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Six Artists Recognized For Their Commitment And Support Of Local Art In Lakeshore

Tuesday April 16th, 2024, 10:00am

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Six local artists and supporters of local art were recognized on Saturday at Lakeshore’s 2024 Mayor’s Art Awards ceremony.

“These awards don’t just celebrate these talented individuals and organizations, but also reaffirm our commitment to fostering the arts in Lakeshore’s communities,” said Mayor Tracey Bailey. “The arts are an investment in the life and energy of public spaces, parks, and the places we gather. On behalf of Council, and our residents, congratulations and thank you to all our award winners.”

The event featured brief remarks by Lakeshore Mayor Tracey Bailey, followed by presentations of awards to six recipients in the following categories:

  • Two artists under 21 were honoured with the Student Artist Award for outstanding promise and commitment to the arts.
    o Kristen Alexander has been doing art from an early age. She creates paintings, using watercolors and acrylics that convey emotion while inspiring and helping others to pursue art.
    o Hailey Cassidy is an elite dancer with an extensive resume of awards and experience. She studies aerials, acro, ballet, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, pointe, and tap dancing and represents Lakeshore, both locally and internationally.
  • Justin Jewell was awarded the Emerging Artist Award, which is given to an emerging artist with two to seven years of professional experience. Jewell has been a frequent performer around Lakeshore and Windsor-Essex region. He teaches music and sings, plays guitar, harmonica, and piano, has produced and written two original albums, and is working on his next single release.
  • Stephanie Kriza was awarded the Creative Entrepreneur Award, which is given to a business, organization or individual with a demonstrated impact on Lakeshore’s arts community. Kriza studied many art disciplines including painting, drawing and pottery from an early age while attending school in Belle River. In 2013 she started teaching art classes in her home studio and now runs painting party classes throughout Essex County.
  • Christian Vegh was awarded the Artistic Excellence Award, given to an artist who has demonstrated artistic excellence in their field through a body of work, public performance, or exhibitions. Vegh is an indie artist, singer, songwriter, producer, and guitarist who has been performing and volunteering in the music field for the past ten years. He has created four albums and performed in Canada, the United States and Europe, winning numerous awards.
  • Laurie D’Alessandro was awarded the Patron of the Arts Leadership Award, which is given to a volunteer, educator, supporter, or business that volunteers or supports the arts in Lakeshore. Laurie served as Chair of the Lakeshore Arts Advisory Committee and the Mayor’s Art Awards Committee and has been instrumental in developing arts support and recognition in Lakeshore. Beyond her work in Lakeshore, she has served as a Director on the Windsor Endowment for the Arts Board, demonstrating her commitment to the arts throughout the region.

Each award had a $1,000 cash prize, except the Patron of the Arts Award, which was provided a $1,000 donation to a charity or non-profit organization. Nominations for the awards were accepted in late 2023, with committee members recommending the slate of winners endorsed by the Mayor.

The ceremony also featured a special presentation by former Arts Advisory Committee member, Laurie D’Alessandro. D’Alessandro presented a copy of The Seven Hearts for Lakeshore artist book. The book features images of a public art project undertaken by the committee during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The project is dedicated to the residents of Lakeshore, our healthcare workers, those who tended our elderly, and the workers who ensured food was available to us during the darkest days of the pandemic and the artists who reached out to them,” said D’Alessandro. “My hope is that future generations will know the fears, and hope of our pandemic journey and the resilience of our community.”

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