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Art, Culture, Design category

Art | Culture | Design

Celebrating the women and girls who build Hamilton and Halton

Hamilton and Halton’s most prestigious event honouring women and girls

Meet the 2022 Award Nominees and Winners

Winners from the previous years

Have questions? Contact a member of our team.

This award honours a woman who enriches the community through her commitment to expression, preservation, promotion, and/or support of the visual, literary, multi-media, architectural, cultural heritage, or performing arts. She excels as a creator, but also uses her talents to promote the artistic efforts of others and to broaden community engagement in the arts. She promotes the value of the arts as integral to the life of the community.

Hamilton Winner:

Laurel Trainor

Laurel Trainor - Arts - Hamilton

Laurel Trainor

Dr. Laurel Trainor’s pioneering and ground-breaking research demonstrates the importance of music for children’s development, mental health, and for sustaining vibrant and thriving communities. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, she works with scientists and clinicians on applying music to promote wellness; enhancing hearing aids for music listening; and using music-based interventions to improve outcomes in children with developmental disorders. She is the Founding and current Director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, and the internationally renowned LIVELab research-concert hall, referred to as a national treasure. The LIVELab supports innovative research, musicians and musical performances, training and workshops for many community groups, and exceptional opportunities for McMaster students.

Halton Winner:

Elaine Delsnyder

Elaine Delsnyder - Arts - Halton

Elaine Delsnyder

Elaine Delsnyder is a Recreation Programmer for the City of Burlington and is the Associate Manager for Burlington Student Theatre. Elaine began her journey with Student Theatre in 1979 as a student herself. She soon became a student leader and a volunteer until 1986 when she joined the team as a part-time staff member and she has been bringing joy and inspiring a love for the performing arts in Halton-area youth ever since. Elaine is also an accredited Montessori educator and founder and co-owner of Clanmore Montessori school in Oakville, investing in developing young minds while championing the Maria Montessori philosophy.

Hamilton Nominees

Jaclyn Desforges

Jaclyn is one of Hamilton’s most exciting writers. She is the author of the picture book “Why Are You So Quiet?” (Annick Press, 2020), and the poetry collection “Danger Flower” (Palimpsest Press, 2021). Praise for Danger Flower includes: CBC Books’ Best Canadian Poetry of 2021, All Lit Up’s Fall 2021 Most Anticipated Reads and Hamilton Review of Books’ Independently Published Bestseller. Jaclyn identifies as a queer woman, a mother, and a neurodivergent artist. With accolades such as the RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award and publication in literary magazines across Canada, Jaclyn is now poised to make national waves with her work. Jaclyn enriches our Hamilton arts community with her efforts to make poetry accessible, relevant, and meaningful for wide audiences.

Karen Ancheta

Karen is a Hamilton-born Filipina Canadian actor and multidisciplinary artist. Co-founder of the Porch Light Theatre, Karen leads, in partnership with Industry: The Garden Project. This annual funding initiative supports Hamilton-based Indigenous, Black and racialized artists working in any performance discipline, supporting mentorships to develop new work. She was 1 of 15 artists featured in the #iamstillanartistinstallation by Mark Preston/Industry, celebrating Hamilton artists during the pandemic, and was also a City of Hamilton Arts Awardee 2021. Karen’s artistic collaborative energy is present in various artistic roles with: Kwentong Bayan Collective’s Here and There, Decolonise Your Ears Festival, Filipinas of HamOnt’s Ka/saysay/an series, the Safer Spaces Project, The House Key Project, Light Echo Theatre, Open Heart Arts, Theatre Aquarius and Hamilton 7.

Leah Faieta

For more than a decade, Leah Faieta has dedicated her career to bolstering the arts and culture sector. Leah is the principal owner of Arts Capital, a consulting firm assisting community non-profit organizations, festivals, theatres, incubators, universities and artists of all kinds with grant applications and with stakeholder strategies. She volunteers her professional skills to Hamilton’s literary festival gritLIT, currently serving as Chair of the Board of Directors. Her involvement with gritLIT began in November 2018, soon after she moved to Hamilton. She has also volunteered with Sustainable Hamilton Burlington, which focuses on addressing key local environmental, social and economic issues.

Paula Baruch

Music and love of teaching have been an important part of Paula Baruch’s life and have taken her to the mountains of Israel, Colombia, northern British Columbia and a handful of cities across Ontario. She is a fully ordained cantor at Hamilton’s Temple Anshe Sholom. Her journey started on a small dairy farm near Owen Sound, Ont. Paula had no idea that Jews existed except for the characters in the Old Testament. Her awareness changed after moving with her mother to metropolitan Owen Sound and being cast in the starring role in a local production of The Diary of Anne Frank. Paula is a creative, visionary, who inspires and motivates positive change. She is a beaming light for any faith or community.

Shelley Falconer

Shelley Falconer has been the President & CEO of the Art Gallery of Hamilton for 7 years. In her professional role, she strives to foster an appreciation of art and culture in this community, while managing the gallery’s growth and sustainability. Shelley has brought award winning exhibitions to Hamilton, developed its nationally and internationally renowned collection and greatly expanded the gallery’s educational and public programming. Her personal tie to Hamilton stems from her mother and grandmother’s flight from the Holocaust. Shelley’s museological career includes positions with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Toronto District School Board, and Cultural Asset Management.  She currently teaches Leadership, Management and Ethics for the University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies Museum Studies Program.

Halton Nominees

Anu Raina

Anu Raina graduated from London College of Fashion (England) and Sheridan College (Textile) with high honours and the Governor’s medal in 2010. During her residency at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, her artwork was exhibited at Pearson Airport. She debuted her clothing and accessories collection at  Toronto Fashion Week in 2010. Raina was nominated by Ontario Colleges for the 2012 Premier’s Award for outstanding achievement. She has collaborated with prestigious organizations such as eBay, Law Society of Upper Canada, Keilhauer and AGO. Her Skyline print was selected by the Textile Museum of Canada for an exhibition in New York and London. Raina has been featured in national TV and print media. Currently she operates her clothing store in Downtown Oakville.

Suzie McNeil

Juno award winner Suzie McNeil is a Canadian singer songwriter who first hit the world stage in the 2005 hit reality TV series Rockstar:INXS. Since then she has had fifteen Top 20 hits in Canada, performed at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and starred in the hit musical We Will Rock You. Prior to the pandemic, Suzie was performing with Aerosmith in Las Vegas. She has since started an online music school “BurlingTone Music Academy” providing professional-quality lessons to her community, and students around the world. Suzie is passionate about music’s power to enrich people’s lives.  She frequently performs for local frontline workers, fundraisers, community driveways, and BMA raises funds for the Hamilton Music Collective through their performances and recitals.

2023 Women of Distinction Awards nominations are open NOMINATE TODAY!

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