out Neighbourhood Arts Network’s album for the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.677273112310635.1073741839.120236141347671&type=1
And the adventure continues as we head on to the TAC’s Mayoral Arts Lunch… https://theyxchange.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/tac-mayoral-arts-lunch/