By John Swartz
If you’ve been down to the waterfront, you may have noticed the bandstand is decorated with lights for the season. The Streets Alive ARTS sculpture in the Arts District is also decorated.
If you told me Paul Baxter was involved the only reaction can be, of course. He told me Allan Lafontaine and Doug Bunker were his partners in crime.
While we are all focused elsewhere and commiserating about a time of year when we should all be happy and worry free, thanks to those guys for doing something, creating a little light for the community without a lot of fanfare.
Well, That Worked Out
Have you ever started out doing something, had an idea, proceeded to work on it and then realized on job completion you omitted the very thing that got you going in the first place.
This happened to me last week. I was thinking about what I would write about for a New Years column. As you may have guessed there isn’t much happening on the art/culture/entertainment front, so it was a hard think.
A message for the New Year isn’t out of the ordinary and I usually say something, but what? How can one be cheery and positive when the tea leaves say holding pattern for we don’t know how long.
So then I thought, what about a message aimed at the summer? It seemed to me it will take about that long to get back to some kind of entertainment activity. Then I thought, of course, get people to resolve to committing to buy a ticket to an event or performance any one of our area arts groups will be putting on. When I, we, emerge, it would be fantastic to see full houses for performances.
It could be a concert by the Orillia Silver Band, Orillia Concert Band, Cellar Singers, Orillia Vocal Ensemble, Jubilee Chorale, or to a play at the Opera House, an art exhibition opening, or any other thing being done by your neighbours.
I thought it was perfect. Anticipating a return to some kind of normal, and letting the groups know I’m thinking of them despite not having a reason to think of them for almost a year.
Then I got into writing and the other ideas popped into mind. I finished, proofed it and put it up on the website.
Just a few hours later I realized the main reason I went down that road wasn‘t even in the column. I felt stupid. Kicked myself well.
I’m not unlike any other writer, professional, hobbiest, or those obligated to write (students, bureaucrats, etc.) because there is always something you think you shoulda, coulda said once you see it in published form.
Then I thought, maybe this is good. After all, what the heck am I going to write about next week, except to say you should also resolve to buy performance tickets and support our local arts organizations when they are up and running.
ODAC Gets Money
You may recall a few months back I mentioned the Orillia & District Arts Council got some money in order to create an art program for people who are having mental health issues, and they had applied for another grant to put it in motion.
Telus said, we can help with that, and gave ODAC a grant of $10,000 from their Friendly Future Foundation. The program is called Discovering the Artist Within: Expressive Arts for Mental Health.
It’s geared toward women and children and those taking part in the six week course will learn to create in a variety of genres like sculpting and writing, as well as painting.
There is also money for a professional therapist and the project partner is the Colborne Street Clinic. The foundation is focusing on helping community organizations to provide programs and resources that wouldn’t otherwise exist if not for the pandemic.
The Award Goes To
The New Year always has a fresh round of awards for every artistic discipline. This ought to be a fun year for all the groups with fewer choices to mull over.
One of the newer awards, the Canadian Independent Music Video Awards, has opened public voting for their 3rd annual pat on the back. Bleeker has a video for their tune, Problems, and you can vote for it here.
The awards were created by Dropout Entertainment. There are various categories by music genre to vote in. Bleeker is the only area band I could find among nominees. You can vote once each day until January 17. It’s a runoff type of affair and there will be another voting period from January 18 to January 31 with each category thinned to 4 nominees.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia; Bleeker Images Supplied)