Debbie Slade has received a 2010 Niagara Women in Business Award for Community Spirit, but she’s not taking all the credit for the honor.
“This award is recognition for arts and culture in Niagara,” said Slade, director of Brock’s Centre of the Arts for 23 years. “And I gratefully accept it on behalf of all the individuals and arts organizations in Niagara who are working to help transform our communities through ideas, creativity and the arts.”
The award, which acknowledges the outstanding community contribution of a woman in business, is part of the Women in Business Awards. Since 2000, these awards have honoured Niagara women whose businesses and community contributions have a significant impact on our region.
“I have such incredible respect for Deb’s professional expertise and her contribution to our community,” said Rebecca Cann, cultural planning supervisor with the City of St. Catharines. “She has been a tremendous promoter of local talent and a leader in the arts of Niagara. Her award speaks to the future of Niagara as a creative, entrepreneurial community.”
Under Slade’s leadership, the Centre for the Arts has promoted and provided rich cultural and artistic experiences and services to the community. It has steadily built a reputation as one of Canada’s premier performing arts venues.
Slade oversees the centre’s day-to-day operations, which includes curating more than 70 performances annually and promoting its programming to motivate cultural interest in the arts both at Brock and in the region. Now entering its 41st season, the centre has presented more than 1,000 artists and entertained close to two million people.
Under Slade’s leadership, the centre has partnered and collaborated with many not-for-profit community organizations, among them Niagara Symphony, Suitcase In Point Theatre Company and Chorus Niagara. She has also organized audience and outreach activities that broaden the link between the arts and community.
As the new Niagara Centre for the Arts in downtown St. Catharines gets closer to becoming reality, the Centre for the Arts at Brock, under Slade’s direction, will be a key player in providing all Niagarans with quality arts experiences, both entertaining and educational.
“I am humbled and honored by this award,” Slade said, “particularly since it recognizes not only the work I do at the centre and in the community, but also the work of so many wonderful people I work with who are terribly smart and creative.”