Best of Waterloo Region: Arts Mover and Shaker Award

Well isn’t this swell! I won the Cord Community Edition’s Best of Waterloo Region Award for Best Arts Mover and Shaker. I was nominated along with Jennifer Gough, visual artist and radio dj @CultureSoupKW 98.5 CKWR FM in Waterloo, and Artistic Director and Founder of Neruda Productions, actor and playwright Isabel Cisterna. It was an online voting thing so I guess I have the younger generation advantage of my friends voting for me every day. So thanks friends!

And I really must thank Isabel Cisterna for being a mentor to me some years back when she took me and my art seriously. Her support was very encouraging and affirming. Some of my first professional gigs were through Neruda Productions. I also went through Neruda’s BE Belonging and Empowering program for up and coming artists, and that helped me a lot, particularly when learning about grants and artist management. This year I received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council in the Word of Mouth section to write new spoken word poems, and also a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, to write stories, under the Storytelling section. Currently I am a full-time artist and working at CKMS Sound FM 100.3 Radio in Waterloo as well.

It’s a small world in the KW arts scene. Just last week I was on Culture Soup radio with my fellow 2013 KW Poetry Slam Team members being interviewed by my fellow nominee Jennifer Gough.

Also, how cool is it that all the nominees were women? Represent!

It is nice to be recognized for doing what I am passionate about. Organizing the KW Poetry Slam is the biggest thing I do as a volunteer, then I guess there are a bunch of music shows  I help present all over town, do the radio thing, etc. It’s all good. Guess I’ll keep on chugging along!

Thanks Cord Community for starting these awards! See all the winners here: Best of Waterloo Region


Here is the write up in the Cord Community Edition Sept 12, 2013.

Best Arts Mover and Shaker

When it comes to art in Waterloo, it’s a sure bet you can find Lee involved in it. A poet, actor, singer-songwriter and activist, she won a Leading Edge Waterloo Region Arts Award for her work building community in the art scene.

What would you change in the Region?

Less cars, more bicycles.

What’s your favourite meal in the city?

Northern Thai on Queen Street downtown Kitchener. Eggplant delight, green curry, and shrimp fried rice.

If the Region had a flag, what would be on it? The Grand River, in all its polluted glory.

The Grand River, in all its polluted glory.

The best neighbourhood in Waterloo Region is…

Downtown Kitchener. It’s ridiculous people still think downtown is a scary place full of crackheads. I feel way safer and able to participate in the community there than anywhere else. All my favourite spots are downtown: Victoria Park, Cafe Pyrus, the Kitchener Market, the Queen Street Commons, Out of the Past vintage clothes, and Northern Thai!

What song most reminds you of Waterloo Region?

“Like a tree”, by Kitchener musician Richard Garvey. It goes “Oh to be rooted, la la la in Mother Earth.” When people ask where I am from, I say I am rooted in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Where’s your favourite place that nobody else knows about?

The floating t-dock in Waterloo Park is one of my favourite places to watch a sunset and chill in the evening. But don’t feed the swans — they will beak you. Territorial monsters they are.

If you didn’t win best Arts Mover and Shaker, who should have?

Isabel Cisterna. She is passionate about the arts and community and works so hard. Isabel opened doors for me as an artist by having me perform in her shows. She is a great person to have in our Region for sure.