Sue and Karen Get Some Recognition

Sue Barber

The 2014 recipients of the City’s Cultural Advisory Board – Community Recognition Award are Karen Montgomery-Jones and Susan Barber.

The Community Recognition Award is presented annually by the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie. This award recognizes cultural contributions for activities considered to be particularly outstanding, innovative, or which have demonstrated long-term commitment to culture as defined in the City’s Cultural Policy.

Karen Montgomery-Jones receives the award for contributions in the visual and performing arts category. Susan Barber is recognized for her contributions in the performing arts .

The Community Recognition Awards will be presented at the November 10, 2014 City Council meeting.
Congratulations to this year’s recipients.

Karen Montgomery-Jones is a long term educator in the community as well as a tireless volunteer. As a volunteer she has devoted over 50 years within the performing arts community in Sault Ste. Marie.

She has volunteered her time in a variety of roles for many organizations including: Algoma Arts Festival, Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie and District, Sault Theatre Workshop, Art Gallery of Algoma, Musical Comedy Guild, Sault Symphony, Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre and Family Life Theatre.

Some of her major roles have included being a board member and past president of the Algoma Arts Festival, board member for the Sault Theatre Workshop costume department, and supervisor of the costume and property department at the Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre for over 15 years. As a teacher, she encouraged youth to appreciate and participate in the performing arts and fostered events at school showcasing the creative efforts of both staff and students.

Perhaps her most notable contribution has been in the area of costume organization and distribution for the use of the wider performing arts community. As supervisor of the costume and properties department at the Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre, she has assisted theatre groups, non-profit agencies, school groups and the film industry with the selection of wardrobe for specific productions or events.

She is responsible for initiating an electronic cataloguing system for a large costume collection of over 10,000 pieces. Karen makes herself available 24/7 to provide access to this community resource. With her extensive knowledge of fashion and history, she has acted as an advisor to many productions and has provided costumes for the new film industry that has developed in the city.

Many of the theatre organizations in the city have come forward to support the award nomination for Karen Montgomery-Jones. To quote one letter of support: “It is that sense of fairness and her unwavering vision of what community means, her unselfish attitude and commitment to the Arts that make her a most fitting recipient of this award.”

Congratulations to Karen Montgomery-Jones – recipient of the Cultural Advisory Board 2014 Community Recognition Award for visual and performing arts.

Susan Barber has been a teacher at White Pines Collegiate for many years and has just recently retired. During her time there she was a passionate and tireless instructor dedicated to the students in her Integrated Arts and Culture Program.

At the end of the school day she could be found directing back stage rehearsals for White Pines On Stage. Sue Barber has put so much of her passion for theatre, music and the arts into the program that many of her students have thrived and gone on to successful careers in the arts.

On the community scene, Sue Barber has been a champion for the arts in Sault Ste. Marie for over 25 years. Since her initial foray into musical theatre as a pianist she has been the music director for many shows. She has also directed and performed in many community theatre productions, often in lead roles.

She has worked on productions in collaboration with a number of local groups such as the Sault Symphony Orchestra, Sault Theatre Workshop and the Northland Barbershop Chorus.

She wrote and produced murder mysteries that have been used as fundraisers for many local charities. She has also directed summer productions in Garden River providing First Nations youth both stage experience and a platform to showcase their heritage.

This only touches upon the highlights of Sue Barber’s involvement in the performing arts scene in Sault Ste. Marie over the years. It is quite evident that she has contributed immensely to the artistic life of the city and is a very worthy recipient of the Award.