The Hon. Hilary M. Weston served as the 26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1997 to 2002. After leaving public office, she chaired the Renaissance ROM fundraising campaign, transforming the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto through the largest and most successful campaign in Canadian cultural history, raising more than $300 million. In 2011, she initiated the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the most valuable nonfiction prize in Canada. Mrs. Weston is Chair of the Advisory Council of Operation Entrepreneur, one of the Prince of Wales’s Charities Canada; and has been the Honourary Chair of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards and is an ongoing supporter of the National Arts Centre. With her husband, Galen, Mrs. Weston built Windsor, a village by the sea, in Vero Beach, Florida. She now oversees The Gallery at Windsor, which has achieved an international reputation for exhibiting some of today’s important artists.
Since 2007, Chris Farias has been an engaged part of the arts community in Hamilton and throughout Southern Ontario, and has worked with many arts organizations to brand, market and develop campaigns to achieve awareness and increased sales, including Hamilton Arts Awards, Culture for Kids in the Arts, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, CoBALT Connects, Double Barrel Studios, Black Box Fire Theatre Company, Hammer Entertainment, and visual artist Stephanie Seagram. In addition to his work with KITESTRING, Chris donates his support, time and expertise to a range of arts-based causes, charitable ventures, and not-for-profit organizations. He is a board member and current vice chair of Culture for Kids in the Arts; a long-time supporter of Art Crawl; a patron of art galleries, live theatre, music venues and film festivals; and a champion of local talent. As a columnist for Hamilton Business in The Hamilton Spectator, Chris is able to inspire others to experience, support and explore arts with the goal of enriching the individual as well as the collective community.
Founded in 2006, RuBarb Productions Inc. is committed to building a legacy of high-quality live theatre in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. They serve the community and surrounding area by supporting the development and growth of cultural activities and events, and by being a leading contributor to the dramatic, musical and artistic standards of the region. With over a century of mining experience, K+S Potash Canada supports the local community through the involvement of children, family and youth, and is a first-time artsVest sponsor. Their sponsorship of RuBarb Productions helped subsidize tickets for children to events such as the annual summer Broadway musical Singing’ in the Rain. With their assistance, RuBarb Productions has established the K+S Family Pack, which includes one free child’s ticket with the purchase of three regular price tickets, and the K+S Family Fun Matinees where each child in attendance receives a special gift. As K+S expands its mining in the Moose Jaw area, their goal is also to contribute to the community’s quality of life. This unique partnership will continue to be nurtured and developed well into the future.
As Vice President, Enterprise Communications, Brand & Community Partners at Enbridge in Calgary, D’Arcy Levesque has positioned the company as a leading champion of the arts across Canada and has been an influence on other Canadian companies’ arts and cultural philanthropy. D’Arcy was a key player in helping the National Arts Centre in Ottawa secure financial support and other partners in 2005 for Alberta Scene, the largest-ever gathering of more than 500 Alberta artists. Since then, Enbridge has been a valued sponsor of other Scene festivals celebrating artists from across Canada. In 2010, D’Arcy encouraged Enbridge to become a multi-year presenting sponsor of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala and helped elevate the event to a national level. As a champion of Enbridge’s public profile, D’Arcy has aligned the company brand with the arts across Canada including the Walrus Foundation Advisory Council, the Alberta Ballet, the National Theatre School, and the Enbridge playRites Festival of New Canadian Plays. D’Arcy has used his influence to make the arts more central to public debate through his volunteer efforts as a board member of the National Arts Centre Foundation, the Walrus Foundation Advisory Council, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Foundation. In 2011, Enbridge received Business for the Arts’ Most Effective Corporate Campaign Award. D’Arcy continues to work tirelessly to keep the arts alive and thriving in Alberta and across the country.
As Executive Director of the Vancouver Island Symphony for the past 16 years, Margot Holmes has worked to increase the appreciation of live classical music among residents, politicians and business communities in the region. She has been the driving force in elevating the symphony to new heights and now oversees a full orchestra presenting a complete series of programs each season in Nanaimo’s 800-seat Port Theatre. The symphony is celebrating its 20th season and is ranked as a premier regional orchestra in British Columbia. One of her greatest accomplishments has been the development of programs to showcase the orchestra and its members to engage school children with orchestral music. Margot’s commitment to arts and culture also extends to her work with the B.C. Boys Choir and her business, Caline Artists International, which since 1987 has been devoted to promoting performance and touring opportunities across North America for professional musicians worldwide. In spite of continued financial pressures, she remains committed to “keeping music live” through council presentations, membership in the Chamber of Commerce, free summer concerts in the park, and the development of a cultural plan for Nanaimo. She has also successfully engaged the business community through meaningful and impactful partnerships that have resulted in an outstanding record of season and performance sponsorships and fundraising programs.
Since 2007, Manulife has partnered with the Luminato Festival to develop the volunteer experience through compelling engagement and enrichment programs. Inspired by Manulife’s leadership in volunteerism, Luminato introduced a number of new enhancements that include an official Volunteer Lounge, Training Workshop series held at Manulife offices and a Volunteer Appreciation Party. The Luminato and Manulife partnership also embraces CultureLink, a settlement agency for new Canadians. As part of this alignment, Luminato recruits mentors to work with small groups of newcomers as they prepare for their volunteer experience at the festival. With the support of Manulife, Luminato has been able to grow its volunteer base over the years to engage more residents and visitors with the festival’s unique programming, to support more artists, and to enrich both the arts sector and the diverse communities it reaches by supporting youth, documenting events through the Youth Volunteer Photography Team and measuring impact and attendance through the volunteer Arts Marketing Team. In addition to Manulife’s foundational support and long-term relationship with the Luminato Festival, the company works closely with other arts organizations across Canada, including the Harbourfront Centre, to ensure that Canadians and visitors can participate in inspiring and accessible cultural experiences.
Founded in 1817, BMO Financial Group has been a dedicated and leading partner of the arts for over a century, contributing to organizations and projects both large and small. For more than 40 years, BMO and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) have shared a dynamic and rewarding partnership. As a leading supporter of Transformation AGO and a multi-year signature partner of the Canadian Collection Program, BMO has significantly contributed to the AGO’s growth. BMO was also the lead inaugural partner of the gallery’s grand reopening, providing visitors with three days of free admission. The partnership has continued with BMO contributing to the success of a number of exhibitions as well as a series geared towards children and their families. BMO’s support has allowed the AGO to fulfil its strategic priorities of growing its audience, increasing its relevance to families, and enriching the lives of children through art in the community. BMO’s commitment to the visual arts is also evident in their generous partnership with The Power Plant in Toronto that gives visitors free admission to exhibitions and supports a program to engage young children. For over seven years, BMO has also made vital and transformative contributions to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) enabling them to increase capacity, present impactful exhibitions for the community and create a greater awareness of contemporary art. Through their many investments in organizations and groups, BMO is committed to strengthening the cultural vitality of our communities across the country.