This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment – Part Two

By John Swartz

Having just returned from the afternoon opening reception at Cloud Gallery of an exhibit made up of selected pieces (on two floors) from all the artists represented at Cloud, this one is kind of stunning.

By 5 p.m. those still there were mostly the artists and me. Eighteen of the more than 30 Cloud Gallery artists were on hand, (including Jodi Miller who flew in yesterday from Saskatoon). I was about to leave when gallery owner Mark Fletcher started to speak to the group. I thought, you know, one more photo won’t hurt before I go.

He announced, or rather his son Blake did, that since opening, they had paid out $1 million to the artists. People applauded.

Gentle Breeze by Brigitte Granton

That’s a bit of understatement. Since almost everyone still there is an artist, or attached to an artist, there were a lot of happy people with that news.

In fact, Mark told me when I first arrived they had sold 15 of the paintings before the reception started. While I was there I saw him walking four more to his office, including this one by Brigitte Granton.

It’s remarkable an art gallery in Orillia is doing that kind of business. I know a few other artists in town have sold several pieces lately. I think having Cloud Gallery here lifts everyone. Mark also mentioned they are exploring opening a second location in Toronto. I saw a few people I haven’t seen since the before times including Catherine Cadieux, Jan Wheeler and Cathy Boyd. I also had a great conversation with Jodi Miller about art, in particular her art, and photography.

Jodi Miller

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More Art

Hibernation Arts has a few thing happening. Dec. 16 there will be an open house with many of the gallery’s artists on hand from noon to 4 p.m.

MJ Pollack

There are three sections of the wall space with new art on them. The ODAC artists have a selection of paintings from that group. Julie Grimaldi has several drawings to see.

M J Pollack has a very nice series of photographs hanging in another spot of the gallery. She’s been photographing sunrises along our water front for the past 5 years, and this collection is of her favourites.

Peter Street Fine Arts has their annual 6×6 art show on. This small sized original art show has been going on for years and is a great way to give something for Christmas no one else will have. Matter of fact, the same goes for art by any of the artists at other galleries too.

Christmas Tree balls by Laura Hinsberger

Streets Alive has their annual Merry Streets Alive Christmas event happening at Creative Nomad Studios December 16. Each year she gets artists to paint/make tree ornaments. A good number of them are balls to hang on the tree.

What do you think the most often painted subject might be this year? Actually it’s the theme Leslie Fournier suggested, so they all did versions of our world famous Christmas Tree. Several artists did sets of Christmas balls (am I allowed to say that?).

They are going to be unveiled at 1:30 p.m. You get one by making a donation to the Couchiching Conservancy. The event is only an hour long because these things go like crazy, so don’t be late. Deb Halbot will also be there, like she is every year, taking photos of you and whoever, the Christmassy kind.

Speaking of Creative Nomad, have you ordered your commemorative Christmas tree t-shirt or coffee mug? You have to do it online because they’re only making them to fill orders. Some part of the proceeds is being donated to community outreach programs.

Roots North

One of the headline acts for next April’s Roots North Music Festival has been announced and it’s The Redhill Valleys. They are a four piece Country/Rock band. You may have heard the single Anymore from their EP, Travel Well, or seen them at the Boots and Hearts festival.

They’ve won Country Music Association of Ontario awards three years running and a first place prize in the American Songwriter Magazine lyric contest. Weekend passes for the festival are now on sale online.


OK, the clock says you are running out of time. Not generally, well, we all are, but I time to get all your shopping done. Of course you want to make a mark. Here’s how.

I’ve already mentioned art and if you check out the galleries in the Arts District, you’re going to find a lot at $100 or less.  You can go to Manticore Books and get something new to read by Jay Fallis, Wendy McQuaig, Fred Addis, or Steph Dunn, or something older (words don’t fall out of fashion) from Jim Foster, Dave Town, Sherry Lawson, or about a dozen other authors who also are your neighbours.

You can also get tickets. Not parking tickets, but tickets to any of the great things that happen here in Orillia, like Roots North.

The Mariposa Folk Festival has a range of ticket combinations, and let me tell you when the first weekend of July is done, your kids, or grandchildren are going to think you are the best for getting them a really cheap weekend pass. All ticket prices go up in the New Year, so don’t be saying, I’m getting them, thinking you have time.

You can also look very good to someone older by getting tickets to Opera House Summer Theatre plays. Jesse Collins is directing the season bookends – Norm Foster’s The Long Weekend and Those Movies. Fiona Sauder is returning to direct Every Brilliant Thing. Those are the same combinations of playwrights and directors that gave us a great 2023 season. You can order various combinations of tickets online.

If it’s new music made locally you want to get, the best advice is to go to, type in the name of the band or musician you want and buy a download (some artists have CDS and vinyl they’ll ship). I recommend bandcamp because their hosting and royalty system lets bands keep more of the money you spend than all the other online music services.

If you don’t know which music to get (assuming you want to buy from local musicians), type bandcamp into the search box here on SUNonline/Orillia and you’ll get a list of columns in which I’ve typed the word bandcamp. It’s the easiest way because there has been a lot of new music made this year. For older stuff from a time long ago, say the 90s or before, Alleycats Music is your place.

The Shorts

  • The Orillia Silver Band has the last concert of the season Dec. 17 at the Opera House. The 2 p.m. concert features seasonal favourites, medleys of favourites and some new to your ears Christmas tunes. In particular they will play some songs from their Christmas CD including Carol of the Bells, and an arrangement combining music by Bach and Handel, and the most popular Christmas tune in this house, Sleigh Ride. As usual they will take requests and have some sing-a-long tunes. You can get tickets online.
  • Orillia Secondary School has a Christmas concert Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. (donation) at the school. Twin Lakes Secondary School music students have their concert Dec. 14 at the school; admission is by donation.

  • The Orillia Youth Centre has Sam Johnston in on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. for a drop-in program to get music lessons. Music instruments not needed because the youth center has lots of instruments.
  • Every year the awards for the Orillia Santa Claus Parade are handed out at the first council meeting following parade day. That didn’t happen this year. Instead they will be announced Dec. 15 at 5:15 p.m. in front of the Opera House.
  • The Opera House has Duck Soup Productions doing their own musical revue, We Rock Dec. 10; the Barra MacNeils play Dec. 11; Serena Ryder will be in Dec. 15 to bring her Merry Myths Tour to town; Dec. 16 the Titanium Arts Lab dancers will do their Snow Show. Get tickets for any of those online.
  • St. Paul’s Centre has the Skydiggers in Dec. 14 for a Christmas concert. You can find tickets for all those online.
  • The Orillia Museum of Art and History has exhibits to see; The Canadian Landscape Show, 50 Years Of Mariposa Arts Theatre, A Close up on Carmichael (showcasing OMAH’s collection of related items), Jennifer Zardo’s Home Sweet Home and in the basement see The Orillia Police And The Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building… St. Paul’s Centre has the Call to Action 83 Art Project in the Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery.
  • Quayle’s Brewery has Cam Galloway playing Dec. 10; Burke Erwin is in Dec. 14; Ron Whitman Dec. 15; My Missing Piece Dec. 16 and Andrew Walker Dec. 16…  Couchiching Craft Brewing has The Station playing Dec. 10; Vinyl Night is Dec. 14; Cassie Dasilva is in Dec. 15 and Rebekah Hawker Dec. 16… The Hog ‘N Penny has  Shawn Steinhart playing every Friday; Michael Martyn Jessica Martin and Sean Patrick are in Dec. 9; Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. bring your own instrument for a jam… Zachary Lucky plays Picnic Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. … Washago Lions has a Country music jam Dec. 13 at the Lions Hall; Dec. 20 it’s Rock music.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Mark (far right) and Blake Fletcher addressing Cloud Gallery artists.

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