YAO Receives the Ontario Arts Foundation Artist Educator Award
Toronto, January 15, 2018 – Yaovi Hoyi (YAO) is the recipient of the $10,000 Ontario Arts Foundation Artist Educator Award. The award is given annually to an Ontario resident who exemplifies excellence in arts education, demonstrates a unique approach to their arts education practice, creates meaningful learning experiences for young people, inspires connections to the arts beyond the classroom and continues to maintain an active arts practice.
Based in Ottawa, YAO is a Franco-Ontarian artist of Togolese descent, born in the Ivory Coast, who succeeds in differentiating himself through a soft blend of spoken words, soul, pop and funk, thus bringing a new flavour to French urban music.
Since 2009, Yao has been giving writing workshops in schools across the province and country, working with students from Grade 5 to Grade 12. He also takes part in “Jamais Trop Tôt”, a program stemming from a collaboration between le Réseau national des Galas de la chanson (RNGC), le Festival international de la chanson de Granby (FICG) and more than forty collaborators across Canada. Through this program, Canadian Francophone students aged 14 to 17 are invited to compose lyrics for a song with the assistance of a professional artist.
YAO is an avid promoter of cultural diversity and the pursuit of knowledge. He is a troubadour spreading the values and ideals of courtly society, seeking simply to gain freedom through culture, especially literature and music.
YAO was selected as the winner from an outstanding group of nominees. This year’s jury consisted of Elizabeth Buset, artist educator, visual arts (Thunder Bay), Katia Café-Fébrissy, artist educator, media artist, literary artist (Toronto), and Rhonda Doxtator, artist educator and dancer (Ottawa). The jury was unanimous in their choice and stated, “Yaovi Hoyi is a tremendously experienced artist and educator who has clearly identified his role in the community and how he can contribute. Having been inspired by his own experience with educators, YAO validates his learners’ work, encourages self-expression and exposes them to life-changing opportunities. His passion and love for arts education are crystal clear and result in meaningful, life-long impact on the learners.”
The Ontario Arts Foundation established and manages the endowment that funds the Artist Educator Award. The Ontario Arts Council administers the nomination and the adjudication process for the award. OAC juries nominate artists from the list of applicants to the current year’s Artists in Communities and Schools and Indigenous Artists in Communities and Schools programs. Previous recipients include Jamaal Rogers and Lorrie Gallant.
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Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2016-2017, the OAF paid over $3.2 million in endowment income and $325,000 in awards and scholarships.
For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2016-2017 the OAC funded 1,657 individual artists and 1,098 organizations in 212 communities across Ontario for a total of $50.8 million.
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