Neruda Arts, established in 2001 by Isabel Cisterna, is a leader in the community, both locally, and internationally. Isabel, herself an immigrant from Chile, is revered in the community and beyond, not only due to the effect Neruda Arts has on the region, but the way in which she affects the community is such a positive light, and changes people's perceptions and attitudes toward those who are marginalized in our community.

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.

Ms. Cisterna is the recipient of numerous awards, the most recent in 2018 was the 150+ medal, presented to Isabel by Senator Marty Deacon. The 150th Anniversary Medals recognize individuals who make their communities better places to live through their generosity, dedication and volunteerism.

Awards include:

• The Senate 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 Award for the Arpillera Tapestry of life