Quite frankly, it was a brilliant affair – lively, dignified, heartwarming and thoroughly artistic. The success was very much due to the efforts of a dedicated group of members of the Centre for the Arts Collective, formed in 2013 to promote the arts in the region and establish a permanent art centre.
Every aspect of the gala was meticulously prepared – the 15 or so tables for the inductees and their guests, plus a few spots for others willing to pay $76 a pop for the few other seats available.
At those prices, you might very well think that the gala was a fundraiser for Cornwall’s new arts centre. Far from it – according to Rose Desnoyers, one of the organizers, the Collective actually raises more money from chicken dinners and so on at the local Legion! On the other hand, it is felt that the gala is also a celebratory way to showcase the wealth of artistic talent in our area. This year, a total of 19 individuals or groups were inducted to join 27 others for a current total of 48 members of the Cornwall and Area Arts Hall of Fame (see https://cornwallartshalloffame.com/past-recipients/).
This eclectic group consists of musicians, actors, playwrights, dancers, visual artists, sculptors, potters, writers, photographers, philanthropists and even an escape artist!
In alphabetical order, this year’s inductees (including those for 2020) were: Alan Bain (painter); Audrey Bain (painter); Barstool Prophets (band – Glenn Forester / Graham Greer / Al Morier / Bobby Tamas); Bernard Chevrier (writer and historian); Marc de Montigny (entertainer – escape artist); Bernice Dickson (dancer – deceased); Emard Brothers Lumber (philanthropists), Stephen Gill (writer); Doug Hill (theatre artist); Raymond Lacroix (musician); Mary Mack (painter – deceased); Jane Macmillan (dancer and painter); Ann Marlin (potter); Brian McCartney (musician); Michael Pearson (theatre artist); Powell School of Dance (dance group); Bill Roddy (theatre artist); Gilles Routhier (musician); and Mario Sarda (theatre artist).
The following photos are not in any particular order.
Each of these artists had the honour of their commendation being read out in English and French, as their image was projected on a screen and volunteers José Martin and Anne Ste- Croix discreetly flitted about delivering their awards to the recipients present since there was no stage or podium.
The event was magnificently emceed by Cornwall’s beloved former mayor and now Senator Bernadette Clement (seen in the header photo) and Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School teacher Robert Poirier.
Native North American Travelling College manager, Iakonnikonriiosta, presented and explained the stunning circular display of 215 beaded vamps for moccasins titled We Were Children Shiiajwakwaksha’okon:a designed by Tracey Thompson of Akwesasne.
Other high spots of the evening were the entertainment acts: musicians Nicholas Doyon and Jean-Marc Lalonde inviting guests to sing along in the French tradition of chansons à répondre , (call-and-response songs), hoop dancer Feryn King whose remarkable talent led her to perform
with the Cirque du Soleil, and musician David Runions accompanying his daughter Rebecca who has performed at Carnegie Hall and who, together with he father, photographed and filmed the proceedings throughout.
Each inductee received a lapel pin and letters of congratulations from the City of Cornwall, MPP Jim McDonnell and MP Eric Duncan.
Mr. Duncan was on hand and highlighted the importance of art in our community.
One notable absentee due to illness was Cornwall City Councillor Elaine MacDonald who was nonetheless recognized as a major driving force behind the Centre for the Arts Collective all these years.
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