Mayor's Arts Awards

Nested Applications


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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 2019 Mayor's Arts Award Nominations Working Group were appointed by Council and include Councillor Bridget Doherty along with Andrea Seepersad and Sarah Tsiang from the Arts Advisory Committee as well as community members Marney McDiarmid, Marc Garniss and past Mayor's Arts Awards recipient, Erin Ball. 


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2019 Winners

Creator Award winners

Mark Sirett is an award-winning conductor, composer, pianist and organist. He is the founding Artistic Director of the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston. Under his direction, the Cantabile Choirs have received numerous distinctions and award at the regional, national and international levels. In 2009, Mark was the recipient of the President's Leadership Award presented by Choirs Ontario for his contribution to the choral art in the province. Mark will see the Cantabile Choir through 2019-2020 as his final year as an Artistic Director.



Helen Humphreys is an acclaimed novelist, poet, and writer of non-fiction and a long-time resident of Kingston. Having won numerous awards, including the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Lambda Prize for Fiction, as well as having her book named a New York Times Notable Book, Helen's reputation goes far beyond Kingston's borders. Helen's best-selling books are known for their wit, humanity, and lyrical styling. Helen has also served as the Writer-in-Residence at Queens University and was the Poet Laureate for Kingston from 2015-2018. 



Don Maynard is a Kingston-based painter, sculptor and installation artist whose works runs the gamut of encaustic painting to outdoor multi-media public art events. He has exhibited across the country and in the United States. Don is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and a Chalmers Fellowship and has been awarded multiple public art commissions by the City of Ottawa and the City of Toronto. For the past two years, he has been working on the Skeye Project, a spectacular large-scale public art event in which images, accompanied by live music, are projected on a massive screen that floats mysteriously in the sky.



Arts Champion Award winner

Jan Allen is the Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Agnes) at Queen's University and is a dedicated advocate for the visual and media arts community at the local, regional and national level. She has organized over 150 exhibitions, earned numerous awards, is published widely, and led the acquisition of numerous works at the Agnes including the recent Rembrandt, Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair. Under her guidance, the Agnes became free to all members of the public. In addition to her work at the Agnes, Jan has played a key role in many of Kingston's arts initiatives that we see implemented today. 



Limestone Arts Legacy Award winner

Joanne Page started her artistic career as a talented painter. She then spent five years as a columnist for the Whig-Standard (Kingston) where she addressed feminist issues of the day in her column "In Other Words". This formed the catalyst for her career in poetry. She became an active participant in Kingston's literary community. Joanne's outstanding accomplishments include three published books of poetry. The first two books are The River & The Lake (1993) and Persuasion for a Mathematician (2003). Her final book, Watermarks (2008) was nominated for the Trillium Book Award in 2009. 

The Page Lecture Series, an annual event hosted by the Department of English at Queen's University, honours Joanne's life and work each year by inviting a prominent Canadian author to lecture on "the page" – the act of writing, the writing life and community. Joanne died in 2015.


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2018 Winners

Creator Award winners

Arts Champion Award winner

Limestone Arts Legacy Award winner

2017 Winners

Creator Award winners

Arts Champion Award winner

Limestone Arts Legacy Award winner


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