Arts Awards Nominees

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Congratulations to the 2019 Arts Awards nominees! 110 established and emerging Hamilton artists were nominated in 10 categories and the Shirley Elford Emerging Artist Prize.  They are profiled below.

The Awards Presentation took place on Thursday June 13, 2019 at Theatre Aquarius Dofasco Centre for the Arts as part of Hamilton Arts Week.

View the 2019 City of Hamilton Arts Awards recipients.

2019 nominees

Bob Doidge


Proud Gordon Lightfoot Producer and owner of Grant Avenue Studio, music has taken Bob everywhere from the North Pole to Easter Island. Working with artists such as U2, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Los Lobos, Rita MacNeil, Caroline Wiles, Red Green Show and Bruce Cockburn resulting in 2 gold and a triple-platinum album.

Dawn Martens


Dawn Martens is the Artistic Director of The Buchanan Park Opera Club. A winner of multiple local and national teaching awards, Dawn passionately believes in public arts education. For 25 years, the BPOC has raised over 78,000 dollars for charity while instilling a love of the arts in over 1,000 alumni.

Cindy Rees


(Cindy Rees passed away in August 2018)
Cindy Rees was a singer, dancer, actor, director, teacher and mentor to many hundreds of students. She used her creative genius to teach Drama and serve as director for over thirty full stage productions. Cindy launched many professional careers as she filled her students with a love and passion for theatre. More importantly, she guided them to discover themselves.

Cadence Machry


Currently based in Hamilton Ontario, Cadence Machry (also known as Miss Cadence) is an established international performer with 15 years experience in the burlesque industry. As a performer, producer, teacher, and advocate of the art form she focuses her work on mentorship, body acceptance, social justice causes, and helping to validate modern burlesque as legitimate theatre.

Shannon MacKinnon


Shannon MacKinnon is an actress, author, producer and host of “The Artist’s Toolbox” and "Shannon's Stories" on Cable 14. In May 2019, she performed a personal monologue called “Dear Jason” for The Mind Play Theatre Festival. Her ultimate goal as an artist is to uplift people through her art.

Sean McCormack


Sean McCormack is a Sculptor, Dancer, Photographer, Maker and Entrepreneur who has lived in Hamilton since 2013. Sean is proud of the work being produced in the hive known as Art Aggregate; his co-creating space for artists, designers, and other creative influencers in the east end of the city.

Jolanta Oko


Jolanta Oko is a passionate leader, teacher and innovator in the Canadian Dance Education scene. She is challenging the norms of dance teacher training and education, by creating programs and resources to support professional development and lifelong learning for dance educators around the world.

Briana Palmer


Briana Palmer’s teaching, research and practice are deeply rooted in the western traditions of print media. Her approach is to consider the historical impact of the printing press, with regards to material process and the health of our society; to challenges social ideologies, perception and experience of conventional knowledge.

Rey Pitao


Rey Pitao is a Filipino drum and bugle/lyre trainer. He graduated a Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Music, Physical Education and Health in the Philippines. He voluntarily taught young and adult people how to play instruments from different countries. He loves to share his talents to others and contribute to the community as well.

J. Josh Roza


Bio to be provided.

Ed Sculthorpe


Ed Sculthorpe is a Canadian Forces veteran and owner of Birchway Sound. He is a stalwart supporter of local musicians and Canadian made music products. He co-founded the 99 James Project, provides free equipment repair for AIFEC, hosts monthly songwriter workshops, and advocates for fair pay of musicians.

Kaime Sherman


Kaime Sherman, Founder/Artistic Director of Academy of Imagination & Dramatic Arts (AiDa) makes a profound impact encouraging excellence in the arts as a Woman of Distinction, community builder, thought leader & mentor. She has created and facilitates award winning Drama Nature Art Camps for kids, Youth Initiative: Mentor Leaders, Acting & Communication Workshops for Continuing Education, Entrepreneurs & Seniors lifting the human spirit through creative expression & self-discovery. Kaime believes that access to the Arts is not a privilege but a right.

Stylo Starr


Stylo Starr is a multimedia collage artist based in Hamilton, Ontario. Her artmaking practice varies from digital to traditional handcut collage employing found print, photography and fabric. Her work focuses centrally on Black and brown bodies, challenging the mainstream idolization of eurocentric beauty standards and ideals.

Jin Xu


Bio to be provided.

Sue Crowe Connolly


Sue Crowe Connolly teaches functional vocal training and community music facilitation. She works with people to claim their own voice, and to train vocal teachers and choral leaders. She founded Hamilton Sings! Community Choir, a non-audition choir for adults and older youth. She is deeply honoured by this nomination.

Emerging Artist: Hanna Bech Mathieson

Jennie Esdale


Jennie Esdale is director of outreach, development, education at Theatre Aquarius. She has worked with leading theatres across the country including the National Centre, Banff Centre for the Arts, Theatre Calgary, the Cultch and has been recognized through professional theatre awards. Affiliations: Canadian Actors Equity Association, Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Emerging Artist: Jamie Milay

Emma Graves


Emma Graves is an artist based in Hamilton, who practices many kinds of art as well as sharing and educating others in her community. Her many familiar mediums include sketching, painting, collage, and mixed media. Emma, for the last five years has taught art practices at the L’Arche Day Program. 

Emerging Artist: Charles Reid

Steve Haining


An internationally award-winning photographer & DOP, Steve Haining has spent over a decade seamlessly blending his creative art, his client based commercial art and extensive art based social work across Canada. He has worked in his field around the world from the high arctic all the way to southern African countries!

Emerging Artist: Karlie Rogerson

Noelle Allen


Noelle Allen is the publisher of Wolsak and Wynn, a literary press based in Hamilton. She has been the chair of gritLIT: Hamilton's Readers and Writers Festival and of the Literary Press Group, a national publishing organization. She also volunteers with the Hamilton Arts Council’s Literary Awards and the Hamilton Review of Books.

Emerging Artist: Dana Hansen

Ariel Bader-Shamai


Ariel Bader-Shamai is a multidisciplinary artist, whose primary medium is photography, and an arts administrator living in Hamilton. In 2017, she graduated with an MA in Film and Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University, with a focus on photography. She is a co-founder of the arts collective HAVN, and editor of analog photography based zine, Solecism.

Emerging Artist: Sahra Soudi

Ryan Ferguson


Ryan Ferguson is the Curator of Film at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, under his leadership the AGH Film Festival has grown to become one of the largest film festivals in the province. In addition to his work with the AGH, Ryan is a musician and visual artist and recently completed a term as Chair of the Factory Media Centre board of directors. Ryan lives in the Blakeley neighborhood with his cat Miaka (mee-ahh-kha).

Emerging Artist: Amanda Dudnik

Heather Kanabe


Heather Kanabe is an arts leader with over 15 years of experience. She is the General Manager of the Hamilton Fringe Festival and consults for local arts organizations including Telling Tales, Hamilton Artists’ Inc., and Something Else Festival. Heather has a BA in Arts Management and an International MBA.

Emerging Artist: Abedar Kamgari

Lyla Miklos


Host of 101.5 FM’s Centre Stage, Publicist, HIMAs Board Member, Special Events Organizer, Education Worker and Lay Chaplain. Her sex positive, queer, feminist, labour activism informs her work. Lyla uses her creative talents, communication skills, organizational prowess and positive energy to celebrate artists, connect communities, educate citizens and liberate humanity.

Emerging Artist: Allison M. Jones

Stephen Near


Stephen Near is an established writer, educator, and arts administrator based in Hamilton. For eight years, he was Program Director and Operations Officer with the Hamilton Arts Council where he assisted in such programming as the Hamilton Literary Awards, Arts Week, and the arts council’s annual Culture Guide.

Emerging Artist: Jo Johnson

Eshe


Award-winning bellydancer, Eshe is the owner of Hamilton's Mahasti –The Bellydance Emporium where she hosts classes, shows, workshops, competitions and more. Born and raised in Hamilton, she’s trained extensively in Canada, Japan, Egypt, and Turkey and has performed internationally in America, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.

Emerging Artist: Angela Josephine

Lisa Emmons


When Lisa was a little girl, her father would play guitar by the campfire. The love and music her family gave her would stay with her always. She became a dance artist based in Hamilton, founding Aeris Körper. Fostering collaborative relationships leading to immersive performance is her raison d’être.

Emerging Artist: Miriam Edghill

Michael Moses


Michael Moses is one of the fastest rising comedians in Canada with performances at the 2017 Devil’s Cup Comedy Festival in New York City; 2018 Seattle International Comedy Competition. This April he was invited to the 2019 Halifax Comedy Festival where he taped his first national TV performance.

Emerging Artist: AJ Bate

Sean Quinlan


Bio to be provided.

Emerging Artist: German Simon

Aaron Duarte


Aaron Duarte is a Hamilton based fashion designer, whose work is focused on creating one of a kind pieces that invoke a sense of story, drama, and craft using vintage textiles and materials. Co-founder and creator at The Eye of Faith, his work is a union of past, present, and future.

Emerging Artist: Nathan Laman

Lauren Goodman


Lauren Goodman is known for designing fine homewares and domestic objects. Her practice is a continual effort to reconcile the dichotomy between craft and art, exploring the countless iterations in which a functional form can be manifested. She develops work that challenges existing notions of functionality and consequently becomes difficult to define.

Emerging Artist: Connor Bennett 

Jay Jillard


For the last decade, Jillard Guitars has found success on the worldwide stage through the creation of high quality custom guitars, while also becoming a pillar in the Hamilton music community. This year he spearheads the '99 James' guitar project, in support of Hamilton charity "An Instrument For Every Child"

Emerging Artist: Jonny Aplin

Ariel Bader-Shamai


Ariel Bader-Shamai is a multidisciplinary artist, whose primary medium is photography, and an arts administrator living in Hamilton. In 2017, she graduated with an MA in Film and Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University, with a focus on photography. She is a co-founder of the arts collective HAVN, and editor of analog photography based zine, Solecism.

Emerging Artist: Sahra Soudi

Maggie Dee


Hamilton based artist Maggie Dee saw the landscape of art change with the invention of digital imagery.  She set out to prove art sells and there is a market if you search for it. As a passionate photographer she saw the potential of creating artistic images that the general public would like on their walls. Today, Maggie’s art is purchased worldwide and is available in countless online stores, such as Houzz, Wayfair, Walmart, Marmont Hill and is available in Winners and other Home and Garden retailers in Canada.

Emerging Artist: Tara Smith

Steve Haining


An internationally award-winning photographer & DOP, Steve Haining has spent over a decade seamlessly blending his creative art, his client based commercial art and extensive art based social work across Canada. He has worked in his field around the world from the high arctic all the way to southern African countries!

Emerging Artist: Kieran Noble

Joan Krygsman


Joan Krygsman is an artist, writer and musician based in Dundas, Ontario. After OCAD, her traditional pencil, ink and paint work evolved into a primarily digital practice. A rotating collection of Joan’s colour-saturated, stylized portraits and quirky tableaux has a permanent home at Hamilton’s iconic Staircase Theatre.

Emerging Artist: Summer Mortimer

Jackie Levitt


Jackie Levitt is a live visual artist and educator who specializes in beautifying spaces with site-specific installations. Working primarily with video and sculpture, she transforms ordinary environments into extraordinary gathering places. Jackie uses a variety of tools to create original video content and brings her roots as a painter into her media arts practice.

Emerging Artist: Emily Hamel

Taien Ng-Chan


Taien Ng-Chan makes maps, videos, websites, podcasts and radio plays, artist book-works, and social events. She has written and produced for stage, screen, and CBC radio; her media works have been shown across Canada and internationally. She is a founding member of the artist-research collective Hamilton Perambulatory Unit.

Emerging Artist: Sonali Menezes

Andre Bisson


This multi-talented vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist is a force to be reckoned with on the Canadian Blues/R&B scene. With the influences of Motown, Stax, and Blues, Bisson has recorded seven albums with orchestrations of up to 20 pieces. The success of these award-winning albums led to several international tours and sold-out concerts.

Emerging Artist: Vince Tarlton

Jonah Kamphorst


Jonah Kamphorst (Jonah K) is a multi-disciplinary artist specializing in visual art, electronic music and animation. Drawing inspiration from both the natural and supernatural worlds, they are a fearless explorer of the unknown and their work conjures richly detailed and vivid narratives.

Emerging Artist: Philip Minotti

Amy King


Amy has been a leading Music Producer and Recording Engineer at the legendary Grant Avenue Studio since 2002. She has proven to be essential, not only to the success of the many artists who use her skills exclusively, but also to the continued success of Grant Avenue Studio.

Emerging Artist: Alex Whorms

Jessy Lanza


Jessy Lanza is a producer, vocalist and DJ from Hamilton, Canada. Her first two studio albums; Pull My Hair Back and Oh No were met with near universal praise and featured in The Guardian, New York Times, Pitchfork, Fader and more.

Emerging Artist: Becky Katz

Mike McCurlie


Mike McCurlie grew up in Ancaster, playing and writing songs since high school. He spent several years on the road with Daniel Lanois in the 70’s, then worked at Grant Avenue Studio in the 80’s. Since then, he’s headed up Hamilton’s top audio & video marketing company, MJM Media.

Emerging Artist: Travis Stoddart

Ginger St. James


With her powerful voice, sassy stage presence, and a repertoire that blends country, rock n’ roll and blues, Ginger St. James stands out as one of Canada’s most exciting performers. A born entertainer, Ginger captivates audiences with her tongue-in-cheek songs and her “pedal to the metal” band.

Emerging Artist: Matt Soliveri

Mike Trebilcock


Mike Trebilcock is a wildly creative Hamilton-born-and-raised Composer and Filmmaker. He was the guitarist, songwriter and singer for the pop/rock band The Killjoys, who are known for their energetic singles like Rave and Drool and Today I Hate Everyone. He has since composed music for feature films and top theater productions. He has also written and directed many music videos and films including the shorts Chewed and Spidermama.

Emerging Artist: Chrisy Hurn

Trevor Copp


Trevor is a physical theatre creator. As Artistic Director of Tottering Biped Theatre, he has developed and toured original theatre pieces Internationally, created an annual outdoor Shakespeare production with the Royal Botanical Gardens, and developed a gender neutral system of partner dancing. His work is known for its unique physicality combining theatre with mime, contact improvisation, and gusto. 

Emerging Artist: Jesse Horvath

Stephanie Hope Lawlor


Stephanie Hope Lawlor is an actor, teaching artist and theatre creator based in Hamilton. She is the founder and Artistic Director of independent theatre company Rook’s Theatre, co-facilitates The Actor’s Forge, and is the head of the Theatre Department of the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts.

Emerging Artist: Michael Kras

Matthew MacFadzean


Matthew MacFadzean is an award-winning actor and writer in theatre, film and tv. He has acted on most stages across Canada, including Stratford, Shaw and Soulpepper, written and produced ten plays, attended McGill, the National Theatre School, Canadian Film Centre, and is a proud founding member of Hamilton's Industry theatre.

Emerging Artist: Jamie Milay

Ted Basciano


Ted Basciano has created sculptures, prints and drawings. His mosaics are unique in the way he sets his found materials into acrylic paint. Inspired by doodles, there are whimsical figures, human-like animals and symbols from nature in his works. Having spent 14 years in South Korea has influenced Ted.

Emerging Artist: Juliana LaChance

David Carvana


David Carvana is an established visual artist who has been creating in the Creative Hands Studio with L’Arche Hamilton for over 10 years. David specializes in painting acrylics on canvas, but recently expanding his repertoire with felting and other mediums. David’s ‘Tulip’ painting was featured on the L’Arche Hamilton ‘Our History’.

Emerging Artist: Scott Clark

Lester Coloma


Lester Coloma was born and raised in Hamilton and has been professionally hand painting murals since 1996 for corporate client's including Caesar's Windsor, Whole Foods Market Inc, and Busch Gardens. Locally, his unique style of hand painted murals supports various businesses and promotes the rich history and heritage of Hamilton.

Emerging Artist: MJ Hwangbo

Jessica Dejardins


Jessica Desjardins is an established visual artist in Hamilton. Jessica is a part of the Creative Hands Studio with L’Arche Hamilton. Jessica prefers acrylic on canvas. She has had many paintings featured in the studio, and in many exhibits and markets. Jessica’s focus tends to be on landscapes and nature.

Emerging Artist: Christopher Szwarc

Paul Elia


Paul Elia creates photo-based illustrations depicting post-industrial cityscapes of Southern Ontario, most notably Hamilton. Entire city blocks are recreated on 8ft. long prints that allow the viewer to literally walk along the block. Each piece is composed with dozens of photographs that are stitched back together and digitally painted over, or rotoscoped, for a stark illustration of a cohesive scene.

Emerging Artist: Misty Bimson-Kearsley

Elizabeth Sue Hanna


Elizabeth Sue Hanna started her art journey after retirement; her 3D approach to the subject is achieved by creating modules as the basis of her design. Moss and reeds are deconstructed to form the landscaping, the background is acrylic, and she likes to include local wildlife whenever possible.

Emerging Artist: Pat Greene

Kara Jahns


Kara Jahns is an established visual artist who is a part of the Creative Hands Studio with L’Arche Hamilton. While Kara enjoys creating using acrylic, linocut, watercolour, she also enjoys mosaics and creating jewelry which has been displayed at various exhibits and art markets in Hamilton.

Emerging Artist: Nancy Davidson

Jonah Kamphorst


Jonah Kamphorst (Jonah K) is a multi-disciplinary artist specializing in visual art, electronic music and animation. Drawing inspiration from both the natural and supernatural worlds, they are a fearless explorer of the unknown and their work conjures richly detailed and vivid narratives. ​

Emerging Artist: Robyn Lightwalker

Carmela Laganse


Carmela Laganse creates interactive, portable, and modular environments in a variety of media that critically reflect on displacement, colonization, immigration and migration. Her work curiously unpacks the affects of these experiences and examines how they contribute to material culture as well as her own identity, quality of life and her on going education. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Laganse now resides in Hamilton with her family and teaches in the School of the Arts at McMaster University.

Emerging Artist: Kiera Boult

Elizabeth Malara


Elizabeth Malara, elected member of Society of Canadian Artists, is an established visual artist based in Hamilton. Interested in painting in the open air and capturing the atmosphere that impressed her, she gives witnesses to the beauty and diversity of the Canadian landscape. Elizabeth works in oil, acrylic, and watercolour.

Emerging Artist: Amanda Le Blanc

Michael Mattice


Michael Mattice is an established visual artist in Hamilton. Michael is a part of the Creative Hands Studio with L’Arche Hamilton. Michael’s artistic process includes on acrylic on canvas and he also creates pottery and candles. Michael’s painting, ‘Canadian Lake’ was selected as part of the L’Arche International Art Exhibit.

Emerging Artist: Christopher Slade

Ross Moncrieff


Ross Moncrieff is an established visual artist who has been creating for more than 20 years. Ross uses various mediums including watercolour, crayon, acrylic and pencil. Ross is a part of the Creative Hands Studio with L’Arche Hamilton and a committed participant with the Dundas Valley School of Art.

Emerging Artist: Lincy Patel

Colin Edward Murray


Colin Edward Murray has a diverse painting style. His signature paintings take an old master portrait approach to representing Rastafari culture and history. Colin is also comfortable with abstract, abstract portraits, and cityscapes. His preferred medium is oil on canvas, however he also enjoys expressing himself using watercolour and acrylic.

Emerging Artist: Paul Robert Allard

Leslie Sasaki


Leslie Sasaki is an art educator and artist of Japanese-Canadian descent. Through close examination of the familiar, and by organizing unusual combinations of imagery and materials, he lays bare hidden stories embedded in the everyday world. The results often touch on psychology, sociology, folklore, poetry and humour.

Emerging Artist: Abedar Kamgari

Dylan Swan


Drawing on inspiration from his hometown Hamilton community, the work of Dylan Swan is about connection. His art is a reflection of life, energy and place. Fuelled by a vision where everyone is as familiar with the feeling of belonging as they are with the scenery of their hometown.

Emerging Artist: Mariel Rutherford

Olivia Brown


Olivia Brown is a freelance bassist, singer, and songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario. Inspired by a wide variety of music, Olivia combines influences as diverse as James Brown, Billie Holiday, and the Pixies into her own original style. Her inventive lyrics and thoughtful approach to performance leave no audience behind.

Gillian Nicola


Hamilton singer/songwriter Gillian Nicola draws on influences from folk, Americana, and rock genres. With classical vocal training, Nicola’s music centres around her chameleonic vocals - at one moment with a hint of tobacco in her voice, the next outright rocking - alternate tunings, and versatile, melodic songwriting.

Aaron Hutchinson


Aaron Hutchinson is a producer, engineer, musician and sound artist. They make music as Hutchie, with Eschaton, Haolin Munk, and many other ensembles. Aaron has taken their music to the United States, Europe and around Canada. They are a founding member of Fort Rose, the Hamilton Audio Visual Node and HAVNrecords