Peterborough’s vibrant arts scene has been blessed with countless champions – but few have matched the relentless passion, leadership and commitment that Cathy Rowland has consistently exhibited.
Visual, literary, dramatic…whatever arts genre Rowland set her sights on advancing, good things have followed. Combine that with her advocacy for youth, and it’s not hard to comprehend the indelible footprint our inductee has left on Peterborough’s cultural landscape.
An educator by profession and in heart, Rowland’s vision had a lasting impact when, in 1990 she founded and coordinated the Integrated Arts Program at PCVS. Countless youths benefitted, many of whom went on pursue their studies in the arts and achieve great success in their respective fields. In 2002, local youth again benefitted when Rowland developed, and organized the first Best of High School Art Exhibition. Six years later, Rowland produced and directed the PCVS 100th anniversary gala concert.
Behind the scenes, Rowland has had a major and lasting influence as lead writer for the Ontario Applied Design and Arts curriculum. Her involvement with Trent University’s School of Education and, more recently its enrichment program has greatly influenced future educators to ensure the arts maintain a strong presence in their classrooms.
Away from the education tableau but no less significant, Rowland has written, produced and directed theatrical productions – her creative talents anchoring the success of numerous high school and community theatre offerings. In conjunction with the latter, she has won a series of regional Sears Drama Festival Awards. Never shy to roll up her sleeves and get busy, Rowland has also lent her considerable skills to costume and set design.
On the administrative side, Rowland has been a member of several boards, gifting her knowledge and enthusiasm to the great benefit of arts-related organizations: among them, the Peterborough Theatre Guild, the Electric City Culture Council (EC3) and the Kawartha Artists’ Gallery.
Just last year, Rowland brought together artists from various disciplines when she organized the Peterborough Sunflower Festival in support of Ukrainian refugees. 2022 also saw Rowland continue her work on behalf of the New Canadians Centre in the form of an interactive arts event for refugees new to the area.