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$175,000 Awarded to 10 Ontario Artists on May 19

Last night, at a ceremony at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, the Metcalf Foundation announced the five winners of the 2021 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes/Les Prix Johanna-Metcalf des Arts de la scène (Johannas). The winners are Ian Cusson, composer; iskwē, musician; Ravi Jain, theatre director; Sandra Laronde, multidisciplinary artist; and Marilo Nuñez, theatre director and playwright.

Each winner received a prize of $25,000 and selected a protégé as a way of celebrating early career artists who are showing formidable promise. The five protégés are: Beverley McKiver, composer (protégé of Ian Cusson); Zeegwon “Zee” Shilling, musician (iskwē); Aaron Jan, theatre director (Ravi Jain); Aria Evans, interdisciplinary artist (Sandra Laronde); and Margarita Valderrama, actor and playwright (Marilo Nuñez).

Protégés were awarded $10,000 each, a $5,000 increase from the inaugural prize year in appreciation of the particular challenges faced by artists growing into their careers over these last two years.

The total value of the prizes at $175,000 provides a significant boost to Ontario’s performing arts community following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This performing arts prize is named in honour of Johanna Metcalf, who was at the heart of the Metcalf Foundation’s work for over 40 years. The prize was created to amplify Johanna’s legacy as a passionate supporter of the arts and artists. Established in 2019, the Johannas celebrate artists in Ontario who have made a recognized impact on the field and the public, and show great promise in the ongoing pursuit of their ambitious and visionary practices.

The Johannas are delivered on a biennial basis in partnership with the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). The nominees are selected through several juried OAC competitions in dance, music/opera, and theatre, including creators from Francophone, Indigenous, and Northern communities. Artists who have been producing and showing work over a period of at least 10 years are eligible.

Meet the Winners & Protégés

Full Press Release