City of Burlington Arts and Culture funds 19 new projects

By Staff

April 12th, 2023



The City of Burlington’s annual Burlington Arts and Culture Fund (BACF) grant program has awarded funding support to 19 projects this year.

Local artists, event and project organizers submitted 27 grant applications between Jan. 3 and Feb. 3 and a jury of peers and City staff reviewed the applications. The jury selected the 19 fund recipients based on:

artistic merit,
program merit and strategic initiative,
citywide and community impact, and
economic impact.

Approved by Council in 2017, the Burlington Arts and Culture Fund provides grants to local artists, multicultural groups, and arts and culture organizations to foster creativity and enrich how Burlington residents are able to experience and engage with arts and culture across the city.

The BACF seeks to nurture the arts and culture sector in Burlington, while fostering creativity, encouraging social cohesion, enhancing quality of life, and stimulating cultural and economic development through direct investment.

The program recognizes and supports diverse identities, perspectives, languages, cultures and artistic practices.

Here are the people and the project we will get to see in the months ahead:

Burlington Arts and Culture Fund Approved Projects for 2023/2024

Members of the Fine Arts Association.

Project: The Artist’s Mark Juried Exhibit
Applicant: Burlington Fine Arts Association
The Burlington Fine Arts Association (BFAA) is a high achieving artist collective of approximately 170 local artists. It is the largest of the seven guilds of Arts Burlington. The Artist’s Mark will provide a ten-day juried art exhibit at the Hub in Burlington Centre. The exhibition brings original art out of the gallery and into a more accessible community venue to provide a unique celebration of local, contemporary art. Throughout the exhibition, participating BFAA artists will interact with visitors by giving live demonstrations while talking about their work and artistic process. The Artist’s Mark will also feature focused artist presentations and discussions. The project provides a continued celebration of creativity and supports local artists from the Burlington community.

Project: Authors in Your Neighbourhood
Applicant: Sylvia McNicoll
Authors in Your Neighbourhood will encourage children to have fun interactions with local writers and illustrators to foster a love of reading and writing. This year, Authors in Your Neighbourhood has expanded to include four renowned Burlington writers: Lana Button; Jennifer Maruno; Sylvia McNicoll; Jennifer Mook-Sang and illustrator Jennifer Faria. They will each demonstrate and teach their craft in five two-hour workshops. Children will have the chance to learn about writing dialogue, describing settings and characters, structuring plots and illustrating their emotions. These workshops will be hosted by the Burlington Public Library at three branches: Central, Alton and Tansley Woods. The goal is to reach over 250 children.

Project: Community Large-Scale Pour Painting Workshop
Applicant: Samantha Le Grand
The mission of visual artist Samantha Le Grand is to challenge perceptions about the artmaking process. With persistence and creativity, almost any skill can be repurposed and applied to the creation of art. For this activity, groups of three to five people will work together to create a unique large-scale abstract painting. The groups will use a technique called pour painting, which includes dripping, tipping, splashing, flicking and dropping of paint and involves collaboration between groups. While the project is taking place, musician Luc Dupuis will play calming instrumental music to inspire the creative process. Making art is meant to comfort those who feel disconnected, unheard or unwelcome. All voices, levels of ability, skill, perspectives and backgrounds are necessary to create a meaningful art.

Project: Elizabeth Gardens Art Walk
Applicant: Elizabeth Gardens Creative Collective
The Elizabeth Gardens Art Walk is a free one-day event that features twenty to thirty local, multi-disciplinary artists, artisans, makers, designers, musicians, performance and arts facilitators. The event is accessible to all ages and has tents and booths showcasing various artists’ work. Twenty interactive and collaborative Art Experience Stations will be hosted by local artists and arts facilitators.

A goal of the project is to help the community learn about the many talented artists and craftspeople that live in Burlington. Through Art Experience Stations, participants can immerse themselves into new artistic practices in a safe, supportive environment. The project allows artists to develop relationships with the community and to network with other artisans to spark future collaborations.

Project: Enhanced Memories of the Brant Inn
Applicant: One Burlington
Based on the success of its 2023 workshop Memories of Brant Inn, the Enhanced Memories of Brant Inn will take place at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. The Brant Inn presented the best performers of the day, as solo acts performing with the support of the Brant Inn House Band and as ensembles. Renown Black performers including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lean Horn, Fats Waller, Sarah Vaughn and more were featured at the famous venue. The event will celebrate the music of these artists by creating new arrangements of their most iconic hits. These new arrangements will be performed by four singers and a band of three musicians. The project will also explore racial inequities of the time as outlined in Stewart Brown’s book Memories of the Brant Inn.

Project: Halton Freedom Celebration Festival
Applicant: Halton Black History Awareness Society
The Halton Black History Awareness Society (HBHAS) is dedicated to implementing cultural education into the public mindset towards appreciating the values of equity and inclusivity. HBHAS develops programs to erode racism, prejudice and stereotyping, while increasing knowledge of Canadian history and its cultural landscape. The free one-day Halton Freedom Celebration Festival brings together musical acts, children’s and youth activities, cultural art, food, crafts, heritage, historical and genealogical vendors, while promoting inclusivity and community. The multicultural ambience is infused with cultural crafts, art in the park, cultural fashions and accessories, food and music including the best in Canadian R&B, Reggae, Soul, Funk, African, Cuban, Jazz Fusion, Soca and Pop.

Project: Hansel and Gretel Touring School Production
Applicant: Southern Ontario Lyric Opera
Southern Ontario Lyric Opera’s vision is to provide high-calibre accessible opera, while maintaining a commitment to community outreach. SOLO’s Hansel and Gretel, a touring production, includes a cast of five professional opera singers, a music director/pianist, costumes and props. The project will be presented at Burlington schools. A teacher resource guide will be provided in advance of the performance, suitable for students in grades four through eight. The touring production provides an opportunity for Burlington students to learn about the inspiring world of opera and its many facets. There will be an introduction before the performance and a question and answer session following the opera to educate children and to foster an affinity for this oft-overlooked art form.

Project: Home Is Where the Art Is
Applicant: Lara Kirschner
Local artist Lara Kirschner has partnered with Shifra Homes to offer paint classes to pregnant at-risk women and new moms. The classes will be offered throughout 2023 and each class will involve creating a personal interpretation of a pre-planned acrylic painting on stretched canvas. Epoxy resin pour painting techniques will also be used at some classes and each class will present a new theme to help foster a sense of accomplishment. Learning opportunities for the project include developing a new skillset to boost self-confidence, working outside of one’s comfort zone to promote mental and emotional growth, the development of interpersonal skills in a group learning environment and exposure to a variety of painting techniques. The project provides a vulnerable population with access to creative teaching and skill development.

Project: Hope For Home Workshop and Play
Applicant:  Theatre Burlington

Theatre Burlington was created in 1952 with the mission to provide opportunities for Burlington residents to learn about the direction, production and staging of plays. Live theatre is an example of how art can be inclusive, entertaining and healing. The play Hope for Home promotes understanding and empathy for homeless individuals and their need for community. The workshop will cover fundamentals of theatrical production and participants will learn the basics of live theatre during these interactive sessions. The workshop will be provided to adults from culturally and economically diverse backgrounds, including individuals with no previous experience in theatre. Participants will learn and spend time practicing these new skills as they prepare to take part in the final production of the play.

Project: Images of Our Past, Present and Future
Applicant: Erick Nettel
Images of our Past, Present and Future is a series of free workshops to teach the basics of still photography to new immigrants who have no technical knowledge or background and want to learn a new skill. At the end of the workshops, applying what they have learned, participants will capture four pictures: a picture that represents something important, relevant or symbolic about their past, something about their present, something about their future, and a self-portrait. The pictures will be showcased in a public exhibition and the entire process will be filmed to create a short documentary. It will highlight the newcomers reflecting on the process of learning photography and the meaning of their pictures as it relates to their new life in Burlington.

Project: Indigenous Collaborations – Free Concerts for Burlington Schools
Applicant: Chris McKhool
Three-time JUNO Award nominees and Billboard charting band Sultans of String will present a series of livestream concerts for Burlington schools throughout the city’s six wards. The concerts will be based on the group’s Walking Through the Fire project, a collaboration with First Nations, Metis and Inuit artists across Turtle Island. The concert lineup will consist of the core Sultans of String members: Chris McKhool on violin, Kevin Laliberté on guitar and Drew Birston on bass, as along with Indigenous collaborators: Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan) – Ojibwe Singer/Songwriter, Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk (Métis Fiddler Quartet) – Métis Violist, Shannon Thunderbird – Tsm’syen Elder Singer/Songwriter, Dr. Duke Redbird – Chippewa/Anishinaabe Elder and Poet, Northern Cree Pow Wow group, Don Ross – Mi’kmaw Guitarist, Kendra Tagoona and Tracy Sarazin – Inuit Throat Singers. The project offers a unique concert experience for elementary and high school students and provides access to performing arts experiences that inspire, empower and spark imaginations.

Project: The Inspiration Initiative
Applicant: Briar Emond
The Inspiration Initiative encourages creativity in individuals that might not consider themselves artistic. By exhibiting local artists of various backgrounds and media, and providing interactive opportunities for everyone to be creative, artists gain exposure and participants gain a further appreciation for Burlington’s local arts and culture. The project brings art to the community and features a week of demonstrations by award winning local artists, interactive painting activities, spoken word readings and a performance by the Garden City Orchestra. The project showcases a free art exhibition that focuses on Lake Ontario from three artists’ perspectives. Combining visual art with other forms of artistic expression will promote an environment that stimulates and encourages community creativity.

Lowville now has an established summer program – watch for it.

Project: The Journey Around the Sun
Applicant: Lowville Festival
The Lowville Festival was founded in 2015 with the vision that arts and nature were perfect partners in creating unique cultural events in the natural beauty of the Niagara Escarpment. In 2023, the festival will pivot to create outdoor events that celebrate the natural change of the seasons – Equinox and Solstice. The focus of this project is to create performance events for a diverse audience, including people of all ages from different cultures, religions, pronouns and perspectives. The cohesion is the celebration of the journey of the sun and its celestial partners, including the earth and moon. The project will take place on four specific dates: June 21, Sept. 23, Dec. 21 and March 19 which coincide with the dates for Summer Solstitium, Autumnal Equinox, Winter Hibernal and the Vernal Equinox.

Project: Lunar New Year Celebration Gala
Applicant: Redleaf Cultural Integration
The Lunar New Year Celebration Gala is an event to celebrate the beginning of the new Lunar Year, one of the most important festivals in Asian countries. The event connects people, shares diverse cultures, and celebrates the Lunar New Year. The celebration includes a half-day, free culture exhibition showcasing multicultural displays of Chinese watercolour painting, calligraphy, traditional sugar painting, a tea ceremony, Indian Henna painting, a Korean culture display and more. The main event includes performances showcasing a variety of songs and dances from various cultures and a magic show on the BPAC’s main stage. Redleaf Cultural Integration is a non-profit cultural organization that works with people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and ages to enhance the quality of life in Burlington.

Project: The Melting Pot – Building Community Connections through Culinary Arts
Applicant: Creative Community Collective
Nothing brings people more together than cooking and sharing a meal. The Creative Community Hive has been hosting a variety of creative activities at various locations in Halton Region since 2017. This project aims to share multicultural recipes through live demonstrations by chefs from within our community who have origins in Congo, South Korea and Spain, share cultural cuisine/recipe-based anecdotes led by an expert storyteller and hear from expert guests in the food industry that share their knowledge around food literacy. The event will allow participants to learn about nutrition and expose them to new cuisines from different cultures, while introducing them to music, art, crafts and images from the various cultures represented.

Charles Cozens

Project: Metamorphosis Concert
Applicant: Charles Cozens
The Metamorphosis concert will feature composer/arranger and pianist Charles Cozens in concert with his trio. The music embraces new compositions by Cozens and fresh, invigorating arrangements of other contemporary jazz and classical themes. The project will explore the art of improvisation and musical metamorphosis and the development of musical themes and motifs. The concert will be scripted with some speaking by Cozens about the nature of the music and each particular piece. The audience will be encouraged to participate through question and answer periods during the performance which will allow for engagement and outreach. The concert demonstrates that music is a universal language that affects culturally diverse people in a different way than spoken word, as music is all encompassing.

Project: Telling Tales Festival
Applicant: Telling Tales
The 15th Annual Telling Tales Festival returns to the Royal Botanical Gardens’ Hendrie Park. The event is free and visitors can participate in a number of educational activities led by a diverse group of authors, illustrators, musicians and storytellers. The program is culturally diverse and committed to showcasing fresh, local talent alongside internationally renowned luminaries. Guests can listen to stories behind a book’s creation, learn writing tips and meet local authors. Participants can also explore interactive workshops, express their creativity in the craft tent with story-based art and explore the park’s sculpture collection. Telling Tales fosters the family literacy skills that will support mental health and a sense of well-being, by promoting a love of reading and an appreciation for the natural world.

Project: The Women Composers Project
Applicant: Effusion and Friends Collective
Effusion was formed in 2016 when five classically-trained musicians joined forces to present concerts to educate the Burlington community. For this project, Effusion aims to bring awareness to the amazing depth and range of women composers in music from classical, rock and pop, to musical theatre and film. The concert will curate music from these genres and composers will come from various cultures and ethnicities. As we introduce these women composers to the public, we will give brief descriptions of the music, the impact that it had at the time, and share important facts about each composer. The project will feature music by Black, Indigenous and Japanese women in addition to works by women from Europe, Canada and the US and will provide a new way of looking at women composers.

Burlington Symphony Orchestra

Project: Burlington Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Engagement Project
Applicant: Burlington Symphony Orchestra
The Burlington Symphony Orchestra (BSO) produces orchestral and small ensemble performances that engage and inspire large, diverse audiences. The BSO Young Artists Engagement Project is a deliberate attempt to offer a number of experiences for youth at various stages of their musical growth. By connecting these experiences, young people can form goals for their artistic future by visualizing their musical growth and potential. The engagement project includes a Young Artist Competition, Youth Learning Day and a concert at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. The winner of the Young Artist Competition will perform as a soloist during the concert. The project provides youth with the opportunity for long term support and real-life experience working within the structure of an orchestral setting.

The Gazette will do what it can to promote these events and tell the story about how they came to be.


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