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Barrie Arts Awards 

Nominations are now open for the 2017 Barrie Arts Awards on Wednesday, November 15th at 6:30 pm at the Southshore Centre, honouring several stellar individuals or collectives for their amazing contributions to the arts sector. 

Nominate a deserving artist or arts supporter today!

Nominations will be accepted until 4:30 pm Monday, October 23rd for the below categories. Nominees must work, live, attend school, exhibit or perform within Barrie. A nominee may be nominated for only one award per year. Past winners may not be nominated for the same award they won in a previous year but may be nominated for a different category.

NEW IN 2017: Artist Without Barriers
Must be an artist, performer or writer, who has demonstrated creative originality through a body of work despite living with a continuous or recurrent mental or physical disability that results in a substantial restriction in their ability to work, care for themselves, or take part in community life. May be deceased or living. This award is sponsored by the City of Barrie's Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Excellence in Arts
Must be an established professional artist, performer or author, who has demonstrated through one or more bodies of work creative originality, professional maturity and artistic leadership.  These individuals may be living or deceased.

Emerging Artist
Must be an individual who has begun to develop a body of work in preparation/or pursuit of a professional career in the arts.  

Contribution to the Community
Must be an individual, duo or collective that has played a significant role in the development of an arts organization or program, or contributed to the overall arts community in building capacity and enriching the lives of Barrie residents and the local environment.  These individuals may be living or deceased.

Most Promising Youth
Must be 19 years of age or younger, and currently enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary institution.  This youth will have demonstrated a superior ability in their art form.  This award can be for any form of art; eg. visual, performing, literary, etc.

Business Champion
This award will be given to an individual or business operating in the Barrie area that has consistently and significantly supported the arts through either financial and/or in-kind means.  This award may be granted to a business that has made a concerted effort to build capacity in the arts.

Looking to profile your business or organization to the Barrie Arts Awards audience?

As an event sponsor, you can build brand recognition through our promotion campaign, including print advertising, social media, website, and printed materials. Our partnerships are valued and contribute directly towards providing recognition to and celebration of our local arts community. Opportunities are available for in-kind or monetary sponsorships, starting at $300. For more information, download the Sponsorship Opportunities form or contact Amanda Dyke, Culture Officer - Development, at (705) 739-4220, ext. 4593 or

2016  Awards

Short-listed Nominees & Award Winners

Most Promising Youth Tim Beattie
Tori Hathaway
Tim Beattie
Emerging Artist Joshua Doerksen
Ryan LaPlante
Marcus Rodgers
Joshua Doerksen
Business Champion Wendy Miller
Gerry Pilon
Amanda J Rodgers
Wendy Miller
Excellence in the Arts Jim Blackley
James Harrison
John McEwan
Jim Blackley
Contribution to the Community Art in House
Linda LaForge
Arkady Spivak
Art in House

2016 Performances

Ron Sexsmith
For Ron Sexsmith, there’s always a trigger to an album, something that sets in motion the songs he’s writing not exactly as a concept, but certainly a theme or feel. His last album, Forever Endeavour, was born of a health scare while its predecessor Long Player, Late Bloomer was born of disillusionment. 2015’s Carousel One, however, finds Sexsmith in surprising territory for a man often pegged as a downbeat balladeer: he’s actually contented. Self-deprecating almost to a fault, Ron has been a critical success ever since his self-titled debut back in 1995, winning the admiration of major league songwriters such as Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney along the way. Read More

Commercial success, however, has not been so forthcoming for the boy from the blue-collar town of St. Catharines, Ontario. Carousel One (named for the luggage retrieval belt at Los Angeles airport where bags off Toronto flights are delivered) is probably Sexsmith’s most diverse album, another “happy accident”. Songs like ‘No One’ came from the idea of attempting to write in the vein of Roger Miller. Opening track ‘Sure As The Sky’ originated as a folky campfire song but it turned into more of a folk/rock number. ‘Saint Bernard’ meanwhile, is a tribute to an anonymous family dog from a photograph picked up in a second-hand shop by Ron’s wife, Colleen. It’s the perfect example of how he can make even a wistful, nostalgic song turn with a touch of humour, equating the dog that saves him as his own personal minibar. So, here’s to happy accidents; raise a glass to Ron Sexsmith’s Carousel One and his new-found contentment.

Eh440, the incredible Toronto-based vocal group, was born in 2012 and they got lucky from the start.  Most bands’ first gig is at a backyard BBQ or wedding.  Eh440’s first gig was performing the national anthems for the Valentine's Day 2012 Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks NBA game. Singing in an arena for 20,000 people? Pretty good first gig! Eh440 is a mix of 5 people from 5 very different backgrounds and musical genres.  Joe's been a low bass singer his entire life, Luke's an urban beatboxer, Janet identifies as a country/pop singer, Stacey's soul/rap/pop, and Jake likes contemporary vocal/pop music. Together they form "an unforgettable combination of crazy beatboxing, sassy rapping, killer harmonies, and fresh, urban, RnB-influenced compositions". Read More

Eh440 has been stunning audiences worldwide since they first hit the stage a few years ago. With just a beatboxer, bass vocalist, and 3 very different lead singers, this means that they are technically an ‘a cappella’ group but most people think of them as something very different. Following the release of their award-winning 2014 debut release Turn Me Up, Eh440 wanted to step things up to a new level.  A level they hadn’t yet achieved – the boss level!

The September 2016 release of their new album, Boss Level, has generated some exciting fan reviews too.  Some are saying they can’t stop playing it on repeat.  Others are saying that a particular song has inspired them in some way.  So this latest release is clearly a step in a new direction for Eh440 and they are getting exactly what the album title says 'boss level feedback about a boss level album' and they couldn’t be more excited!

Damian Lopes, Poet Laureate for the City of Barrie
From poetry to fiction, image to text, and print to screen, the current Poet Laureate for the City of Barrie, Damian Lopes’ work explores the impacts of emigration and technology on culture, the re-creation of myths after migration, and the interstices that result. The author of three print books and two electronic works of poetry, he is currently completing his first book of fiction. Lopes is a writer member of PEN Canada, and a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada. He also served as the founding chair of the Barrie Arts and Culture Council from 2008-2012. Read More

Lopes was the web editor and a consulting editor at Coach House Books from 1998–2004. During that time, he helped put their full front list online. From 1990–1998, he ran the micro press fingerprinting ink-operated, producing chapbooks, leaflets and broadsides by authors such as Nelson Ball, Daniel F Bradley, Christian Bök, jwcurry, MAC Farrant, Gerry Gilbert, bpNichol, David UU, Darren Wershler, and Alana Wilcox. For a short time in 1995, his brother, Dominic McIver Lopes, and he ran Caju Press.

Born in Aberdeen Scotland and raised in Toronto Canada, Lopes traces his family over much of the globe, including the UK, New Zealand, Tanzania, India and Portugal. He graduated as a music major from the Etobicoke School of the Arts, and English major from McGill University. Having cottaged in Simcoe county throughout his childhood, he now lives in Barrie Ontario with his wife and son, and cottages farther north.

Tori Hathaway
Passion, Spirit, Determination - Traits that shape Ontario rising star, Tori Hathaway. At just 17, this talented singer-songwriter is embracing her upward spiraling music career. The songstress has raised over $10,000 for local charities and continues to use her gifts to engage with young artists, encouraging them to follow their heart and to never give up! In tune with her responsibility as a role model for tweens, her new release "Dear Diary" is uplifting and and inspirational for fans of all ages. With professional memberships including SOCAN, SAC, NSAI, AFM/CFM Local 149, CMAO and CCMA, Tori’s musical crusade has only just begun!
The Dance Academy
At The Dance Academy, the mission is to provide everyone the opportunity to experience dance in a family oriented, structured and inspiring environment. The academy strives to nurture a lifelong appreciation for dance by offering a range of recreational and competitive classes for all ages, hosted by qualified instructors and choreographers. Dancers Julliana Gould, Evie Pottage and Lauren Bruce  are members of The Dance Academy’s Competitive team and have all been dancing since a young age. Their love for dance keeps them inspired, disciplined, and confident! This event’s performance is choreographed by Brittany Lavigne. Read More

Brittany works as a full-time movement instructor in Barrie, ON and the GTA.  Her passion for music and movement are undeniable as she fell in love with dance at a young age. Brittany received most of her formal dance training with The National Ballet School, and most recently George Brown College, graduating from their triple threat Commercial Dance Program. Brittany has had the privilege to train with some of the industry’s most sought after instructors and choreographers, dancing in music videos, for live performances and at many other events. She now enjoys instructing and sharing her knowledge with students at various studios across Ontario, teaching guest workshops as well as regular classes at studios in Barrie and the Toronto area.  Brittany is very involved in the fitness and conditioning community as a certified Pilates Instructor, and the creator/ founder of Barre Essentials. Brittany is also co-artistic director of Sole to Soul Dance Inc, organizing educational dance workshops for young dancers and teachers all over the Canada that nourish mind, body and "sole".

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