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Artists and Historians Wanted!

by Katie Wilde and Guelph Museums


There’s a new(ish) art event in town, and there are only two days left to apply to be one of the artists or historians making this nuit-blanche-style event a truly awesome night!

Last year saw the first iteration, known as the Guelph190: History@Night Party. Attendees of the inaugural event roamed the Guelph Civic Museum building and grounds, taking in installations which tied into Guelph history, such as a pop-up exhibit about Charles Raymond and his sewing machine factory, or summer backyard theatre with Jay Wilson.

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This year, you’ll know the event by the name Doors Open After Dark, (or Guelph 191: After Dark), which will celebrate Guelph’s 191st birthday with history and art activations at and around the Civic Museum from 9pm to 1am on the night of April 21, 2018.

This free event, coinciding with Doors Open Guelph, is aimed at creating opportunities to connect, explore and engage the community with history in unique ways.

Submissions for Guelph 191: Doors Open After Dark are encouraged to explore Guelph’s history and identity through themes of reconciliation, immigration, landscape, culture, and innovation.

This is a paid opportunity, open to individual historians and artists, as well as collectives and groups. Preference will be given to residents of the City of Guelph and Wellington County.

Installations will be selected and presented through an open call process. A jury, formed by Guelph Museums, will select the featured installations.

Applicants who agree to create a site-specific project in public space, which responds to the theme and occurs during the event hours will be considered. The museum is also interested in considering projects that may also have a presence during the day, April 21 from 10 AM to 4 PM, as part of Doors Open Guelph (presented by Guelph Arts Council).

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Applicants are asked to include a description of the project/installation, how it will engage the audience, and any details that will help the jury to visualize the project’s execution. The jury will also need to know an applicant’s honorarium expectation, and material fees if required.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM Thursday, March 29, 2018. See the call and application for full details and requirements. For more information, contact Val Harrison, Supervisor, Visitor Experiences, at 519-836-1221 x 2773 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

5 Tips to Amp up Your Art on Social Media

by Hilary Dunn (new member to the GAC communications committee, aspiring yogi, and big fan of cupcakes – for breakfast, lunch...anytime really)

Social media is the new way to advertise, and it can be a great tool to profile and promote your work. Whether you have a show coming up, a big event, or just have some great new pieces to share – social media can help you connect with new audiences and keep your die-hard fans happy. Here are some tips to get you started or amp up your profile, regardless of what platform you’re using.

1. Pictures are great, but videos are better.

If you’re going to take the time to set up a Facebook or Instagram account, be sure to gather some great content. You’re an artist, so pictures of your work are a must, but short videos capturing the creative process can be just as captivating. They don’t need to be long – short clips can mesmerize.

2. It’s called social for a reason.

Social media is popular because it’s, well, social. People will be drawn to your images and content because you are a talented artist, but they also want to get to know YOU. Include an interesting fact about yourself in your bio or profile description. Share what you’re doing in and out of the studio.

3. Use it or lose it.

There’s nothing worse than starting an account and not using it. So if you’re going to take the plunge and get on social media, be present. Post regularly. There are many social media tools out there that can help with scheduling posts in advance, but you want to make sure you’re checking in often and responding to your followers. Thank them for sharing, and like their comments. Don’t let days, or worse weeks, go by without a post.

If that sounds like a lot to manage, remember that you can pick just one platform to focus on, and choose to branch out later. There are tools with free and paid versions that allow you to compose and schedule posts ahead of time, which can then be sent out to multiple platforms at once. 

4. Share the love.

Use social media to connect with other artists. Like their posts, share their content, or drop them a comment when you see something you like. The feeling will be mutual and while you help extend their network and reach, they will accelerate yours.

5. Hashtags can #help.

Hashtags can help others find you. Do some exploring – what hashtags are other artists using with their work? If you’re at an event, find the tag and get in on the fun. Or see what content you can leverage with a trending hashtag. April 25 is #DenimDay – get creative or just post yourself deep in the creative process wearing your blue jeans.

Need an example? Check out a few of our members making great use of social media: https://www.instagram.com/kiamstudio/https://www.instagram.com/atticgold/; https://www.facebook.com/SandyMiddletonPhotographicArt/ ; https://www.facebook.com/DSTRCTGuelph/; https://twitter.com/emwf

Interested in more How To’s from GAC? Let us know what you’d like to learn more about by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

One of Guelph's Musical Icons Chooses Easter Requiem For Farewell Concert

 by Katie Wilde

This Saturday marks one last chance to see the Guelph Chamber Choir perform under the direction of its founding artistic director, Gerald Neufeld.

After 37 years of leadership, under which the choir has developed its international reputation for excellence, Neufeld is retiring. The past year has seen a farewell season of sold out concerts and a new CD recording, Carols of the Bells, released at the end of 2017.

Truly, Saturday’s concert program could not be better timed. As the choir director explains,

"Easter weekend can be a time of reflection for people about their mortality even if they do not espouse a religious faith. Brahms’ Requiem is a deeply moving work of comfort and, ultimately, a work of joy. To quote Psalm 126 from the first movement, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goes forth and weeps… shall doubtless come again with rejoicing.” The second half of the concert begins with three pieces that are like a Good Friday meditation with words from the traditional Requiem Mass. It ends with three pieces that encapsulate the essence of joy and a love for music, a feeling that people often have on Easter Day or with hints of Spring that we experience at this time of year."

During a busy week of rehearsals, Neufeld found some time for an interview in which he reflects on this time of endings and new beginnings.

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Some members have been in the Guelph Chamber Choir since its inception. Gerald Neufeld and members of the Guelph Chamber Choir, 1986-86 (left) and 2012-13 (right). Images courtesy of Guelph Chamber Choir.

The article recently published in Dynamic (p. 20) is a great overview of your career with the choir. Are there any smaller significant memories, particular to a single place, time or person that you’d like to share?
An important occasion that I member fondly is the first major concert that was given in the newly constructed River Run Centre.  The GCC and friends performed Orff's Carmina Burana for the opening of the Guelph Spring Festival that year.  Even with challenges of a bare stage with no sound shell, the excitement on stage and in the audience was palpable.  We were all so happy to have a concert hall that still needed a lot of finishing but was just right for Guelph.

You’ll be staying on as artistic director during the search for a new conductor, with finalists conducting the first two concerts of the fall season. Have you ever been on the other side, (at the risk of sounding overly dramatic) conducting for your life?
Yes. I have been in quite a number of important competitions.  The first one was for the Leslie Bell Competition for Choral Conductors which, to my surprise, I won when I was still quite young.  The second was for a Canada Council Grant to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Iowa. From the 14 candidates that conducted the Elmer Iseler Singers in competition for this grant, I was the fortunate winner of substantial funding for 2 years of study.  I have entered the Guelph Chamber Choir in many CBC competitions for amateur choirs, some which we won and more that we didn't win. These were all very important learning experiences for me and the choir. 

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"Then and Now", Gerald Neufeld in the 1980s, and in 2016. Images courtesy of the Guelph Chamber Choir. 

What can you tell us about what’s next for the choir? What does the transition of such a long standing leader mean for a musical group like this?
New leadership gives the choir an opportunity to develop in new and interesting ways.  A different Artistic Director will bring other skills to the rehearsal process as well as new repertoire to explore and different ways of presenting concerts to the community.  It's really quite exciting to see what a new generation of conductors can bring to the podium.

Once a new artistic director is found, what’s next for you? Will you be in the audience or take some time away for family or travel?
I will certainly be in the audience to support the GCC and its new conductor.  There are many other interests that I'd like to pursue, one being travel to foreign countries, but I also look forward to spending more time with family and five wonderful grandchildren.

What will you miss the most about GCC? Is there anything you won’t you miss?
I will miss the rehearsals and concerts with the GCC.  I look forward to continuing the friendships I made over the past 38 years with members of the choir and the Board of Directors.  I will not miss some of the other duties of an Artistic Director that take up a huge amount of time, chief among them being many, many hours filling out grant applications. I very much appreciate the support of the City of Guelph, the Ontario Arts Council and other organizations and individuals.  However necessary and important these grant applications are to the survival of any arts organization, not many of us enjoy the amount of time and detail that goes into an application to the Ontario Arts Council. I must admit that making music is still my first love in this vocation. 

What has your farewell season been like? Has anything surprised you?
My farewell season has been a wonderful experience.  I have enjoyed immensely the work with other community choirs on our first concert and our collaboration with a highly skilled handbell choir for our Christmas concert.  Performing Handel's Messiah is always very rewarding, even though I've conducted that piece over 30 times, and I am very much looking forward to our concert on March 31st featuring Brahms's Requiem, one of my favourite works. I've been happily surprised to see sell-out audiences for all the concerts so far this season.   

What are you looking forward to about this weekend’s final concert?
Brahms's Requiem, one of the major masterworks of the choral/orchestral literature, is a marvelous affirmation of life and hope. In this way it differs from the traditional Latin Requiem Mass.  The music is tender, yet powerful in many instances and gloriously beautiful.  I am delighted that we will have an orchestra of period instruments similar to those played in Brahms' time. The specialists who play these very expressive instruments are wonderful musicians whose skill in playing them always amazes me.  Together with the GCC and friends, totalling 60 singers, this is a rare opportunity for us to perform music in a way that is unique in Canada.   

Don’t miss your chance to take in this weekend’s performance, and see Gerald Neufeld and the Guelph Chamber Choir off to the next stage of their adventures. Order your tickets now online from or phone the River Run Centre Box office at (519)763-3000.

For more pre-concert buzz, enjoy this video interview filmed at a recent Guelph Chamber Choir rehearsal from Guelph Life http://www.rogerstv.com/media?lid=237&rid=8&gid=290854.


Artists Emerge in Close Quarters

by Juilee Raje


Guelph Arts Council and University of Guelph School of Fine Art and Music are now hosting Close Quarters, the Spring Exhibition for Guelph Young Artists Mentorship Project.

Works from visual artists Laurel McLeod, Anne Munroe, Jessica Buchanan, Ahmri Vandeborne, and Sam Johns will be on display in the Heritage Room at 10C Shared Space.

The dialogue that will be activated by the paintings and sculpture in this group exhibition will be enriching and multilayered. The artists are at different points in their journeys as arts & cultural producers, and have been developing their practices by experimenting with styles of expression that range from abstract painting, intuitive approaches to depicting nature, sculptural tensions, and more.

Each artist’s approach is visually stimulating, driven, and synthesizes the traditional practices of painting and sculpture into something new and unexpected. A recurring aesthetic that has these works gravitating towards each other is the desire to mediate on the natural environment and identity, with great sensitivity to how the elements move us towards expressing their influences using materials found in, or outside of the studio.

Anne Munroe explores her appreciation for the works of Helen Frankenthaler and John Kissick, unifying their distinctive artistic characteristics while adding her own unique touch to her paintings. Jessica Buchanan creates intriguing and detailed works within her versatile practice of depicting landscapes, still lifes, and abstraction in the medium of acrylic paint on canvas.

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Jessica Buchanan of Creative Canvas Paintings (left), Laurel McLeod (centre), and After the Night, by Sam Johns (right). Images courtesy of the artists. 


Laurel McLeod redefines the act of ‘documenting a process’ as she observes the forms that wind, snow, and nature make and works to mimic or trace their forms on canvas through new artistic materials, like preserved moss. Her work asks, “can humans replicate what nature can make?” Ahmri Vandeborne’s work also handles environmental aesthetics and takes an investigative, scientific approach. She examines climate change and human beings’ impact on the natural world, and depicts moments of chaos and instability caused by interruptions between environmental and human identities. Sam Johns’ work adds an important dimension to the show by exploring deeper ways to connect with complex issues of identity, memories, and emotions through sculpture. Bravely expressing both positive and negative experiences, Johns aims to build a bridge between artist and audience.  

By bringing these themes to life in Close Quarters, we invite you to spend time with these works and indulge in their energies. The exhibition will run from Tuesday, April 3 to Friday April 13. 10C Shared Space at 42 Carden Street is a wheelchair accessible building with free admission. Guelph Young Artists Mentorship Project is presented by GAC and Guelph SOFAM, and is supported by the RBC Emerging Artists Project.

Anne Munroe
Anne Munroe has been driving her practice towards bringing more abstraction into her landscape paintings. She enjoys stepping into the shoes of American expressionist Helen Frankenthaler to get a feel for the painter’s soft colour washes, and observes works from Southern Ontario artist John Kissick to appreciate his hybrid pictorial spaces and unapologetic, gestural use of colours. Anne’s harmonious paint strokes and washes of colour invite you into the painting, while allowing your eyes to dance around the canvases to take in the dynamism and activity of the abstract forms.  

Laurel McLeod  
Laurel McLeod is an emerging artist and University of Guelph student, specializing in Studio Art and minoring in Art History. She enjoys painting, photography practices, and is interested in exploring Zen Buddhism in her current works. Her drawings and paintings are often experimental, playful, and responsive to the environment, and she gives great care to the stages of conceptualizing an artwork.

Jessica Buchanan
Jessica Buchanan has been painting for over eight years and runs a business titled Creative Canvas Paintings. She exercises artistic and commercial professionalism by creating many versatile artworks, and has participated in several community murals and art shows in Guelph. Buchanan offers clients a range of original artworks on her website, and is open to customizing works to suite individual visions.

Ahmri Vandeborne
Ahmri Vandeborne displays a passion for anthropogenic climate change and examines the fabric of ecopsychology (the study of the relationship between humans and the natural world through employing psychological and ecological principles). Her work highlights tensions that are created in the natural world when humans disrupt and interfere with the ecological stability, by depicting moments of chaos and unnatural activity in her art.  

Sam Johns
Sam Johns is a graduate of the University of Guelph Studio Art program. His broad practice encompasses installation sculpture, happenings, and performance art, dealing with issues of queer identity, stress, and sexual violence. His works amplify both positive and negative experiences by bringing them in a new context. By translating multidimensional issues into tangible experiences, Johns’ work explores how the performer and audience can engage more symbiotically with each other through art.

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