By John Swartz
Soon we’ll be able to go venturing about, including downtown (which by the look of things this afternoon, people are jumping the gun easing restrictions). By then Leslie Fournier and her crew will have the Peace symbol art (which was supposed to be out last year to coincide with the Mariposa Folk Festival’s 60th anniversary as companion sculptures with the Hippy Vans) on display on lampposts downtown. They’ll take the place of banners which usually decorate the poles. There are two sizes and smaller ones will be displayed at various stores.
Those start to go up next Monday. June 7 the vans roll out. They aren’t intended to roll, but you know what I mean. They’ll be taking their places on Mississaga Street and should be all set up by the end of that week.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been to Centennial Park (and judging by the distinct lack of people there over the holiday weekend compared to last year or any year before, maybe not) you will have noticed the sailboat sculptures are back.
This Streets Alive project has given us ten years of interesting public art, a lot of which is still hanging around town. I see the Leacock chairs, guitars, letters, planters, doors, bikes and other pieces in some of the strangest places. We may be the city with the most public art.
This is as good a time as any to bring some news about Mariposa. This week there are a couple of online concerts to view. A band called Jon & Roy from Victoria B.C. are going to perform tunes from their 9th and newest album, Know Your Mind, tonight (May 27) at 8 p.m. by way of Mariposa’s Facebook page. It’s free and you can go the band’s Youtube page right now to familiarize yourself with some of their music.
Saturday night at 7 p.m. Mariposa fans can watch a recorded concert by Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill doing music from Glór in Ennis, Ireland. They were supposed to be on the festival menu in 2020. The show will be online for 7 days and it does require you buy a ticket here.
The Sound Of Music, Or Teeth Gnashing
The Orillia Youth Center has another fundraiser happening and it’s online. Marci Csumrik came into possession of about 130 vinyl records, Sinatra, Mel Torme, Dean Martin, some other singers of that era, some Bee Gees Lionel Richie, Bread and the like, compilation albums of hits from the 70s, and some classical collections and she’s selling them from her Facebook page (each album has its own entry and price indicated). Some albums have more than one copy available. If you want one (or two or three), just type SOLD in the comment, and you’ll be contacted to make arrangements to pay and pick up.
Every dollar is going to the youth center’s dental fund to pay for young people to have dental care, particularly those who need braces.
The feds want to know how some people are doing. They have an online effort, the Canadian Artists and Content Creators Economic Survey, to find out how artists are surviving. I know most people don’t take up the opportunity to tell anything to any level of government until it’s too late, but you really should. I can say from experience putting in your inflation devalued two cents in does work. Many times I’ve seen my comments reflected in final reports and changes/adjustments I suggested acted on.
The survey wants input from writers, visual and musical artists, performing artists and directors and you have until June 18 to do it. They are trying to determine the effect COVID-19 had on your output and income and get a sense of what programs you have used or would like to use. You do not need to be a full-time artist to do the survey.
Another Loss To The Community
Sue Mulchay died earlier this month. For decades she was part of a group which tired to get a university established here. In the 1960s she was the chair of the Simcoe College Foundation, a group dedicated to the cause. They raised money, bought 228 acres of land, and the province dithered, and dithered some more. By the mid 90s the plan changed to turn the land into a center for environment studies. Again, the government offered hope and not much else.
By 1998 the enthusiasm didn’t die, but the reality of no official backing forced the group to dissolve and sell the land. Today we know it as Scout Valley. Others in the community kept the dream alive and eventually because of a series of happy accidents we have Lakehead University. Sue was the first Civitas Award recipient given by our new university in 2008.
Higher education, formal, wasn’t the end of her community involvement. She was a member of the Orillia Historical Society (she gave me the evil eye once when I called it the Hysterical Society, then laughed ), a group dedicated to teaching us about our past. Of course, that evolved into the Orillia Museum of Art and History. Sue was a financial backer, the main floor gallery is called the Mulcahy Family Gallery, and gave her time too. She was given the OMAH Legacy Award in 2019.
Sue contributed scholarships for Patrick Fogarty and Lakehead students and supported many community arts projects. She celebrated her 100th birthday in March and there was a parade past her house given by neighbours. In her later years she operated away from the limelight, but she still continued leave a mark on this community that will be missed.
The Orillia Museum of Art and History has a show opening tonight at 7 p.m. It’s online (register here). One exhibit is for Will McGarvey’s new works, Sticks and Stones. The other is a solo show by Jill Price called Unfurled. OMAH also has a fundraiser happening in June for their programming and endowment funds. Check their website for opening of registrations June 1 for the Spring Back With OMAH and Charles Pachter Art Auction. Charles is donating prints and paintings and past auctions of his works have raised tens of thousands of dollars. Also, the history side has another Speaker’s Night happening online June 16 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Cathy Walton is going to speak about barns (still standing, and long gone) and the families connected to them. Register at 705-326-2159 or use the email above, to get the login info for the free presentation.
The folks at the Lighthouse Soup Kitchen have a fundraiser coming up. May 27 to 29. It’s an online student art and woodworking auction. Students from Orillia Secondary and Patrick Fogarty are participating, and all students can donate artwork to auction. They want to raise $50,000, which will give the students organizing the event the ability to name the youth wing of the facility. The same people who provided the final $14.5 million building fundraising push, the James A. Burton & Family Foundation, are going to match bids 3 to 1, so winning auction bids in total only have to hit $12,500. If you go to the link above and scroll down you’ll see how to get in on the bidding, or to donate artwork.
Check out Creative Nomad Studios Facebook page for three video tours of the facilities. There are some tutorial videos on the Youtube page too. And they have a bunch of online art workshops happening. Find out more here.
Zachary Luck has another concert online June 13 at 3 p.m. It’s live on Youtube.
Orillia Secondary School music students have their annual spring concert happening June 9 at 7 p.m. It will be online.
Hobo Jam is itching to set up in their driveway and do some weekend concerts the moment things open up. In the meantime they have posted some tunes on Youtube to enjoy. Band member Dennis Rizzo also posted a few of the stories from Mariposa Exposed II on the channel. He says the band would be happy to play other driveways (until they can get back into venues) and you can contact them on Facebook (and get the address for live gigs)
Travis Shilling has a limited edition print of his We Are Always Together for sale and all proceeds go to creating scholarships for kids to take part in the Otter Art Club.
Jimmy Johnston has a new music available on all streaming services. He also had a new tune out last summer called Low and you can see the video on his Youtube channel. He’s making some stage name changes so search for him as James Johnston, or Just James.
Entries for the Leacock Museum’s K. Valerie Connor Memorial Poetry Contest are open to June 30. Each category has three cash awards ranging from the $750 top prize in the adult category to $25 for third in the elementary school-age children category. Go here to find out more details and get entry forms.
Aaron Mangoff has put out 5 EP’s and 3 singles in the last year and you can hear them here.
Check out Steve Caston’s videos on his Facebook page. The artist, musician and humourist has some new stuff to see regularly.
Max Metcalf and his band John’s Cottage have some tunes and made some videos to enjoy.
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.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied)