Main photo: HFA Award recipients (back from left) Gregg Evans, Barb Hartwick, Anne MacDonald (wife of award recipient John A MacDonald), Jon Snelson, Janet Copland, Peter Wood, John Jerrett, Sherisse Stevens, Dan Watson; (front from left) Ross Kirwin, Justine McDonnell, Joan Jerrett and Neil Barlow. Missing: Chris Boon, John A. MacDonald, Doug Fairhall, Marion Haggart, Nicole Pantaleo.
The Huntsville Festival of the Arts (HFA) celebrates its 25th anniversary in the same year as Canada’s sesquicentennial and has marked the occasion with an award to recognize some of its long-time supporters.
“We created the awards for our exceptional volunteers and sponsors,” said HFA president Karen Cassian, adding that there are many more people who have supported the organization and that they couldn’t give awards to everyone.
After inviting local artists to submit proposals, the HFA selected a joint project between glass artist Susan Higgins and sculptor Brenda Wainman Goulet. Their design is a northern lights sky in glass by Higgins mounted above a Muskoka landscape sculpted by Wainman Goulet. A musical eighth note, representing the Festival, is lightly embossed in the glass.
The artists had been discussing collaborating with each other already. “Brenda saw the potential for the metal and the glass working well together and enhancing each other,” said Higgins. When both were invited to submit proposals for the award, “we decided to submit one and let it be our first collaboration.”
After several prototypes, they submitted a design that they were happy with and that fit the parameters laid out by the Festival.
“I am pleased with them,” said Higgins. “Most of my work has been done alone as has Brenda’s. It was great to see that we could build on each other’s ideas.”
The awards were presented at the Festival’s official opening of its 25th season – a gala concert by the Canadian Brass – to:
- Neil Barlow, musical director for almost all of the Festival/Rotary musicals
- Chris Boon, technical director of the theatre since it opened
- Janet Copland, set designer for the Festival’s past three musicals
- Gregg Evans, director of the first three Festival/Rotary musicals amongst other plays he directed
- Barb Hartwick, costume designer and creator extraordinaire|
- Joan & John Jerrett, personal supporters of the Festival for many years
- Ross Kirwin, the ‘R’ of D&R Construction, set builders
- John A. Macdonald, former director of Guys & Dolls and lighting expert
- Justine McDonnell, volunteer and helper since the early days of the Festival, specializes in food support to the artists
- Jon Snelson, former Board member and Festival photographer for many years
- Sherisse Stevens, director, vocal coach, actor, performer, and musician who has made many contributions to the Festival
- Dan Watson, Mr. Nuit Blanche North, the best proof that the Festival scholarship works
- Peter Wood, former Board member, King of the Marché and a lover and supporter of the arts
- Doug Fairhall, the ‘D’ in D&R Construction, set builders
- Marion Haggart, original Music at Noon organizer
- Nicole Pantaleo, very talented costume designer and creator
At the concert, HFA general manager Rob Saunders thanked the award recipients and the many others who have supported the Festival over the years. “If we recognized everyone who has been part of this Festival, the
number would be in the hundreds.”
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