This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

If I had a dollar for every artist who was a whiz at art and business, I’d have maybe two bucks.

The Artrepreneur program being offered jointly by the City of Orillia, The CDC, Lakehead and the County is designed to give artists the knowledge to manage their existing businesses/careers, start new ones, and force me to change my opening sentence.

It’s a 13 week course taking place at Lakehead’s downtown campus at Colborne and West Streets. It costs $150, which includes your materials. You should end up with a business plan, or at least a plan that only needs some tweaking with outstanding details .

This is the third time it’s been offered in Simcoe County and has been held many more times in surrounding regions. Over 200 businesses have been launched since 2015 by people who took the course.

The course examines business models, market research, branding and marketing, using social media, legalities, getting revenue, the icky stuff – data organizing and utilization, costs/forecasts/cash flow, and putting all that together into a business plan.

Each week there are different teachers who are experienced in the fields they are teaching. Jacqueline Soczka, Donna Goodwin (Simcoe County), Don Bourne and Ann Dorsey of Georgian College’s entrepreneurship center, Ganesh Thavarajah of the York Region Arts Council, John Orange and Allen Lloyd (Georgian College), Emily Baillie (McMaster & Humber College), the CDC’s Wendy Timpano and Jacques Brunet are those people.

Here’s the thing, there are only two spots left, so register now. Oh, it starts Thursday, tomorrow.

Doors Ajar

Each year at this time we have the Doors Open/Culture Days event happening at the end of September. Because Jacqueline Soczka has been so involved with getting the Artrepreneur program up and running, it’s on hiatus for this year. But, the Orillia Public Library is picking up the ball with its How-To Festival, which Jacqueline says is “in many ways the essence of Culture Days.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can take part in workshops ranging from art & crafts, to food & drink, outdoors & the environment, health & wellness, and home organization and decorating. You can see the full schedule of 40 workshops here. Even the Orillia Fire Department is getting involved and they’ll have a truck in the parking lot, which I understand the kids can check out. If your kid doesn’t want to sit in a fire truck, I have bad news for you; your child is not a kid anymore.

ODAC Awards Coming Soon – With A Twist

The annual ODAC Awards are happening November 27 at the Geneva, which means it’s time to start thinking about who you are going to nominate. Good thing there’s a place to review all that has happened in the Orillia area to jog your memory of exceptional performances, events, and individual achievements.

This year the awards are growing. The Orillia Museum of Arts and History also has an awards event (every two years) to recognize those who work in areas of our history and heritage. This year it will be part of the awards. There’s a new name too, the Orillia Regional Arts & Heritage Awards.

The categories are education in arts/culture/heritage; emerging artist; heritage restoration/renovation/publication; event in arts/culture/heritage; and the Quennifer Browne Achievement Award.

You can find more detail about the category criteria and nomination forms at either the ODAC or OMAH websites. By the way, last year’s awards night had a huge crowd, so plan to join the fun.


ODAC stands for Orillia & District Arts Council. Some of you might be thinking – we have an arts council? We do. For the last few years it’s been surviving because of a few dedicated people and surprisingly has accomplished a few things. They had a hand in the revamp and strengthening of the City’s public art policy and recently have been involved in the Artspace seminar and public forum.

The arts council will be 20 years old next year. There was some overlap between the membership and executive of ODAC and the steering committee that lead to the creation of the City’s culture department, an entity that predated what every other community in Ontario now has (unfortunately we had an administration for a time that didn’t value having a culture department and folded it into parks and recreation).

We still have people at City Hall working on arts and culture and we still have ODAC. Two years ago I would have said, and did say, we have a weakness in the arts community resulting from the disbandment of the City’s department and ineffectiveness of ODAC at the time. We still do, but I will also say in the last 12 months things have started to turn around.

So it’s interesting I got a note from ODAC they are having their annual general meeting on Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the St. James’ church auditorium. You should go.

You should also become a member of ODAC. It’s not expensive and there are advantages. I can say from experience it is much easier to get government to act when a group like ODAC is making pitches on behalf of many than it is for one person to bend the ears of elected officials or administrators. It shows a united front and lets government know they are messing with many, not a few.

Artists are always searching for money, whether it’s grants, loans, or donations – aside from revenue from selling the art they make (either hanging on the wall or bouncing around in your ears). Arts councils are very good at helping individuals making applications for those things.

In the long run arts councils can offer many services to their membership, the main one being insurance. Training is another one, this column lead with information on a training course, but there are many other kinds of training to benefit from.

The current ODAC leadership has been grappling with how to become more vital to all the artists and artistic groups in town. I have observed a lot of people going off and doing things on their own in recent years who would benefit greatly by having an effective umbrella group, and mainly they would stop duplicating their efforts with other people running with the same ideas. Arts council’s can connect like minded people to work together rather than against each other.

Take some time to communicate with the ODAC people, join up, and consider getting active. The community can only benefit from your participation, and remember we got here because of ODAC when it was strong and thriving, make it so again.

Leacock Survey

While I’m on things City Hall has its hooks into, I might as well remind you there is a survey you should fill out regarding the future of the Leacock Museum. There is a survey for those who live here, and one for people who just visit and the links to each can be found here. The survey is open until Oct. 14.

The Shorts

*  Era 67 has a special night Thursday. You might recall the story I did about the restaurant a few weeks ago. They are introducing their new chef, Nick Myer from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Steph Dunn will be playing music and there are hors d’oeuvres (every time I encounter that phrase I think of Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes). If you are staying for dinner, reservations, 705-259-1867, are needed and there’s 10% off the new menu.

*  You have until Friday to submit an application to be part of Orillia’s first annual Christmas Market. It happens the weekend after the annual Santa Claus Parade at St. James’ Anglican Church and vendors are chosen by a jury process.

*  The Opera House has Murray McLaughlin in Sept. 18 for a night of stories and song with Cameron Smillie. They are doing the same type of thing with Pavlo Oct. 9 and you’ll get $5 off the price of each ticket if you go to both. The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour will be in town Sept. 27. 

*  The Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture has their next event, Gathering, next week on Sept. 19/20/21 in Midland. It’s a First Nations literary festival with John Rice, Lee Maracle, Daniel Heath Justice, Tomson Highway (performing Songs in the Key of Cree), Sherry Lawson, Arthur Stevens, Tsista Kennedy, Alicia Elliott, Darrel J. McLeod, Jesse Thistle and Cherie Dimaline. Get tickets for this and other Orillia Centre events here.

*  The Ringos Comedy Troupe will be at the Geneva Sept. 19 with their show 80s Kids Will Understand. The group is based in Midland and Kristen Keller is one of the 5 members. They do sketch comedy and promise to ruin your childhood memories of the 80s, or somebody’s. Get tickets here.

*  The Youth Centre and Roots North are partnering on a concert at Fern Resort September 28.  Headlining is Danny MichelBilly Pettinger and Meredith Moon are performing too. You can get tickets online, or at Dapper Depot, or Alleycats Music. All of the proceeds go to the Youth Centre.

*  The Mariposa Folk Festival’s winter concert program starts Oct. 26 with an Echoes of Mariposa event. The Echoes are designed to give audiences a second crack at some of the previous summer festival’s performers. Rick Fines, The Doozies and James Gray will be playing at St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets are $35 in advance.

Tickets just went on sale for Irish Mythen at St. Paul’s Centre Nov. 8 This will likely sellout. If you haven’t seen her perform before, you are missing one of the great things in life; she’s a fantastic performer.

Tickets also just went on sale for Zachary Lucky’s album release concert at the Opera House Oct. 25.

Baxter Lake Sunset by Laurie Herd

*  Hibernation Arts has Mary Jo Pollack’s work up and a a group show, Equinox, opens at 1 p.m. Sept. 19 Dave Armishaw and Josh Poitras kick off the fall version of the Wordsmith reading series with some poetry at 7 p.m. ($10 admission). And new is a house concert series starting September 26 at 7 p.m. with Sean Patrick and Darrin Davis ($20).

*  The 5th annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Mancave Tour happens Sept. 21. If you’ve never been, a bunch of people, guys, get on a bus, or busses, and roll around the area visiting various homes where someone has had too much time on their hands and built themselves a den with all the toys. Email to get tickets ($175, or 4 for $600).

Dave Beckett has a show at his Marchmont studio Sept. 27/28/29. He’s got a door prize, a print of his By Still Waters and the first 50 visitors will get a print of his Georgian Bay painting.

*  The Washago Lions Club has been supporting the monthly Washago Jams and other events like their Canada Day festivities for 13 years, so a bar mitzva is in order, right? Well, some kind of party at any rate. Turns out they are having one Sept. 18 called Washago Woodstock. It’s from 7 to 11 p.m. and its all ages. This is a great avenue to try out your new song, your new band, or get your feet wet performing. Contact the organizers here.

The Quail by Dan Nuttall

*  Coming up… the Brownstone has an art exhibit, Body Love, by Theresa Vanderburgt opening Thursday evening and Skye Wallace is in to do the music; Friday night is tech night with DJ Subverse Tech… the Oro Worlds Fair is Sept. 13/14 and the Coldwater Fall Fair is Sept. 27-29… the Hog ‘N Penny has Emberly in Friday; Jackob Pearce is in Saturday… Jakob Pearce plays every Thursday evening at Kensingtons… The Orillia Shrine Club has Little Caesar and the Consuls playing at ODAS Park Sept 21; get tickets ($45) at P.D. Murphy Jewellers and Impression House… Peter Street Fine Arts has new work by Robyn Rennie this month… Lee Contemporary Art has Dan Nuttall’s Ruraliaexhibit up… OMAH has a new exhibit opening Saturday at 12:30 p.m.; When The Green Dark Forest Was Too Silent To Be Real is work by Tina Poplawski who makes her art from stuff she finds on her walks in nature.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia, Pixabay)

Rants & Raves

Support Independent Journalism