This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

This is a weekend for art. Starting Friday night in the Arts District, the galleries are open for the Solstice Art Tour starting at 6 p.m.

See stuff by Craig Mainprize, Liz Schamehorn, and Tango Artspace artists at 5 Peter Street; Hibernation Art is at 7 Peter; Three Crows Speak Studio and Kristine Drummond are at 9 Peter; stop for fuel at the new Stuffed Sandwiches & Coffee at 11 Peter; the Shadowbox is at 15 Peter; Art & Home has enough artists to form their own political party; and across the road Tiffin’s is up the alley next to OMAH and OMAH has Stephanie Whalen’s reception for her Reverie show. GJ Thompson Photography is upstairs at 73 Mississaga Street East. Earlier in the day, OMAH has a tour of the Sir Sam Steele Building at 1:30 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday the annual Coldwater Studio Tour is happening.  There a handy map of gallery locations here.

Coin by Tony Bianco

Thirty-three artists are participating at 16 studios and venues.  You’ll want to make sure you stop by Tony Bianco’s studio. He celebrated the release of a new coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian National Railroad this week. The number of coins he’s done the artwork for could start a small bank. Then there’s the paintings. It seems like he’s been gifted a lifetime supply of paint because I’ve been noticing a steady stream of new work he’s been posting.

Murray Van Halem’s studio is in Victoria Harbor, but it’s worth the drive. He has a piece in the Streetcar Exhibition which opened at Toronto’s  Artist’s Network Gallery last week.

There are several artists (Dale Duncan, Marlene Bulas, Liz Stenson, Doug Symes, Prudence Smith, Beverly Post-Schmeler) who have stuff at venues on the tour, along with many other familiar names who regularly have work in Orillia shows, but actually live way the heck out there.

Galleries participating are generally clustered around Coldwater and Waubaushene, with a few off the Highway 12 between here and there. There are 16 venues and tour hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Other arts news, OMAH has signed on to the Great Canadian Giving Challenge and every dollar you donate to OMAH by June 30 gets the museum an entry to a draw for an additional $10,000. You must donate on the challenge website or at Canada Helps. OMAH is also taking submissions for the annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Show. The deadline is July 26. Check out the rules online.

Phill Holder’s Pedal Powered Sculpture

And a little review; Last Saturday’s Pedal Powered got lucky. The weather (am I allowed to mention weather in past tense?) was kind of on their side. The forecast showed rain in  the morning but while the street was damp while I was there, it didn’t rain. I’m not so sure about the afternoon, but I didn’t experience any rain of significance during my other travels until about 3 p.m.

Every year I come away impressed with the creativity on display. I try to wrap my head around the themes each year before seeing what’s been produced and come up with nothing. Then I see the work. Some of it seems so obvious, which illustrates the limit of my imagination, while others are so off the beaten path of conventional thinking.

Two bikes, Dave Shaw’s and Carley McCutcheon’s, had frames made of wood. Dave’s was finely finished, Carleys made from driftwood. Both were excellent. Phill Holder used three wheels and made a Steampunk inspired cart. There are 20 bikes and they are already installed on Mississaga Street. There are 10 other art pieces taking up residence in store windows as well.

You can vote for your favourite at Jack and Maddy A Kids Store or OMAH. Winners of the exhibition will be announced at Starry Night in August.

Music Stuff   

Danny Michel has been added to the Mariposa Folk Fest lineup. He’s scheduled to be part of three workshops. See the rest of the line here.

While it doesn’t appear he’ll be doing sets in the pub, fans can see him in concert Sept. 28 at Fern Resort for a fundraiser for the Orillia Youth Centre. That one is called Roots North Revisited and all of the proceeds from tickets ($35) go to the youth center. You can get them online or at Alleycats and Dapper Depot.

There are two others playing that concert, Meredith Moon and Billy Pettinger. Meredith has played here a bunch of times, once with her father in the front row. Me, I’d rather have my father in the back row, if he was Gordon Lightfoot (who is Meredith’s dad) only because I’d rather have people paying attention to my performance.

Billy Pettinger is originally from Vancouver, but has been making a career in the U.S. for a long time. I guarantee you’ve heard her music because it’s been used on so many TV programs; the list is a long one, longer than I’ve seen for many other musicians.

The youth center has another fundraiser happening July 20 at ODAS Park. The purpose is to boost the Nelson Bell Bursary and the Bell family is organizing it. Daytime activities are free to attend and its family oriented with games and a dunk tank. It starts at 2 p.m. and runs to 5. At 6 p.m. Steven Henry and Friends take over for some music. Steve’s a great musicians and he has a lot of friends who are too. I’ve never been disappointed to go and watch him work. You need a ticket ($15) for that part. Get them here.

Another Fundraiser

Jimmy Johnston, of the Doug Trucker Band, is starting a new project called Strings for Students. He’s raising money to donate 15 Fender acoustic guitars to Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary for the music program.  That’s the start, he’d like to expand it to other schools.

The kick-off event is July 27 at the Geneva. Bleeker is going acoustic for the gig, the Doug Trucker Band and Danny Webster will also do sets.

Tickets are $10 in advance at Gilbert Guitars or Alleycats, $15 at the door. Greenhat Studios, the Geneva and Gilbert Guitars are sponsors.

The Shorts

The Man In Black

*  The Orillia Centre for Art and Culture has a contemporary dance program at the Opera House June 28. Looking For Elvis and The Man In Black are choreographed by James Kudelka and Laurence Lemieux. They tell the tale of Elvis Stoiko – wait, what?, oh – make that Presley, and Johnny Cash (I’m pretty sure they don’t mean the guy from Stephen King’s The Stand). This is the same production the National Ballet of Canada did. You can get tickets online.

*  MAT is having auditions June 22 and 24 for Unrinetown: The Musical at the Brammer Drive warehouse. For info on the roles or to book an audition time email

*  Coming up… Christmas in June happens a the Port of Orillia Saturday… the Hog ‘N Penny has Olivia Duck in Friday night…  the Geneva has Eric Gales performing July 13; Couchiching Jubilee House has a fashion show fundraiser June 24 at 7 p.m.; get tickets here… the Brownstone has Lance Isaacs in Wednesday night; We Make More Music happens Thursday night; High Road Pilots and Crast play Friday night; The Usual Suspects are in Saturday… the Sunday evening band concerts at the Aqua Theatre starts this weekend with the Orillia Concert Band at 6:30 p.m. … Jakob Pearce is at Fionn MacCool’s Saturday

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia, or Supplied) Main – Stephanie Whalen’s Reverie At OMAH.

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