Winnipeg's major arts organizations banded together to nominate just one candidate in the "Arts Champion" category. The jury too was unanimous in naming Kathleen Richardson as the first recipient of this award.
Kathleen Richardson represents the epitome of the arts patron here or anywhere. Winnipeg's vibrant artistic landscape can be attributed in large part to her involvement with all the cultural organizations that this city has come to cherish.
The remarkable impact of Kathleen Richardson on the history of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet cannot be overstated. Over the past half-century, she has supported the RWB with her time, her wisdom and financial generosity. Most significantly she has willingly taken the risk of investing in new ballet repertoire, thus allowing choreographers and dancers the opportunity to create new art.
Her recorded and significant involvement in support of the Manitoba Theatre Centre dates back to 1957 when she purchased what was then known as the Dominion Theatre. This was the start of 50 years of theatre at MTC, which is widely known throughout North America as a model of “regional theatre”, due in part to Kathleen for her ongoing financial support through the annual fundraising campaign, The Show Must Go On Capital Campaign, Endowment Fund and giving MTC their first home.
Her life-long love of orchestral music is also well-known, and she has been a long-standing supporter of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for more than four decades. Her support to the WSO enables the orchestra to continue providing the community with the opportunity to appreciate, enjoy, and be inspired by the unique beauty of symphonic music.
Miss Richardson has been a significant supporter of Manitoba Opera for a number of years. She has participated in year-end campaigns and it was her suggestion that James Richardson & Sons Limited celebrate its 150 years in business by making an unprecedented gift of $1 million dollars to the WSO, RWB, MTC and Manitoba Opera. This included the lead gift of $250,000 for the development of Manitoba Opera’s brand new original opera Transit of Venus.
Ever the quiet philanthropist, she refuses to comment on her gifts and eschews most forms of public recognition. By allowing her name to stand for the Arts Champion Award Miss Richardson does so not for personal recognition but to serve as an example for others.
Nominated by The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Manitoba Theatre Centre the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Manitoba Opera.