Record number of nominations nets impressive lineup of finalists for Toronto Arts Foundation Awards

From jazz and tabla to classical music; film in many guises, neighbourhood organizations and kids' theatre

Toronto Arts Foundation Awards 2015 Plate by Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle
Toronto Arts Foundation Awards 2015 Plate by Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle

TORONTO, May 6, 2015 – Director & CEO Claire Hopkinson announced the list of finalists for the 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Awards this evening at the Spoke Club. The Awards will be presented at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch on May 28 to celebrate individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to Toronto’s artistic and cultural life. 

Since 2006, the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards has been shining a spotlight on Toronto’s arts and cultural sector. Foundation Chair, Susan Crocker comments: “We are producing talented artists and arts organizations at an unprecedented rate, and driving artistic excellence across the broadest range of arts disciplines.”

This year’s nominees were chosen by a multidisciplinary jury of Toronto arts leaders: Amanda Hancox, Executive Director, Dancer Transition Resource Centre, National Office; Luis Jacob, Artist, Curator, Writer; Brenda Kamino, film and stage actor; Cynthia Lickers-Sage, Executive Producer, Aboriginal Pavilion, Aboriginal Leadership Partners; Nahed Mansour, Visual/Video Artist, Curator and Director at Mayworks Festival; Jeff Melanson, CEO, Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Ray Tizzard, musician, Orchestra Personnel Manager, National Ballet of Canada; Gili Zemer, Founder and Executive Director, Drum Artz Canada.

Overall, there are nine Toronto Arts Foundation Awards, some presented annually while others are biennial. In 2015 five awards will be presented for a total of $47,500.  


Arts for Youth Award – A $15,000 cash prize.

Celebrating an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging Toronto’s youth through the arts and artistic creation. Established in 2007 by Martha Burns, Jim Fleck and Sandra and Jim Pitblado.

Finalist honourees will each receive $2,000.

The Toronto Arts and Business Award

Recognizing a local business that has sponsored the arts for the first time and made an important contribution to the arts in Toronto through innovative, transformative and entrepreneurial partnerships. Presented in partnership with Toronto Arts Foundation, Business for the Arts and The Toronto Star, this award was established in 2006.

The winning business will be announced at the Mayor's Arts Lunch on May 28.

Emerging Artist Award – A $10,000 cash prize. 

Celebrating the accomplishments and future potential of an emerging Toronto artist working in any discipline. Established in 2006, the award is generously sponsored by Susan Crocker and John Hunkin to support the development or completion of new work. The award given to finalist honourees was established in 2014 through the generous donation of the Bulmash – Siegel Fund.

Finalist honourees will each receive $1,250.

Muriel Sherrin Award For International Achievement – A $10,000 cash prize.

Presented biennially to an artist or creator who has made a contribution to the cultural life of Toronto through outstanding achievement. The recipient will also have participated in international initiatives, including touring, studying abroad and participating in artist exchanges. The award rotates from music to dance in alternating prize years. This year, the award will be made in the field of music.

Finalist honourees will each receive $2,000.

Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Award – A $10,000 cash prize

Presented biennially to an individual who has demonstrated creative cultural leadership in the development of arts and culture in Toronto. Administrators, volunteers, artists and creators are eligible for consideration.

Corporate Partners

2015 marks CIBC’s second of a two-year Presenting Sponsorship of the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards.

“CIBC is committed to building strong, vibrant communities and by promoting artistic excellence we are investing in the social and economic development of Toronto. That is why we are proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards presented at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch, celebrating the exceptional artists and arts organizations that enrich our community,” said Tracy Best, Region Head, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC.

Toronto Star, Cieslok Media, NOW Magazine, The Walrus, Toronto Life and Torontoist are the Toronto Arts Foundation Media Partners.


About Toronto Arts Foundation

Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that encourages artistic excellence and increases access to the arts throughout the City of Toronto through private sector investment. Our vision Creative City: Block by Block is to connect every Toronto neighbourhood with the transformative socio-economic benefits of the arts. By supporting, celebrating, financing and advocating for Toronto’s artists, we can improve the quality of life for all Torontonians.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC and our employees are committed to the social and economic development of our communities, with a focus on Kids, Cures and Community. In 2014, CIBC supported over 420 communities across Canada, contributing more than $42 million to 1,780 charitable and non-profit initiatives, including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC on our corporate website at

Contact Information:

For more information on the Toronto Arts Foundation Awards and The Mayors’ Arts Lunch please visit

Media Contact: Kim Galvez, Galvez + associates, 416-702-0901,