Arts Awards

Arts Awards Recipients

2021 Arts AwardsThe City Hamilton is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 City of Hamilton Arts Awards, presented in a series of eleven online podcast-style episodes that aired from June 3 to 12 as part of 2021 Hamilton Arts Week. Links to each episode can be found in the recipient listings below.

Arts Awards Digital Magazine

Fullscreen icon Fullscreen magazine view

Lifetime Achievement Award

Illustrated Portrait of Tom Wilson
Illustrator: David Collier

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson is the best-selling author of Beautiful Scars as well as a five-time Juno winning Canadian musician with multiple gold records. Wilson has written and recorded songs with many internationally recognized artists and has toured extensively with his bands Junkhouse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and most recently, Lee Harvey Osmond. His art has shown in galleries in New York City, Vancouver and Toronto.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Tom Wilson

Creator Awards

Illustrated Portrait of Andrew McPhail
Illustrator: Joan Krygsman

Andrew McPhail

Andrew McPhail is a Canadian visual artist based in Hamilton, Ontario. His accumulative, craft-oriented work re-configures ephemeral materials such as Band Aids, Kleenex, pins, sequins and post-its into large sculptures, installations and events. He also co-founded the Hundred Dollar Gallery and is a founding member of The Assembly. 

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Andrew McPhail


Illustrated Portrait of Dan Edmunds
Illustrator: Meredith W. Park

Daniel Edmonds

Daniel Edmonds is a musician and visual artist based in Hamilton, Ontario. His artistic processes involve composition, production and illustration. His work reflects a collaborative approach to making art and emphasizes cooperative creativity. In practice, his audio and visual work display an understanding of both analog and digital techniques.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Daniel Edmonds

Illustrated Portrait of Jim Ruxton
​Illustrator: Joan Krygsman

Jim Ruxton

Jim Ruxton is an award-winning media artist and electronics engineer. He works and collaborates in film, installation, theatre and dance fusing technology with art, often creating work that is interactive. Recipient of an OAC Chalmers Award, two Dora Mavor Moore Awards and granted LED lighting patents, Jim directed the art and science festival, Subtle Technologies for 17 years.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Jim Ruxton

Illustrated Portrait of Jennifer Giles
​Illustrator: Mikaela Rubak-Mazur 

Jennifer Gillies

Jennifer Gillies started as a volunteer with gritLIT in its second year and has been employed as artistic director since the festival was incorporated. She has also worked as a freelance writer and editor and has taught Creative Writing at Mohawk College and at Sheridan College in Oakville.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Jennifer Gillies



Illustrated Portrait of Jordi Alfaro
Illustrator: Gord Pullar

Jordi Alfaro

Based in Hamilton, Jordi is a settler/immigrant from Barcelona. Jordi’s creative practice consists of ceramic sculptures that express material presence in its elemental forms. Through attention to surface, form and scale, the sculptures embody a timeless quality, inhabiting space with a quiet equilibrium in the way of rocks or architecture.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Jordi Alfaro

Illustrated Portrait of Karen Ancheta
Illustrator: Gord Pullar

Karen Ancheta

Karen Ancheta is an actor by training, a storyteller w/Hamilton 7, co-founder @porchlighttheatrehamilton (developing & supporting of marginalized Emerging/Professional Theatre Artists), 1/7 founder of The Garden Project:, collaborator with Kwentong Bayan Collective, vocal coach at Humber College, a mentor for The House Key Project.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Karen Ancheta

Illustrated Portrait of Leon Robinson
​Illustrator: Robyn Lightwalker

Leon Robinson

Leon ‘Eklipz’ Robinson is a multi-dimensional artist who utilizes a vast skill set for the expression of Self. Throughout the years a constant muse has been his connection to Hip Hop Culture. His work is bold and dynamic and speaks to his life experiences.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Leon Robinson


Illustrated Portrait of Olivia Brouwer
​Illustrator: Michael Byers

Olivia Brouwer

Olivia Brouwer is a mixed media painter, printmaker, and sculptor from Hamilton, Ontario. Brouwer translates her own partial blindness into art that raises awareness around visual impairment and accessibility using abstract interpretations of nature and spiritual themes related to blindness.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring Olivia Brouwer


Illustrated Portrait of Stylo Starr
Illustrator: Maya McKeag

stylo starr

stylo starr is an established visual alchemist and creative facilitator based in Hamilton, Ontario. Her artistic process involves both digital and hand cut paper collage, with a focus on found vintage media. Her work is a meditation on Black culture, life and fantasy.

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring stylo starr


Arts Champion Awards

Watch the Arts Awards episode featuring all the Arts Champions

Illustrated Portrait of Bradlee Henry
​Illustrator: Meredith W. Park

Bradlee Henry

Bradlee Henry has been a driving force in helping Hamilton’s Indigenous youth reconnect with their community through his vibrant traditional drumming and singing. He has performed at events across the city, including Living Rock’s Arts of August Youth Arts Festival, the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts’ Together in Dance Festival, Hamilton Regional Indian Centre’s Virtual Youth & Elders Gathering and more.

Watch the Arts Awards episode segment featuring Bradlee Henry

Illustrated Portrait of Erica Commisso
​Illustrator: Maya McKeag

Erica Commisso

Erica Commisso has been a dedicated volunteer with McMaster radio 93.3 CFMU since 2018. This dedication led to her current role as Music Director and radio show host, where she uses her platform to promote both local and out-of-town musicians. Erica has also been an active member of VIE Division, a semi-professional hip hop dance team based out of McMaster University, both as a dancer and volunteer.

Watch the Arts Awards episode segment featuring Erica Commisso

Illustrated Portrait of Judy Marsales
Illustrator: Robyn Lightwalker

Judy Marsales

Judy Marsales has been a consistent supporter of the arts and culture sector, both as a business owner and active volunteer. In addition to supporting numerous organizations and fundraisers, Judy has served as a board member for the Brott Music Festival, Hamilton All Star Jazz Band, Hamilton Music Collective (An Instrument for Every Child) and the Hamilton Music Advisory Team.

Watch the Arts Awards episode segment featuring Judy Marsales

Illustrated Portrait of Mamcy McGibbons Gray
Illustrator: Mikaela Rubak-Mazur 

Nancy McKibbin Gray

Nancy McKibbin Gray is a founding member and volunteer of the Carnegie Gallery, including over ten years as Board Chair during which the Board oversaw the building purchase, renovation and expansion of the gallery. Nancy has served on many committees including the Arts Advisory Commission, Telling Tales, gritLit, and Arts Dundas Weekend and was a long-time employee of Bryan Prince Bookseller.

Watch the Arts Awards episode segment featuring Nancy McKibbin Gray

The Arts Awards are a joint effort amongst many, and we thank those who have contributed to this year’s program, including the nominees, nominators, sector review panel and jurors.  The selection process for the 2021 Arts Awards was divided into 2 phases:

  • Phase 1 An Arts Sector Review Panel reviewed and ranked the Long List of nomination statements of support submitted by the public. These rankings were used to create the Short List.
  • Phase 2 The Final Arts Awards Jury adjudicated the Short List’s full nomination packages to select the Arts Champion, Lifetime Achievement and Creator Award recipients through a consensus-based discussion process.

Read the 2021 Final Jury Reports detailing the jury’s discussion and decisions:

2021 Arts Sector Review Panel

  • Alex Zafer
  • Amy (King) White
  • Astrid Hepner
  • Boris Brott
  • Brian Morton
  • Carmela Laganse
  • Clairandean Humphrey
  • Diana Panton
  • Donna Akrey
  • Florencia Berinstein
  • Jamie Tennant
  • Jeff (Fuzzy) Mall
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Karen Logan
  • Kelly Wolf
  • Klyde Broox
  • Leah Klein
  • Lisa La Rocca
  • Marco D'Andrea
  • Margaret Flood
  • Melanie Pawliw
  • Paul Lisson
  • Sandra Mulder
  • Sara Dickinson
  • Shane Pennells
  • Siobhan Lynch
  • Stephen Altena
  • Stephen Near
  • Tony Clennell
  • Tor Lukasik-Foss
  • Trevor Copp
  • Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay
  • Victoria Long
  • Vitek Wincza

2021 Final Arts Awards Jury

  • Scott Barnim
  • Gary Barwin
  • Pamela Edmonds
  • Ryan Ferguson
  • Yvonne Felix
  • Sara Froese
  • Heather Kanabe
  • LTtheMonk
  • Taien Ng-Chan
  • Cher Obediah (Arts Champion and Lifetime Achievement jury)
  • Bryan Prince
  • Kirk Starkey (Arts Champion and Lifetime Achievement jury)
  • Josh Taylor

Connect with us

Jen Anisef
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 7612
Email: [email protected]
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm