Hamilton music legend Harrison Kennedy has received the Lifetime Achievement Award, conferred annually to recognize living artists or arts managers who have contributed substantially to the artistic vitality of the city over the course of a career, and have inspired others through their leadership, creativity and artistic excellence. These individuals’ experience and impact may be local, national or international in scope.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Harrison Kennedy is respected worldwide as a living blues legend. He was a member of the million-selling group, The Chairman of the Board and has released six JUNO-nominated albums as a solo artist, including the JUNO-winning, This is From Here, inspired by his hometown of Hamilton.
Nine Hamiltonians are recipients of Creator Awards. The Creator Awards recognize living artists or artistic collectives working in any artistic discipline and at any career level. A minimum of eight Creator Awards will be given each year to recognize artistic excellence and / or innovation that contributes to artistic growth in the city, progresses the artform and expresses the cultural vitality and diversity of Hamilton’s art scene.
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard aka Belladonna the Blest is an emcee, playwright and agitator. She is emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille, associate artist at lemonTree Creations, artistic director of New Harlem Productions, coordinator of the AD HOC Assembly, and of new play development at Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Aquarius
Emma Smith is an award-winning artist and educator who aims to celebrate the significance of place, environment, and land, through her life philosophy and artistic practice. Exploring this theme largely through woodfired ceramics, her work is made to be experienced quietly, encouraging moments of contemplation and reflection.
Jaclyn Desforges is an award-winning poet and children’s book author. Her debut poetry collection, Danger Flower, was one of CBC Books’ picks for the best Canadian poetry of 2021. She writes about neurodivergence, queerness, and nature, and aims to make poetry accessible to all through her teaching and community work.
Joe Ollmann is a cartoonist who has lived in Hamilton most of his life. He is the author of seven graphic novels. His most recent book, Fictional Father was short-listed for The Governor General’s Award in Canada, the first time a graphic novel was nominated for that award.
Kristina Durka is a media artist, arts administrator, and rabbit enthusiast from Hamilton, Ontario. Her work has been exhibited throughout North America and is held in international private collections. Durka is currently the Co-Chair of Assembly Gallery, Operations Coordinator for Factory Media Centre, and Programming Assistant at Hamilton Artists Inc.
Marla Panko is an established painter who also works in collage and fibre. Her approach is visually rooted in abstract formalism, while contextually, her work examines how the individual interacts with our shared culture. Marla has concurrently sustained a long and varied career in art education and arts administration.
Santee Smith is a multidisciplinary artist from the Kahnyen’kehàka Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River. Her artistic work speaks about identity, Indigenous narratives, creative process and representation. Santee is a sought-after teacher and speaker on the performing arts and Indigenous performance and culture. Having recently culminated The Mush Hole tour, a production based on the truths of Canada’s first Indian Residential School, her upcoming public art commission Talking Earth will premiere in June at the Gardiner Museum, TO.
Hamilton Film-maker Terrance Odette began directing music television series & specials, including 150 music videos. He’s written & directed 4 award-winning narrative feature films to critical acclaim (Variety, Village Voice), screening at festivals including Sundance, Berlin and TIFF. Odette latest feature films include two documentaries “Festa” and “Unimaginable”.
Anishinaabe (Neyaashiinigmiing), and Ililowuk (Moose Factory) Yuma has spent the better part of 20 years in community development, working and consulting with over 30 First Nations communities. Currently a founding member, and Creative Director with Bawaadan Collective. Yuma along with a diverse group of Indigenous artists and accomplices work collaboratively to continually develop our collaborative approaches to modern artistic storytelling and film production processes.
Arts Champion Awards
Arts Champion Awards are conferred annually to living individuals who are outstanding supporters of the arts in Hamilton as volunteers, advocates, or board members. This is a non-monetary award and recipients will be given a special gift of recognition. This award is open to students and youth over 14 years old.
Art to Go Podcast: Nancy Benoy and Cornelia Peckart
Art To Go Podcast was created by Nancy Benoy and Cornelia Peckart. The co-hosts are artists and educators who created the podcast to celebrate the arts and culture of the city of Hamilton. They laugh, have fun, enjoy adventure and tend to be on the optimistic side of the spectrum.
David Beresford has over 15 years professional experience doing live caricature drawings, illustrations and painting projects. He has volunteered with the Lawson Ministries Paparella Art program and the Autism Centre in Downtown Hamilton. He has helped many individuals with their art projects, creative ideas and social interaction skills.
Jamie Smith, Diploma Radio Broadcasting at Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology; host of SCM radio program on CFMU 93.3FM and INDI 101.5FM, member of the CFMU 93.3 programming committee. Currently working on creating a media channel dedicated to the greater Hamilton area arts and music community.