This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

It so close, you can almost taste it, freedom. So we’re in the prelude to Step 1 of reopening; it’s like being on deck, bases loaded and you’re the best hitter on the team. Some essential retail can now let people into their stores, but the majority are still stuck in curbside pickup, which kind of doesn’t work so well for galleries.

That hasn’t stopped some from selling art. Molly Farquharson’s Hibernation Arts made three sales in May. She’s ready to go June 14 when, and if, Step 1 commences and non-essential stores can reopen.

“It’s confusing,” Molly said.  “From what I can understand I can officially open on the 14th.”

Mike Sallows

“We have a guest artist (Mike Sallows) and we will have a careful opening on the 19th. His art is very nice. You never know because I see pictures on their iPhones (which don’t hold up in person), but his stuff is really good actually.”

You can see some of Mike’s work and other art on Hibernation’s Facebook page.

Could Gallery was all set to go with show this week called The Simcoe Summer Show, but it’s been pushed back to June 18. Cloud is the newest gallery in town and it’s in Creative Nomad Studios.

The artists featured in the show are Catherine Cadieux, Dave Beckett, Amanda Christina, Melody Madden, Miriam Slan Liz Schamehorne and Sue Miller.

Mark Fletcher told me there will be some really new stuff from Dave Beckett because Dave’s been working with a paint brush instead of the usual pastels he’s well-known for.

Art by Miriam Slan, Dave Beckett and Sue Miller at Cloud Gallery

Also Creative Nomad will be open at Step 1 for members to use the facilities.

Brian Tosh from Peter Street Fine Arts won’t be opening until Step 1, maybe Step 2 is operational. He’s got art on the walls to see, but won’t be lining up a guest artists until July.


Things are different for the Orillia Museum of Art and History. It’s classed as a museum and has to wait longer than the other galleries which can be classed as retail.

“Museums and galleries are in Step 3,” said Ninette Gyorody, who is OMAH’s executive director. “We’re just waiting for the guidelines. I know there are museums and galleries that are advocating for opening in Step 2,”

But, they will be able to do things outside. They have a couple things that might go toward reacquainting yourself with physical activity, like walking.

“Lindsay Earle is developing A Saints and Sinners tour, basically all the bars and hotels that were open in downtown Orillia, and its going end at Couchiching Brewery.”

There is also a tour families can take being developed, and day camp programs are being readied for Step 1.

The big thing OMAH has running right now is Spring Back With OMAH and Charles Pachter Art Auction. Previews are open online right now for paintings and prints by Charles and proceeds will be used to fund programming and the endowment fund.

“The auction itself, bidding, will open Wednesday, June 9, and it will close Friday June 11 at p.m.” Ninette said.

You can register online to bid, or just be part of the online program June 11, which will be live from Charles’s studio, Moose Factory Orillia. Once on the registration page, you’ll notice there are some other things you can do to go along with the event. There’s drinks and dessert from the Common Stove, and a Paint Like Pachter workshop available. If you are not a museum member (why?) just click the + sign next to the item you want.

There are also two other online events happening. June 23 at 7 p.m. Will McGarvey will be doing a tour of his show Stick and Stones. You can find the link to register here, and also see some of the pieces in the show (which you can also see in person when the gallery opens).

Jill Price’s Fur is also having an online event. She’ll be doing it with John Savage, who is a Gaudaur descendant, talking about fur trade. Some of the art from her show, Unfurled, will be online shortly and you can find an event registration link there too.

There’s a lot of other stuff you can enjoy on OMAH’s Facebook page, including daily video shorts with Charles about the auction.

On Stage

The Canadian Live Music Association is mounting an online petition where you can send emails directly to MPPs about reopening steps. They want to be able to start rehearsals, live stream events and have better rules about when audiences can be in the same room. They say the restrictions on live performances are not the same as other similar industries, and we all know musicians, actors and all the other theater professionals have been playing tiddlywinks instead of being able to work.

Meanwhile, at the Opera House, they are still preparing to go ahead with summer theater.

“They’re on the books at this point in time,” Opera House GM, Wendy Fairbarin said, “June 30 / July 2nd,” are the dates for the first play, Norm Foster’s Come Down From Up River.

The other plays are Driving Miss Daisy (July 21 – Aug. 13) and Foster’s Old Love (Aug. 18 – Sept. 3).

You can get tickets now. I’d advise getting the Flex package and you can then pick your show when things open up.

“Any tickets can be exchanged for any of our professional shows. You can’t exchange an Opera House show for a MAT show,” if things don’t go according to plan Wendy said.

Youth Centre Fundraiser

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.

Another Survey

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.

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.

Online Distracters

Listen to the CBC’s Q program at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, for the announcement of the winner of this year’s Stephen Leacock Medal For Humour. Mike Hill will make the announcement, and the winner will be interviewed immediately (all the short listed authors, Joe Kertes, Thomas King and Morgan Murray will be on standby).

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) has their annual home tour fundraiser happening June 6. It’s a 2 hour online event starting at 2 p.m. The fundraiser creates scholarships for women and since 1974 the CFUW has awarded $303,025 to 685 people. The program includes short features by Northern Joinery, Era 67, MJ Crawford Landscape, Scott’s Garden Centre, Quayle’s Brewery, Long Way Home, Housser’s Paint, Atherley Arts and LePetit Chapeau. You can go to the CFUW website to see which homes are featured this year, or go straight to the ticket ($30) page by Friday. Login information to watch the tour will be emailed to you. Ticket holders are eligible for one of ten door prizes.

Orillia Secondary School music students have their annual spring concert happening June 9 at 7 p.m. It will be online. The junior, senior, and jazz bands, a brass quintet, the choir and some other small groups – including the new computer/music class – will perform. If you miss the date, you can still watch it later. There are some previews to watch right now.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History’s 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 City is still taking applications for artists and for businesses to make music and art this summer at the pedestrian mall and other locations in town.

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.

Creative Nomad is looking for artists to take part in summer pedestrian mall activities. July 2nd they need 4 artists for Shifted 3 –  paint like crazy for 20 minutes, get a new canvas and start another. August 13 they need 8 artists for Into The Light –no time limit, paint to the theme. Email And 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.

The Streets Alive project is rolling out Peace symbols this week and Hippy Vans next week. These are the sculptures meant to be out last year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Mariposa Folk Festival. Go to the link and you can see some of the pieces. Or, if you want to be suitably astonished by what an artist can come up with when there’s little else to do, go to Dave Shaw’s page. I can’t wait to see it in person (guessing it will be somewhere near Makers Market).

Speaking of Mariposa, if you liked the Sawdust City Sun Lager  last summer, like it again this summer. This is a special label created for the Mariposa Folk Festival.

Zachary Luck has another concert online June 13 at 3 p.m. It’s live on Youtube.

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.

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 usually has something new to see.

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.

(Images Supplied) Main: OMAH’s Spring Back With OMAH and Charles Pachter Art Auction is on now.

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