Written by Yomi John
The current winner of the 2016 Robert Johnston Award is none other than Carol Kehoe. She was presented the award by Bob Johnston at our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, November 16.
Carol is the Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO), and a very accomplished leader, whose contributions to the cultural community won us over. Carol has served as a board director at several arts organizations, including Museum London and the City of London’s Creative City committee. Her passion for volunteering in the arts transpired into a career change after 15 years of working in the newspaper and magazine publishing industry.
Carol held senior level positions at The Grand Theatre and Museum London, while shaping the minds of aspiring arts managers as an instructor in the Arts Management Diploma Program at Western University. To this day, Carol continues to volunteer as a board member while leading her team as well as professional musicians at HPO.
An interesting tidbit was revealed before Bob presented the award: Ambrose Small, the founder of The Grand Theatre, where Carol worked in the past, mysteriously disappeared after selling his chain of theatres for one million dollars, on December 2, 1919. During her award speech, Carol swore that she is one of many people who has either seen or sensed Small’s ghost in the London theatre.
From left to right, Bob Johnston, Carol Kehoe and Diane Davy.
The Robert Johnston Award has been presented bi-annually since 2010, to an individual who is committed to furthering the growth of Ontario’s cultural sector, and Carol is a great representative. The award is opened to artists and arts administrators, who have contributed a minimum of five years of professional service to the arts and cultural disciplines. Carol Kehoe is the fourth person to be recognized for her generous and voluntary contribution to the sector, and demonstrated strength in supporting the next generation of culture workers. She received a beautifully crafted piece of kiln-formed glass by artist, Don McClennen.
Not even a ghost can scare Carol from the arts sector.
Previous winners include: Margaret Genovese, Senior Partner at Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates, recognized in 2014; Catherine Smalley, Arts Consultant and member of Arts Consultants Canada, awarded in 2012; and Patricia Fraser, Dancer and Artistic Director of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, awarded in 2010.
We look forward to receiving submissions for the 2018 Robert Johnston Award.