MASC Arts Awards


I had the pleasure of being the Honorary Patron for the MASC Arts Awards this year. MASC does so many wonderful things in the National Capital area its hard to know how to describe them. Linking a wide variety of artists with learning through schools, community programs, seniors centres, they make it possible for people of all ages to experience the lasting impact of  arts engagement. I have been a MASC artist since I moved here in 1994 and have had some amazing experiences and met so many wonderful people. In particular, their special events are simply magical. The Young Author’s Festival, LiterARTcy and NumerARTcy among others. They are mostly run by MASC’s wonderful programming director Wendy Hartley and an amazing group of volunteers. The events are robust in content and scope yet offer personalized attention and care to the individuals involved. The MASC Arts Awards are a wonderful example of that. Teachers nominate creative students in grades 6-8 in areas of dance, drama, music, literary and visual arts. The winners and their families are honored in a ceremony and special evening that sends the kids home with scholarships for further arts study. I met the winners a couple of week before the event at a pizza dinner,  and had a great time getting to know them and their families. The kids and I jammed a bit and made a spoken word rhythm composition, based on their art forms. We then transferred those sounds to the drums and polished it together. Last night, we shared that with the audience after they had received their awards. The whole evening was memorable, including the individual speeches by the kids, and the presentation of the Jennifer Cayley Award to a previous MASC Arts Award winner who has gone on to pursue the arts. His solo dance was stunning!  Everyone left feeling the power of the arts and the difference that a shining spotlight can do for a person. Photos by Micheline Shoebridge





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