City of Hamilton Arts Awards Recipients

The City Hamilton is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 City of Hamilton Arts Awards, presented Wednesday, June 6th at Theatre Aquarius Dofasco Centre for the Arts.

The awards ceremony and reception celebrated Hamilton's flourishing arts community, with art installations, live performances, catering from across Hamilton’s cultural communities, and the announcement of 19 Award recipients. 

And the 2018 recipients are...

Lifetime Achievement Award

Image Kosha Braun

Kosha Braun
Kosha Braun (Passed away in April 2018) taught for the HWDSB strings program for 36 years, until the age of 76, well past retirement age. She gave up her own performance career as a violinist with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra to commit to full time teaching in Hamilton's public schools. Kosha’s past students number in the thousands and her devotion to music education has forever enriched our community.


Arts Innovation Award

Image of Astrid Hepner

Astrid Hepner
Saxophonist/Educator Astrid Hepner is the Founder/CEO of the Hamilton Music Collective. As an Executive at Blue Note Records, EMI Music in New York City, she boosted and launched the careers of artists around the world. Now, as the Director of the HMC’s An-Instrument-for-Every-Child program, Astrid nurtures young budding musicians in Hamilton. www.hamiltonmusiccollective.ca


Shirley Elford Emerging Artist Prize - Fine Craft

Jeff "Fuzzy" Mall


Jeff “Fuzzy” Mall
Fuzzy Mall is a self-taught textile artist.  As a recent transplant to Canada, he has spent the last year and a half quilting portraits of strangers who he's met, while exploring his new community of Hamilton. www.quiltedportrait.com


Arts Education and Community Arts Award

Becky Katz

Becky Katz
Becky Katz is a Hamilton-born multi-disciplinary artist who can be accurately described as a visual artist, experimental feminist music-maker, art educator, promoter, and DIY community-organizer. Becky is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Strangewaves, and the Director of Outreach at Centre[3] for Print & Media Arts, two not-for-profits in Hamilton. www.centre3.com/home/community-arts/projects

Emerging Artist Christina Tarsitano

Christina Tarsitano


Arts Management Award

Becca Dowden

Becca Dowden
Becca believes everyone should have access to the arts and the opportunity to create; to share in the benefits and joys that the arts bring to our community. She owns and operates a grant writing business, working with non-profit organizations and artists on the development, delivery, and management of projects, programming, and events.

Emerging Artist Christina Tarsitano

Christina Tarsitano


Fine Craft Award

Hitoko Okada

Hitoko Okada
Hitoko Okada is a fibre artist and craft maker from Vancouver, BC. She has exhibited work in galleries across Canada, and has been selected for the 2018 artist residency at the Haystack School of Craft in Maine, USA. Through her handcraft company, Hitoko.o, she intersects wearable art with cultural and politicized narratives. She is the co-ordinator for [Nu]Links program, a core member of the Hamilton 7, and a member of COBRA in Hamilton. www.hitokoo.com

Emerging Artist Amina Z. Suhrwardy

Amina Suhwardy


Media Arts Award

Vanesa Ramsay

Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay
As a professional artist, Vanessa’s practice includes film and video, storytelling, visual art, projection, site-specific installation, and community engagement. She’s a filmmaker and media artist with many years of experience creating both solo and collaborative works. Her art explores women’s identity and social equality, diverse representation, and the creative process. www.liltfilms.com

Emerging Artist Dima Matar

Dima Matar


Music Award

Harrison Kennedy

Harrison Kennedy
Harrison “Sweettaste” Kennedy is a founding member of the million selling Detroit group "The Chairmen of the Board" and has appeared on Soul Train, American Bandstand,  and the Tonight Show. His awards include a JUNO in 2016 for 'Blues Album of the Year',  Socan's 'Maple Blues Song Writer of the Year' in 2018, and the 2018 39th Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee. www.harrisonkennedy.ca

Emerging Artist Jason Hachey

Jason Hachey


Theatre Award

Marilo Nunez

Marilo Nuñez
Marilo Nuñez is a playwright/director who was the founding Artistic Director of Alameda Theatre Company, one of Canada’s only theatre companies dedicated to the development of new work by Latinx playwrights. She is a graduate of Ryerson Theatre School’s acting program and is currently attending the University of Guelph for an MFA in Creative Writing. www.marilonunez.com

Emerging Artist Jenny Vasquez 

Jenny Vazquez


Visual Arts Award

Sylvia Nickerson

Sylvia Nickerson
Sylvia Nickerson is a creator of comics, illustrations and installations that critique gender, class, capitalism and religion. Through exhibitions, printed books and social media Sylvia mobilizes her graphic art to question social norms around identity, representation, and belief. She is a member of the arts collective, Casino. www.sylvianickerson.ca

Emerging Artist Benita Whyte

Benita Whyte


Writing Award

Jamie Tennant

Jamie Tennant
Jamie Tennant is a long-time freelance journalist and author. By day, he’s the Program Director at 93.3 CFMU FM, and the host of the literature program Get Lit. He was a National Magazine Award nominee and Hamilton Literary Awards finalist for his 2016 novel, ‘The Captain of Kinnoull Hill’. www.jamietennant.ca

Emerging Artist Benjamin Robinson

Ben Robinson

Arts Community Leadership Awards:

  • A nomination package is submitted for each Lifetime Achievement Award and Arts Innovation Award nominee. 
  • A jury for each award, comprised of artists and arts professionals, reviews the nomination packages and determines who will receive the award based on each nominee’s work, career, exemplary accomplishments in their field and/or significant contribution to the advancement of the arts in Hamilton.

Arts Community Leadership Awards:

  • A nomination package is submitted for each Lifetime Achievement Award and Arts Innovation Award nominee. 
  • A jury for each award, comprised of artists and arts professionals, reviews the nomination packages and determines who will receive the award based on each nominee’s work, career, exemplary accomplishments in their field and/or significant contribution to the advancement of the arts in Hamilton.

Established Artist Award:

  • A nomination package is submitted for each Established Artist nominee
  • A jury of category-specific arts professionals reviews the Established Artist nomination packages and determines who will receive the award based on each nominee’s work, career, and reception by the arts community at large.

Emerging:

  • Each Established Artist nominates an Emerging Artist worthy of recognition in their award category.
  • If the Established Artist is awarded, their Emerging Artist is awarded too! By winning together, professional artistic relationships can grow and thrive in the community between artists at different points in their careers.

Connect with us in person

Jen Anisef
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 7612
Email: artsawards@hamilton.ca
Office address: Lister Building, 28 James St. North, 2nd Floor
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Meetings by appointment only - call or email to book.