Veronica Post, an award-winning graphic novelist based in Halifax, NS, will receive the $30,000 REACH Mentorship/Residency for the Arts for 2022, a project of the Shevchenko Foundation in partnership with the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation.
Now in its fourth year, the REACH program calls on emerging Canadian artists to reach for their career dreams by seeking opportunities for mentorship, residency, internship, training, workshop, and research.
Ms. Post will receive REACH funding for the creation of Kit-Baba, a full-colour, illustrated children’s book that will teach Ukrainian folk traditions and the value of generosity to young readers. The funding will also provide for mentorship with award-winning children’s book author Jesse Byrd, who specializes in culturally diverse publications.
Ms. Post is the creator of the graphic novels Langosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days (Commodore Press), winner of the 2021 Doug Wright Nipper Award, and Nova Graphica (Conundrum Press.)
“As a Ukrainian-Canadian, the need to create art that represents my culture has never felt more important,” said Ms. Post. “With the support of the Shevchenko Foundation, I will be expanding my artistic practice and connecting with artists and mentors internationally. I am thrilled to be receiving the REACH mentorship/residency in 2022.”
The REACH adjudication panel included Larysa Kondracki, a Canadian producer, director, and screenwriter whose debut feature film, The Whistleblower, was released in 2011 and received nominations for six Genie Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director; Taras Kulish, formerly a professional opera singer and currently the executive director of the Orchestre Classique de Montréal (OCM), co-artistic director of Brott Opera, and a member the Music Committee of the Conseil des arts de Montréal; and Gordon Gordey, internationally recognized professional arts stage director, producer, and librettist/writer of 25 original dance works (Shumka Dancers), recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the development of theatre in Alberta in Theatre 100.
Ms. Kondracki complimented the winning application, saying, “The illustrations are gorgeous, sensitive, progressive, yet classic.” She noted that “this book can be in libraries and homes both within and outside the Ukrainian Canadian community. The reach is endless.”
Mr. Kulish found Ms. Post’s “profile and her project of writing a Ukrainian-themed children’s book … very inspiring,” while Mr. Gordey noted that Ms. Post’s “goal with her experienced publishing mentor is a well-measured path to bring this work to a wide-reading public.” Mr. Gordey also praised each of the 2022 REACH applicants, describing them as “valued voices in shaping our national identity.” He described the REACH funding program as a “portal for artists who may have felt left out of traditional funding models. It enables their professional growth in a rapidly changing arts landscape.”
The REACH Mentorship/Residency for the Arts was established for emerging artists who are 40 years of age or younger; have a connection to Ukrainian heritage through background, art, culture and/or language (with no requirement to be Ukrainian Canadian); and work actively within the Ukrainian arts community in Canada and/or worldwide. Applicants are also required to have practised at a peer-recognized advanced career level for a minimum of two years in visual, literary, or performing arts, new media, or arts management. Applications for 2022 REACH funding came from Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.