Brampton Arts Council
Umbrella organization

VAB has been a member since 1986, our own foundation year.

1980 - The Brampton Arts Council was founded.
1985 - BAC Board Member Keith Moreau founds the Brampton Arts Council Juried Art Show.
1986 - Visual Arts Brampton is founded, due to popular response from the inaugural juried art show. The 2nd Juried Art Show is taken over by Visual Arts Brampton.
1987 - The annual Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts starts.
1992 - Arts Person of the Year is VAB member Keith Moreau.
1999 - Arts Person of the Year is VAB member Conrad Mieschke.
2004 - Arts Person of the Year is VAB member John Cutruzzola. [see article]

Brampton Arts Council Arts Person of the Year Award

Winners are in bold, nominees are not.

198? - Jack Reid (VAB member, visual artist)
1992 - Keith Moreau (VAB member, visual artist)
1999 - Conrad Mieschke (VAB member, visual artist)

2002 - Marion Bartlett (potter, sculptor), John Cutruzzola (VAB member, visual artist, arts supporter)

2003 - Paulette Murphy, John Cutruzzola (VAB member, visual artist, arts supporter), Glenn McFarlane (Brampton Folk Club president, Folk Festival organizer, musician)
2004 - John Cutruzzola (VAB member, visual artist, arts supporter)
2005 - A. and S. Gibson of the Peel Panto Players

2009 - Glenn McFarlane, president of the Brampton Folk Club


John Cutruzzola named Arts Person of the Year
By Katherine Sealey, Staff Writer

The fight-- a tongue-in-cheek reenactment of the assassination of Julius Cesaer by the performers of Rapier Wit-- was all part of the Roman-themed entertainment at the 17th annual Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts, which welcomed more than 460 guests.

The event also marked the 25th anniversary of the Brampton Arts Council.

Singer, painter and former Business Person of the Year John Cutruzzola was recognized as Arts Person of the Year for 2004, for his volunteerism in the arts community.

In accepting his award, he noted that his involvement with the arts is a personal passion.

"I am a person who is never happy with the status quo, because the status quo gets old and moldy," he said. "Creativity brings excitement, novelty, youth and hope."

Cutruzzola is an active supporter of the Peel Heritage Complex, Heritage Theatre, Brampton Art Council, Brampton Symphony, Beaux Arts Brampton, Brampton Jazz Festival, Visual Arts Brampton and Salvation Army Family Resource Centre, among others.

With the proceeds from his annual Inzola pancake breakfast in Gage Park, which will be held again this year on June 19, Cutruzzola also awards a financial bursary to one artist every year.

In addition, he often donates the proceeds from the sale of his art to various causes in the community, and he annually organizes and performs in his fundraising concert and art exhibit, Classics Bloom, in the downtown core.

He was modest about his win, sharing the accolades with all those who toil on the local arts scene.

"This award honours not John Cutruzzola, not one single person," he said. "We are here to celebrate all the arts in our community."

Special guest and former Ontario Premier William G. Davis, honourary patron of the Brampton Arts Council, said it is time to rally support for the arts.

"I sometimes am disappointed and concerned by the lack of support for the arts generally," he said. "To anyone in the school system, before you start eliminating arts courses, art, music etc., please remember that there is far more to life than becoming a good engineer or a lawyer."

He noted that, during his years as premier, he was an enthusiastic financial supporter of both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals.

"I remind people how important it is culturally and also economically, because it is a great stimulus to the economy of this province," he said. "I continue to support this point of view, and I extend to you, Madame Mayor, my best wishes for the continued success of what you've been doing for the arts community in this city."

In response, Mayor Susan Fennell affirmed her commitment to the arts.

"It is my absolute top priority that Brampton becomes known as a centre for arts excellence," she said. "Not just in Ontario, but across this great nation."

She praised Beatty Fleming Sr. Public School for their recent win at the National Band Competition and St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School for its recent designation of an arts school.

She also noted the ongoing success of Sheridan College, The Brampton Symphony Orchestra and the Brampton Concert Band, who have been invited to a festival in Austria later this summer.

Fennell, the honorary co-chair of the BAC, also gave a progress report on the new theatre.

"It gives me great pride to say since last year, when we said really we are going to build a new theatre, today, the theatre, our Brampton Performing Arts Centre, state of the art, absolutely top drawer, theatre is now under construction scheduled to open in December 2005," she said. "We are so proud to be the council that are bringing, finally, this much needed piece of arts infrastructure to this great city that will respect the thousands of boys and girls, men and women, who now have an OHL-size stage to do their thing right here in the city of Brampton."

In closing, she pledged the proceeds from her upcoming Mayor's Gala, which will also be held at the Pearson Convention Centre, to the local arts community.

During the lunch, the Arts Council also recognized Saturn of Brampton with the Fifth Annual Corporate Distinction Award, and former city councillor Peter Richards with the BAC's 25th Anniversary Award for his ongoing support of the local arts community, including more than $50,000 in donations from his annual golf tournament.

Peter's wife, BAC executive director Marnie Richards, was also recognized with a special award to mark her 10 years of service on the Brampton Arts Council.

Photo by George Beshiri

The players of Rapier Wit demonstrate some Roman battle skills during the 17th annual Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts.





Arts Person of the Year is a busy man

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004, The Brampton Guardian

In accepting the 2004 Arts Person of the Year award at the annual Brampton Arts Council lunch recently, John Cutruzzola made sure to share the credit with the many other artists and volunteers who toil on the local scene, and now he hopes they will live up to his praise.

"I want to motivate the artistic community to rise to the occasion and raise the bar, and to get out of their little thinking of the technical aspects of their painting and also to expand the philosophy of who the artist is," he said. "An artist should not only spend a whole life trying to paint a better tree, but also to making sure the tree means something. I want to send the message to lift up your head and say 'I can do more to participate, provoke and instigate'."

A singer, painter and 1993 Business Person of the Year, Cutruzzola was recognized with the arts council's award for his extensive volunteer work in the community.

He is an active supporter of the Peel Heritage Complex, the Heritage Theatre, Brampton Arts Council, Brampton Symphony, Beaux Arts Brampton, Visual Arts Brampton and the Salvation Army Family Resource Centre, among others.

"I've always been a very busy person," he said. "I could live three lives with the amount I put into one day. I wish I could release 300,000 John Cutruzzolas, so they could do everything I want to do."

With the proceeds from his annual pancake breakfast in Gage Park, Cutruzzola also awards one artist every year with a financial bursary. In addition, he often donates the proceeds from the sale of his art to various causes in the community.

"Every year I promise myself I will not do as much as I did the year before," he said. "Then suddenly it's 10 years later and I'm still doing all that and more."

For all the things he does though, Cutruzzola, who is also president of Inzola Construction, said he couldn't live with himself if he did less.

"Every day starts with a list of things that I dream of doing," he said. "I do a lot of things that have no relation to business, which I think is hard for people to understand. I know a lot of people in the business world who live and breathe and conduct a life dedicated to gain and monetary growth, but I know if I live like that I will regret it when I look back at the good I could have done with what I had."

Since it's creation in 1976, Inzola has been responsible for the renovation and construction of such landmarks as City Hall, Peel Memorial Hospital and the Peel Heritage Complex.

"I want to reach the point where people say 'Let's go to downtown Brampton for the weekend'," he said. "I want them to feel proud that we have a beautiful place to live and visit."

Cutruzolla also oversaw renovation of the Yorkville area before turning his attention to rejuvenating downtown Brampton.

"I built city hall without a penny in my pocket, but my desire was great," he said. "I get an incredible rush when I walk through Brampton, because I feel well respected, and respect has to be earned, it should not be gained by way of power, but by way of deeds, by what one has contributed to the people around him, to give them a better life. I don't need an empire, I just want enough so that I have credibility, in order to be able to say the things I want to say, and do the things I want to do for my city."

As part of his vision, in 1999 he built the Belvedere Luxury Condos on the Four Corners. When sales were slow, he even manned the sales office himself, giving tours and drumming up support.

"Maybe it takes a little stupidity, or naivety or just optimism to do the things I do, but usually when I take a chance it all seems to work out," he said. "Pessimism will kill you if you stop to analyze the risks, and you'll never do anything. I find that conviction and enthusiasm can blind you to any negativity."

He recently purchased the Dominion building on Queen Street, with the notion to turning it into upscale office space, with an elevator facing out onto the new performing arts centre

"I'll never make a dollar on it, it's a labour of love," he said. "If you let things just fade away, you get destruction and vandalism, and then it brings the whole area down. I look around the downtown and think 'Who's going to save it if not me?'. I don't want people to have to climb over a pile of garbage to get to our beautiful new performing arts centre."

He said he believes the new arts centre on Market Square is an important step in the evolution of Brampton.

"A city has to have a cultural centre, not just thousands of houses," he said. "A city has to be able to communicate and have a heart and an anchor, and culture provides that. And more than just shiny office buildings and industrial parks, Brampton is evolving as a human-oriented city."

Born in Italy, Cutruzzola started in construction at the age of 12, and by 16 was a master builder. At 21, he was elected Mayor of his hometown of Gagliato and a year later he came to Canada.

In 1984, he decided to revive his boyhood love of painting, and enrolled in the fine arts programs at Sheridan College. He remains committed to his art and even built a studio in the back of the Inzola office.

"My painting happens after hours," said Cutruzzola, who works primarily in oils and watercolours. "Sometimes my wife brings me a sandwich, she jokes that otherwise she would never see me."

The studio is stacked high with his recent works, but he said he has learned to throw away the ones he isn't pleased with.

"I once donated a painting I wasn't happy with to a charity auction, then I realized that was the most stupid thing I could do, because 500 people who had probably never seen my work would know me, and would be judging me, through that painting," he said. "Never let people judge you by the things you would throw away, always put your best work out there."

Cutruzzola, who annually organizes and performs in the Classics Bloom Concert and Art Exhibit in the downtown core, also sings one night a week.

"I play when everyone else is watching TV," he said. "I enjoy every minute of my life."

The Arts Council award, he said, is an affirmation that the work he does has meaning, and he hopes it will encourage others to join him.

"Whatever you do, you must do it with noble purpose," he said. "You have to always be trying harder, because when the objective is noble, you don't work alone. Everyone wants to help you do more, give more and try harder. There is enthusiasm. Without that noble purpose, it's just a job for a paycheque, and people saying 'give me my money so I can get out of here', and that's no way to live."

He said he hopes he will be remembered as much for his art and his volunteer work, as for his buildings.

"Destiny plays his own way," he said. "But, in any city that has come to anything in history, you can trace the roots back to the artist, who, by his pure love of the community, leaves behind something quite special.

Two Panto Players win Arts Person

June 02 2005, VAB Creative Urges

The Annual Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts was held yesterday. Mayor Fennell hosted the event, themed to Spain. This year’s winners were a husband and wife duo, A. and S. Gibson of the Peel Panto Players.

VAB sent Board of Directors member Mary Noble to the luncheon, as our group’s representative.

Visual Arts Brampton did not nominate anyone this year. Last years' winner, John Cutruzzola, was finally recognized after three unsuccessful nominations.

Cutruzzola is to hold Inzola’s charity pancake breakfast again this year on June 18th, and is a sponsor of the Brampton Folk Festival, happening later that day. The Art Gallery of Peel Juried Art Show has just ended; John sponsors an annual award at the show.

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