The Charlottetown Arts and Culture Awards honoured four individuals for outstanding contributions to the arts community at a ceremony held at Trailside Music Hall on Monday, October 25.
The awards, held this year on International Artist Day, were created to honour Charlottetown’s artists, makers, creatives, and cultural workers who significantly contributed to the cultural sector in the Capital City. Each recipient received a one-of-a-kind award created by Prince Edward Island-based artist Ahmon Katz. Award recipients also received a cash prize.
“On behalf of City Council, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to those who received an award, and to the nominees,” said Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown. “Artists and cultural workers, working in all mediums, have faced incredible hardships since the beginning of the pandemic. You are still creating and making despite these challenging times. It is truly a privilege to honour Charlottetown’s artistic talent with awards that recognize their inspiring tenacity.”
The selection of winners was determined by an independent panel made up of past winners of the Arts and Culture Awards and was chaired by a (non-voting) member of the Arts Advisory Board.
The 2021 Arts and Culture Awards were presented in the following categories:
Emerging Artist – Julie Bull: Julie Bull (they/them) is a queer, non-binary Inuk (NunatuKavut) artist living on Epekwitk (PEI). In March 2020, they were awarded a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Indigenous Storytelling and Spoken-Word. Since then, Julie won the PEERS Alliance/PRIDE PEI OUTspoken Poetry Slam; performed in the Island Fringe Festival’s Pounding the Pavement; facilitated for the PEI Writers’ Guild; self-published their first poetry book, (h)in(d)sight 2020; and their debut art exhibit, Settle Down, Settlers! opened at The Kings Playhouse in September 2021. Julie is also the profile writer for The Buzz: PEI’s Guide to What’s Going On.
Artistic Excellence – Aaron Hastelow: Aaron Hastelow is no stranger to the arts in Charlottetown, PEI and beyond. A triple threat, actor, singer and dancer, he started his career in theatre as a Child of Avonlea in Anne of Green Gables and over the past 2 decades has entertained audiences at theatres across the country. Never was he happier than when he stepped on Island stages in PEI. He has played prominent roles in the Charlottetown Festival such as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables, Sky in Mamma Mia, and has produced 5 sold-out cabarets at The Guild since 2014. When COVID devastated the arts industry, Aaron channelled his creative talents in a different direction and started his own business, Hastelow&Co, a creative agency focusing on branding, design and all things social media.
Champion of the Arts – Ghislaine Cormier: Ghislaine Cormier is a Prince Edward Island-based consultant, agency manager and entrepreneur who provides strategic and financial advice to Provincial and Canadian organizations in the areas of economic development, tourism and culture, with also 20 years of experience in the development of Francophone and Acadian communities in Prince Edward Island and in the Francophone cultural and tourism sector across Canada. Ghislaine has been director of the Fédération culturelle de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard since 2009, and has managed several cultural and tourism projects. She is a co-owner of Kaneshii Vinyl Press, and is responsible for strategic development and project management for the business. She has been representing the francophone community for more than 15 years on several boards of directors such as Folk Music Canada, Music PEI, Home Routes/Chemin Nous, and the National Council of the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française.
Lifetime Achievement – David Andrew Stewart: A graduate of the Film & TV Production program at Humber College, Dave Stewart got his start in professional writing with the first issue of The Buzz back in 1995. Since then, he’s written for SOLEDAD, Art Decades, Rue Morgue, Studio CX (Cathay Pacific), CBC PEI, and restroslahsers.net (now archived), among others. In the early 2000s, his And Yet I Blame Hollywood cartoon for The Buzz was adapted and broadcast nationwide on CBC-TV’s ZeD. Retiring from The Buzz in 2020, Dave’s an ad man by day at Graphcom in Charlottetown. Recent projects include: Monster Man (solo collection of short horror stories), Fear from a Small Place (multi-author anthology), Before Grindr (six-part online interview series exploring the secret gay social history of Prince Edward Island), DARK|Sanctuary, a comic book created in collaboration with Sandy Carruthers, The Satan Show (The Island Fringe Festival), Glory Hole (multi-artist show at The Guild), and reader/contributor to Charlottetown and Calgary performances of Toronto’s Queer Songbook Orchestra.
The Arts and Culture Awards, which occurs every two years, was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony, which is typically held as part of the City’s Natal Day weekend activities, was rescheduled to coincide with International Artist Day, which is celebrated every year on October 25.
A new award was also added to the program for this year’s awards. The Late Great Award was created to acknowledge a remarkable artist from Charlottetown’s past. Artist Hilda Woolnough (1934-2007) is the first to be recognized in this new category.