Thursday, November 15, 2018

Meet Devin Huang, one of the Talent Trust's Youngest Scholarship Recipients

Devin Huang, pianist.

Devin Huang began studying piano in 2013, at the age of seven. He one of our youngest scholarship reicpients, receiving scholarships in 2017 and 2018.

Receiving news of a scholarship can change an artist's life.
You’ll meet Devin and his mother, Jennifer Wang, in our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video.

Devin studies with Lynn Stodola, who teaches young gifted pianists after retiring from a distinguished career with the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Competitions can be a big component in the development of a young pianist. Devin was one of the winners of the 2017/18 Chebucto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, which earned him the honour of performing with the Orchestra.

He won a gold medal at the 2017 Canadian Music Competition National Finals in Gatineau, PQ, in his age category.

At the 2017 Nova Scotia Kiwanis Music Festival, Devin placed first in Piano Solo (Chopin – Senior), first place in Piano Solo (Bach – 16 years and under), and first place in Piano Sonata (Junior). 

Hours of practice are required to master
piano. Devin is a committed student.
He was recommended by both junior and senior adjudicators to perform at the Festival’s Gala night as Junior Pianist.

He received the inaugural Gordon Murray Rising Star Award at the Gala, and was chosen to represent the Halifax Festival in the Junior Piano and Chamber Music categories at the Provincial Finals.

Devin most recently performed at the Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala, which celebrates excellence in artistic achievement and includes the announcement of two major awards, the Portia White Prize (not to be confused with the Talent Trust Portia White Award) and the Lieutenant Governor's Masterworks Award.

We’d like to thank Devin and Jennifer for allowing our production team into their home and working so hard to help create our video. Jennifer went above and beyond the call of duty for a non-actor. We would also like to thank Lynn Stodola for all her assistance.

Want to be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds? Click here to donate. And thank you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pianist Andrew Son on Final Stop of Atlantic Young Artist Regional Tour November 25

Andrew Son

Andrew Son performs in Halifax on the final stop of his Atlantic Canada tour with a free afternoon concert of Chopin, Scarlatti, Mendelssohn, and Rachmaninoff. 

The performance takes place Sunday, November 25.

Andrew is an award-winning pianist who recently captured the 2018 Atlantic Young Artist Competition and the Piano Rose Bowl at the Kiwanis Music Festival in Halifax.

He represented Nova Scotia at the 2015 Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association National Piano Competition in Vancouver. 

Andrew received Talent Trust scholarships from 2014-17. He’s currently a student at Dalhousie University.

The Talent Trust is pleased to co-present Andrew’s Halifax concert with Cecilia Concerts, Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers Association, and the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

Concert details
Sunday, November 25, 2:00 p.m.
Admission: free

Lilian Piercey Concert Hall
Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts
6199 Chebucto Rd, Halifax

For more information, visit the Cecilia Concerts website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Multitalented Artist Veronique MacKenzie in Talent Trust 75th Anniversary Video

Talent Trust scholarship recipient Veronique MacKenzie.

Véronique MacKenzie is a multitalented artist. She and her students worked with us to help create our 75th anniversary scholarship video, and we’re grateful for their participation.

Veronique MacKenzie in her dance studio.
Véronique making dance magic in her studio.
Originally from Montréal, Quebec, Véronique moved to Nova Scotia and received two Talent Trust scholarships to assist with her dance training. 

She’s also a two-time recipient of Live Art’s Diane Moore Scholarship for choreography, and a recipient of a Nova Scotia Established Artist Recognition Award. 

She’s earned scholarship positions in the Interrarium Creative residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax.

Behind the scenes at the NSTT video shoot with Veronique MacKenzie.
Behind the scenes at our video shoot.
Filet Production Services.
Her background includes modern dance, jazz and ballet, visual art, clown and fool-work, creative movement, and theatre. 

Véronique has invested in her education. She attended York University and the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, the National Ballet School / R.A.D. / Checcetti / Vagonova, NSCAD University, Laban International School, Virginia Tanner School/USA, University of New Brunswick, and Theatre New Brunswick. 

She holds degrees in science and social work.

Véronique working with her dance students.
Like a number of other Talent Trust scholarship recipients, Véronique has decided to share her skills and experience with emerging artists through teaching. She’s served on faculty at NSCAD University, Neptune Theatre School, and the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University.

She just wrapped her work as choreographer for the world premiere of KAMP, a co-production of Eastern Front Theatre and Neptune Theatre. KAMP is a darkly comedic new musical about a group of homosexual prisoners interned in a WWII Nazi concentration camp in 1943, who survive their ordeal by creating a cabaret. 

Adjusting a young dancer's costume during dance class.
Véronique is currently taking a year off from her faculty duties at Halifax Dance to work with Neptune Theatre’s Chrysalis Project, which offers emerging theatre artists practical, hands-on experience, where they not only work and create within the Neptune family, but also alongside the broader theatre community.

As part of the Chrysalis Project, she’s working with choreographer Stephanie Graham on Neptune Theatre’s production of Cinderella.

We’d like to thank Véronique and her students for working with us to help create our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video. 

Want to be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds? Click here to donate. And thank you!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Sara Coffin Wins Arts Nova Scotia Established Artist Recognition Award

Sara Coffin, winner of 2018 Established Artist Recognition Award.
Sara Coffin, 2018 Established Artist Recognition
Award winner. Photo: Joshua Sugiyama.
Sara Coffin has received a 2018 Arts Nova Scotia Established Artist Recognition Award, which recognizes professional mid-career artists.

Sara is a dancer, choreographer, dance educator, and Co-Artistic Director of Mocean Dance since 2011. 

She received Talent Trust scholarships from 1999-2002, and the Talent Trust Pat Richards Award in 2000.

She received her MFA in Choreography from Smith College, BFA (Dance) from Simon Fraser University and Bachelor of Science (Kinesiology) from Dalhousie University. 

Sara Coffin, photo by Joshua Sugiyama.
Sara Coffin on stage. Photo credit: Joshua Sugiyama.
An award-winning choreographer and dance educator with 20 years experience, Sara’s choreographic work has been presented in many prominent Canadian dance festivals and in the United States. 

Her teaching work has led her to become a regular visiting lecturer at Holland College, PEI, and NSCAD University in Halifax. 

She held an Adjunct Faculty position at the five-college consortium in Massachusetts teaching at Smith College, and Hampshire College (2012-14) and has recently taught at Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala City.

We'd like to extend our congratulations to all the Arts Nova Scotia award nominees and winners.

For more information about Sara, visit her website at

To learn more about the Arts Nova Scotia Awards, visit the Arts Nova Scotia website.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Win a Talent Trust Fabulous Basket of Art at the Craft Nova Scotia Christmas Market!

Win a fabulous basket of art that helps make dreams come true! 

Talent Trust Fabulous Basket of Art.
You can win one of three baskets of art - buy a ticket!
Do you like to support emerging Nova Scotia artists? You can help grow our scholarship fund and get a chance to win a basket filled with art experiences.

We'll be at the Craft Nova Scotia Designer Craft Show at the Cunard Event Centre, Pier 23 in Halifax, November 16 - 18.

Our friendly board members and volunteers will be on hand to chat with you about Talent Trust scholarship recipients and all the wonderful donations by local art organizations and artists. (See the list below.)

Because of the generosity of artists and organizations, we'll have three fabulous baskets of art. Every ticket purchased gives you more chances to win!

Raffle tickets are 1 for $5 or 5 for $20 
We accept cash and cheques. (There is an ATM in the Cunard Centre).
100% of the  proceeds go towards our Scholarship Fund.
Due to regulations, you can only enter the draw if you live in Nova Scotia.
Licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Authority: AGD-104017-18

Where and When:
Cunard Event Centre at Pier 23
961 Marginal Road, Halifax

Friday, Nov 16: 10:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov 17: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov 18: 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m .

We'd like to thank Susan Hanrahan and Julie Rosvall of Craft Nova Scotia for their continued support. The Christmas show is a juried fine craft event featuring Maritime artists.

The draw will be held on December 11, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. during our annual Special Awards Ceremony at the Central Library in Halifax .

Thank you to all our friends in the arts community for their generous contributions.

Aeolian Singers, CD Where I Live

Alex E. Pierce, book: Vox Humana

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: Complimentary Family Membership for 2019

Blue Engine String Quartet, CDs If It Be Your Will, I am in Need of Music

Cecilia Concerts: 8 tickets two each to the following concerts with Talent Trust scholarship recipients Lala and Mimisu Lee, and Rolston String Quartet, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Timothy and Nicki Chooi

Charlotte Wilson-Hammond RCA: small original painting

Dawn MacNutt RCA: small sculpture

Debut Atlantic: ticket for 2 valid for the 2019 concert season

Debra Kuzyk: small pottery ornaments

FIN Atlantic International Film Festival: 2 complimentary festival passes for 2019

Jacqueline Steudler SCA: small original art work

Jane Archibald: signed DVD Ariadne auf Naxos

Jennifer King: CDs O Mistress Moon

Kay Stanfield: small original art work

Kings Theatre, Annapolis Royal: 2 complementary tickets to a show of your choice between Dec 2018 - March 2019

Kurt Streit: 2 signed CDs, The Philosopher's Stone, Julietta Kurt Streit

Memory Lane Heritage Village, Lake Charlotte: Family Pass for Heritage Village Tour

Musique Royale: gift certificate for 2 for a concert by Talent Trust scholarship recipient Andrew Son at Cecilia's Retreat in Mahone Bay.

Nancy Stevens:  small original art work

Neptune Theatre: voucher for 2 tickets to Noises Off from Feb 26 - March 17, 2019

Peggy Walt CD Halifax Camerata Singers: Solace

Peggy Walt CD Rhapsody Quintet: Passion and CD Upstream, Open Waters

Rose Vaughan: CDs Sweet Tarragon, Winter Rose, Gardener of the Moon, Fire in the Snow

Symphony Nova Scotia: 2 tickets to Handel's Water Music in February 2019

Tangled Garden Gift Shop, Wolfville:

Visual Arts Nova Scotia: 2 year subscription to Visual Arts News

Wayne Boucher: original small painting

Writers' Federation: gift membership for one year

Will Fisher (2008 NSTT Chico Berardi Award): 3 CDs Portage

Remember, you can only enter the draw if you live in Nova Scotia.
Licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Authority: AGD-104017-18

We'll see you at the show!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Meet Mike Hirschbach, Circus Artist, Teacher, and Mentor - Our 75th Anniversary Scholarship Campaign

Mike Hirschbach, Circus Artist, Teacher, and Mentor.

Mike Hirschbach is introduced to us with an intriguing thump when he first appears on our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video. He’s preparing his training space for circus arts students. 

Mike Hirschbach prepares for students at Halifax Circus.
Mike has been performing for 35 years. He received a Talent Trust scholarship in 1984 to assist his studies in circus arts.

He studied physical theatre and circus in California, New York, and Montreal, then traveled to Paris to spend two years at the École Internationale de Theatre with the legendary Jacques Lecoq. 

He then toured his solo theatrical-circus shows across Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia, and India. He performed at the Calgary Olympic Games, the International Mime Festival in Montreal, and the International Clown Festival in Mumbai and Goa, India.

Mike Hirschbach at work.
Mike Hirschbach at work as a circus arts teacher.
From 2001-05 Mike worked with Cirque du Soleil, first performing for two years in their touring show “Dralion”, from 2001-03. 

He then became a Master Trainer with the Cirque’s social outreach program, Cirque du Monde, which promotes circus arts as an intervention with at-risk youth. The approach is called social circus.

Mike traveled the world from 2003-05, training the trainers in the existing Cirque du Monde programs, upgrading their circus, social and teaching skills in Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Africa and Burkina Faso. 

While the Talent Trust doesn’t provide scholarships for teacher training in the arts, a number of our scholarship recipients have become teachers as well as mentors, often as they continue their careers as practicing artists.

Mike Hirschbach practicing juggling skills with a student.
Since 2005 Mike has served as Artistic Director and Head of Juggling/Circus at Halifax Circus, and director of the outreach programs of Circus Circle, which is based on the Cirque du Monde program. 

Circus Circle is the oldest social circus program in Canada outside of Quebec, where the movement started.

He takes his show Uncle Podger’s Hat, a grown-up view of a childhood mentor (Mike’s eccentric uncle), to venues that include Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, and the Halifax Fringe Festival. 

In 2017 he worked with the Nova Scotia Public Library system to bring “Secrets of the Circus”, an introduction to juggling, unicycling, balance work and more, to kids around Nova Scotia, performing 71 shows in public libraries across the province.

We’d like to thank Mike and his students for allowing Filet Production Services into their space, and for helping to make our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video possible.

Want to be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds? Click here to donate. And thank you!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Visual Arts Nova Scotia Announces Susan Wood Award, to be Distributed by the Talent Trust

Susan Wood Award established by Visual Arts Nova Scotia to be distributed by NSTT in December 2019.
Artist, teacher, mentor Susan Wood.
Photo: Visual Arts Nova Scotia.
Visual Arts Nova Scotia has announced the establishment of the Susan Wood Award, to be distributed by the Nova Scotia Talent Trust. 

The award will go to an emerging Nova Scotian visual artist who shows exceptional commitment and ability.

This new award, which will be granted beginning in December 2019, honours Susan's legacy as an artist, teacher, and valued member of the artistic community.

Susan was an instructor at NSCAD University for almost 20 years and was a mentor in the VANS Mentorship Program, which was established in 2006. She was a member of VANS for many years and served on their Board of Directors from 2014 until her death earlier this year.

Susan was born in New Brunswick and grew up in Nova Scotia. She received her BFA from Mount Allison University, and graduated with her MFA from the University of Calgary in 1981.

She began her nearly two decades of teaching at NSCAD in 1990.

Susan was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and received grants from the Canada Council, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, and the Nova Scotia Arts Council. Her work can be found in private, corporate, and public collections in Canada, the US, and the UK.

This new award is a welcome addition to the support available to emerging Nova Scotian artists. We're honoured to be part of it.

To learn more about the Susan Wood Award, visit the VANS website.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fibre Artist, Teacher, Mentor - Meet Sandra Brownlee and Watch our 75th Anniversary Video

Fibre artist, Talent Trust scholarship recipient Sandra Brownlee.

Sandra Brownlee is a practicing fibre artist, teacher, and mentor. She’s one of the seven Talent Trust scholarship recipients who appear in our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video, which was created to help us double our scholarship funds for emerging Nova Scotia artists.

Sandra Brownlee at the loom.
Artist Sandra Brownlee at the loom.
She began weaving in 1971, and received a Talent Trust scholarship in 1980 to support her studies in textiles. She received her BFA from NSCAD University, and continued her education at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where she completed her MFA in Fibers.

A scholarship can be an important part of a budding career. "It was thrilling, and it made what I was doing seem more real, and viable", says Sandra about her Talent Trust scholarship. "It put me on a really good path."

Sandra has received numerous awards, including the 2014 Governor General Visual and Media Arts Saidye Bronfman Award, a Canada Council B Grant, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

She’s one of the ten artists in our 75th anniversary visual arts exhibition, which opens at Mount Saint Vincent Art Gallery in Halifax in May of 2019, and travels to Cape Breton University Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Yarmouth.

Sandra Brownlee created a piece for the Talent Trust scholarship campaign video.
Believe in the creativity of Nova Scotians. Sandra Brownlee created this piece for our 75th anniversary video.

Sandra’s work began with weaving, and now includes working in notebooks and stitching words onto cloth. She created the “Believe in the creativity” piece for our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video, which is part of our “Believe in the creativity of Nova Scotians” Talent Trust tag line.

You can find Sandra’s work in the Nova Scotia Art Bank, Canada Council Art Bank, Massey Foundation Collection at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, and Cranbrook Art Museum.

Sandra is a highly respected teacher. She currently offers her Tactile Notebook Workshops internationally, and has taught at NSCAD University, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

We’d like to thank Sandra for allowing us into her studio and being so generous with her time to help us create our scholarship campaign video.

Be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds! Click here to donate. And thank you!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Devoted to Dance - Meet Ballet Dancer and Student Maggie Oates-Johnson

Maggie Oates-Johnson, ballet dancer and Talent Trust award winner.

Maggie Oates-Johnson is one of the Talent Trust’s younger scholarship recipients. She's also one of the seven who appear in our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video.

Maggie received her first scholarship and won the Talent Trust Robert George Jackson Award in 2017. 

That award was established in 2011 and, if merited, is awarded to a scholarship recipient who shows exceptional commitment and potential in dance.

Maggie Oates-Johnson behind the scenes at the Talent Trust video shoot.
Behind the scenes at the Talent Trust video
shoot. Photo: Filet Production Services.
Maggie received a second scholarship in 2018 to study at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Connecticut. In the summer of 2016 and 2017 she attended Canada’s National Ballet School. 

Maggie began her journey in dance at the age of three, under the watchful eye of teacher Leica Hardy. She’s danced with KiDanCo, the pre-professional company at the Leica Hardy School of Dance in Dartmouth, Halifax Dance, the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, and has performed in Symphony Nova Scotia’s The Nutcracker since 2014. She recently performed as a Local Participant in Anastasia with Canada’s Ballet Jorgen.

Tina Oates-Johnson watches her daughter rehearse ballet.
Tina Oates-Johnson watches daughter Maggie rehearse.
Dance is a big part of the Oates-Johnson household. Maggie’s elder sister Mollie is also a Talent Trust scholarship recipient. She began her studies with Leica Hardy, and in addition to being part of the KiDanCo company, Mollie has attended summer sessions at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School, and The School of Alberta Ballet.

In addition to great teachers and mentors, family often plays a significant role in a young artist’s development. Dancers need clothing, footwear and lessons, and there’s the time and travel to rehearsals and performances. It takes a lot to get a performer to the stage.

Maggie’s parents, Tina and Trevor, appear with her in our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video. We’d like to thank them, along with Maggie, for being so generous with their time to work with us to make our video project truly special.

Want to be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds? Click here to donate. And thank you!

Monday, November 5, 2018

From Visual Arts to Architecture - Talent Trust Scholarship and Award Winner Isaac Fresia

Talent Trust scholarship and award winner Isaac Fresia.

Isaac Fresia understands the impact of the arts on our lives and communities. He’s one of seven scholarship recipients who appear in our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video.

Isaac first received a Talent Trust scholarship in 2011 to support his studies in visual arts at NSCAD University. He won the Talent Trust Charlotte Wilson-Hammond/Visual Arts Nova Scotia Award that same year.

Isaac Fresia architecture student and Talent Trust scholarship recipient.
Isaac Fresia at work developing plans for small homes.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree, he received the NSCAD University Margo and Rowland Marshall Award, and the Talent Trust RBC Emerging Artist Award in 2013. He graduated with his BFA in 2014.

Isaac’s skills and interests led him to pursue studies in architecture at Dalhousie University. He received Talent Trust scholarships to support his education in 2016 and 2018. He received the Talent Trust 2011 Canada Games Award in 2015.

Isaac is currently working toward a Master of Architecture.

Isaac Fresia building plans shown in Talent Trust scholarship campaign video.
Isaac Fresia on site with his building plans.
Isaac’s awareness of the connection between his studies in visual art and architecture will serve him well in his profession. He also knows, firsthand, what scholarships mean to emerging artists. 

“We work not in isolation but together as advocates, social workers, and cultural intermediaries. We are privileged in our professions to build good cities and foster better communities. Your investment in my education has been an investment in these values, an investment that I intend to pay forward to the generations that follow me.”

We’d like to thank Isaac for being part of our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video. We’d also like to thank his family for generously allowing us to use their farm for the shoot.

Want to be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds? Click here to donate. And thank you!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Reeny Smith in Nova Scotia Talent Trust Scholarship Campaign Video

Reeny Smith in Talent Trust scholarship campaign video.

Reeny Smith took time out of her busy performance schedule to help us with our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video. 

Filet Production Services, who produced our video, were able to catch Reeny in performance at the 2018 East Coast Music Awards in May, where she was nominated for the for the ECMA Bucky Adams Memorial Award. That footage became part of our video, along with some lovely shots in a more relaxed setting.

Reeny Smith and family.
A scene from the Talent Trust video. Thanks to Reeny Smith and
family for being part of our scholarship campaign promotion.
Reeny is part of a big, musical family. Her father and grandfather, Wallace Smith Sr. and Wally Smith Jr. are both former members of the iconic Nova Scotia gospel group the Gospel Heirs, and her uncles Carson and Murray Downey are members of the "three-piece blues band, with a hint of funk" Carson Downey Band. 

Reeny began singing and playing piano at the age of five. She received a Talent Trust scholarship to support her studies in voice, and won the Talent Trust Portia White Award in 2010.

She studied piano at the Conservatory Of Music, and worked with Halifax based pianist and teacher Paul Simons before enrolling in the music program at St. Francis Xavier University, where she was a jazz major.

Reeny Smith at ECMA Awards.
Behind the scenes at the ECMAs. Photo by Filet Production Services.
Since completing her studies, Reeny has worked tirelessly to build her career. 

Her talent and dedication has been recognized along the way, with African Nova Scotia and Music Nova Scotia awards, and a Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Halifax Jazz Festival.

She’s performed at the Halifax Jazz festival, at Nova Scotia’s iconic Stanfest in Canso, and was Casino Nova Scotia’s Artist in Residence in 2015. She appeared with Symphony Nova Scotia in a community concert series in 2017. 

In 2018 Reeny released her first single, Good Girl Swag, and her album W W I I I: Strength Courage Love

You can catch Reeny in multiple showcases at this year’s Nova Scotia Music Week in Truro (November 1 - 4), where she’s nominated for four awards.

Update: Congratulations to Reeny on her win of Music Nova Scotia African Nova Scotian Artist of the Year!

Not to be outdone by Reeny’s more official accolades, her fans just voted to give her Gold for Best R&B Artist/Band, and Bronze for Best Solo Artist as part of The Coast magazine’s Best of Halifax Reader’s Choice Awards.

We’d like to thank Reeny and her family for being so generous with their time, and welcoming our crew into their home to help create our scholarship campaign video. 

Want to be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds? Click here to donate. And thank you!