The Niagara Falls Arts & Culture Wall of Fame will welcome eight new members in November.
This year's slate awaits approval from council, and includes the 69-year-old Niagara District Art Association, Canadian House & Home Magazine founder Lynda Reeves and late Niagara Falls restaurant owner Pat Simon.
“It was a great experience learning about each of this year’s nominees,” said Arts & Culture Committee chairwoman Priscilla Brett. “The 2014 selection process was a true pleasure to take part in.”
The induction ceremony will be Nov. 1 at Niagara Square, where the Wall of Fame has resided since its first year in 2006.
Also joining the wall this year is artist/actress Jennifer Garrett, Canadian blues pioneer John ‘T-Bone’ Little, fashion designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran, film and TV producer Daniel Rodrique (The Veterans), and local theatre producer Linus Hand.
Hand did not even know he was being inducted until The Review contacted him Tuesday.
“It is an honour and really nice to be recognized for doing something I love to do.”
The Wall recognizes current and past residents for their artistic and cultural impact on the community. Residents submit the names, and those who aren’t immediately selected are still on the nomination form for five more years.
In recent years, council has added a clause where artists who have been recognized with prestigious awards such as a Juno or been recognized nationally and internationally are eligible for automatic induction.
“I think that the ACC Wall of Fame is important not just for morale in the artistic community, but also in the Niagara community as a whole,” said Brett. “It, and walls like it, show that the city is dedicated to recognizing and more importantly, remembering the accomplishments of our citizens.”
Inductees like Simon, who passed away earlier this year, may not have been traditional artists, but his business left a unique imprint on the city’s culture. His Bridge St. restaurant Simon’s was a gathering spot for art, photos and antiques.
Hand, meanwhile, took a chance bringing professional quality musicals to Niagara Falls nearly a decade ago. He formed Silver Mist Productions with former partner Mike Lococo and brought shows like Aladdin Jr. and Beauty and the Beast to town.
“We have the Shaw Festival, which is incredible and world class, but what seemed to be lacking was professional theatre aimed at a family market,” he said.
With the new inductees, the Wall of Fame will now have 63 members.