Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Feb. 23


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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette



(Posted 3:30 p.m., Nov. 9)

Annual ARTini gala raises over $42,000 for arts endowment fund
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

AOE Arts Council executive director Christine Tremblay (right) poses with AOE president Heather Jamieson and ARTinis & Appetizers MC Stéphane Guertin during Thursday night's gala. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Orléans glitterazi gathered at the Shenkman Arts Centre Thursday night to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the AOE Arts Council while raising money for the ARTticipate Endowment Fund in support of local artists.

Over 350 business leaders, artists and politicians filled the lower lobby of the arts centre for the 4th Annual ARTinis & Appetizers Gala, making it the biggest and most successful to date.

The guests enjoyed lavish food provided by local caterers such as Passion et Cuisine, Epicuria, Grenfell Catering, Top of the Hill Bakery, and Bowich Best Organic Sandwich, while being entertained by MC Stéphane Guertin, The Pollcats Jazz Ensemble, fiddler Natalie Harrison and Dominic D'Arcy.

Patrice Moh-Elloh, executive chef at the French Embassy, was also on hand to serve up some magic.

The ARTicipate Endowment Fund was established in 2006 using funds provided by the Ontario provincial government and the Shenkman Foundation. Over the years other donors have stepped forward, and together with monies raised through the ARTinis & Appetizers Gala, the fund has a balance of over $4.7 million.

Interest revenue generated by the fund is used to help support local artists, In 2001, more than $64,000 was dispersed to a variety of local performing artists and arts groups.

This year's event was presided over for the final time by AOE's founding executive director Christine Tremblay who is stepping down after more than 25 years at the helm.

ARTinis & Appetizers MC Stéphane Guertin takes guest Jen Messer for a twirl during a musical interlude at the annual gala Thursday night. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Tremblay has nurtured, guided and led the east end arts cooperative since it's inception in 1987 when it was called the Gloucester Arts Council and operated in the cramped confines of the Cyrville Community Centre One of the missions the Gloucester Arts Council took on was to advocate for a community arts facility in the east end. The effort stalled during amalgamation, but was quickly taken up again by the council which changed its name to Arts Ottawa East in 2004.

Tremblay quietly kept up the pressure on the new city council and was the driving force behind the creation of an historic alliance between Arts Ottawa East and the Orléans francophone cultural group MIFO which finally convinced the city to build an east end arts facility that eventually led to the construction of the Shenkman Arts Centre.

Helping to make the arts centre a reality is one of Tremblay's proudest accomplishment, but guiding the Gloucester Arts Council through amalgamation and its eventually metamorphosis into Arts Ottawa East, and eventually the AOE Arts Council, will be her most enduring legacy.

"At the time there was a feeling that we might lose our identity, but in hindsight it actually made us stronger," says Tremblay, who stood at the vanguard of the city's arts community when it's municipal funding came under attack during the new city's infancy.

Although Tremblay is stepping down as the AOE's executive director she is by no means retiring. She is already working on two initiatives, one is the creation of a city wide endowment fund similar to ARTicipate, and the other is the creation of regional arts council networks in the east, south and northern parts of the province.

"I'm going to miss a lot of things about the job I'm leaving, but I'm going to do a lot of new things which is very exciting," says Tremblay.

The AOE Arts Council currently has over 85 member arts organizations and artists, representing over 20,000 individuals.

This year's ARTinis & Appetizers Gala was once again sponsored by Place d'Orléans. Gold sponsors included Trinity Develop.m.ent, Transcontinental Media and Ottawa At Home. Silver level sponsors included Mr. Gas, Sobeys, Dust Evans Grandmaitre Lawyers/Avocats, Richcraft Homes, Myers Orléans, Forum Equity Partners and the Shenkman Family Foundation.

For more information in the ARTicipate Endowment Fund visit www.articipate.ca/en.aspx.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)



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