View the list of winners for the 2017 Mayor's Arts Awards.

The Mayor's Arts Awards is an annual recognition program that celebrates high artistic achievement and recognizes extraordinary contributions in and to the arts. By increasing the profile and appreciation of the arts, the Awards enhance the cultural vitality and civic identity of Kingston. Through this program, the City affirms the value of the arts in City life, and nurtures and inspires sustained development of the cultural sector to the benefit of all its citizens.


  • To recognize the achievements and contributions of individual artists and arts organizations to the cultural vitality of Kingston, and in doing so, inspire and encourage others.
  • To recognize and nurture the outstanding and sustained contributions of members of the community as supporters and volunteers in the arts.
  • To build the profile of the arts community across the City, increasing awareness of the arts among its citizens, and thus building audiences and other forms of participation.
  • To increase Kingston's profile as a place where creative life is valued and innovation is embraced, an attractive destination for visitors, residents and businesses.

Award Categories

The Mayor's Arts Awards recognizes three categories of contribution.

Creator Award

The Creator Award recognizes living artists, artistic collectives, or arts organizations. Three Creator Awards will be given each year to honour artistic merit and/or innovation that advances the arts in the City, contributes to the development of the art form and expresses the cultural vitality of Kingston.

Arts Champion Award

The Arts Champion Award recognizes a living individual, organization or corporation who makes an extraordinary, leading contribution to the arts in Kingston as a volunteer, advocate, supporter, sponsor and/or philanthropist.

Limestone Arts Legacy Award

The Limestone Arts Legacy Award recognizes individuals of the past whose sustained and substantial contributions have built the artistic vitality of the City, nurturing and enabling forms of creation, participation, presentation and enjoyment, whose leadership has inspired others, and whose influence has been felt in the region and beyond.

Nominations Process

The nomination of award recipients is facilitated through the City of Kingston Arts Advisory Committee (AAC) that establishes a Nominations Working Group (NWG) each year for this purpose. It is the responsibility of the Nominations Working Group to identify award recipients according to the program criteria set out in the Terms of Reference for the Mayor's Arts Awards.

The Nominations Working Group is itself comprised of five to seven members who represent a range of interests, experience and perspectives and who are also respected and knowledgeable with regard to the arts in Kingston.  The members of the 2017 Mayor's Arts Award Nominations Working Group were appointed by Council and include Councillor Jim Neill along with Barbara Bell, Bob Brooks and Jane Karges from the Arts Advisory Committee as well as community members Jan Allen, Georgina Riel and Pierre-Luc Landry.

Inaugural year

The inaugural presentation for the Mayor's Arts Awards will take place Dec. 4, 2017.

2017 Winners

Creator Award winners

Armand Garnet Ruffo – A Queen's University National Scholar in Indigenous Literature, Ruffo's award-winning works include plays, film and books of prose and poetry. His collection, The Thunderbird Poems (2015), was inspired by the art of Norval Morisseau.


Su Sheedy – Known for her use of colour and texture in her paintings, Sheedy's work has been exhibited in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Prince Edward County as well as Kingston. With projects like the Shoreline Shuffle, Sheedy has used art to help highlight the need to conserve and improve access to waterways.


Matt Rogalsky – A founding member of The Gertrudes, composer and multi-media artist Rogalsky, is also the force behind The Tone Deaf Festival of Experimental sound and sits on the board of the Skeleton Park Arts Festival.


Arts Champion Award winner

Yessica Rivera Belsham – Drawing on her passion for her Mexican heritage, Yessica facilitates performance workshops, cultural and wellness events that feature painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry design, sewing, drumming and singing.


Limestone Arts Legacy Award winner

David Kemp – The artistic director of the Frontenac Children's Teacher's Theatre Company and co-founder of Artists in Community Education program brought the arts into Kingston classrooms, inspiring generations of youth.

Mayor's Arts Awards