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Volume 27 Issue 8 | July 1 - September 20, 2022

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Final print issue of Volume 27 (259th, count 'em!). You'll see us in print again mid-September. Inside: A seat at one table at April's "Mayors Lunch" TAF Awards; RCM's 6th edition "Celebration Series" of piano music -- more than ODWGs; Classical and beyond at two festivals; two lakeshore venues reborn; our summer "Green Pages" festival directory; record reviews, listening room and more. On stands Tuesday July 5 2022.

FEATURE The Gryphon Trio

FEATURE The Gryphon Trio ALL PHOTOS BY KAT RIZZA “A SEAT AT THE TABLE” Reflections on April’s Toronto Arts Foundation Awards GLORIA BLIZZARD Nestled in every story is another story, like those wooden dolls hidden within selves. The festively decorated Arcadian Court was the site of this past April’s Toronto Arts Foundation Awards. The event, also referred to as the Mayor’s Lunch, has been a part of the Toronto arts ecosystem since 1996. The venue, located in what was then the Robert Simpson Company Store, at Queen and Bay, has been part of the city’s social, cultural and commercial fabric since the 1930s. The large crowd in attendance included the Mayor of course, at the head table at the front of the room, along with Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO of the Toronto Arts Foundation and its sister organization, the Toronto Arts Council, many financial donors to the arts, city councillors, and the event host, award-winning writer, producer and tv/radio host, Amanda Parris. The Lunch Round, white-table-clothed tables fill the rest of the room, each seating about ten guests. The finalists for the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Celebration of Cultural Life Award, Breakthrough Artist Award and Arts for Youth Award are interspersed among others like me, who have various links to the arts. So are representatives of Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, on hand to accept the already-decided Toronto Arts and Business Award in recognition of their ongoing program of providing transformational cultural funding to the communities they serve. After some speeches, it’s time to eat. They feed us well and I chat with my table mates, a lustrous group of artists, arts administrators, heads of arts organizations, theatre directors, arts professors, and so on. After lunch, the brilliant Gryphon Trio plays Fugitive Visions of Mozart by Ukrainian composer, Valentin Silvestrov, followed by a tango, La muerte del ángel by Astor Piazzolla from Argentina. And then it’s time for the finalists to be recognized. Even within a celebratory scenario such as this – the opening of envelopes and announcing of winners – the structure of a system is hard to ignore. Throughout the ceremony I’d noted the use of space (the stage), the use of time (1.5 hours) — who speaks and for how long. In particular, those opening envelopes, announcing winners and handing out monetary awards – the benefactors – were not reflective of the majority of people at the other tables in the room. There is a tale and a history hitting us in the face if we care to notice. The Process Initially, when asked to attend and write on the gathering, I wondered about the nomination and assessment process as the finalists seemed so vastly different in art form/contributions. I wondered how they could be assessed on the same criteria. I wondered where the Indigenous artists were. I went to the Toronto Foundation Arts and Toronto Arts Council staff to find out. They were forthcoming and thoughtful in their responses. “Our outreach is mostly through emails,” says Jaclyn Rodrigues, Community Engagement Manager at the Toronto Arts Foundation. The outreach team reaches out to past award recipients, board 8 | July 1 - September 20, 2022 thewholenote.com

Left to right: host, Amanda Parris, Mayor Tory, Meridian’s Wanita Fonseka, Never Gallery Ready’s Karen Darricades, spoken-word artist Dwayne Morgan, Breakthrough Artist Award-winner Shelly Grace, and TAF/TAC CEO Claire Hopkinson. members, artistic directors, educational directors and the board presidents of organizations. “We also have a social media toolkit that we share with our local arts service organizations, as well as other various service organizations in Toronto such as East End Arts, Scarborough Arts, Lakeshore. We send targeted communications to past recipients like the Paprika Festival, artist resource centres like the Dancer Transition Resource Centre or Dance Umbrella of Ontario, Playwrights Guild of Canada and other organizations that kind of maybe have a membership network … The nomination process is not like the grant application process. It’s very simple, it’s usually a handful of questions plus contact information. That’s something we stress when reaching out to smaller organizations that might have lower capacity.” Liza Mattimore, the Award Program Manager at Toronto Arts Foundation, also participates in this exercise. She adds that there were more nominations during the pandemic: “Perhaps people were not doing programming and had time to consider the application, and had capacity to consider a nomination.” This year however, the organization noted a decline in the number of nominations. Mattimore suggests that “perhaps people were ramping back up trying to get their programming going again.” In response, she and other staff made a lot of personal calls to organizations that had received the awards and had experienced the benefit of them. “I also reached out to organizations that had some extra momentum, or for whom there was more interest building in their work, as well as to newer organizations, as we’ve got the Arts for Youth Award this year. We also have the Celebration of Cultural Life Award. So, I reached out to some strategic people to ask them to please feel free to consider nominating someone. It’s a combination of all of the individual staff members kind of doing their reach outs. We send out emails to all of our grant recipients, so it’s a pretty wide net that we cast, but I think there’s always room for improvement for sure.” The Panel Looking at the list of nominees for the Celebration of Cultural Life, for example, I found myself wondering how it might be possible to pick between a flamenco dancer and a writer and a woman who’s been an arts administrator for many years. The way a selection panel is chosen seems to be a key process. Mattimore waits until the nominations are closed and only then looks for panel members: “I try to make sure that all of the disciplines that are nominated are reflected in the panel. We have an equity charge in terms of the makeup of our panels. I also like to think broader than that too. I like to think about generational differences and people in different places in their career. I always like to have people in the panel who have received awards — different awards, not necessarily only ones that we’re considering. I find that those people are often very thoughtful panelists, because again, they have this intuitive understanding of how powerful the awards can be. I try to CONNECTING CULTURES FOR A MORE HOPEFUL WORLD CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN MUSIC COMPOSITION GALA CONCERT OCTOBER 20 ORCHESTRE MÉTROPOLITAIN MAISON SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTRÉAL FEATURING PREMIERES BY AMP LAUREATES IMAN HABIBI, AHARON HARLAP & RITA UEDA azrielifoundation.org/amp thewholenote.com July 1 - September 20, 2022 | 9

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