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Dufferin Arts Council celebrates 25 years of artist support

By Marni Walsh


The Dufferin Arts Council (DAC), which first came together in 1992 to support artists and the arts, is celebrating 25 years of “inspiration, encouragement and support given to, and had from, the many talented artists who flourish right here in Dufferin County.”

Special celebrations will be held on September 9 at various locations in Orangeville, including the sale of vintage art, craft vendors, dance demonstrations, youth performances, readings, comedy and more.

Funds raised will continue to support artistic endeavours in Dufferin.

A first meeting to create an “art association” took place in January of 1992 at the Shelburne Cultural Arts Centre facilitated by Ruth Robertson, leading to the formal incorporation of the Shelburne Arts Council in November 1992.

In 1997, the name was changed to the Shelburne and Dufferin Arts Council and one year later to the Dufferin Arts Council.

Many who helped the organization get off the ground 25 years ago are still active members.

In 1993, the Dufferin Arts Council had 60 members, today there are over 350 memberships, about one quarter of which are family memberships.

Members are young and upcoming as well as established artists from many diverse disciplines, including visual and performance artists, writers, storytellers and educators.

Dufferin Arts Council works to “support both the interests of our members and the skills of our local artists,” says DAC President Harvey Kolodny.

In 1996, the Arts Scholarships and Bursaries Program were initiated to grant prizes to talented secondary school students.

DACAS, the Dufferin Arts Council Art School started in 1997 and represents the Dufferin Arts Council's primary mission of educating in the arts as the main outreach program to the general community.

In 1998, the Dufferin Arts Council Endowment Fund was created and, to date, DAC has awarded well over 100 scholarships and bursaries valued at approximately $100,000 to talented young people from Dufferin County who are “going and have gone on to careers in the arts throughout Canada and abroad.”

For mid-career visual artists, The Reed Cooper Bursary was launched in May of 2007.

The Dufferin Youth Festival of the Arts was introduced in 1998 and ran for twenty successful years, while the Artists in the Schools Program, which began in 1999 continues to provide artists to Dufferin schools on specific arts days.

Harvey Kolodny says,“The parent councils of the schools have been so enthused with the program that they have matched the Dufferin Arts Council's contribution, most of the time several times over.”

As DAC celebrates their 25th anniversary, the organization continues its charitable work “to sustain current programs and develop new ones that will enhance the stature of the arts in Dufferin.”

The goal is to “continue to be a leader in the flourishing arts community of Dufferin County and the Headwaters region.”  For information on the 25th Anniversary Dufferin Arts Council Celebrations, visit
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