About

Stone & Sky: A Brief History

The Stone & Sky Music & Arts Series (Stone & Sky, operating continuously since 2012) creates an accessible outdoor three season cultural centre through live multi-disciplinary performances by professional** artists and artists’ residencies. Artists’ residencies in dignified, private accommodations provide us with the opportunity to develop a safe and sustainable way to share artistic works with new audiences and communities, and promote future collaborations across genres. 

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the Traditional Territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishnabeg and the Haudenosaunee peoples.  It is through their connection to the land and waters that we look to their beliefs and values: that it is the responsibility of all people to protect the environment that sustains us.

A disused, fossil filled limestone quarry amphitheatre and former landfill on Pelee Island (a distinctive venue with magnificent acoustic properties), is our original performance venue. The Suzanne Turnbull Memorial Amphitheatre (the Quarry) creates an “art park” where established and emergent professional artists can perform in a natural, matchless, and accessible setting. The provision of professional artists act as a cultural bridge between the Island and the artistic world at large. This is a unique project without parallel within our community, or indeed, within Canada, and we intend to recreate this successful model in other rural, remote, and under-served communities.

Stone & Sky has created, developed, produced, and presented scores of professional artistic and ground-breaking events to thousands of participants. Our season consists of numerous multi-inter arts concerts featuring classical, jazz, and experimental music, spoken word, visual art, dance, the Greek Revival Theatre Festival, Flutter Fest: A Migration Celebration, and artists’ residencies throughout the year.

Our inclusivity embraces underrepresented individuals and prioritizes reconciliation. Stone & Sky invites community participation, and provides paid opportunities for professional artists through live performance, specialized workshops/master classes, artists’ residencies, and original productions. Stone & Sky is the founding organizational member of The Lollipop Guild, an association of non-siloed professional artists who seek payment for their work. Live performance art events include: Music for a Wilderness Lake, Flutter, Tranquilité, Équilibre, Alchemy, Moonscapé, The Hidden Fairy, and The Waste Land.

Artists we have engaged include members of the Federation of Musicians, CARFAC, the Writers Union of Canada, and the League of Canadian Poets. Consultations with community members, participants, and partners since 2009 have collaboratively developed this unique model distinguished by slow growth towards sustainability

**The OAC (Ontario Arts Council) defines a professional artist/arts professional as someone who has developed skills through training or practice, is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for her or his work and actively practises his or her art. Short breaks in artistic work history are acceptable.
**CARFAC (Canadian Artists Representation Le Front des Artistes Canadien) defers to The International Artists Association who define a “professional artist” as one who:
a) earns a living through art making;
b) or possesses a diploma in an area considered to be within the domain of the fine arts;
c) or teaches art in a school of art or applied art;
d) or whose work is often seen by the public or is frequently or regularly exhibited;
e) or is recognized as an artist by consensus of opinion among professional artists.

MISSION STATEMENT
Bringing elite arts to underserved communities through artists’ residencies and performances.

CORPORATE OBJECTS
a) To provide paid opportunities for professional artists to participate in live performances, artists’ residencies, and other related events;

b) To provide opportunities for the general public to become aware of and appreciate professional arts, including youth engagement;

c) To encourage curiosity of life through the arts in rural, remote and underserved communities.

Vision Statement
“A community that has access to, and celebrates the arts and artists.”

Governing Core Values:

An Artist-Centric Framework – We recognize, esteem, & support professional artists.

Engagement – We encourage active participation with artists, crew, and our audience.

Learning – We foster collaborative relationships within our organization and our communities.

Partnerships:

Our longevity and many successes are due, in part, to the valuable partnerships we have formed with many individuals and organizations. These partnerships have enabled a more immediate penetration and intimate engagement with the communities we oblige. These important partnerships include working with other organizations in a non-performance specific manner to create respectful and healthy arts communities. The significant partners we are currently working with include:

• Organisation: The Township of Pelee Island
Mandate: to support the preservation and recognition of the Township’s cultural heritage resources including buildings, structures, landscapes, monuments or artifacts of cultural heritage value or interest. It is the intent of the Township to promote preservation efforts for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Initiative: Development of a disused quarry and landfill to the Suzanne Turnbull Memorial Amphitheatre.

• Organisation: Support for Performing Arts in Rural & Remote Communities (SPARC)
Mandate: SPARC’s mission is to connect creators, producers, presenters, and animateurs to sustain and grow the performing arts in rural and remote communities.
Initiative: uniting non-siloed multi-disciplinary performance artists in the formation of a regional association, The Lollipop Guild.

Organisation: Making Waves Windsor Essex Pelee Island
Mandate: We have assembled for the purpose of broadening solidarity with one another with a specific focus of experimenting with new forms of more coordinated, progressive, grassroots, organizing and outreach to promote social justice.
Initiative: Community Arts Facilitator.

• Organisation: Pelee Island Winery
Mandate: producing exceptional wines in an ecologically conscious manner.
Initiative: cash donation to build the natural stone seating to create the Suzanne Turnbull Memorial Amphitheatre.

• Organisation: Pelee Island Cultural Events
Mandate: Pelee Island Cultural Events will celebrate arts and culture by showcasing local, regional and national artists and musicians, in the remote community of Pelee Island. Creating opportunities for volunteerism and regional tourism, and building partnerships with regional organizations and businesses, to promote and highlight the unique environment and culture of the island community.
Initiative: partnering on Flutter Fest, a Community Migration Celebration.

Awards & Grants

Canadian Heritage;
• Arts Presentation (2016 – present)
• Cultural Spaces (2018)

Ontario Arts Council:
• Ontario Arts Presenters (2016 – present)
• Multi-Inter Arts (2018)

Windsor-Essex Endowment for the Arts:
• Arts Leadership Award (2018)
• Infrastructure Visual Artist (2014)

City of Windsor Arts, Culture, & Heritage Award:
• Various (2014, 2019, 2020, 2021)

United Communities:
• Community Award (2015)

The Ontario Aggregate Resources Corporation:
• Abandoned Aggregate Sites Programme (2013)

Pelee Island Canada Day Parade:
• Best Overall Entry (2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019)

Theatre Ontario:
• Professional Artist Development (2011)