2022 Inductees to the Cornwall & Area Arts hall of Fame

Provided by Elaine MacDonald
2022 Inductees to the Cornwall & Area Arts hall of Fame
The 2022 Inductees to the Cornwall & Area Hall of Fame for the Arts Top from left to right: Brenda Quesnel, Kate Ashby, Luc Groulx, Nicolas Doyon Middle: Ben Benedict, Indian time Masthead above Syd Gardiner and Rose Desnoyers Bottom: Mario Gagnon, James Peachey’s “Encampment of Loyalists” and Lorna Foreman

The 2022 slate of Inductees to the Cornwall & Area Arts hall of Fame has been selected and is presented here. The new members cover the entire spectrum of arts and culture and their achievements span generations and great distances but all spring from the area.

Kate Ashby, Improv Queen, is a double nominated Gemini actor and renowned teacher at the Canadian Film Center and the Shaw Festival and a Guest Director at Ryerson University’s Theatre School. But Kate’s great legacy is the Kate Ashby Academy which she founded in 2010. Art meets Humanity there and the encounter is transformational for diverse and vulnerable groups of students.

Ben Benedict is a world class sculptor in wood who competes internationally at the Master’s level. His work has earned him the title of “Master Carver.” He has won “best of show” numerous times and his pieces are sought after by museums and private collectors internationally. In addition to animals and birds, Ben carves traditional masks used in cultural ceremonies. Ben is no newcomer to fame. In 2018, he was inducted into the Akwesasne Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Rose Desnoyers is recognized as a builder, a painter and an ambassador for the arts. An accomplished painter of watercolours and acrylic, Rose is a natural leader. A founder and active member of Focus Art, the Centre for the Arts Collective and a member of the steering committee for the future arts & culture centre, Rose is tireless in promoting the art events, activities and institutions that enrich the community. In her art and in her advocacy, Rose is a bridge that brings our community together. For her advocacy, Rose Received the Queens’ Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Nicolas Doyon is a professional musician who has made a big mark on the French-Canadian scene. He is a founder and current member of the legendary Franco-Ontarian group, Deux Saisons, with whom he has produced 4 albums and performed innumerable shows. Nicolas is a consummate animator who has never lost the common touch. Audiences of all languages and ages engage to sing, laugh and dance along with him. Over the years, Nicolas has received the Nuit sur l’étang award, the Laurentian University Award and four Trille Or awards.

Lorna Foreman is a visual artist, a media personality, a writer and catalyst for community cultural activities. She produced a 30-episode series for community cable television, published a book and wrote for The Glengarry News, Cornwall Standard Freeholder and Fifty-Five Plus. Lorna is a founding member of Focus Art and founder of the Cornwall Regional Writers’ Society. In a celebrated show at the Cornwall Public Library, Lorna brought the writers and artists of her circles together to stage a show of illustrated haiku poetry entitled ‘where verse and visual meet.”

Mario Gagnon is a force in French language theater and letters. He managed and directed performances with Les gens d’ici and Theatre de l’Amalgame. Mario is also very adept in media and technology Perhaps his most appreciated project was giving a second life to work done by Huguete Burroughs in the early 90s. 150 rue de la coton is a retrospective of Burroughs history of the francphone relocation to Cornwall. The series is accessible on Youtube. Mario is a builder; he is an active member of the Centre for the Arts Collective, the hall of Fame for the Arts and he serves on the steering committee for the future arts centre.

Syd Gardiner is inducted for his decades-long art advocacy. Syd campaigned tirelessly to save Aultsville Theatre as it faced many funding challenges over the years. He served on the Board of the Theatre for over 17 years and participate in raising over $700,000 to refurbish the theatre. As an entertainer, he continues to serve that function in fundraisers for the Hall of Fame for the Arts but it is for his lifelong advocacy for a municipal arts centre that he is inducted into the hall. As a muli-term city councillor, Syd always championed the arts.

The era of the Glen Theatre and Glen Productions was a seminal period for theatre arts, especially musical theatre, in Cornwall and Luc Groulx was the consummate musical director during its entire history. Luc brought the same dedication to music in the classroom as he did to the theatre. He integrated many of his students into the Glen and Centennial Orchestras and inspired many to pursue post-secondary Studies. When queen Elizabeth visited Canada in 1967, Luc was commissioned by Lucien Lamoureux to perform, which he did with the Centennial Band. Luc is currently a member of the Hall of Fame of the American Federation of Musicians and will now take his place in ours.

Indian time is a weekly newspaper that grew out of the late 20th Century movement to reclaim Native language and culture. Founded in 1983 in St. Regis, Indian time serves as an instrument of communication, culture and identity for the Mohawk people of the Akwesasne territory. As well as serving its own community, Indian time is a bridge to its extra-territorial neighbours. In addition to community news, Indian time offers lessons in the Mohawk language and articles on culture and history.

From 1993 to 2018, Brenda Quesnel amassed over 20 production credits for production, direction and performance, effectively ruling the stage. She performed with Glen Productions, Cornwall Little Theatre, Trapdoor Theatre, Cow Patti Theatre Seaway Velley Theatre Company and Upper Canada Playhouse. In Ottawa, Brenda moved into professional theatre, for the medical examinations with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and she appeared in Rien Qu’en Passant with the national Film Board.

The last inductee of 2022 was the first to engage in art in the area. In fact, with his induction, the hall of Fame for the Arts created a special historical category. James Peachey was a British soldier about whose life we know little, but with whose work as an artist we are very familiar. His iconic watercolour titled “Encampment of the Loyalists at Johnstown, a new settlement of the River St. Lawrence in Canada is the first known depiction of Cornwall, the first non-Indigenous permanent settlement in Ontario. The painting dates from 1784.

The inductees will enter the Cornwall & Area Arts hall of Fame at a gala evening on October 29, at the Ramada Inn and Conference Centre, Cornwall. Tickets to the event which includes entertainment and dinner, are $75 and are available at the Civic Complex box office and online at TicketPro.

For more info, contact Elaine MacDonald, elainemacdonald11@gmail.com or 613 330 3117

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