OAF News

2023 Christina and Louis Quilico Awards vocal competition announced

Toronto, January 30, 2023 -  The Ontario Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the sixth biennial Christina and Louis Quilico Awards, a vocal competition featuring the rising young stars of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.  This event marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the prize.

2022/2023 COC Ensemble Studio, photo: Gaetz Photography. 

The competition will take place on February 6, 2023 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, as part of the COC’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre Presented by TD Bank Group. The competition will be adjudicated by a panel composed of Perryn Leech, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company, Steven Philcox, Canadian collaborative pianist, and Carolyn Sproule, Canadian mezzo-soprano. The young artists featured in the February 6th competition will perform for cash prizes, singing one aria of their choice and another selected by the judges.

“Louis had wanted to establish this (award) before he died,” says Christina Petrowska Quilico. “It was really his vision to help young opera singers. Launching an award was something we could do to leave a legacy in memory of Louis’ success as a singer and as a support to future generations.”  

Past winners include Rihab Chaieb (former member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program and 2018 Operalia Third Prize winner), Emily D’Angelo (winner of the 2022 Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year – Solo Artist, 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Finals, and 2018 Operalia winner of the First Prize, Zarzuela Prize, Birgit Nilsson Prize, and Audience Prize), and Claire de Sévigné (JUNO Award nominee for Classical Album of the Year).

This event is free and open to the public, with doors opening at 5 p.m. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and is limited.

About the COC Ensemble Studio

The COC Ensemble Studio is an innovative artist development program for emerging Canadian opera professionals. The company’s uniquely collaborative approach blends advanced study and practical experience through a multi-year program that’s individually tailored for each member. Artists receive intensive vocal coaching; language, movement and acting studies; as well as private masterclasses with renowned opera professionals. 

Members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important community ambassadors for the company. Through performances and collaborations with local schools and organizations, Ensemble members are often the first point of contact with opera for many; their ongoing participation in this area is integral to creating inclusive and welcoming opportunities for more people to engage with the art form.

Since 1980, nearly 230 young professional Canadian singers and pianists have acquired foundational opera experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Krisztina Szabó, Gordon Bintner, Ambur Braid, Miriam Khalil, and Wallis Giunta, and David Pomeroy.

About the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards 

Christina Petrowska Quilico, C.M., OOnt, FRSC, established the Christina and Louis Quilico Fund in 2000 to honour her late husband, renowned baritone Louis Quilico, and to recognize outstanding young singers. During his 45 years on the stage, Louis Quilico shared performing credits with Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Joan Sutherland, and Renata Tebaldi. He was instrumental in furthering the careers of many young singers through his teaching and master classes. The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards.  


 For more information, please contact:

Bruce Bennett, Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7411

Davin Leivonen-Fok, Communications Coordinator
Canadian Opera Company
Tel: (416) 306-2330

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2022-2023, the OAF paid over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. General Director Perryn Leech joined the company in 2021, forming a leadership team with Music Director Johannes Debus and Deputy General Director Christie Darville. The COC enjoys a loyal audience, including a dedicated base of subscribers, and has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Its diverse repertoire includes new commissions and productions, local and international collaborations with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracts the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The company is an incubator for the future of the art form, nurturing Canada’s new wave of opera performers and creators with customized training and support. The COC’s purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, is hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. For more information, visit coc.ca

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Announcing the Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship

Toronto, December 12, 2022 -  The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is pleased to announce the launch of the Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship, supporting arts managers.

Arts managers are responsible for the administrative, financial, and overall health of arts organizations. They are passionate and committed to their work, but often have little opportunity to explore, think and develop their expertise and new ideas. The Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship will provide $10,000 annually to an arts manager of a small to mid-sized Toronto arts organization to encourage the development of the field of arts management, including organizational experimentation and effective governance through professional development, research, networking and sharing.

Honouring Jini Stolk 

A true champion of the arts, Jini Stolk’s impact on the arts community in Toronto was far-reaching, first as general manager of Open Studio, and later as associate director of the Association of Canadian Publishers. She also held executive positions with the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Toronto Dance Theatre, and the Creative Trust, where she raised and distributed more than six million dollars to support the sustainability of over 50 small and medium sized performing arts organizations. In retirement, under the auspices of Toronto Arts Foundation, she established Creative Champions Network, a networking and learning program for arts board members. 

Jini served on many boards. She was the Chair of Artscape, an early tenant board member of the Centre for Social Innovation and a founding member and the first Chair of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, among others.  At her death she was the Chair of the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.

Jini believed that the best way to ensure the creation of artistic work was to nurture healthy structures and organizations. She dedicated her career to supporting this often un-heralded behind-the-scenes work of arts administrators. She had a love for learning and excelled at establishing and maintaining networks. She thought critically about things and often challenged and reimagined current systems. Through her work she provided mentorship, opportunity, and access.  

Photo: Jini Stolk speaking at a Creative Champions Network event. Photo by Sean Howard, courtesy of Toronto Arts Foundation

Nomination and Selection Process

The Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship will be open to arts managers nominated by the arts organizations that employ them.  One fellowship will be offered annually.  Nominees must provide a 250-word letter of intent, a budget, and be accompanied by a one-page nomination letter from either the Chair or President of the Board of Directors, or Artistic Director of the nominee’s organization.

Areas of interest for exploration can include but is not limited to: 

  • governance;
  • the field of arts management;
  • organizational sustainability / sustainable practices / healthy organizations;
  • new or adapted models of working / systems change / moving organizations forward;
  • navigating the complexities of your work;
  • co-leadership working models (for example, between the artistic director and executive manager);
  • succession planning or phasing out an organization;
  • policy making; and
  • advocacy.

More information on the nomination process will be posted in 2023. 

The Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship Fund has been made possible through the generous support of Sandra and Jim Pitblado, and Tim and Frances Price.  Donations to the fund can be made to the Ontario Arts Foundation https://www.oafdn.ca/make-a-donation.  The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the fellowship. 


 For more information, please contact:

Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship Committee

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2021-2022 the OAF paid over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

 Ce document existe ègalement en français.

Announcing the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant

Toronto, November 28, 2022 -  The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) are delighted to announce the launch of the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant, recognizing advances in theatrical design and the promotion of environmental sustainability in live theatre. 

Toronto based theatre companies are eligible to apply for this annual $25,000 grant early next year by submitting a proposal demonstrating improved sustainability practices for an upcoming production. Advances can be considered, but not limited to, the creation of unique methods of delivering a narrative in live theatre; the development of new and sustainable processes in the construction and striking of a live theatre production; and transforming non-traditional or underused spaces into theatrical venues.

About Ray Ferris

This grant is made possible through a generous gift from the estate of Raymond M. Ferris, Toronto artist, mathematician, and statistician.  Ray earned a Master of Science degree and early in his career and was on the team of NASA rocket scientists responsible for the successful return of the astronauts from the moon landing. In the mid-1980s, Ray started his own business in Toronto, R.M. Ferris Research Consultants. With advances in technology, he began experimenting with digital art and developed techniques to integrate his love for art, mathematics and computer technology and he collaborated with local musicians, combining art forms. Ray loved the theatre and was an enthusiastic supporter of Toronto's scene. 

“As a mathematician, visual artist, and lifelong fan of live theatre, Ray hoped to champion innovators of the stage, especially the designers,” says Ray’s spouse Leah Lambert.  “I'm confident that the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant will see that hope fulfilled.”

Application and Selection Process

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award. The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts is responsible for the selection process and will convene a jury to review applications and make deliberations.  

The grant will be open to application in the spring of 2023 with the inaugural grant made in June 2023.  For more information visit :  https://tapa.ca/programs/funding/ray-ferris-grant/

Successful grant recipients will provide a written report following the conclusion of their production, detailing how the grant was used to further sustainability practice in the performing arts, elaborating on elements that worked well and others that require additional consideration. The report will be presented to the TAPA membership with goal of building upon best practices in the industry. 

Grant Assessment Committee 

Indrit Kasapi (CHAIR) - Artistic Producer, Theatre Passe Muraille, TAPA Board member 
Anthony Garoufalis-Auger - The Climate Emergency Unit, SCALE- Le SAUT Mission Circle 
Denyse Karn – Executive Director, Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) 
Shawn Kerwin – Independent Stage and Costume Designer 
Jacoba Knaapen – Executive Director, TAPA 
Lisa Lambert – Estate of Raymond M. Ferris


 For more information, please contact:

Jacoba Knaapen, Executive Director
Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA)
Tel: (416) 536-6468 x25

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

To nurture an environment in which theatre, dance and opera may flourish and play a leadership role in the vitality of the City of Toronto. The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA): unites the disciplines of theatre, dance, and opera to celebrate and strengthen the performing arts in Toronto; promotes and advocates on behalf of a large and diverse membership of professional performing arts practitioners to legislators, public and private sector funding bodies, and to the general public; and provides marketing opportunities and professional development services to its membership.

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2021-2022 the OAF paid over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

 Ce document existe ègalement en français.

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