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Incite Foundation: Amplifying artists

The Incite Foundation for the Arts supports the contributions of Centre[3} and the Hamilton Festival Theatre Company. 

The Incite Foundation for the Arts has contributed more than $6 million to 30 Hamilton-area organizations in grants from $2,500 to $150,000 since it was founded in 2011.

It is the legacy of the late Carl and Kate Turkstra who believed the arts are key to quality of life and critical to the future of Hamilton. And they believed anyone, regardless of circumstance, should be able to enjoy and pursue music, theatre and visual art.

HAMILTON CITY Magazine is showcasing the incredible, creative and talented recipients of Incite grants. Here we share the work of Centre[3] and the Hamilton Festival Theatre Company.


An open house at Centre[3] brought out crowds. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

For two decades, Centre[3] has stood as a steadfast pillar in the Hamilton community, empowering artists and fostering creativity. Its commitment to providing artists with the essential resources and platforms for success is not just rhetoric but a tangible reality. From state-of-the-art production facilities to galleries showcasing their work, and professional development workshops, it continuously strives to support and nurture local talent.

At the core of the mission is a dedication to breaking down barriers to accessibility, ensuring that individuals from all backgrounds can engage in a vibrant artistic community. Centre[3] firmly believes in the transformative power of the arts to uplift communities, reflected in its diverse programming that pushes the boundaries of contemporary art and fosters collaboration.

What sets Centre[3] apart is a partnership with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), entering its ninth year. This innovative program, recognized with the Specialist High Skills Major award two years ago, underscores a commitment to nurturing young talent and fostering a love for the arts from an early age. Our recent completion of a federally funded employment program in digital media has equipped young adults with valuable skills, providing internship opportunities within the community and supporting small businesses with digital marketing.

Furthermore, collaborative endeavours with McMaster University and the University of Guelph have resulted in ground-breaking projects, including engaging older adults virtually with the cultural sector and the development of a research centre bridging art and academia.

“None of these achievements would have been possible without the generous support of the Incite Foundation and the visionary leadership of Carl and Kate Turkstra,” says Centre[3] executive director Colina Maxwell.

“Their commitment to the arts has paved the way for our success, inspiring others to contribute to a vibrant and sustainable future for the arts in our region.”

An exhibition by Rolla Tahir called "I’ve Heard the Bedouins Singing" in 2023 at Centre [3]. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Hamilton Festival Theatre Company

Fringe Festival crowd in 2017. PHOTO: DAVE PIJUAN-NOMURA

Hamilton Festival Theatre Company (HFTco) is a not-for-profit charitable organization committed to training, platforming, and amplifying Hamilton’s theatre artists and storytellers. Since 2003, it has been building a community for artists and arts lovers, and cultivating work that is accessible, innovative, and artistically adventurous.

HFTco provides year-round programming, including the flagship 12-day, unjuried Hamilton Fringe Festival and the Frost Bites biannual community-embedded winter festival, while also advancing accessibility initiatives like FringeXChange mentorships for artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of the global majority (BIPGM) and those who seek disability justice. It also invests in youth and emerging artists through programs like ALERT and Spark Teen Creation. Through the Hamilton Fringe Festival, Hamilton audiences have access to performances by artists from all across the globe, including many local companies who count on the festival to develop their work and deepen their connections to local audiences.

Every year, we rely entirely on the support of funders, sponsors, and donors to bring the festival to life in July. It attracts nearly 20,000 attendees to Hamilton. Unlike traditional performing arts presenters, Fringe festivals return 100 per cent of ticket profits back to the artists. In 2023, the Hamilton Fringe Festival returned over $75,000 in box office revenue directly to artists. We also subsidize artists’ costs, such as staging, audience seating, lighting and sound equipment, ticketing services and marketing.

“The Incite Foundation for the Arts is an invaluable part of the work we do at HFTco,” says managing director Franny McCabe-Bennett. “Through their generosity, we continue to provide opportunities to emerging artists who shape the future of the arts in Hamilton and beyond, especially at a time where arts organizations like ours are facing serious financial hardship. We are very grateful to the Incite Foundation for giving us the tools to produce Hamilton’s largest theatre festival year after year.”

An aerial group performs at the 2019 Fringe Festival. PHOTO: DAVE PIJUAN-NOMURA