Guelph Jazz Festival Wins Arts Award

June 11, 2010 - News Release

The Guelph Jazz Festival - started by a University of Guelph professor - has won a 2010 Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts. The awards, administered by the Ontario Arts Council, were handed out Thursday night in Toronto.

English professor Ajay Heble, who started the festival in 1994 and has served as artistic director since its inception, called the award “a tremendous honour.”

“It recognizes our festival as an influential and highly original event that offers a one-of-a-kind celebration of musical innovation and excellence, and that seeks in bold and unique ways to explore music's vast potential as a powerful community-building force,” he said.

“We're grateful to the Government of Ontario for their leadership in recognizing the vital role that arts, creativity, and culture play in enriching the quality of life of citizens in our communities.”

The Guelph Jazz Festival won the Arts Organization Award, receiving a $50,000 prize. It was honoured for establishing an “international reputation for presenting a vibrant, challenging and culturally diverse program.” The festival had twice previously been shortlisted for the honour.

Thursday’s event was attended by Premier Dalton McGuinty and Michael Chan, minister of tourism and culture.

The Guelph Jazz Festival has evolved into a world-class venue for jazz performance and education. It has been hailed as “one of the most visionary” musical events in Canada by the Globe and Mail and received the prestigious Lieutenant-Governor's Award for the Arts.

U of G's schools of Fine Art and Music, Languages and Literatures, and English and Theatre Studies, as well as the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the Central Student Association and other U of G departments, are among the festival's sponsors.

The Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts was created in 2006. It honours well-established artists, emerging artists and arts organizations.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or

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