OAF News

Ruben Esguerra Honoured with Ontario Arts Foundation Artist Educator Award

Toronto, April 6, 2021 - Ruben Esguerra is the recipient of the $10,000 Ontario Arts Foundation Artist Educator AwardThe award is given annually to an Ontario resident who exemplifies excellence in arts education.

About Ruben Esguerra

Ruben “Beny” Esguerra aka Dr. Ru arrived as a child in Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada) from Bacatá (Bogotá, Colombia) as a political refugee with his parents, who were receiving threats for their human rights activism. Today, Beny Esguerra is a JUNO nominated multi-instrumentalist/producer, spoken word poet, arts educator and community worker.

As a musician/producer and spoken word poet, he 
leads New Tradition Music, performing regularly in national and international festivals. As an arts educator, he has designed courses taught at Canadian Universities and currently facilitates interactive workshops, bringing innovative virtual and in-person drumming, storytelling and beat making as a healthy form of self expression to schools across Ontario. As a community worker, he is the music director and facilitator of several community arts programs within organizations such as: Vibe Arts, Lula Music and Arts Centre, Right Path World Arts, Casa Maiz and Children’s Peace Theatre. In addition, he co-leads the NTM Mobile Studio Project which provides access to equipment and mentorship to Jane Finch (Tkaronto) artists across different neighbourhoods–releasing a yearly volume of albums called Wheel It Studios. Ruben is a PhD (ABD) candidate in Musicology/Ethnomusicology specializing in Colombian traditional music and Hip Hop culture.

His upcoming album–A New Tradition VOL 3–combines spoken word and hip hop with Latinx rhythms and melodies set to be released in the summer/fall of 2021.

Ruben 'Beny' Esguerra - Virtual and In-Person Interactive Workshops. 

About the Award
The Ontario Arts Foundation Artist Educator Award recognizes 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.

The Ontario Arts Foundation established and manages the endowment that funds the Artist Educator Award.  The Ontario Arts Council is responsible for the selection process.  The award recipient is selected through the Ontario Arts Council's peer assessment process from the applicants to the Artists in Communities and Schools Projects program.

Previous recipients include Zvondai Muchenje (2019), Chuck Commanda (2018), and Yaovi Hoyi (2017).  See the full list of previous recipients.


 For more information, please contact:

Alan Walker
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

 Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2019-2020, the OAF paid over $4.25 million in endowment income and $270,000 in awards and scholarships.

For more than 55 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 2019-2020 the Ontario Arts Council invested $51.9 million in 197 communities across Ontario through 1,965 grants to individual artists and 1,152 grants to organizations. 

 Ce document existe ègalement en français.


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