Arts Manager Meredith Potter Wins 2014 Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award
The Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award (LMJH Award) was inaugurated in 2008 and recognizes the important work of theatre, dance and opera administrators. Recipients of the LMJH Award have at least 10 years of demonstrated commitment to the performing arts, in addition to having made an impact on the industry in Toronto. The award is named after Leonard McHardy and John Harvey, the celebrated owners of Toronto's Theatrebooks, which they co-founded in 1975, and which now stands as one of the longest surviving independent bookstores in the country.
This year's recipient, Meredith Potter, has made essential contributions to the Toronto arts sector for a decade and a half. Currently managing three acclaimed Toronto companies - Volcano Theatre, Peggy Baker Dance Projects and Nova Dance - Ms. Potter is a creative strategist and passionate art-lover who exemplifies the characteristics of an outstanding arts administrator and community leader. She is a remarkably skilled performing arts manager whose wealth of knowledge, unerring professionalism, collaborative spirit and dedication to artists has allowed her clients to excel at their respective crafts. She is also a committed arts sector volunteer who has donated literally hundreds of hours to making Toronto a stronger, healthier community for artists. And through her work, Ms. Potter has served as a mentor, making quantifiable contributions to the future of the arts community by training and encouraging emerging arts administrators.
Ms. Potter arrived in Toronto in 1999 from Australia where she received her BA in Arts Management from the Western Australian Academy for Performing Arts and was awarded the 1995 Andrew Noblett Arts Marketing Fellowship at the Adelaide Festival. In Canada, she worked with a number of cultural organizations including the Dance Umbrella of Ontario, CORPUS and Dusk Dances before founding her own company, Meredith Potter Arts Management.
Ms. Potter's "cluster management" structure provides full-service operations - from producing, fundraising and marketing to strategic planning and organizational development - to companies that are otherwise too small to operate robust administrative offices independently. Under Ms. Potter's deft stewardship, her clients have grown leaps and bounds, accomplishing tremendous artistic feats. Ms. Potter has enabled her clients to tour to such far-off destinations as Europe, Asia and Africa; produce a theatre collaboration involving artists on three continents for a major international festival; and successfully navigate the complex organizational transition from a vehicle for a solo artist to an ensemble-based company.
As a volunteer, Ms. Potter has truly gone above and beyond in her contribution to the strength of Toronto's performing arts community. Most notably, she lent her strategic brain to TAPA in a nine year run as a Board Member, including three years as President. Ms. Potter regularly sits on committees and juries that make key decisions for the sector, including three years working with the Metcalf Foundation on their Performing Arts Strategic Initiatives Panel. Ms. Potter is an advocate and a spokesperson for the arts. As a senior administrator, she brings an incredible depth of knowledge and skill to each table she sits at and is not only quick to volunteer her help, but also able to connect the right people with one another to see an idea forward.
As a mentor, Ms. Potter has shepherded seven arts management interns through the Metcalf Foundation's arts management program. Her impact can be seen in the contributions of her former employees, including Ginger Scott, Program Coordinator for Artscapes' new Youngplace facility and Roxanne Duncan, Ms. Potter's first intern, who served as Managing Director for The Theatre Centre throughout their capital campaign and is embarking on a new adventure in British Columbia as Managing Director of the PuSH Festival. Recently, Ms. Potter has led the charge to create a new course at Ryerson University that brings production and performance students together to learn how to conceive, produce and market their performances.
The previous winners of the LMJH Award are Paul Templin, Leslie Lester, Ghislain Caron, Natasha Parsons, Naomi Campbell and Jim Lefrancois. The LMJH Award is administered by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). Candidates for the LMJH Award are nominated by TAPA members and then reviewed by a committee. The LMJH Selection Committee is Sandy Tulloch (Chair), Ghislain Caron, Derrick Chua, Leonard McHardy and John Harvey. The award winner receives a plaque and a cheque for $1,000 through the generous sponsorship of Elizabeth Comper.
The Dora Mavor Moore Awards are administered by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). In addition to the Doras, other programs and services provided by TAPA include: T.O. TIX - Toronto's Official One Stop Ticket Shop at Yonge-Dundas Square and online at www.totix.ca; Toronto's Official Theatre Guide; hipTIX, offering $5 tickets to students between the ages of 15 and 29; citySPECIAL; the Commercial Theatre Development Fund; and the Travel Retreat Initiatives Program - TRIP. For more information visit www.tapa.ca and www.totix.ca.