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December 7, 2006
City of Toronto honours ‘face the arts’ recipients
At a reception last evening, the Toronto Government and Toronto Life magazine honoured the recipients of ‘face the arts,’ a 10-month campaign celebrating Toronto’s cultural mavericks who, through artistic promise, achievement or vision, have enriched the cultural life of this city now and for future generations.

“Arts and culture leaders inspire creative and innovative thinking,” said Mayor David Miller who attended the evening’s celebration. “In leading us to new ideas about culture and community, they are helping to build a great city.”

‘face the arts’ is a signature program of Live With Culture, a 16-month campaign celebrating Toronto’s extraordinary arts and cultural communities to showcase the vast scope of the city’s culture of creativity and inspire culture in Toronto to become a daily part of everyone’s life. Toronto Life, as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, is a presenting sponsor of the ‘face the arts’ program.

Live With Culture is a recommendation of the Culture Plan for the Creative City. Adopted by City Council in 2003, it is a 10-year action plan to position Toronto as an international cultural capital and to define culture’s role at the centre of economic and social development of the city. The plan makes 63 recommendations that would allow Toronto to fulfill its potential as a Creative City and a global cultural capital. A key recommendation called for the City of Toronto to declare 2006 the Year of Creativity to catch the wave created by the cultural renaissance taking place in Toronto.

From March until December 2006, ‘face the arts’ acknowledged and provided wider exposure to 11 individuals for their history of artistic achievement and for their work still to come. Recipients were not asked to apply but were chosen by a peer selection committee. Each month, a different acclaimed photographer took the portraits of the individuals for the pages of Toronto Life magazine. A profile on each of the recipients is available at

The ‘face the arts’ recipients are:

Jonathan Bunce a.k.a. Jonny Dovercourt, musician: Jonathan Bunce has stood at the forefront of Toronto’s ‘indie music scene’ and played an instrumental role in taking home-grown culture and showing it to the world. Bunce co-founded Wavelength, a weekly music series and ‘zine credited with revitalizing independent music in Toronto. He is also the co-artistic director of The Music Gallery, an internationally-recognized centre for the creation and performance of new music.

Julia Grieve and Peter Friesen, fashion entrepreneur and designer: Preloved founder Julia Grieve and designer Peter Friesen have breathed new life into old clothes since 1995 with their discovery of a stylish and environmentally-friendly way to spin tired clothing into a fashionista’s dream. Launched on Queen St. W., their Toronto success story is now an international success story. Preloved is now available across Canada, major markets in the United States, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Sheila Heti, author: In addition to penning The Middle Stories and Ticknor, in 2001 Sheila Heti launched the popular Trampoline Hall Lecture Series, in which people speak on subjects outside their areas of expertise. The series was praised in The New Yorker magazine for “celebrating eccentricity and do-it-yourself inventiveness.”

Adonis Huggins, arts activist: As Program Director of Regent Park Focus, Adonis Huggins uses community-based media as a tool of engagement and social change. Huggins has developed prevention programs and activities that offer young people opportunities to explore radio and print journalism, photography, filmmaking and music production.

Luis Jacob, visual artist: Luis Jacob is an artist, curator, educator, writer, organizer and activist whose practice challenges categorization. His art production alone manifests itself as photography, sculpture, performance, artist multiples, public intervention, video and installation. Jacob’s pursuits are varied, but all are unified by his thoughtful concern for the philosophical and cultural possibilities of social interaction.

Sandra Laronde, theatre performer and director: Sandra Laronde is the founder and artistic director of Red Sky performance, a dynamic company shaping contemporary Aboriginal performance in theatre, dance and music. Laronde also founded Native Women in the Arts, Canada’s only organization for First Nations, Inuit and Metis women artists, and has played a significant role in fostering the careers of thousands of Aboriginal artists.

Linda Schyuler, television producer: As CEO of Epitome Pictures Inc. and executive producer and co-creator of the multi-award-winning Degrassi television series, Linda Schuyler has set an industry standard in Canada while simultaneously offering millions of teenagers an honest portrait of their complex lives.

Ana Serrano, new media visionary: Ana Serrano is the Director of the Media Lab at the Canadian Film Centre (CFC), a world-renowned film, television and new media institute founded by Norman Jewison. She provides strategic leadership, fiscal development and program design for all of the CFC’s new media initiatives, including the creation of a diverse range of critically acclaimed interactive narrative prototypes.

Peter J. Smith, architect: Peter J. Smith has designed numerous theatrical and visual art spaces in Toronto and around the world. As the architect of such creative spaces as The Isabel Bader Theatre and the Princess of Wales Theatre, Smith has left his mark of Toronto’s urban landscape.

Menaka Thakkar, dancer and teacher: Menaka Thakkar is an internationally-renowned dancer, choreographer and teacher working in three classical forms of Indian dance: Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi. Thakkar is recognized for her pioneer work in fusing different styles, taking on contemporary themes and experimenting with large Western musicals. She directs Nrtyakala, The Canadian Academy of Indian Dance, which she founded 27 years ago in Toronto.

Funding for “face the arts” has been provided by the Toronto Government, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and the Government of Canada through the Cultural Capital of Canada program.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Rita Davies, Executive Director, Toronto Culture, 416-397-5323



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