2020 Recipient of the Communication & Leadership Award
Anna Silgardo Founder of Artists In Momentum
A strong voice in the community, Anna Silgardo, is the Founder of Artists in Momentum, an organization committed to empowering, nurturing and sustaining the spirit of the individual. Through her organization Anna has taken a leadership role in encouraging self-reflection, stimulating the imagination while building self-esteem through creative self-expression. Believing in the therapeutic value of the arts, she uses it as the foundation to promote mental well-being, one life at a time, at a corporate and community level.
In April of 2016, Anna championed and took the lead on delivering programs as holistic outlets to help people deal with life’s many challenges. Spearheading the project, she brought together a group of multi-faceted artists to create 'The Starfish Collective' and went on to successfully deliver a unique program. First, of its kind in our community, this was made possible because of Anna's intense passion, leadership, communication skills while being dedicated to engagement in the arts while promoting mental well-being.
This is not the first time she has initiated community projects. In 2003, she created a series of interactive sessions for children and delivered them during March break to several Mississauga libraries. She has engaged senior executives at Bell Media and local Parent Advisory Boards to bring art to school corridors and corporate walls. Two of her 468 square foot murals, stand as silent testaments to this champion of the arts.
Over the past five years, she has worked tirelessly in building up artists from Mississauga and the GTA, encouraging and giving them a platform to showcase their art. In 2014 she gave young and emerging artists the platform to display their work. In 2015, 'Bun Bu Ichi' – a unique concept brought martial artists and visual artists together, to demonstrate that the artistic spirit moves both martial and visual artists.
In 2018, her ‘Through Glass' Art Series brought greater social awareness on issues surrounding mental health, and the stigma associated with it. Many of the artists who displayed their work, persevere through mental health challenges. The art series ended in a symposium 'Art in Everyday Life'. From concept to delivery, the symposium brought a diverse group of professionals together, to discuss the impact of arts as a tool for well-being. She started the first Arts for Mental Health Steering Committee for the Mississauga Region. Anna is constantly building networks with arts groups and community partners like the SAWITRI Theatre Group, The Mississauga Arts Council, WriteWell, Sky Studio, and the Saldanha Health Centre to develop and implement social prescribing through creative self-expression for the well-being of the community.
Presented by Mayor Bonnie Crombie, she is the 2019 recipient of the Mississauga Arts Council's Arts for Health Award, sponsored by Bell Canada. The award recognizes and validates Anna's leadership in developing and conducting arts for mental well-being programs in the community, especially among new immigrant women, isolated and marginalized individuals. Mississauga Mayor lauded Anna and her organization for "putting to work the therapeutic value of creative expression, as a means for enabling them to find themselves in their new country, to regain self-confidence, reduce anxiety and dispel depression, to ultimately achieve transformation results in every participant.”
Awards and Recognition
2015 – Gold Merit Award – Bell Canada
2014 to 2017 – Special recognition of contribution to the arts at various Bell locations in Toronto (can provide articles if required)
2015 – Winner of ‘Open Choice Award’ Mississauga Arts Council for community mental health art initiatives
2016 – Nominated for Laurie Pallet patron of the arts award – Mississauga Arts Council
2018 – Nominated for Heritage award Mississauga
2019 – Recognized at Queens Park for Community Arts
2019 – Nominated for Laurie Pallet patron of the arts award – Mississauga Arts Council
2019 – Recipient of Arts for Health Award – Mississauga Arts Council, sponsored by Bell Canada