This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The Leacock Museum has a couple of jobs up for grabs. One is as a program and event supervisor. It’s part-time and the duties are:

  • Provide front-line customer service for the museum, including answering phones, responding to inquiries, and acting as a liaison with community partners.
  • Assist with social media, website development and general marketing initiatives, as directed.
  • Research and develop museum-related programs and services as requested by the Museum Coordinator.
  • Support the delivery of museum events, meetings and programming initiatives including set-up, monitoring, and tear down along with site-supervision to ensure events are conducted in a safe manner and museum property and assets are safe and secure.
  • Represent and promote the museum in a professional manner at events and meetings, on and off-site, and perform duties as required related to the visitor experience including gift shop sales and tours.
  • In the absence of custodial staff, provide basic care, cleaning and maintenance of buildings and museum property including tables, floors, washrooms, garbage, walkways and grounds and maintain a clear access to all building entrances and exits (e.g. snow clearing), as required.

They are looking for a student who is studying in an arts administration, event planning or museum oriented program. You have to apply online and you can find more details here.

The other job is for a experience development officer. I’m not sure how anyone develops experiences except by living life, but they do have some duties listed.

  • Provide exemplary customer service to all visitors of the museum, representing the museum in a highly professional manner in all aspects of the job, and serve as the primary point of contact for visitor inquiries, issues, and concerns.  
  • Support the development of marketing and communication strategies, with an emphasis on connecting the community to the collection and site, while encouraging repeat visitation.
  • Develop, implement, manage and evaluate the museum’s visitor experience program, including tours, wayfinding, exhibit development, and educational programming. Develop and implement a strategy to expand, enhance and grow the visitor experience using the collection, house, grounds, partnerships and other means.
  • Create opportunities to engage all guests in the museum experience, collaborating with other departments, advisory committees and agencies to ensure diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusivity.  
  • Safely manage the collection, including cataloging, storage, care and maintenance, and provide guidance on acquisitions and deaccessions, as required.
  • Under the direction of the Manager of Culture, develop, implement and maintain relevant policies and procedures; develop tour scripts, strategies and protocols that support and enhance the visitor experience.
  • Assist with the preparation and disbursement of the museum’s operating and capital budgets.
  • Support hiring, training and supervising part-time staff.
  • Cultivate private and public support through sponsorship, donors or grants in support of the museum’s mission and values and oversee the implementation of the museum’s membership program.
  • In the absence of custodial staff, perform light site set-up and maintenance as required.

You can find out more about this job here. The deadline to spell check your resume for either job is January 14.

I’m going to put on my Stevie hat (with the Carlin button pinned to it) for a moment. It sounds like the walkways are going to be clear of snow by spring time when the people picked actually start their jobs. I guess you really have to be a jack of all trades these days to do specific jobs; think of stuff to do, operate a computer, smile when the customers are not staying behind the line – and operate a broom/shovel.

The better job looks like the first one because you don’t have to have a degree like you do for the second job and you’ll go into it with a healthier bank account.

I see the quizzical looks. A bank account is one of those things you store money in for 5 minutes once every two weeks. Money? Yes, that’s the stuff someone gives you and then someone else takes.

I see you are confused about what a healthy bank account looks like. They are rare. Jeff Bezos has a healthy account, students do not. See, we tell the kiddies to ‘go to school’ so they can get better and better paying jobs in order to afford the student loans they have to make payments on. This is why the second job up for grabs pays more – the degree.

I see others are burning fuel trying to figure out what experience development is. Somehow I don’t think a lifetime of knowing pain, heartache and disappointment will help you. Seems to me they are more on the rarer joy and happiness side of experience development for what they are hoping to achieve.

It’s all clear as mud regarding what the jobs are about. The criteria are taken right from the Professional Human Resources Manual of Gobbledygook. Third edition too. No self-respecting hiring type of person can just come right out and say what the job is about and what you have to do – except for the show clearing part (which they really mean shoveling). Take light maintenance for example. What does that mean? In the airline industry it means fixing Cessnas instead of Boeings. I suppose at the Leacock Museum changing light bulbs could be what is intended, but I thought the City was investing in new lighting for all its buildings, which means changing bulbs will become a lost art, but then you’ll have to get a college degree to learn how to do it.

The obvious question is, if I am to develop and manage the visitor experience by hiding around corners and jumping out saying ‘boo,’ or research and develop programs, why am I shoveling the snow, cleaning washrooms and changing light bulbs?

I never went to human resources school, so I can’t answer that, but it seems to me it has something to do with an early end of one’s employment – especially the part about cleaning washrooms.

Also the first job comes with great responsibility – you get to answer the phones. This also means, by extension, you likely get to make a new phone answering message for those times you are too busy to answer, or are on a coffee run. The good news is familiarity with the stuff Old Stevie wrote will come in handy. There was a passage in My Financial Career he took out, which you can adapt into something like, “I’m sorry, you have called at a time when the museum is closed. I know its Tuesday, but council cut the budget and we are only open from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. every 5th Thursday. Please leave a message.” Of course if the museum is closed you will have to go in every day to change the message to correspond to the day of the week the automatic phone answering function is to be used.

Also, you work at a museum of a famous humourist. Have some fun. When you make the recording stay absolutely silent for 30 seconds after you’ve finished reading your message (no one expects you to say it off the top of your head) before you end the recording, that way a caller can start leaving their message and get interrupted by the beep when they’ve just about finished leaving their phone number. This confuses them. “Did I get cut off and need to rerecord my message, but speak faster, or do I start over again because it didn’t record my message?” It’s lots of fun in an abstract way.

Even so, I’m sure working out there will be quite rewarding because I used to have a job working at Old Stevie’s place similar to the first one (no washroom or sidewalk duty) and it was the best day job I ever had after working at the HRC (also no washroom or sidewalk duty). Good luck to those who apply.

Sign Of the Times

Zachary Lucky cancelled the shows he was going to do at Picnic (and elsewhere). We are all pulling back on things and worried more restrictions are coming, but Zachary’s words are particularly important to read:

“There’s no good way to say it. I’m sad to say that we’re canceling (postponing) the majority of the shows we had booked around Ontario in January – the rest are likely to follow. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I reckon it’s the right thing to do. Makes me pretty damn thankful that we got to get out and play some shows in November.”

“Not too sure when we’re going to get around to rebooking these shows, but hopefully it’s sooner than later, so keep your eyes peeled.”

“A lot of artists are going through the same thing right now – it’s not just the shows we’re losing – we’re losing our ability to earn a living. Now is a great time to support the artists you love. If you need some suggestions, send me a DM! Buy their merch! Stream their songs day and night on Spotify. Share a video of theirs with a friend. If you want to support me, you can head to to pick up some merch!”

To find out where on the internet you can find music by other local bands, check my columns from March 2020 to June 2021; I’ve provided lots of links to bandcamp, youtube and websites where you can listen and/or buy music.

So It Is Christmas

And what have you done?  Had all your shots I hope. This is a two way gift, for you and everyone around you. The main thing we all need to remember is we are still here. The other thing we have to remember is we have to all live together because there isn’t another place in the universe to call home. Sometimes that means leading, other times following. I hope each person finds the wisdom to take a second look at who and what they are following so we can all live together in better harmony (minor chords accepted).

We have become more angry with each other and less tolerant of inconveniences. Some have lost friends and family either from the disease or by actions. It’s been a tough year for real and not in the way politicians always claim when it’s budget time.

This is the measure of who we are. Do we find the extra bit of strength it takes to move on each day despite everything seeming to work against us, or do we throw in the towel, cross the street to join the contrarians and withdraw from society because it doesn’t seem we as individuals can do anything about anything.

Walmart has a sale on strength all week, it’s cheap considering all the alternatives.

This time of year goes beyond religion. There’s a fundamental aspect of Christmas about who we are, who we want to be, who we wish to be. Not just for the next week, but every day.

My wish for you is you are able to take the Christmas spirit with you for the next 365 days (there will be a report due). I also hope each of you finds joy and happiness under your tree in couple days. Be patient. Being anxious about what’s under the tree is a kid’s job. Oh, and on the strength bit, an extra pot of coffee can help too. It works for me.

Merry Christmas to each of you, and if you aren’t religious or practice another one –  Merry Whatever Makes You Happy.

The Shorts

Travis Shilling at the AGO
  • Congratulations to Travis Shilling. The Art Gallery of Ontario recently added a couple of his paintings to their permanent collection.
  • Mariposa folk Festival tickets are on sale at lower prices until December 31. Get them here.
  • The City has wall space for art at the Orillia Recreation Centre for art and it’s time to change what’s been hanging around. They are asking artists to submit ideas for new art on the theme of The Mechanics of Life. You can find details about how to get your art included here. I’m submitting and idea. I’m going all Andy Warhol with it too. It’s going to be a photo of a solitary container of Castrol oil – with a promise of payment next Tuesday to anyone who gets it.
Derick Lehmann and Josephine Martensson-Hemsted at the Ugly Sweater Bowling Party
  • I missed the 7th annual Ugly Sweater Bowling Party. Organizer, Derick Lehmann sent a note that night saying they beat their $3,000 goal for the Sharing Place Food Bank and raised $4,958. Then he sent another saying someone made an additional anonymous donation of $542.  Over the life of the event $23,500 has been raised.
  • Here’s a gig happening in Huntsville. Sean Cotton and The Acoustic Soul Ensemble are doing a show at Canvas Brewing Company. It’s called Acoustic Floyd. I’m telling you about this because Liz Anderson is in the band. When she told me about the gig, my first questions was, “I hope you are doing Great Gig in the Sky?”It would be a travesty if they didn’t with her in the band. It is part of the show. You can get tickets here.
  • Did you get a season ticket here for the Orillia Concert Association’s excellent series? It’s only $70 and I dare you to find a better deal to see three concerts of this type anywhere. Three, you say? The next and first in person concert of the series is February 20 with Sonic Escape (Maria Millar, violin and Shawn Wyckoff, flute) at St. Andrew’s, followed by the Hog Town Brass March 27 at the Opera House. The final concert is May 1 with the Toronto All Star Big Band.
  • You can still catch the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards program on OMAH’s Youtube channel.
  • At the galleries… OMAH has the fantastic, annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition  and a stunning exhibit of portraits by D. Ahsén:nase Douglas you have to see… Dave Beckett has a show at Tiffin’s Creative Centre opening Saturday at 10. a.m. … Peter Street Fine Arts has their annual 6×6 show up to the end of January

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

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