Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2021 Talent Trust Scholarship Application Deadlines Announced

We’re pleased to announce we are ready to receive new scholarship applications for 2021.

The deadline for scholarship applications for Spring/Summer studies is fast approaching!

The scholarship application process will again happen online.

We advise applicants to read the submission guidelines carefully and to submit applications early since there are a number of changes for film, music, visual arts, dance, circus arts, literary arts, and theatre this year.

Scholarship application deadlines are:

  • Spring/Summer study: 5:00 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (AST)
    March 1, 2021 
    (for studies between May 1 and August 31, 2021)
  • Fall/Winter study: 5:00 p.m. Atlantic Daylight Saving Time (ADT)
    May 1, 2021 
    (for studies between September 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022)

For more information, visit or call the Talent Trust at (902) 492-6801.

Please help us spread the word: If you know a Nova Scotian student that is studying in the arts, let them know about this opportunity and our March 1 and May 1 deadlines.

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Maggie Oates-Johnson: A pink baby tutu and waiting to join

Many thanks to scholarship recipient Maggie Oates-Johnson for taking the time to share reflections on her passion and practice.

What does receiving a Talent Trust scholarship mean to you?

It means so much to me that people believe not only in my ballet skills and goals, but they believe in me and my ability to attain my dreams.

What are your earliest memories of your art?

My earliest memories of ballet is watching my older sister, Mollie, in her dance classes, while I was dancing in the hallway in my pink baby tutu, waiting to one day join in. 

Who were/are your biggest supporters?

My biggest supporters first of all are my parents and sister; without them, none of my dreams would be possible. Of course, my dance teachers are the ones who continually shape, influence, train, and guide me so that I can be the best version of me. My family and friends always root for me, accept me, and support me no matter what successes or failures I have. And I am especially thankful for NSTT who help me to achieve my goals through financial support for summer and year-round programming, along with the very important motivational piece of continually believing in me. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

This is a tough question for me to answer, because dancers by nature tend to be a bit perfectionistic and hard on themselves. I am grateful for all my scholarships, awards, dance opportunities, and ballet school acceptances, but I still see all that I still need to work on. So I think my biggest accomplishment is just in trying to stay grounded and true to myself while I’m trying to reach my goals...and still holding on to my love of dance through all the ups and downs with this art.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 year, in relation to your art?

I see myself having graduated from a professional ballet school and post-grad program, and hopefully being hired into a ballet company that does both classical and neoclassical work. 

How have you managed practicing your art during the pandemic?

When the pandemic first hit, I was initially sad and worried, as I’m sure most artists were, but I quickly discovered that I could adapt and learn in a different way. We bought Marley flooring and portable ballet barres for my basement so my sister and I could have a mini at-home studio. 

We were both able to continue our daily training through Zoom ballet classes, pre-recorded classes, and other virtual training opportunities from local dance studios and also through summer training programs in various professional ballet schools. 

I have been fortunate living in NS, because our studios re-opened in the Fall, allowing for in-person and social-distanced training. It is so nice to be back in studio and I am continuing to learn and grow, even though we have had some modifications. 

The hardest part is missing the live stage performances, but we are adapting to virtual performances, which are still fun and rewarding.

Thank you Maggie for your insights. 

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!  (smile)

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Talent Trust Announces 2020 Special Award Winners

Talent Trust grants $44,000 in Awards at 2020 Special Awards Ceremony

K'JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX, NS - The Nova Scotia Talent Trust (NSTT) recognized their 2020 scholarship and Special Award recipients at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2020, virtually in a ceremony which included greetings by His Honour The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, ONS, QC, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

Created to support the career of contralto Portia White 76 years ago, the Talent Trust has continued to support talented Nova Scotian artists as they pursue their studies toward establishing professional careers in the arts.

Halifax dancer Sahara Nyathi received the $1,500 Talent Trust Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement, the NSTT’s highest honour for a student in any discipline. Nyathi studies ballet at the Maritime Dance Academy (Halifax).

Presented for the first time in 2013, the two 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Awards, valued at $10,000 each, will be awarded to any recipient, regardless of age, from any artistic discipline, who best exemplifies the qualities embraced by the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, that of the utmost commitment, promise, exceptional technique, talent and the highest achievement of excellence, someone who demonstrates the passion and drive to become a professional Nova Scotia artist in their field of discipline. These two awards will be granted every December until 2022 and are the legacy of the 2011 Canada Games Young Artists of Excellence Program.

In 2020, the two $10,000 awards were received by Dartmouth flutist Amelia Bruce and creative writer Amanda Peters from Falmouth.
Amelia Bruce (Dartmouth), 2020 recipient of a 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Award, is currently completing her final semester of studies (Master of Music/Flute Performance) at McGill Schulich School of Music (Montreal, Quebec). 
Amanda Peters (Falmouth), 2020 recipient of a 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Award, is completing her Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, New Mexico).
Today, the Talent Trust had the pleasure to present two new awards.

The Sheila K. Piercey (Legacy) Award 
honours the life of Sheila K. Piercey, who was an accomplished soprano, teacher, mentor, beloved aunt, and loyal friend to many. The award will go to a voice student. 

The Dr. James Burchill Award has been made possible by Dr. James Burchill. Dr. Burchill is a former Talent Trust recipient (1958 through 1961) in organ studies. He created the award to give back to the arts community. The award will be given, if merited, to an organist, choral or instrumental conductor or, if there is no suitable applicant in either of these fields, to a student of another musical instrument or voice.
Opera singer Laura Johnston (Prospect Bay) is the recipient of the $2000 Sheila K. Piercey (Legacy) Award in voice studies. Johnston is currently studying Voice (Opera) at Memorial University, Master of Music (St. John’s, Newfoundland). (The Sheila K. Piercey Award is supported through a generous bequest by the late Sheila Piercey.)
Pianist Carmen Peng (Wolfville) is the recipient of the $8000 Dr. James Burchill Award for an organist, choral or instrumental conductor or a student of another musical instrument or voice. Peng is studying privately with music teacher John Hanson. (The award is supported by former Talent Trust scholarship recipient and organist Dr. James Burchill through a $220,000 Bank Bond donation to the NSTT Foundation.)
There are eleven more Special Award recipients, each of whom demonstrates the exceptional potential to become a professional artist. We're pleased to introduce them here.
Pianist Devin Huang (Bedford) is the recipient of the $1,000 Peggy Corkum/Musique Royale Legacy Award. Huang studies privately with Lynn Stodola. (Award supported by Barbara Butler, Musique Royale, and friends of Peggy Corkum.)
Visual artist Ada Denil (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,500 The Susan Wood Award in visual arts. Denil is currently studying sculpting and drawing at NSCAD University in Halifax. (Award supported by family and friends of Susan Wood and Visual Arts Nova Scotia.)
Literary artist Sara Leslie (Dartmouth) is the recipient of the $1,500 RBC Emerging Artist Award. Leslie studies Creative Nonfiction (Master of Fine Arts) at University of King’s College (Halifax). (Award supported by RBC Emerging Artist Program.)
French horn player Mimisu Lee (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Yue Lih “Lee” and Marion Kuo Award for exceptional commitment and potential in music as an instrumentalist. Lee is currently in private study with Christopher Gongos. (Award supported by Marion Kuo and Earl Wadden.)
Visual artist Pamela Juarez (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Charlotte Wilson-Hammond/Visual Arts Nova Scotia Award. Juarez currently studies textile art at NSCAD University (Halifax). (Award supported by Charlotte Wilson-Hammond and Visual Arts Nova Scotia.)
Opera singer Abigail Sinclair (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Talent Trust's Portia White Award for voice. Sinclair spent the summer 2020 studying at the Patti and Allan Herbert Frost School of Music Virtual Salzburg Program (Coral Gables, Florida). (Award supported by the Music-in-Medicine and Humanities-HEALS Program, Dalhousie University.)
Ballet dancer Aidan Vaudreuil (Lower Sackville) is the recipient of the $2,000 Robert George Jackson Award for dance. Vaudreuil is attending the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (Winnipeg, Manitoba). (Award supported by the Jackson family.)
Kevin Munroe (Sydney) is the recipient of the $500 Theatre Nova Scotia Award for theatre. Munroe will be studying acting at George Brown College (Toronto, Ontario). (Award supported by Theatre Nova Scotia.)
Composer Taylor MacGillivray (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Kenneth Elloway Award for composition. MacGillivray spent the summer 2020 attending the Lunenburg Academy of Music (LAMP, Lunenburg). (Award supported by the Elloway family.)
Ballet dancer Julia Barkhouse (Dartmouth) is the recipient of the $1,000 Janice Merritt Flemming Award and is currently studying at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, Ontario. (Award supported by the Flemming family.)
Cellist India Gailey (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Raymond Simpson Award for music. In January 2021 India will be studying Jazz Improvisation, with Gary Burton, through Berklee Online (Boston, Massachusetts). (Award supported by the Simpson family.)

In addition to the Special Awards announced today, the Nova Scotia Talent Trust gave out scholarships to 67 recipients earlier this year. You can find a list of the 2020 Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarship recipients below.

The NSTT’s scholarship application deadline date for Spring/Summer study is March 1, 2021. The deadline for Fall/Winter study is May 1, 2021.

About the Nova Scotia Talent Trust
Since 1944, the Talent Trust has provided more than $2 million to over 1,000 Nova Scotians, primarily young people, who have demonstrated talent and potential to become professional artists in theatre, dance, fine craft and design, music, circus arts, media, film, literary, and visual arts. There is no other comparable organization in the country. In 2019, the Talent Trust celebrated its 75th anniversary year featuring former scholarship recipients with a travelling art exhibition, pop-up events in theatre, music, dance, film screenings and more.

The NSTT is supported by individual donors like Margaret and David Fountain and the 2011 Canada Games Legacy Fund, RBC Foundation, The Craig Foundation,, Musique Royale, Visual Arts Nova Scotia, Theatre Nova Scotia, Debut Atlantic, immediaC, the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, BoyneClarke, Code+Mortar, NSTT Foundation, Dalhousie Music in Medicine HEALS Program, Halifax Central Library, Cecilia Concerts, Craft Nova Scotia, Black Cultural Centre for NS, CIOE 97.5 Community Radio, and Arts Nova Scotia. NSTT is pleased to work in partnership with the province to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.

Jacqueline Steudler, Executive Director,
Nova Scotia Talent Trust
P. O. Box 575
Halifax  NS  B3J 2R7
(902) 492 6801

Print quality photos upon request.
Congratulations to the Talent Trust and Nova Scotia Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship Recipients

  • Lily McGrath, Dartmouth
  • Julia Barkhouse, Dartmouth 
  • Brooklyn Law, Bedford
  • Shannon Mullally, Dartmouth
  • Maggie Oates-Johnson, Dartmouth
  • Mollie Oates-Johnson, Dartmouth
  • Scarlett Reynolds, Prospect Bay
  • Eden Robichaud, Bible Hill
  • Stan Tonin, Windsor Junction
  • Aidan Vaudreuil Wakeham, Lower Sackville
  • Sahara Nyathi, Halifax 
  • Nathan King-Pacis, Hammonds Plains
  • Claire Campbell, St. Margaret’s Bay
  • Minuet Charron, Halifax
  • Gabrielle Kachan, Halifax, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Camryn Rieksts, Valley
  • Lucy Boyne, Halifax
Creative Nonfiction
  • Sara Leslie, Dartmouth, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
Creative Writing/Fiction
  • Vicki Donkin, Halifax
  • K.R. Byggdin, Halifax
  • Amanda Peters, Falmouth
Short Fiction/Prose
  • Sidney Robichaud, Halifax
Brass - French Horn
  • Mimisu Lee, Halifax
Brass - Trombone
  • Ross Macintosh, Truro
  • Taylor MacGillivray, Halifax
Gaelic Culture/Fiddle
  • Abby Hanson, Montague Gold Mines
  • Ella Hanson, Montague Gold Mines
Keyboard - Piano
  • Jenny Chen, Halifax
  • Sherry Chen, Hammonds Plains
  • Devin Huang, Bedford
  • Lala Lee, Halifax
  • Carmen Peng, Wolfville
  • Andrew Son, Halifax
  • Alex Yang, Bedford
Music Technology
  • Cassie Mann, New Glasgow
  • Lucas Goudie, Halifax
Strings - Cello
  • India Gailey, Halifax, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Priscilla Lee, Bedford
Strings - Violin
  • Leo Hanada, Halifax
  • Rose Hanada, Halifax
  • Dane Pedersen, Millville 
Voice - Opera
  • Nicholas Higgs, New Glasgow
  • Laura Johnston, Prospect Bay
  • Natalie Mitchell, Halifax
  • Nicole Ross, New Glasgow
  • Abigail Sinclair, Halifax
  • Shanice Skinner, New Glasgow
  • Anisa Sobhani, Dartmouth
Woodwind - Flute
  • Amelia Bruce, Dartmouth
  • Kevin Munroe, Sydney
  • Rebecca Wolfe, Dartmouth 
Musical Theatre
  • Emma Davidson, Halifax
  • Zachary Ellis, Truro
  • Olivia Grund, Truro
  • Madelaine Hanley, Dartmouth
  • Saffron Hyde, Bedford
  • Ryan MacDougall, Hammonds Plains
  • Brooke Mitchell, Beaverbank
  • Jillian Peters, Dartmouth, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Katherine Shore, Halifax
Applied Craft/Architecture
  • Charles Bourne, Halifax
Interdisciplinary/Computation Arts
  • Jonah McKay, Canning, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship 
  • Madeleine West, Halifax
  • Fraya McDougall, Fall River
Painting/Drawing (Digital Graphite)
  • Willa Fisher, Halifax
Textiles Art
  • Pamela Juarez, Halifax 
  • Ada Denil, Halifax
The Nova Scotia Talent Trust recognizes the support of Arts Nova Scotia. We are pleased to work in partnership with the province to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.
visit our website at nstalenttrust dot ca


Monday, December 7, 2020

Invitation to the Special Awards Ceremony on December 13

In 2019, visual artist Gillian Baldwin and dancer Gabrielle Kachan won the 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Awards.

Who will it be this year?

Join us to find out!

We will recognize the 2020 Scholarship and Special Awards recipients at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2020, online in a ceremony with video greetings by The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, ONS, QC, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Honorary Chair of the NSTT.

We are proud to present two new awards that honour the legacy of Sheila K. Piercey, soprano, teacher, and mentor, and celebrate Dr. James Burchill, organist and former scholarship recipient himself. 

The 16 Special Award winners were chosen from a field of 67 scholarship recipients from across the province representing the artistic disciplines of music, literary arts, visual arts, film, dance, circus arts, and theatre.

The Special Awards Ceremony will be held online on the Talent Trust's Facebook page The event is free and open to the public. (You don't need a Facebook account to watch the ceremony.)

“We are already missing the possibility to host the ceremony at the Halifax Library like in previous years. But we're fortunate to bring the Special Awards Ceremony directly to you where everyone is safe - your living room. We will celebrate the achievements of our scholarship and award recipients with all Nova Scotians.”, says Jacqueline Steudler, NSTT Executive Director.

For the last 76 years, the NSTT has continued to support emerging Nova Scotian artists as they pursue their studies towards the ultimate goal of establishing professional careers in the arts. 

Please share this event with your friends and celebrate with us on December 13th at 2 p.m.

You don't need to have a Facebook account to watch the ceremony. 

Want to hear more? Please sign up for our newsletter

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotia artists? Donate today!