K-W Artists - Plan B

Lending Artists a Helping Hand

Supporting our Local Artists

Through COVID-19

We are in challenging times, perhaps the most challenging many of us have ever experienced. Someone with a usual job, can work from home, they still get a pay cheque, they have money in the bank, RRSPs – savings - money set aside for a rainy day.

For most artists, every day is a rainy day.

We are concerned for our local artists. So many live hand-to-mouth, paying their rent, buying groceries; essential living expenses are dependent on every gig they play, every project and every performance.

The first things cancelled were the arts – theatre, concerts, performances, gigs at bars. Artists, especially musicians, will suffer, many not having a plan B, or a day job.

We, at Neruda Arts, are taking the helm to help make sure artists are taken care of by creating an emergency fund for artists in the Waterloo Region who've been most affected by this global situation. With a team of four – Artistic Director Isabel Cisterna, Pam Patel, Artistic Director of MT Space, Terry Barna, local actor, and arts' board member, and Jennifer Cornish, actor/writer/artist who knows all about math, we will see the funds get to those local artists in the most need.

Throughout a normal year, musicians are the first artists to be asked to play for a fundraiser. They should receive the tax receipt, but it's doubtful they ever do. They are asked to play for gallery openings, restaurants, pubs, bars, family get-togethers – not for money, but for the promise of exposure.

It used to be a venue had a specific style of music, and at any time, you could drop in and expect a certain quality of music. No more. Now the bar only hires musicians promote their own gig, posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media platform they can work, so they can be underpaid by the venue, and basically bring the customers to the bar.

The artists are in danger of not being able to sustain themselves during this global event. We plan to use the funds raised to help local artists pay bills, buy food, pay rent. No one should feel the threat of homelessness, or hunger at this time, when so many of us have so much. The artists will be so grateful, we can only imagine how amazing the celebration will be at the end of this.

Consider how often you've had the privilege of being able to experience the arts, with little, or no cost to yourself.  Can you imagine what art will be created during this crisis? Artists awaken us from slumber. They build bridges between cultures. They strike to the depths of our souls and change us forever. It's time to give back.



Under Isabel's leadership, Neruda Arts has flourished as a vital and influential arts organization, locally, nationally and internationally. With substantial skills as a cultural programmer, social innovator and community organizer/collaborator, Isabel has programmed a diverse range of high-profile world music concerts, developed empowering programs for immigrants and disadvantaged youth, professional development workshops for emerging artists, therapeutic art for marginalized communities, international cultural exchanges and included the deaf in the world of music.

Isabel has received many awards for her leadership, mentoring, sustaining and presenting excellent arts. Senate of Canada 150 medal (2018) Paul Harris Fellowship (2018) The Waterloo Award (2018) Leading Women Building Communities (2014), Waterloo Woman of the Year (2013), Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award (2012), Government of Chile award for achievement as a Chilean living abroad (2011), Oktoberfest Woman of the year for Arts & Culture (2010), Waterloo Region Record newspaper 40 Under 40 award for leadership (2009), KW Arts Awards for the Arpillera Tapestry of life Project (2008) and Mentor of the year (2007).


Pam Patel performs with numerous Canadian companies, touring nationally and internationally. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University's music program, Pam specialized in new music and improvisation, establishing a career as a multidisciplinary artist. Pam is currently the Artistic Director of MT Space where she pursues her passion for centralizing racialized voices through theatre. Pam was formerly the President of local new music organization, NUMUS, and is currently the Chair of Arts Awards Waterloo Region. In line with efforts to advocate for the arts on a local level, Pam also sat on the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for the City of Kitchener where she played an active role in voicing concerns on behalf of the larger arts community.

In 2018, Pam was a recipient of Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship for Service Above Self in Arts and Culture, which was given at the Mayor of Waterloo’s State of the City Address. Most recently, Pam received the Emerging Leader in Performing Arts Award from the Canadian Arts Presenting Association.


Terry has been a professional actor since 2001, when he left the Corporate world to return to his passion for performing. Based in Waterloo, ON, Terry has been seen on stages across Ontario, as well as TV and movie screens. This includes co-hosting Rogers' daytime for two seasons, as well as two seasons of “Meet the Family” on CityTV, and one season of “Stock & Awe” on CTV/BNN. Terry continues to keep his fingers in the corporate world as a data consultant to market researchers across Canada. Terry currently sits on the Board of Directors for Neruda Arts, and K-W Musical Productions.


A vital member of the local theatre community, actor/producer Jennifer Cornish is a Region of Waterloo Arts Award recipient for Performing Arts. Trained by industry pros from Stratford, Shaw, Second City, and Kids in the Hall, she is known for her award-winning work in the Irish one-woman show “Myra’s Story”.

In addition, Jennifer has ten years’ experience as a professional bookkeeper and office manager. She is currently a full-time student in the School of Business at Conestoga College, where she is completing a Bookkeeping certification. Her main focus is managerial accounting for arts organizations.


Please join our Facebook Group for more information

More information regarding Neruda Arts

More information regarding MT Space.


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