Arthur Gelber (1915-1998)

1995 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

Arthur Gelber's strength has been his passionate conviction that the cultural identity of a nation "lies not in an artistic elite but must be defined by the whole community." Thus for forty years he has volunteered his time and energies to the nurturing of that culture from the grass roots up.

A passionate believer in a distinctive Canadian identity, he has been the consummate activist. His quest for "a new attitude toward art and culture in everyday life" led him to push, prod and lead numerous cultural organizations into existence, among them the Ontario Arts Council, where he served as Chairman and Board member for nineteen years. He has given tirelessly to the arts at all levels. In the course of his lifetime he has served as a volunteer on the boards of more than sixty cultural organizations, ranging in diversity from the National Theatre School to the Glenn Gould Foundation.

Among his many awards and honours are the Canadian Conference of the Arts' Diplme d'honneur and the Toronto Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada.