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The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards 30th Anniversary Gala

Canada’s National Arts Centre and Ottawa at large were abuzz with excitement recently for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, which this year marked not only their 30th anniversary but also a splashy return to social life for the nation’s capital.

The GGPAAs did, as they always do, honour a remarkable set of artistic talents, but after a pandemic hiatus, the celebration this year felt even more, well, celebratory. There, presiding in-real-life for the first time since her appointment, was the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon. As always, her honour presented the awards the previous evening during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, and the following night inside the National Arts Centre, she took centre stage to kick off the evening. She was joined by Susan Aglukark, who performed This Child with two Inuit choirs, sung in both Inuktitut and English.

Later, Quebec film and television pioneer Fernand Dansereau, groundbreaking television broadcaster Rita Shelton Deverell, songwriter David Foster, author Tomson Highway and dance educator Linda Rabin were honoured with National Film Board short films and moving performances crafted just for the night. Michelle Smith of Manitoba was recognized with the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts and the marvellous choreographer and director Crystal Pite was this year’s National Arts Centre Award Laureate.

Earlier in the evening, before the big tribute, cocktails were had and dinner was served for a couple of hundred guests in the NAC’s Canada Room. Among them: my host for the evening, Toronto-based producer Kate Alexander Daniels who chaired this year’s GGPAA Gala National Committee; former prime minister Brian Mulroney and his wife, Mila; Douglas Knight, chairman and CEO of the GGPAA Foundation; NAC foundation board members including Diane Obam Dallaire of Ottawa and Anisha Virani of Vancouver; and philanthropist and businessman Donald K. Johnson, who gave a $1-million donation to support the future of the awards.

Douglas Knight, chairman and CEO of the GGPAA Foundation.Nolan Bryant

Brian Mulroney and Bill Fox.Nolan Bryant

GGPAA Gala National Committee chair Kate Alexander.Nolan Bryant

Diane Obam Dallaire.Nolan Bryant

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon.Nolan Bryant

The Gardiner Museum’s International Ceramic Art Fair Preview Gala and SMASH

June was a big month for Toronto’s Gardiner Museum. The beloved institution, which focuses on the art of ceramics, hosted not one, but two great fundraising functions. First up was the International Ceramic Art Fair Preview Gala, where those in attendance were invited to preview and, should they feel the urge, acquire a work from an array of wonderful pieces by Canadian and international ceramic artists. The 10 day event (the gala served as the opening) included artist talks, tours and performances with all proceeds supporting the Gardiner’s Community Access Fund. Kenyan-British artist and teacher dame Magdalene Odundo served as honorary patron of the event, while James Burn, a partner at BrandActive chaired its committee.

The Gardiner Museum's International Ceramic Art Fair Preview Gala.George Pimentel

Consuelo and Trinity Jackman.George Pimentel

Peter and Camilla Dalglish.George Pimentel

James Burn and Suzanne Boyd.George Pimentel

Roz Ivey.George Pimentel

Nancy Lockhart and Ellen Roland.George Pimentel

A couple of weeks later, it was the Gardiner’s Young Patrons Circle who were on hosting duties, bringing together the next generation of ceramic enthusiasts for a fundraising event called SMASH: Terra. The event looked to explore, though a series of works by artists – including ceramicist Sami Tsang, multidisciplinary artist Jasmine Cardenas and spoken word practitioner Randell Adjei – human connection in its myriad forms. To top things off Jaime McCuaig of GUNNAR Floral created some remarkable floral installations throughout the museum and later Dre Ngozi had the crowd moving. RBC’s Azadeh Houshmand and writer Odessa Paloma Parker served as the event’s co-chairs.

The Gardiner Museum's SMASH: Terra event.George Pimentel

Kulin Matchhar.George Pimentel

Kyra Griffin and Anjli Patel.George Pimentel

The Gardiner Museum's SMASH: Terra co-chairs Azadeh Houshmand and Odessa Paloma Parker.George Pimentel

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