Xtra columnist Ryan G Hinds is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Steinert & Ferreiro Award, the Community One Foundation announced Oct 26.
The award recognizes individuals who have made a contribution through the arts and sciences to the understanding and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex and two-spirited people in the Greater Toronto Area.
Hinds, who writes Xtra’s Toronto at Night column, was given the award in recognition of his work leading the Artwherk! Collective. His collaborators at Artwherk! nominated him.
Artwherk! produces an annual showcase of queer and trans emerging artists, showcasing painting, photography, sculpture, fashion, video and performance during Pride week. In the five years since it began, the showcase has grown from a handful of artists in the space above the now-closed This Ain’t the Rosedale Library on Church St to a gala exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
“Looking back at all the people who’ve won it before, they’re all doctors and lawyers. And here I am, this performer, coming along and it’s overwhelming,” Hinds says. “So many of the people who’ve won it before are people I look up to and have looked up to for a long time, like El-Farouk Khaki and Reverend Brent Hawkes.”
The $10,000 award is Canada’s largest prize for leadership in the queer community. Hinds says he’ll use the money that comes with the award to help pay for his next projects.
“One of the cool things about the Community One Foundation is that in giving this award, they provide the framework for artists to focus on our work and create,” he says.
The award caps off a year of great achievements for Hinds, including performances at the Rhubarb Festival at Buddies and acclaimed performances at Pride festivals in Toronto, Los Angeles, Montreal and Vancouver. He’s also booked dates in Chicago and New York.
“I feel very, very lucky to be in the position I am in right now and for the people who’ve given me the opportunity to do what I do,” Hinds says.