Mayor's Arts Award for Community Engaged Arts

Profile image of Earle Peach and Ariel Martz-Oberlander

2017 recipients

Earle Peach


Earle Peach is a singer, songwriter, composer, conductor, arranger, teacher and performer. He leads four choirs in the city: the Highs and Lows, a mental health choir; the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir; the Gathering Place choir, a free drop in group which meets at the Gathering Place downtown; and InChoiring Minds, a community choir at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.

Peach hosts a monthly community coffee house in Mount Pleasant called Beats on Broadway. He teaches privately, and records musicians for demos and albums. He has written extensively for choirs, and for various folk groups, for film, theatre and dance. Several of his choral arrangements have been published through Cypress and Silent Dawn. He performs with Barbara Jackson as a duo called Songtree, and also has a band called Illiteratty which performs mostly his songs and instrumentals. Peach is politically active, and likes to garden, swim and ride his bike.

Ariel Martz-Oberlander

Emerging artist

Ariel Martz-Oberlander is a theatre artist, writer and teacher. As a Jewish settler on Coast Salish territories with diasporic and refugee ancestry, her practice is rooted in a commitment to place-based accountability through decolonizing and solidarity work. She divides her time between theatre and community organizing, and specializing in creative protest tactics on land and water.

Martz-Oberlander is a facilitator with the True Voice Theatre Project, producing new shows by residents of the Downtown Eastside, and vulnerably housed youth in collaboration with the Gathering Place and Covenant House. Her most recent work, created with support from the LEAP program, won a research and development prize from the Arts Club. Martz-Oberlander is also the associate producer for Vines Festival, presenting accessible, free eco-art in Vancouver parks. Good art is accountable to the community, raises up voices rarely heard, and is vital to repairing our world.

Past recipients

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Jay Hamburger


Jay Hamburger is the founder/current artistic director of Theatre In the Raw. He is a writer, theatre teacher, director, producer, Carnegie-Mellon University theatre graduate, and Vancouver community arts practitioner. He and partner Atty Gell started the 22-yearold company, which produces original and revived full-length and one-act play works.

Jay was an acting coach for Heart of the City Festival and the coordinator and theatre instructor at Carnegie Community Centre. He premiered three original musicals by Bob Sarti: Bruce: The Musical (music by Earle Peach, Bill Sample), Yippies In Love and The Raymur Mothersm (music by Bill Sample). Jay has produced, directed, and broadcast 23 original radio pieces on Vancouver’s Co-Op Radio’s Arts Rational.

Theatre In the Raw has performed at over 50 venues throughout B.C. and Canada with plays ranging from the classics to works of activism/social concern. Recently 12 Angry Jurors was produced successfully at the InterUrban Gallery. The theatre lives on.

Jerilynn Webster, aka JB the First Lady

Emerging artist

Jerilynn Webster, aka JB the First Lady,is a member of the Nuxalk and Onondaga Nations. She is a Vancouver-basedfemale hip hop/spoken word artist, beatboxer, cultural dancer and youth educator. JB has performed at over 500 hip hop shows, spreading the words of empowerment and the perspective of urban indigenous women in Canada. She has released four albums to date, Indigenous Love (2008); Get Ready, Get Steady (2011) and Indigenous Girl Lifestyle (2014) and the 2015 IMA winning album Indigenized by Entertribal in collaboration with Chief Rock.

JB is the 2015 winner of the Indigenous Music Award for Best Album Cover. She is a five-time nominated artist at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards,the only female to ever be nominated for Best Hip Hop Album (twice), and has been nominated previously for Best Pop Album and Best Album Cover. JB wants young indigenous women to feel proud, inspired, and to see someone on stage that looks like them, representing indigenous women in mainstream media.

Renae Morriseau


Renae Morriseau works to cultivate social justice and inclusiveness in utilizing the creative arts as a mechanism for change. Her disciplines include professional and community engaged theatre productions, and musical collaborations.

Since the early ‘80s, Renae has worked in the arts in Canada, the US and, most recently, internationally with her singing group, M’Girl External website.

In theatre, she produced, wrote, directed and acted in a variety of Aboriginal stories, contributing her music and dramaturgy, as well as teaching theatre to the next generation of thespians.

Her most recent work was to musically direct the Secwepemc community play Tuwitames in 2014. Later that year, she worked with Caravan Farm Theatre’s winter show for the 2014/15 season, musically directing Contest of the Winds, and also singing and acting in the show.

In the spring of 2015, Renae directed Native Earth Performing Arts and Firehall Theatre’s tour of Drew Hayden Taylor’s play God and the Indian.

Lorelei Williams

Emerging artist

Lorelei Williams raises awareness of the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada.

In 2011, she created a dance troupe called Butterflies in Spirit to commemorate the female victims of violence in Vancouver and across Canada. Starting with the image of her missing aunt, Belinda Williams, and her cousin, Tanya Holyk, who was murdered by Robert Pickton, the images of these and other missing and murdered women are highlighted on t-shirts worn in performance.

The dancers pay respect to the victims in hopes of building awareness of these issues. The majority of her dancers are family members of missing and murdered women and they represent their loved ones.

Lorelei is a liaison and program coordinator at the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre where she works with families of missing and murdered women and women from the Downtown Eastside.

She also volunteers at Battered Women’s Support Services as a crisis line support worker, is on the Missing and Murdered Women’s Coalition, and the February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee.

She is very dedicated to ending violence against women and girls around the world.

Paula Jardine


Paula Jardine, 2014 Mayor's Arts Award for Community Engaged Arts honoree
Photo by Deddeda Stemmler
Paula Jardine works to revive and redefine community arts and the artist’s role in the community. She explores and cultivates cultural forms that celebrate and connect us to each other, the land, and natural cycles.

Paula’s background is in dance, theatre, and writing, with an emphasis on Canadian history and folk traditions in ritual and seasonal celebrations.

Her work in outdoor theatre and celebration was the foundation of the Public Dreams Society, which initiated events such as the Illuminares Evening Lantern Procession and Parade of the Lost Souls.

Since 2005, Paula has been the artist in residence at Victoria’s Royal Oak Burial Park and Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, where she co-produces the annual All Souls event with Marina Szijarto.

Now living in Victoria, BC, Paula is committed to work that honours wild salmon and is an active volunteer in her James Bay neighbourhood.

Candice R. Curlypaws

Emerging artist

Candice R. Curlypaws, 2014 Mayor's Arts Award for Community Engaged Arts emerging artistandice R. Curlypaws is committed to creativity as a way of life. She has travelled internationally as a performer, producer and creative facilitator in theatre, music, and mental health activism. She fronts the Myrtle Family Band and is a founding member of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret. Candice collaborated with the Dusty Flowerpot on the Jessie-nominated Hard Times Hit Parade, an immersive theatrical extravaganza set in a Depression-era dance marathon.

Candice also works in the Downtown Eastside as a front-line mental health and housing support worker with the Portland Hotel Society. She has helped Vancouver Coastal Health build a team to design and implement programming for people recovering from mental health and addiction issues.

Her presentation Re-imagining Mental Health through Creativity and Community was featured at Madness Matters, a community dialogue event.

Patti Fraser


2013 Mayor's Arts Awards Community-Engaged Arts Honoree Patti FraserPatti Fraser (PhD) is an artist whose community engaged practice focuses on narrative and story to disrupt the impenetrable veil that often sees a crisis in stereotypical terms. Currently, she is co-artistic director of The Housing Matters Media Project, a youth-engaged media project formed to respond to housing justice issues.

As a founding member of the nationally recognized Summer Visions Film Institute for Youth, Fraser has mentored a generation in Vancouver’s east side in engaged citizenship and media making. In 1986, she started working with Headlines Theatre.

Fraser worked with Youthco AIDS Society, the World AIDS Group, and many other organizations on theatre and education projects. Her work with BCDC and the Aboriginal Outreach Program has been recognized for best practices in health education.

She was a founding member of the Leaky Heaven Circus and a resident artist in the Arts, Health, and Seniors Project. Fraser has written and performed for the theatre, national radio, and film. Her work aims to advance arts-based research methods and public engagement in social justice research projects.

Visit Patti Fraser's website

Kim Villagante

Emerging artist

2013 Mayor's Arts Awards Community-Engaged Arts Emerging Artist Kim VillaganteKim Villagante is a multi-dimensional artist. While a visual art student at the University of British Columbia, she began performing rap, poetry, and soul music, started the Main Street Art Collective, and worked as an art teacher. Since graduating two years ago, Villagante has been heavily involved in community arts practice.

She created her first animation through the Housing Matters Media Project; led a spoken-word mentorship for youth through Artquake; and led arts-based, anti-racism workshops through South Burnaby Neighbourhood House and the Philippine Women's Centre.

As a queer Filipina, she served as a facilitator through Qmunity's Routes to Roots program for queer youth of colour; organized a conference for queer women of colour; and was chosen as one of Xtra Vancouver's Top 30 Under 30.

She was the only female hip-hop artist represented at Vancity’s "Each One, Teach One" 2012 workshop, and recently starred in the Montreal production of Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of, a hip-hop musical. In early 2014, Villagante will release her first acoustic-soul album.

David Diamond


2012 Honouree Artist David DiamondDavid Diamond is artistic director of Headlines Theatre for which he has directed hundreds of community-specific theatre projects and training locally and throughout North America and Europe, as well as in Namibia, Rwanda, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. He has pioneered the development of live, interactive forum television and webcasting.

Founded in 1981, Headlines Theatre uses THEATRE FOR LIVING to help living communities tell their stories. THEATRE FOR LIVING has emerged from Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed.

Diamond is the recipient of numerous theatre and human rights awards. In 2001, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of the Fraser Valley.

He is the author of many published articles and Theatre for Living: The Art And Science Of Community-Based Dialogue (winner of the American Alliance of Theatre and Education 2008 Distinguished Book Award), which was also translated into German as Theatre zum Lebben.

Amanda Nahanee

Emerging artist

2012 Emerging Artist Amanda NahaneeAmanda Nahanee is a descendant and cultural ambassador of the Squamish and the Nisga’a Nation. Her formal training and traditional knowledge showcase both nations and her broad experience bridges Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Amanda is well versed in Coast Salish language, mythology, history, rituals, protocols and village sites.

She has volunteered her time for many plays, concerts, community ceremonies, festivals, where she shared her expertise in the hopes of teaching the people of Vancouver the rich history prior to first contact with Europeans.

Major events she has been a part of include: the 1994 Commonwealth Games; inaugural celebration for GM Place in 1995; 1996 Indigenous Games; and the Taiwan International Multicultural Arts Festival in 1997.

Nahanee is the Vancouver Public Library’s inaugural First Nations Storyteller in Residence, the first in this role in BC, and only the second in Canada. She spoke on behalf of the Squamish Nation to welcome the world to the Coast Salish territories at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremonies.

The 2012 peer jury was Terry Hunter, Savannah Walling, Carmen Rosen, and Naomi Singer.

Naomi Singer


2011 Community-engaged arts Honouree Naomi SingerNaomi Singer is a community-engaged artist best known as the founding artistic director of the Secret Lantern Society, which produces non-secret events, such as Vancouver's annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. Now in its 18th year, the festival is celebrated in six neighbourhoods, attracts 20,000 participants and highlights the art, music, and performance traditions of diverse cultures.

For over two decades, she has collaborated with numerous artists and organizations to develop events designed to inspire the creativity of others. Naomi graduated with Honours from Emily Carr College of Art and Design (1989) and was among the first Park Board Artists In Residence (1994). She is a recipient of the BC Community Achivement Award (2008) and most recently was one of four artists chosen to represent Vancouver at the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. Her current project, An Illuminated History of Vancouver, will be unveiled later this year to celebrate the City's 125th anniversary.

Hélène Bolduc

Emerging artist

2011 Community-Engaged Arts Emerging Artist Hélène BolducHélène Bolduc believes in the arts being a natural and integral part of everyday life. Trained as a stage performer in Simon Fraser University's Bachelor of Fine Arts program, Hélène discovered a strong interest for non-text-based theatre. This, and her previous linguistics studies, contributed to her fascination for non-verbal communication.

She trained in voice and circus arts and has performed as a clown, a stilt-walker, and with fire with many groups, including Secret Lantern Society, Public Dreams, and Mortal Coil.

She has a strong commitment to community arts events and has volunteered fro, facilitated, and coordinated many events with companies such as L'Auguste Théâtre, the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and Le Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver, to name a few.

She works with Red Fox Recreation in the Downtown Eastside, belongs to a community garden, a car coop, and is a Search Program alumnus (2000).

The 2011 peer jury was Terry Hunter, Savannah Walling, Richard Tetrault, and Carmen Rosen.

Carmen Rosen


2010 Honouree Artist Carmen RosenCarmen Rosen is a visual artist, singer, costume designer, theatre and festival stilt performer. She holds an Art History degree from the University of British Columbia and a diploma from Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Carmen has been active in Vancouver for 30 years and for the past 12 has been making community-engaged art with children, youth at risk, and seniors.

She is the founder and artistic director of Still Moon Arts Society, which aims at inspiring vibrant and connected communities by creating artistic experiences and nurturing a passion for nature. Through it, she organizes the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, the Spirit Fish celebration, and numerous other community art and environment projects with local partners.

Carmen has also been artist-in-residence with Arts and Health: Healthy Aging through the Arts, since 2006.

Maggie Winston

Emerging artist

2010 Emerging Artist Maggie WinstonMaggie Winston is a professional puppeteer, performance artist, and drama educator. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Puppetry from Sarah Lawrence College (New York) and the British American Drama Academy (London, UK).

Her work has been featured at Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver Fringe Festival, Western Front, In the House Festival, Arts Wells, Edge of the World Fest, Out The Box Festival (Cape Town, South Africa), and many others.

Maggie has collaborated with companies such as Vancouver MovingTheatre, Runaway Moon Theatre, The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret, Still Moon Arts Society, Mortal Coil Performance Society, The Puppet Theatre Chandigarh (Chandigarh, India), and Sogo Visual Theatre (Cape Town).

She teaches theatre for children, adults, and seniors in various schools and community centres in and around Vancouver.

The 2010 peer jury was Terry Hunter, Savannah Walling, and Richard Tetrault.

Terry Hunter and Savannah Walling


2009 Honouree Artist Terry HunterTerry Hunter is co-founder and executive director of Vancouver Moving Theatre, an award-winning Downtown Eastside-based theatre company that produces innovative arts-based community development projects tailored with and for the Downtown Eastside.

Artistic producer of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival, Mr Hunter has also produced numerous innovative community-engaged productions that give voice to the residents of the Downtown Eastside.

He was co-awarded the Jessie Richardson Award for Significant Artistic Achievement in Spectacle Design in 1988 and was presented with the 2008 British Columbia Community Achievement Award.

2009 Honouree Artist Savannah WallingSavannah Walling, a theatre artist and writer trained in dance, mime, and music, is the artistic director of Vancouver Moving Theatre, a professional company she co-founded in 1983 and with which she has toured four continents and created over 40 interdisciplinary productions.

Ms Walling collaborates with artists of many genres and traditions to create interdisciplinary repertoire influenced by Vancouver’s Pacific Rim culture and her own inner city neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside, where she has co-written, collaborated on and overseen the artistic development of many cultural development projects.

Ms Walling writes articles and presents lectures on VMT’s interdisciplinary and community-engaged practice at conferences and educational institutions throughout Canada and the US.

She was co-awarded a Jessie Richardson Award for Significant Artistic Achievement in Spectacle Design and received the 2008 British Columbia Community Achievement Award.

Rosemary Georgeson

Emerging artist

2009 Emerging Artist Rosemary GeorgesonRosemary Georgeson's family has been intertwined with the Downtown Eastside since it was beach, trees, and clam beds. She has provided outreach and story consultation for the In the Heart of a City: Downtown Eastside Community Play and co-wrote and provided cast hospitality for We’re All In This Together: The Shadows Project.

As Aboriginal Community Director of the urban ink Fathom Labs project, she worked on the "Women in Fish" installation and CBC radio drama, involving 1,000 participants – decades of women in fish giving voice and paying tribute to women who lived and worked in the West Coast fishing industry.

In her role as Aboriginal Community Director and liaison for urban ink, Ms Gerogeson recently directed The Downtown Eastside Women’s Writing Group’s new production of The DreamCatcher. She is collaborating with the Twin Fish theatre collective on a community play project with the Williams Lake community, looking at the legacy of patriarchy, colonization, and stampede culture on Williams Lake and the surrounding First Nations.

The 2009 peer jury was Vanessa Richards, Richard Tetrault, and Lorenz von Fersen.

Richard Tetrault


Richard Tetrault has lived and worked in Vancouver for more than 30 years, where his paintings, prints, and murals explore life within the contemporary urban landscape.

He studied drawing, painting, and printmaking in Vancouver and New York, and his work has been exhibited extensively, both locally and internationally, in more than 50 group and solo exhibitions in Canada, the US, Europe, Africa, Mexico, Thailand, and Japan. His mural work, which can be seen on the streets, in community centres and schools, focuses on issues of community, environment, and cultural origins. Painted Lives and Shifting Landscapes documents his work of the past 30 years.

The 2008 peer jury was Amir Ali Alibhai, Greg Bellerby, Barbara Cole, David Dove, Arthur Erikson, Gathie Falk, Anne Marie Fleming, Susan Gordon, Michel Jacob, Bruno Marti, Terry McEvoy, Laurie McGauley, Barbara-Jo McIntosh, John McLachlan, George McWhirter, Eric Metcalfe, Jonathan Middleton, Melanie O’Brian, Stephen Osborne, Christina Ritchie, Jim Sinclair, Trudy Van Dop, Lorenz von Ferson, and Hal Wake.