Artist Profile: Alissa Skorik

Alissa Skorik combines the old with the new.  She plays a traditional Native American spirit flute accompanied by modern backing tracks.

“I still love traditional spirit flute music,” Alissa explained, “but it’s not my favourite music.  Most traditional music is ambient.  It’s difficult to keep a crowd’s attention with that music, especially younger audiences, so I incorporate more synthesizers, more drums, and faster tempos.”

The backing tracks are designed in collaboration by Alissa and her manager, Marc Nadjiwan, an singer and songwriter in his own right.  “Marc is really, really skilled,” said Alissa, “not only from a performance perspective, but from a compositional perspective.”  It was Marc who created the background tracks for Alissa’s 2014 debut album, Eluna.

Alissa Skorik’s 2014 debut album, Eluna

Alissa began playing the spirit flute in 2009, when she was 12.  She was inspired to take up the instrument after seeing the Canadian film Where the Spirit Lives in history class.  As she taught herself to play, Alissa listened to spirit flautists like David Maracle (with whom she would later perform), Carlos Nakia, and Pedro Eustache, as well as the Peruvian band Alborada.

“I’m self-taught, so my music theory isn’t amazing,” said Alissa.  “It can be challenging when other musicians are spewing theory at you, but luckily my ears are good enough to hear what other musicians are doing.”

In September, Alissa will begin her degree in Music Industry Arts and Performance at Centennial College.  Because there is no one on faculty who teaches spirit flute, Alissa will either study privately with the saxophone instructor or the Dean of Music.

“The instrument is dying out,” said Alissa.  “If there is anything I can do to inspire more people to take it up, I want to do that.”

Alissa Skorik will perform at TEDx Mississauga on July 22.  She will be also be appearing at Studio .89’s Coffee House open mic night on June 29.  For more information about Alissa, visit her website at www.alissaskorikofficial.com.  You can also follow her Twitter page @alissaskorik for upcoming performances.

Artist Profile: Vandana Vishwas

When Mississauga-based Indo-Canadian vocalist Vandana Vishwas moved to the Greater Toronto Area, what impressed her most about the city was its diversity.

“Toronto’s wonderful!” Vandana gushed.  “We never feel not at home here.  Because everyone here is an immigrant, we share each other’s emotions, art, food, and culture.”

It is this spirit of cultural sharing that infuses Vandana’s third and most recent album, Parallels.  The album comprises five songs, each performed twice in different musical styles.   “Mai Beqaid”, which opens Parallels as a flamenco tune, is reprised as a country song later in the album.  Parallels combines everything from traditional African music to 1970s rock.

The foundation of the album is Vandana’s background in Hindustani music, the classical tradition of northern India.  “It was initially a challenge,” she said.  “It was not very clear how I should proceed, which genres would go best with Indian music.”

Despite Vandana’s initial uncertainty, the album has been a success, topping RMR World Charts and Earshot Charts.

Growing up in Chhattisgarh, India, Vandana started singing when she was four.  By sixteen, she had completed her music degree in the Hindustani tradition and was singing her compositions on All India Radio.

Simultaneously, Vandana studied architecture.  Her career as an architect took her to Dubai, where music took a back seat to her work, and later to Toronto.

The multicultural music scene in the GTA reignited Vandana’s artistic side.  She released her first album, Meera the Lover in 2009.  In 2012, Vandana won a MARTY in the Established Performing Arts category.  A year later, she released her second album, Monologues, followed in 2014 by a promotional track for the novel Samarsiddha by Sandeep Nayyar.  Vandana then left her architectural work to focus on music.

Now, Vandana has become one of the most accomplished world musicians in the GTA.  In 2016, she won a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best World Artist, as well as a silver medal for World Music & Female Vocalist at the Global Music Awards.

In her spare time, Vandana enjoys sampling the multicultural cuisine of Toronto and Mississauga.  While she enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Thai food, Vandana has a special fondness for Ethiopian cuisine.

On July 7th, Vandana Vishwas will be performing at River Walk Commons in New Market for the Culture Bridge Festival.  On July 8th, Vandana will be performing at the Barry Zukerman Amphitheatre in Toronto for the 4 Worlds Festival. Both festivals are free family events.

Artist Profile: Sherry Prenevost

Sherry Prenevost has only worked as a photographer for a little over a decade.  In that time, however, she has had one of the most successful second careers in the Mississauga art scene.  Sherry has exhibited her work internationally, presented her work to Queen Elizabeth and David Suzuki, and worked with NGOs throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas.  In 2012, Sherry won a MARTY for Emerging Artist of the Year.

Sherry’s passion for photography began in 2007, during a trip to the Amazon basin.  There, Prenevost visited an indigenous tribe that had previously been thought to be extinct.  The experience inspired Sherry, who at the time was running her own company in Mississauga. 

Upon returning home, Sherry sold the company she had owned for 22 years and began working with local, national, and international NGOs.  It was these organizations that brought Sherry to Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Guatemala, Cambodia, Myanmar and Belize.  In addition to using her work to bring awareness to impoverished and war-torn communities, Sherry taught photography to adults with intellectual disabilities, youth at risk, and women and children escaping violence.

Innocence
by Sherry Prenevost

Particularly affecting was Sherry’s experiences in fly-in indigenous communities in northern Ontario.  There, Sherry worked with Ryerson University researching social determinants of health and documenting residents’ way in life.  Sherry found the level of poverty in these communities comparable to that which she witnessed overseas.  She was deeply moved by the experience and continues to work with indigenous populations in northern Ontario.

Sherry’s parents always made sure she was surrounded by nature growing up in Mississauga, and nature remains an important part of Sherry’s life.  When she isn’t working on her photography, Sherry can be found walking the trails of her home city.

Yellow Morning
by Sherry Prenevost

From June 30th to August 20th, the Living Arts Centre will feature Sherry’s work as part of the Canada 150 Photography Exhibit.  Opening reception is July 6th, 7-9pm.  For more information about Sherry, visit her website at http://www.sherryprenevostphotography.com/

Artist Profile: David O’Hearn

For most people, fear can be a deterrent.  For MARTY Award-winning musician, actor, and producer David O’Hearn, it’s a motivator.

“I wanted to do it because I hadn’t done anything scary in a while,” said O’Hearn of his first foray into acting in 2004.  At the time, O’Hearn had made a name for himself as a multi-instrumentalist in rock, Top 40, and folk bands.  On a friend’s recommendation, O’Hearn auditioned for a role in City Centre Musical Production’s version of Guys and Dolls.  Despite having no acting experience, O’Hearn got the part.  He loved the experience and has gone on to act in over 40 theatrical productions.

Similarly, O’Hearn had no experience composing for film when he asked his friends, director Dany Geshan and producer Morgan Muscat, if they needed someone to score the short film he was producing, 2010’s Severance.  O’Hearn was hired, and since written music for five other films.

When asked what drives him, O’Hearn mentions his love for trying new things.  Different aspects of his multifaceted career fulfill him in different ways.  O’Hearn loves the “instant gratification” of performing in front of an audience and “feeding off the energy in the room”, but he equally enjoys the perfectionism and meticulousness of recording and composition.

O’Hearn also loves producing other people’s music.  “You end up going places the songwriter never imagined,” he says.  “You have more input in the process – you’re adding ideas and making suggestions.  Saying things like, ‘I love this part – can we move it over here?’”

O’Hearn plays in four different bands, performing everything from R&B to classic rock.  “For musicians, it helps to be versatile,” says O’Hearn.  “You need to be versatile in thinking of ways to put forward your art.”

Mississauga Legends Row

On June 3rd, 2017 Mississauga Legends Row unveiled their “Walk of Fame” located at Celebration Square by the Jubilee Garden. Twenty-seven inductee plaques were unveiled with many of the inductees in attendance.

Guests were invited to a reception in City Hall’s Great Hall where they mingled with the inductees in attendance. Among those happy to engage with the guests were Johnny Bower, Paul Henderson, Tommy Hunter, Gil Moore, Chuck Jackson and MAC founder Laurie Pallett, to name just a few.

                                             

Once outside, guests were entertained by Taylor Made Music with Lady Son before the festivities began.

The official ceremonies began with a Parade of the Alumni, ushered in by Bagpiper Alan Comley and Mayor Bonnie Crombie along with Chancellor Hazel McCallion.

Nikki Shawana, First Nations Hoop Dancer, performed a beautiful Indigenous hoop dance blessing to open the ceremony.

And as always when hosting, Jake Dheer was a wonderful Master of Ceremonies.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie gave a moving speech on how Legends Row began and thanked Ron Duquette, President and Founding Director, for his vision, dedication, and resolve to the project. The Mayor proceeded to present Ron with a certificate and Legends Row Chairman of the Board Norm Loberg announced that Ron’s efforts would be recognized with a commemorative plaque on Legends Row “Walk of Fame”.

Visibly moved, Ron Duquette spoke of his vision and his hopes for the future of Legends Row, encouraging fellow Mississaugans to nominate a deserving individual. Legends Row recognizes accomplished Mississauga Citizens, celebrates our heritage and he hopes it will inspire tomorrow’s leaders. He then revealed that Chancellor Hazel McCallion would be inducted into Legends Row this coming November. This announcement was met with resounding applause and great excitement from the crowd.

After a Legends Row Board ribbon cutting ceremony, Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Chancellor Hazel McCallion, along with Ron Duquette, cut open the banner and officially opened Legends Row.

                            

  

Legends and their guests were invited to wander the newly opened Legends Row “Walk of Fame”, take pictures, and share stories.

Teens Got Talent

On Saturday afternoon, MAC held its first annual Teens Got Talent show at the Streetsvile Founders’ Bread & Honey Festival.  The competition was open to singers from 13 to 19 who passed an online audition.  Sixteen singers competed in front of an audience and a panel of three judges: MARTY Award-winning guitarist David O’Hearn; MARTY Award-winning vocalist Heather Christine; and MAC Director of Outreach Derek Luis.  MCing the event was MAC executive director Mike Douglas.

MAC executive director Mike Douglas
Photo credit: Mary Khanano

Each contestant brought something different to the table.  From classic Disney songs to current pop hits, from Broadway musical numbers to covers of Nina Simone and Ed Sheeran, there was a wide variety of music for audiences and judges to enjoy.

Metalworks Studios co-sponsored the event, awarding as first prize a free recording session worth $1 000.  Metalworks also gave the top three contestants a subscription to a free music course of their choice.  Education counselor Alex Andronoche gave an impassioned speech in defence of music education and pursuing a career in the arts.

Education Counselor Alex Andronoche from Metalworks Studios
Photo credit Mary Khanano

The first prize was awarded to Kendra Charest-French.  Stylishly dressed in a beret, Charest-French wowed the judges with a cover of Drake’s “Hold On”.  Charest-French is currently studying Vocal Performance at Sheridan College; her performance at Teens Got Talent proves her career is off to a promising start.

First-prize winner Kendra Charest French

In second place came Melanie Cabral, who entertained the audience with a lively rendition of Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s”.  Cabral’s dancing and singing especially impressed judge Heather Christine, who praised Cabral’s stage presence. 

Second-prize winner Melanie Cabral

The third place contestant was University of Guelph-Humber student Maame Gyiwuo, whose wide vocal range shined in a performance of Evanescence’s ballad, “My Immortal”.

Third-prize winner Maame Gyiwuo

MAC thanks all contestants for participating!  Interested young singers should visit www.mississaugaartscouncil.com next summer to check out audition deadlines and processes.

First-prize winner Kendra Charest-French with Metalworks Studios Education Counselor Alex Androchne
Photo Credit: Mary Khanano

 

Teens Got Talent judge and MARTY Award-winning vocalist Heather Christine with second-prize winner Melanie Cabral
Photo credit: Mary Khanano

Teens Got Talent judge and MARTY Award winning musician David O’Hearn

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Coming up we’ll have even more youth events to help budding artists hone their talent and show off their skills! 

 

  • June 15this our last Open Mic Live event held at the LIVE! Restaurant at the Living Arts Centre
  • June 29th is our Coffee Night at Studio.89 featuring our host Matt Stellinga and the up and coming artist Annie Medling, don’t miss your chance to meet her! Check out her instagram @anniemedlingIf you would like to perform at this Coffee night, please sign up here: https://goo.gl/forms/v6XOFHPnBl2fDNjC3
  • July 20th is the next Coffee Night! Please follow ourFacebookTwitter and Instagram to find out when the new sign up form is available! 
  • August 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30 (That’s every Wednesday in August) we have our amphitheater performancesat the beautiful Celebration Square! Open to musicians, singers, spoken word artists and more! Make sure to keep an eye out on our e-newsletters: “MACtivities” for more information in July! 

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Teens Got Talent!

Hello Everyone!

The Mississauga Arts Council’s Limelight Youth Association in collaboration with Rotary’s Roteract Youth Group is looking for talented teens to audition for

“Teens Got Talent” juried singing contest! 

The contest takes place on: 

Saturday June 3, from 2-6 pm at the Streetsville Bread ‘n Honey Festival in Streetsville Memorial Park and for the finalists, an encore and prize presentations on Sunday June 4th.

If you would like to be involved please send us the following! 

  1. Link to an Audition video on YouTube or OneSong
  2. Short 50 word bio
  3. Contact information

Please send us all information by Friday May 26th, 2017.

We will select the top 30 performers from the audition clips and send them their appearance schedule and details about playback.

The top 3 finalists will be selected to perform on Sunday June 4, 2017 on the Main Stage at the Bread and Honey festival. The grand prize winner will automatically be placed in the finals of Singfest at Ribfest on the weekend of July 16th, 2017 they will also receive a free recording session at MetalWorks Studio. 2nd and 3rd place will also receive valuable prizes.

Please forward your audition link to media@mississaugaartscouncil.com 

For more information please contact: 

Nansy Khanano 
Communications Producer & Arts Reporter
905.615.4212
media@mississaugaartscouncil.com

Rogers TV 10 Closes Production Programming to Follow August 31

 

The fond home of community television in Mississauga is closing its doors. Rogers TV studios on Wolfedale Road have ceased to produce the varied community TV programming that made minor celebrities of a few and educated many more in TV production over 30 years of broadcasting. 15 full-time staff were laid off this week and Rogers broadcasts of local news and views will cease at the end of this summer.

The Mississauga Arts Council was fortunate enough to land production slots just prior to the closing and have enjoyed seeing four one hour programs exploring Mississauga as a Creative City produced and broadcast each Monday night and Tuesday morning at 11 for the last two weeks and hopefully for the next two weeks.

Called “Creative City” these programs featured MAC President Brian Crombie interviewing leading cultural lights and community leaders about building a creative city and exploring what’s coming up from the wonderful festivals that bring our city to life throughout the summer. This was typical programming for Rogers, making room for local events and giving them the attention they deserve.

Without Rogers so many stories about what takes place in Mississauga and why it matters will not be seen. We are grateful for what they have done under the leadership of Jake Dheer and sad that we will not enjoy the added buzz and excitement that Rogers on location in Mississauga, brought to so many special events. Production stopped this week and programming goes off the air at the end of August.

Thank you Rogers! You will be missed by many of those who try to make things happen in Mississauga.

Young Playwright? Here’s the info you need to know and act on RIGHT NOW!

RBC Emerging Playwright Award

An award that will give up-and-coming playwrights the opportunity to win a 6-month mentorship with a professional playwright of their choice, from our 600+ playwrights roster as well as a $2000 cash prize. The award will be presented at the 2017 Tom Hendry Awards and the winner will be provided with a special event featuring a live reading of their work in their province of residence.”

Submissions are open for any supporting or student member of Playwrights Guild of Canada who has never had a professional production and have never been full members of PGC. Must submit a full length play (see applications form for details)

Past recipients: Rafael Antonio Renderos, and Rhiannon Collett. 

Funding for the award was generously sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artists Fund.

DEADLINE: May 16th, 2017 at 11:59pm

Submissions are now open

 

The Robert Beardsley Award

The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto Foundation proudly announces The Robert Beardsley Award for Young Playwrights. This award is to be granted to a full-time secondary or post-secondary student within the GTA for the creation of a one-act play script.

 An entrant to the competition will be a student, under the age of 25 at time of submission, who is enrolled as a full-time student in an educational institution recognized by the Ontario Department of Education (Secondary or Post-Secondary) within the Greater Toronto Area. The submission selected shall be awarded a monetary prize of $500.00. Applicants for this award DO NOT need to be PGC members. If you are applying for this award and are not a member, you will receive a PGC Student Membership once your submission has been received. Past Recipients for this award include Luke Reece, Remi Long, Elizabeth Ransom, Rosamund Small, John Rowntree, Aviva Philipp-Muller, and Erum Khan (Honourable Mention).  

DEADLINE: Applications must be submitted by May 16th 2017 at 11:59pm

Submissions are now open

 

Supporting Arts, Heritage, Creative Industries Fundamental to City-Building: Mayor Crombie

Mayor Crombie with Mike Douglas, Executive Director, Mississauga Arts Council.

The following keynote address was delivered by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie during the Annual General Meeting of the Mississauga Arts Council which took place yesterday, March 29, 2017:

 

“Good evening, everyone. I want to begin by acknowledging Mike Douglas, Executive Director, and my husband, Brian Crombie, President of the Mississauga Arts Council, along with all staff and volunteers.

“Through your ongoing commitment to supporting the arts and local artists, Mississauga continues to cement its reputation as a leading arts and festivals destination.

“I also want to acknowledge the team of professionals from the City of Mississauga – and principally our Community Services Department – who work closely with the Mississauga Arts Council to deliver on our shared strategies, goals and efforts.

“Because of staff, today, we proudly announced that Festivals & Events Ontario named Mississauga as the Municipality of the Year!

“Mississauga earned this recognition because of our many, popular community, cultural, music and artistic celebrations, like the much anticipated TD Mosaic South Asian Arts Festival!

“Congratulations to everyone involved in earning this province-wide distinction.

“Let me also recognize MPP Bob Delaney who is bringing greetings on behalf of Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon.

“Earlier this month, Minister McMahon announced that 87 different local community groups in Peel would receive close to $350,000 in funding as part of the Ontario 150 Partnership Program.

“Mississauga-based not-for-profit MonstrARTity – which produces the immensely popular Bollywood Monster Mash-Up at Celebration Square – is one of the community groups in the province receiving financial support in celebration of Ontario’s 150th anniversary.

“Mississauga Council is also funding $70,000 toward this year’s Bollywood Monster Mashup.

“Mississauga has a robust grant program for community festivals and internationally-recognized events. City council has approved $710,000 in grant support for 19 festivals in 2017.

“Carassauga, Mississauga Waterfront Festival, Southside Shuffle Blues and BBQ Festival, Paint the Town Red – are some of our top funding recipients.

“Partnership is fundamental to ensuring any city has a thriving, accessible and celebrated arts scene.

“The Mississauga Arts Council is truly the heart and soul of our arts community. MAC was first founded in 1981 by a City Resolution.

“This began the road to a long, strong and enduring relationship between City Council and the Arts Council.

“And each year Council reaffirms its funding commitment to help MAC achieve and exceed its mission to offer workshops, classes, camps, the MACArts Festival and a variety of different platforms to showcase local artists and their talents.

“Through the Culture and Community Grants Program, City Council awarded the Mississauga Art Council nearly $270,000 dollars.

“In Mississauga, we are building a complete city – a place where people can raise a family, earn an education, find a well-paying job, access regionally-integrated transit and enjoy an unrivaled quality of life.

“Investing in the arts enhances the quality of life of all people – no matter a person’s age or culture – each and every one of us is enriched by the arts.

“A thriving arts scene is also central to our efforts to diversify our economy and ignite new local economic development opportunities.

“Under the leadership of Paul Damaso who heads our Culture Division, we recently launched our Creative Industries Strategy.

“The strategy also focuses on outlining actions and tactics for attracting, developing, retaining and growing the creative industry sector.

“Mississauga is proudly home to the world renowned Metal Works Recording Studio.

“And there is more we can do to attract businesses like Metal Works to choose Mississauga to work.

“Film and television, interactive digital media and live music are the areas that we will focus on moving forward.

“The total economic impact of live music in Ontario’s economy is $1.2 billion.

“The Film and TV industry contributes $1.5 billion to the provincial economy each year.

“The creative industry cluster has emerged as a major, and growing, source of GDP in Ontario that now generates approximately $12.2 billion dollars annually for Ontario’s economy.

“Council’s new Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee, formed last October, will work with staff and stakeholder representatives, like Mike Douglas, to ensure we turn ideas set out in this report, into results.

“Through the work of our Community Service Department we are transforming historic sites into hubs for creativity.

“Clarke Hall in Port Credit is one of many rental spaces available for all types of creative activities.

“The Small Arms Building in Mississauga’s southeast Lakeview neighbourhood is going through a game-changing transformation.

“The future of this building is about preserving the heritage integrity of the structure.

“The renovations will ensure safe, flexible and purpose-built facilities for a wide range of environmental sciences and technology, arts, heritage, and cultural endeavours.

“It’s also an opportunity to commemorate, preserve and promote the history and heritage significance of the building and site including the continuing role of women today.

“This year we just marked the 40th anniversary of Visual Arts Mississauga – one of Mississauga’s most dynamic creative centres.

“And what better place to inspire artists, showcase their talents and reach the broader community, then at Riverwood – the heart of our community’s beautiful, natural greenspaces.

“And finally, I’m honoured to serve as the Honorary Chair for the Art Gallery of Mississauga’s Annual Fine Art Auction taking place on April 27.

“This year, we are very excited to be celebrating the AGM’s 30th anniversary, which makes this event even more special.

“Join us in ushering the gallery into its next 30 years, and take home a unique reminder of the amazing art and artists that have made the AGM the respected institution that it is today!

“We look forward to the ongoing growth of the AGM and how we can best accommodate that growth with new space.

“During my campaign for mayor, I placed a great emphasis on investing in public art.

“I was honoured to serve as vice-chair of the Arts Taskforce under Hazel McCallion and committed to carrying on her work, as mayor of Mississauga.

“Public art brings people together and enriches neighbourhoods, residents and visitors.

“The Contemplating Child sculpture is in the heart of our downtown core, located at Community Common Park.

“In Churchill Meadows Councillor McFadden and I unveiled the Heaven and Earth Sculpture as part of the new residential development at Winston Churchill and Eglinton.

“This new piece of art is helping further unite and give the Churchill Meadows community a unique identity. 

“Last year, we unveiled The Book by Ilan Sandler to be part of the City of Mississauga Public Art Collection.

The Book – a painted steel sculpture – was donated by Toronto Pearson and is also on display at Celebration Square not far from Central Library. And it came at no cost to taxpayers.

“It’s unveiling coincided with the 25th anniversary of Central Library, home to a vast collection of art publications.

“In October, Minister Navdeep Bains announced funding of nearly $200,000 to the City of Mississauga to commission artwork that will have a permanent home at Celebration Square.

“Celebration Square is where residents come together to share and celebrate their culture for everyone to experience, appreciate and enjoy.

“This new artwork will be another important way Mississauga pays tribute to the 150th anniversary of our nation’s founding.

“The new piece will focus on the themes of diversity, inclusion and reconciliation with Indigenous Communities.

“What better year to celebrate the important role art has in telling the story of our nation’s proud history and promising future then in 2017, the year we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

“And just this past week I joined Council, Chief Beckett and first-responders from Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services as part of the ongoing efforts to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

“We have launched a mural to recognize this occasion and it will be officially launched on April 9.

“Of course, we cannot forget the much anticipated Do Your Homework Exhibit about the life and legacy of the legendary Hurricane Hazel McCallion.

“The Museums of Mississauga will be highlighting the life and times of Hazel McCallion in an exhibition held April 12th to 26th at the Mississauga Civic Centre.

“As part of the exhibit, artists were invited to apply with works that are paintings, drawings or sculptures of Hazel McCallion.

“On April 12, join Hazel McCallion in Council Chambers for an intimate “In Conversation with Hazel” where she discusses leadership lessons and learnings from building the sixth largest city in Canada.

“I want to close by once again thanking the volunteers, members, artists and leadership of the Mississauga Arts Council for all they do year-round.

“Investing and supporting the arts, heritage and our creative businesses is fundamental to city-building.

“Working together with the City of Mississauga, Council and staff, we will continue to ensure that Mississauga enjoys an unrivalled reputation as an emerging, world-class arts community.

“Thank you!”