This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

I’ve had things I wrote about become useless before, but none more quickly than what I wrote last week. Almost everything about galleries reopening was made irrelevant when the province reverted to the highest level of restrictions again.

Of course highest is open to interpretation. Highest level of sporadic restrictions seems to me to be a better description.

So, the Orillia Museum of Art and History won’t be reopening March 9.

“We were intending to open two new small exhibitions. Once they announced the grey, and until we know what the end date of the grey is we don’t have a new reopening date,” said OMAH executive director, Ninette Gyorody.

Smaller galleries like Hibernation Arts and Peter Street Fine Arts were able to open as soon as we moved into the red condition, but OMAH was not prepared because they were planning new exhibits. Funny thing about bigger businesses, they need some kind of lead time to react to external changes. Its easier to lock the door, than it is to open. However, all the preparation this time won’t go to waste.

“We will have one exhibition ready to go and we are going to modify a couple and probably like last time one floor at a time until everybody gets comfortable again,” Ninette said.

Cheque In The Mail

This week the Ontario government announced emergency related funding to arts organizations. Around here, the big, and only winner, is the Mariposa Folk Festival.

“It appears that way,” said Mariposa’s president, Pam Carter. “As I understand it, it’s money to keep the industry alive, strong and viable.

While other media reported on ten recipients with more to be announced, SUNonline/Orillia, without much trouble, found a list of 140 organizations getting grants and the amounts awarded. Mariposa is getting $47,574.

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is administering the grants. Pam said they weren’t expecting the money because they had made no specific application.

“We applied for an OAC grant, as we do every year, and we were successful in getting a grant and this is a top up based a percentage of our grant.”

She believes the money will not be used to prop up administration of the festival, but to do something to keep the festival visible.

“We’ve got a couple options on the table right now in terms of programming. Our preference is live programming if we can at some point in time. Failing that, we’ll look at a hybrid, or maybe 50 people live and stream, those kinds of options,” Pam said.

“All three levels of government have been really supportive of the industry. This will further assist us in staying solid and alive until such time as we can hold the festival.”

The grants, part of the province’s 2020 budget, total $24 million. The biggest grants, more than $1 million or more, went to the National Ballet of Canada ($2.0), Canadian Opera Company ($1.8), Stratford Festival ($1.8), Toronto Symphony Orchestra ($1.6) and the Shaw Festival ($1.0).

Some of the Galleries receiving grants

There many galleries and museums on the list, the more recognizable the name, the greater the grant. Notably, the Orillia Museum of Art and History got nothing.

“We do not get core operational funding from the arts council, so I don’t know if this was process related specific,” Ninette Gyorody. “I do know more funding is coming out through them. I just don’t think they’ve announced the 2021 funding.”

So it appears if you were in the OAC system, you automatically were considered for a portion of the grant fund. I’m guessing there are other arts groups who haven’t applied for regular funding through the OAC in the past which also aren’t getting any grant. Judging by the types of groups on the list, maybe some more groups in this neighbourhood ought to be on the OAC radar.

Also part of the announcement was $1 million which will go directly to artists. When that happens is not fixed yet, but details and applications will be available on the Arts Council website.

Music and Other Stuff
Happy Birthday Sue Mulcahy

March 14 is Sue Mulcahy’s 100th birthday. Usually, I’m a day or two late, so it feels good to be early – Happy Birthday Sue! OMAH has a webpage to honour the occasion. Of course the main gallery is named for the Mulcahy family. And OMAH still has the QuarARTine online art auction fundraiser happening.

Creative Nomad Studios has a bunch of online workshops and courses coming up.

Steven Henry takes requests Saturday nights at 8 p.m. here. It’s good way to spend two hours.

Joe Huron plays jazz guitar Sunday’s at noon on Facebook.  Catch him here.

The Leacock Associate’s annual student writing competition is open to high school and college students aged 14 to 19. There are prizes of $1,000, $700 and $300. Entry details are here, you have until April 15. Email for more details or questions.

Through the Farmers’ Market, artists have another online avenue to sell their work. Check it out here. Saturday you can shop in person at the market from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Orillia Silver Band has new recordings to listen to. The Earle of Oxford’s Marche is from The William Byrd Suite. They also uploaded Scott Joplin’s Something Doing. You can find the music on their Facebook page.

Check out The Nate Mills Show.  Do not sit near the computer keyboard with a coffee or anything liquid in your hands. He’s a master at quick cuts to absurd things you will laugh at.

Stanton McKinnon, formerly of Terry Savage and the Wonky Honkies, has been writing some music. You can hear it on his Soundcloud page.

Reay has a new video for the song Junkyard. You can watch it and other video they produced here.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied)

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