This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The City has made good of its commitment to having art in facilities. This week 6 pieces were installed in the new Orillia Recreation Centre.

They are in the main concourse next to the information counter. The wall space is being called The Stack, in keeping with a theme recognizing Orillia’s industrial past (the green area outside the building is called Foundry Park). 

The pieces on display now are not going to be there permanently. There will be an ongoing series of art exhibits hanging around.

This first exhibit has two paintings by Jimi McKee, one each by Prudence Smith, Peter Fyfe and Barbara Schmidt, plus a sculpture by Terry Dyball. The pieces were selected by the Art in Public Places Committee.

There are also a number of showcases along the way in the concourse which have sports trophies, obviously, and some historical artifacts too.

There was a time when these things wouldn’t have happened, except for the constant lobbying by the arts community for inclusion, so this is a step in the right direction.

However, for a $55 million dollar project, the relatively small cost of making wall space available and for showcases is a small step. There are communities who dedicate from 2 to 5% of construction budgets for art as part of projects. Doing the math it means a minimum of $1.1 million for art could have been earmarked at the rec enter if it was built in a community mandating it.

True, the City has spent some money on art. Over recent years, there has been the 150th mural ($10,000), the new sculpture going into Tudhope Park ($5,000), the 2020 winter games mural ($4,000) and a few smaller projects and some offices have art which was bought from local artists, but Streets Alive gives out more in prize money each year for the downtown art projects.

As a frequent flyer at the rec center, there are 101 places where some art would be great to be seen. There are lots of other opportunities around town for art projects.

Of course there was a time when council expected artists to just donate their work. Heck, it’s only in recent years they figured out musicians need to be paid for their time. There still aren’t street name signs in the Arts District similar to the ones you see in Toronto’s Little Italy and other neighbourhoods as was promised.

For all the word salads about Orillia being an arts community, at some point it would be nice to see the City put the proper amount of money where its mouth is.

The Envelope Please

 Soon we will know who the winners of the Orillia Regional Arts & Heritage Awards are. The 2nd annual continuation of award programs Orillia Museum of Art and History and ODAC  held obviously isn’t having a grand award night like the last two years.

The presentations are being videotaped at the Leacock Museum and you’ll be able to watch them online November 25 at 7 p.m. Each category is being taped separately. If you head over to OMAH’s Facebook page or ODAC’s page, you can read nominating bios on each of the nominees.

Off And Running

Creative Nomad has barely opened and the programs and events are coming fast. Tonight there is a reception for Craig Mainprize from 6 to 9 p.m. there are two 90 minute slots and the audience is limited to 25 in each. There might still be space for you to register. Craig is also having an artist talk November 21 and a landscape workshop November 27.

Craig Mainprize
Craig Mainprize

The point of Creative Nomad is for people to use it for their artistic ventures, whether its sitting in a larger corner than at home to paint, or working on a bigger project than the den has room for, to teaching art to others.

‘Art’ as used here is a loose and broad definition. There a ton of things some people are expert at and you can now share your inside secrets with others in workshops. There will be two sessions for facilitators at Creative Nomad this month and next for those who would like to teach a program or class. Part of the purpose is to tour the building to see what it has to offer. Seriously, once you see it 102 possibilities for what you can do with it will come to mind.

You can call 705-481-0176, extension 701 or email for more info. Or you can just register to attend.

ODAC And Lakehead Students

Lakehead University political science students and the Orillia District Arts Council have a couple things happening you can participate in.

Are you working on that music video contest?  There’s a prize of a $100 Best Buy gift card to the musician who makes the most popular music video. There is a $5 entry fee and you can see contest details, register by November 18 and learn how to submit your video here.

There is an art auction November 14. Proceeds will be split 50/50 with the artist and ODAC. Find our details and register here.

The Shorts

QuarARTine Auction Item

*  OMAH has two exhibits to see. In the main gallery the 19th annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition is up until January. Upstairs it’s an historical look at women’s hockey with She Shoots… She Scores.  While the museum is open, you need to make an appointment to browse, call 705-326-2159. OMAH also has stuff to do from home. You can watch many videos to pass the time away, including one about Franklin Carmichael here. And finally, the QuarARTine auction is still chugging along with new pieces, which you can view and bid on here.

*  Even Steven , Steve McEown and Steve Eyres, have another music video you can watch. This time it’s a favourite, I Used To Be A Country Singer. You may think, hmmm, isn’t that a Gord tune? It is, but Steve McEown wrote it. Check it out and see the other video they kind of wrote (I’s based on Beatles song titles) here.

*  The 2nd volume of Mariposa Exposed is out. There are 96 short stories, some by people you would expect to write and some from people with a good story to tell. I’ve enjoyed reading it. You can get a copy at Manticore Books.

 *  The next installment of the Mariposa Virtual Stage with Joni Mitchell is online here. The next one is Nov. 18 with Buffy Ste. Marie and Celeigh Cardinal.

*  Mariposa Arts Theatre is doing Norm Foster’s The Christmas Tree at the Opera House. Some of the members of the Orillia Silver Band are part of the production too. Get tickets here. There’s a two week run with matinees on Thursdays and Sundays.

*  There is a youth center fundraiser happening to establish a scholarship fund in memory of Jake Beers the Beers family calls hxmesweethxme. Check out their Facebook page for opportunities to contribute.

*  The Orillia branch of Dress For Success has a progressive, online, raffle called Toonie Tuesday. Tickets are $2 and you can buy as many as you like. Check their Facebook page frequently for updates on the jackpot size and weekly winners.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia; Images Supplied) Main: Miranda McKee, Jacqueline Surette (culture manager) and Jimi McKee.

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