Collingwood Arts & Culture Awards

Collingwood Arts & Culture Awards – Recipients Announced!

The Collingwood Arts & Culture Awards marked the sixth anniversary on September 23, with live performances and awards presented to recognize outstanding contributions to arts and culture in our community. Mayor Sandra Cooper and MC Dean Hollin presented the awards, established in 2011 to recognize and celebrate extraordinary contribution to arts & culture in our community. Recipient in the Youth category was Rebecca Herman; the recipient of the Group category was Gaslight Community Theatre Productions and Lory MacDonald was the recipient in the Adult category (pictured below).
Also nominated in the Youth Category were Dylan Burchell and Kaiden Collver. Nominees in the Adult Category also included Yvonne Gibson, Jim Kinnear, Bruce Mackison and Frank McNulty. “Each and every one of the nominees has shown exemplary dedication and commitment to arts and culture in Collingwood and is very deserving of their nomination”, said the Mayor on Friday. “Their accomplishments are truly amazing and it is due to their hard work, that arts and culture continues to thrive in our community.”
Each recipient received a hydrostone sculpture called “Living Column” by Creemore artist Ann Clifford. The sculpture was commissioned especially for the awards and was inspired by the creative energy of those in our community like this year’s nominees as well as the event logo by Tara McLellan.

Mayor Sandra Cooper presents Rebecca Herman with the 2016 Collingwood Arts and Culture Award in the Youth Category.

Photos: Dave West Photography

Mayor Sandra Cooper with the the 2016 Collingwood Arts and Culture Award winners from the Organization Category the Gaslight Community Theatre including (l to r) Monica Wilson, Colleen Hough, Hella Sandberg and Melissa Shaw. Mayor Sandra Cooper presents Lory MacDonald (founder of Magic of Children in the Arts) with the 2016 Collingwood Arts and Culture Award in the Adult Category.
Sohayla Smith & the Smith Brothers opened the evening MC Dean Hollin performs with Kimberley Raeburn-Gibson 2012 Award receipient Aidan Funston (at left) performs with his brother Decklan Funston


2016 Nominees:

Dylan Burchell - Youth Category

Dylan Burchell has a strong passion for music, especially blues. His dedication has propelled him to excel in all areas of music performance, theory and composition. Dylan was an active senior member of the Collingwood Collegiate Institute’s Jazz Band as a guitarist. His exceptional leadership and strong soloing helped the band achieve gold standards at MusicFest Canada competitions across Ontario. 

From an early age, Dylan’s family encouraged his love of music. His initial remembrance of music was of the Beatles and Pink Floyd but early on his interest turned to Jazz and blues after hearing local Blues guitarist and singer Wayne Buttery. His main musical influences are B.B. King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Mayer and Derek Trucks. 

In addition to his guitar performance, Dylan composes music, plays piano and trumpet. He performed at every CCI assembly and enjoys the opportunity to perform regularly in the community as a soloist or with his band. “He was the opening act at Jazz at the Station this year and a leading participant in the Future of Jazz and Blues program”, writes local jazz and blues champion Frank McNulty, Dylan’s nominator.

Dylan will be attending the Humber College Jazz Program this Fall. 

Kaiden Collver - Youth Category

Kaiden Collver leads by example, with a positive and infectious enthusiasm for creating art. Not one to shy away from attempting new creative techniques, Kaiden naturally encourages his peers to experiment and explore new styles in his visual art classes at Collingwood Collegiate Institute. Kaiden is one of the community’s first art buskers having auditioned and been granted a license to create spray paint art on the streets of downtown Collingwood. “Kaiden has a tremendous commitment to art and embraces opportunities to get involved”, described art teacher William Vancise in his nomination letter.

Kaiden picked up brush and paint as a set painter for the CCI production of Wizard of Oz. He joined the organizing committee to help develop the first ArtXPress event for teens. Held at the grain terminals, the event featured three-20 minute rounds of live art-making in which students displayed their originality and creativity on canvas, paper and board. Kaiden won over audience members in the spray paint round with his confident approach and unique style.

With fellow Grade 9 art students, Kaiden designed and painted a muskoka chair for this year’s Collingwood Art on the Street program. Kaiden has recently expanded his artistic pursuits to include photography and has entered his photos on the Experience Collingwood facebook page.

Gaslight Community Theatre Productions - Organization Category

Gaslight Community Theatre Productions brings together over 80 volunteers each year to research, perform and celebrate the history of Collingwood. A new theme is selected each year to inspire colourful stories that are brought to life by local playwrights and actors. Over 650 tour participants visit four venues to see these original tales. Now in its seventh season, the Gaslight Tour is a sell-out event that enriches both volunteers and audiences with a stronger understanding of Collingwood’s past.

Founded in 2010 by Arlene Noble, Gaslight Community Theatre is now guided by Monica Wilson, Executive Producer of the Gaslight Tour, Jan Schennach, Producer of the Page-to-Stage writing programs, and Shirley Joost, Producer of Gaslight Youth Theatre. In 2016 the group sponsored the children’s play, The Little Princess, held a drama workshop for teens and completed and selected the four winning plays from the playwriting competition .This year’s theme for the Gaslight Tour is “Lighthouse Legends”, about our endangered Imperial lighthouse.

Nominators Anke and Rick Lex, write in their submission, “Gaslight Community Theatre makes our community a better place to live; nothing is more bonding and educational then to create with others. Gaslight Community Theatre is truly deserving of this award.”

Yvonne Gibson - Adult Category

Yvonne Gibson is known for her passion and drive when it comes to all things artistic. Her ability to rally volunteers and come up with new events and ideas to keep the arts relevant makes her a natural leader. “Yvonne has been an incredible advocate for the arts,” writes co-nominator Carol Bowden.  

Yvonne is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit organization supporting the arts across South Georgian Bay with 11 sub-committees, multiple annual exhibitions, awards and events. Yvonne has been Chair of the long running Collingwood Arts and Music Festival for the past 11 years. The 2-day outdoor festival, features artist booths, art demonstrations, a children’s tent and live music on the grounds of the Collingwood Museum.

Yvonne is a self-taught artist and enjoys painting local landscapes. She creates watercolour pet portraits and is well known for her unique sculptural Santa creations. Yvonne is also a photographer and her works have been shown in Collingwood Art on the Street. Co-nominator Paulette West writes “I think of Yvonne as always being involved in the arts as an artist, painter/photographer and volunteer administrator.”

Rebecca Herman - Youth Category

Rebecca Herman is a young artist with intuitive talents which she shares enthusiastically with the community. Her generous spirit and passion for the arts led her to create the poster for the inaugural Collingwood Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s & Colitis and contribute graphic design skills for her church events and newsletter. Rebecca volunteers for summer camp, encouraging children to explore their creative abilities. Nominator Shirley Joost describes the grade 12 student as, “a great mentor for younger kids, eagerly sharing her talents with them”.

Inspired to pursue art by her Uncle, Rebecca participates annually in the Great Northern Exhibition and has won numerous awards for her creations, including a sculpture advanced to the regional level. Rebecca embraces every opportunity to participate in the local arts scene.  Her artwork was selected for a banner for Collingwood Art on the Street 2016 and Rebecca not only participated in all three competitive categories for the first ArtXPress event, she won the Paint it! category.

Rebecca also enjoys track and field and plays the flute and piano. She loves to create unique cards for others. She created her own website to share her artwork and offers free colouring pages at

Jim Kinnear - Adult Category

Jim Kinnear is an advocate, facilitator and initiator of the arts in Collingwood. As a volunteer of the Great Northern Exhibition for over 20 years, Jim initiated the Fiddle Contest, Step-Dance and Youth Talent Competitions, as well as many stage shows. This past year, a community theatre group performed a musical at the GNE, with logistics and behind-the-scenes support from Jim.

In 2014, Jim launched the Collingwood Street Piano Project, to provide free pianos for visitors and locals alike to sit down and play. Jim not only organizes the pianos, he supervises the painting, storage, delivery and on-going tuning and repairs of each one. The pianos are on the streets of downtown Collingwood now until the end of August.

A recognizable and highly-regarded pianist, Jim enjoys sharing his love of music with others. To help support the Collingwood Arts and Music Festival, Jim donates his equipment and sound expertise, provides entertainment, coordinates other performers, including youth and is the MC. Catherine Brown who nominated Jim wrote in her submission, “Collingwood has and will continue to benefit from his dedication and generous spirit. He has made a difference.”

Lory MacDonald - Adult Category

Lory MacDonald has been on a mission to inspire and encourage children to create, exhibit and celebrate art for over 22 years. Through the organization she founded called Magic of Children in the Arts, she has touched the lives of thousands of children. A gifted teacher, she encourages creativity in children in a way that is as much about the process as the finished product.

Lory founded Magic of Children in the Arts in 1994. With the help of parents, community support and volunteers, it has evolved into an annual event. The program provides free art workshops and in March and April, a giant show of the children’s artwork is proudly displayed to the community at the Collingwood Public Library. This year more than 1,000 children participated, and each child was awarded a prize of art supplies and personal words of encouragement. Ken Haigh who nominated Lory writes, “It is a huge undertaking, the largest program of its kind in Canada, and without Lory's guiding hand, it would not happen.”

Herself a skilled artist, Lory’s artwork is full of colour, energy and whimsy.  She trained at the Ontario College of Art and has exhibited across Ontario. Since 2009 Lory has produced four Ontario art festivals through Artfest Ontario. 

Bruce Mackison - Adult Category

Bruce Mackison has a knack for motivating volunteers and fostering community partnerships. He is an Honorary Life Member of the Collingwood District Historical Society and former Chair of the Collingwood Museum Advisory Committee. His leadership helped guide the Collingwood & District Historical Society to new heights in membership and marketing and establish new collaborations with the Collingwood Museum and the Collingwood & District Historical Society.

Bruce joined the Collingwood District and Historical Society in 2001 and took over the reins as President in 2007 until 2013. He is now serving as Past President. Under his leadership, the number of CDHS members increased dramatically. His ability to seize opportunities helped him attract interesting speakers to the monthly meetings. His energy and collaborative nature affirmed the CDHS as a key player in the recording and preservation of Collingwood’s history.

Bruce is a chief archivist for All Saints Anglican Church and also contributes his creative skills to their events and programs.

Bruce was a member of the Collingwood Museum Advisory Committee for 12 years and led their two-year process of completing and implementing a strategic plan that will continue to guide museum staff and the current advisory committee until 2017.

Frank McNulty - Adult Category

Frank McNulty works tirelessly to bring quality jazz and blues performers to Collingwood for Jazz and Blues at the Station. He raises awareness and appreciation for the genres of blues and jazz through educational programs for students in local elementary and high schools. Through interactive auditory and visual components, students from JK to Grade 12 are captivated by the presentations. Over 1000 students participated this year and for some it is their first exposure to a live a musical performance.  “Frank has been a wonderful leader in our community by bringing music to the public and into the schools,” explains Charlie Gudaitis in his letter of nomination.

Jazz and Blues at the Station is now its 10 year. The first concert in 2007 featured the Fig Leaf Jazz Band playing to an audience of 65 attendees. By the end of that summer, 500 people attended the series of six concerts. Fast forward to 2015, and a record crowd of over 500 fans enjoyed Chuck Jackson and the full 9 concert series was attended by 3100. Frank was presented with the Order of Collingwood in 2009.

The Collingwood Arts & Culture Awards Program was created in 2011 to recognize and celebrate contributions to arts and culture in our community. Since that time, the program has acknowledged 12 outstanding individuals and organizations in Collingwood including musicians, teachers, actors, artists and arts organizations. If you know a person or an organization you feel should be acknowledged for their commitment to arts and culture, now's your chance to have them recognized and celebrated!

Awards Event

On Friday, September 23, Mayor Sandra Cooper will announce three recipients in the categories of Organization, Youth and Adult. MC Dean Hollin will guide audiences through a special evening of presentations and performances by local artists at the Simcoe Street Theatre. All are welcome to attend, however seats are limited, and reservations are required. Contact for more details. 


Nominations for the 2016 Awards are now closed. Nominations for the 2017 Awards will open in the Spring.  


  • Individual nominees must reside in Collingwood or have an ongoing association with Collingwood and arts and culture in the community.
  • Individual nominees must be living at the time of selection
  • Organization/group nominees must be located in Collingwood or be part of the cultural life of Collingwood
  • Nominations for the same individual or group may be received more than once


Nominations for the 2016 Awards are now closed. Nominations for the 2017 Awards will be accepted in the Spring.  Nominations forms will be available at the Parks, Recreation & Culture Office, Municipal Offices of the Collingwood Public Library, 3rd floor or through the online nomination form below. 

Online Nomination Form

Past Recipients