Nova Scotia Talent Trust

Nova Scotia Talent Trust. Independent non-profit registered charitable organization, established in 1944 to assist the career of Portia White.

Nova Scotia Talent Trust

Nova Scotia Talent Trust. Independent non-profit registered charitable organization, established in 1944 to assist the career of Portia White. Founders included the mayor of Halifax, the president of the Halifax Ladies Musical Club, the lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, and provincial government representatives. Soon allowed to languish, the trust was reactivated in 1949 to assist gifted and talented Nova Scotian youth in various fields of the arts to study in the major cultural centres of the world.

As of 1983 the Talent Trust has been overseen by the provincial government agency in charge of culture. In 1994 the organization restructured to include a separate board of directors and a scholarship committee, the latter composed of Nova Scotia artists and art educators. In 2002, in order to strengthen its ties to the community, the Talent Trust discontinued its practice of selecting government representatives as board chairs, and named a community member to that position. To further increase its profile within the community, the Trust has organized concerts and festivals featuring scholarship laureates who have been broadcast on the CBC.

Funds for the trust have been received through government grants, special donations, benefit programs, and public subscription. In 1986 the Province of Nova Scotia increased its annual contribution from $10,000 to $50,000, enabling the trust to increase substantially both the number and the value of the scholarships awarded.

Since 1999, the Talent Trust has been offering six different awards: the Raymond Simpson Award (formerly the Arthur S. Barnstead Award) for excellence in instrumental performance; the Portia White Award for excellence in vocal interpretation; the Chico Berardi Award for excellence in jazz, rock, popular or traditional music, the Pat Richards Award for excellence in dance; the Vision 20/21 Award for excellence in the visual arts, and the Lieutenant Governor's Award (formerly the Raymond Simpson Award) for outstanding promise among all award winners of a given year.

Recipients have been able to study in Canada, the USA, and Europe at institutions such as the Banff Centre for the Arts, McGill University Dept of Music, the Julliard School, Aspen Music Festival, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (England). By 1991, when 45 recipients were awarded a total of $60,000, more than 200 artists had benefited directly from the trust. These included, from the field of music, tenor John Arab, classical guitarist Dale Kavanagh, violist Nancy Dahn, educator J. Chalmers Doane, soprano Sue Doran, soprano Audrey Farnell, organist John Grew, soprano Deborah Jeans, harpsichordist Gordon Murray, the tenor Ronald Murdock, the soprano Diane Oxner, folksinger Finvola Redden-Bower, the soprano Annon Lee Silver, soprano Deborah Stevens, pianist Neil Van Allen, and the cellist Ifan Williams.