The Isabel & Tett Centre hub is a game-changer for Kingston

Tricia Baldwin

By Anita Jansman

It says a lot that Tricia Baldwin left her position of 14 years as Managing Director of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, where, by all accounts, she was much-respected, to come to Kingston to serve as Director of the Isabel Bader Centre For The Performing Arts. It says a lot about Ms. Baldwin and a lot about the arts in Kingston.

Displaying an unbridled enthusiasm for the arts, Ms. Baldwin comes with impressive credentials. During her tenure with Tafelmusik, the orchestra enjoyed a prolific period on the world stage. She helped to build its operating budget, increase its endowment, and launch major education initiatives including the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. In addition, Ms. Baldwin holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto (she played clarinet) and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.  So why did she make the move to Kingston? The answer is simple.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to be here in this wonderful, state-of-the-art facility and to work among artists in the entire Kingston arts community and beyond,” says Ms. Baldwin. “The Isabel and Tett Centre hub is a game-changer for Kingston.”

Ms. Baldwin has big plans. With a passion for multidisciplinary arts projects, several of which she hopes to bring to the Isabel, she’s also thrilled to partner with the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. The beautifully restored building that sits adjacent to the Isabel is home to eight arts organizations and Ms Baldwin is making it her business to find out about each one of them.

She’s only been in the job for a couple of months but already lists several projects that she hopes to get off the ground this season and next. A project with Kingston choirs, and collaboration with a group that wants to explore a fusion program between western art with the arts of the middle east are just a few of the initiatives Ms. Baldwin is discussing with various arts groups.

“Excellence is our guide,” she says. “That is what we strive for and the imagination ignites when different disciplines are grouped together the way we are here at the Isabel and in the Tett Centre. Creativity flourishes.”

At the Isabel, music lovers can look forward to hearing the winners of the Banff International String Quartet Competition perform. Next year the winner of the Honens Piano Competition will take the stage. As an example of bringing together Queen’s with the Kingston community, there is a plan in the works for the Gryphon Trio and Professor John Burge to work with young choristers throughout the 2015/16 season.

Ms Baldwin is determined to develop a multicultural platform for the arts in Kingston, hoping to make the Kingston arts scene more representative of our global community.

“When we express ourselves creatively in a larger, international context, we all begin to understand one another better,” she says.  “Expressing ourselves through art breaks down barriers, and that is what the world needs.”

Ms. Baldwin is thrilled to be living in Kingston, a city “where everybody rolls up their sleeves and gets done what needs to be done.” As a delightful bonus, she found a friend from her youth in Don Mills, John Mirski is Facility Manager of the Tett Centre.

“I want every artist who comes here to feel nurtured,” she says. Kingston artists are certainly fortunate that Tricia Baldwin has embraced her new role and new home. She is definitely helping to build our community through the arts.