Robert Johnston Award, excellence in Human Resources in the Arts, work in culture

Awarded bi-annually, the Robert Johnston Award recognizes an individual who is committed to furthering the growth of Ontario's cultural sector, either as a manager, mentor, supporter or educator.

This individual has demonstrated strength in nurturing and supporting people through their careers.

The award is open to individuals (including arts administrators and artists) who have contributed a minimum of five years of professional service to the arts and cultural disciplines.


The award is named after Robert Johnston, whose persistent, patient and selfless efforts over a lifetime of service stands as a model of professionalism for cultural workers of all disciplines. 

As the long-standing Executive Director of WorkInCulture (formerly known as Cultural Careers Council Ontario), Johnston’s leadership resulted in heightened awareness of the importance of human resources management for cultural organizations and provided improved opportunities for training and professional development for cultural workers.

The award is presented by Robert Johnston at WIC’s Annual General Meetings.


The 2016 winner was Carol Kehoe from Hamilton’s Philharmonic Orchestra.

Previous winners include: Margaret Genovese, Senior Partner at Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates, recognized in 2014; Catherine Smalley, Arts Consultant and member of Arts Consultants Canada, awarded in 2012; and Patricia Fraser, Dancer and Artistic Director of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, awarded in 2010.