Text Size

CHMA WWD Acquiring Local Original Art: Visual Artists, Apply by December 11, 2015

Artists, apply now! Applications close Dec 11.

artists tour CMHA 2015 photo by Katie Wilde
Local artists tour CMHA WWD's new building with staff. Photo by Katie Wilde


Guelph, ON – November 12, 2015 –The Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin, in association with the Guelph Arts Council, invites artists to submit proposals for artwork. The artwork will be installed in the new CMHA WWD building located at 80 Waterloo Avenue in Guelph. The project is open to professional and emerging artists residing and actively practising in Waterloo Region, Wellington County or Dufferin County.

“Guelph Arts Council is thrilled to collaborate with CMHA WWD on this art project. The project creates an opportunity for local artists to contribute to a sense of welcome and hope at the CMHA WWD’s new facility, and builds new bridges within the community sector,” says Patti Broughton, Executive Director of Guelph Arts Council. 

The artwork should take inspiration from the vision and mission of the CMHA WWD. More specifically, the artwork should warmly welcome people into the facility and convey a strong sense of hope, possibility and optimism which supports our conviction that people can recover, and many people do recover, from mental illness. 

Artwork in all media will be considered. While wall-mounted works are preferred, the committee is open to an exceptional idea that uses an alternative display method. Proposals must include all costs associated with acquiring and installing the artwork. Supporting documents must be submitted by Friday, December 11, 2015. Visit guelpharts.ca/calls-for-submissions for details and to apply online click here.

Interested artists are invited to drop in to tour the facility on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 between 5 – 6 pm, and must register online. Representatives of CMHA WWD and Guelph Arts Council will be on hand to answer questions. Selected artwork will be announced by January 31, 2016 and installation will be completed by March 31, 2016, unless otherwise negotiated.

About the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin

CMHA WWD is Canada’s largest CMHA chapter and provides a full care system for those with addictions, mental health or developmental needs. CMHA WWD serves everyone from children to adults to seniors, all under one roof.. It is also the lead partner in Here 24/7, the single access point to the entire mental health, addictions and crisis sector in Waterloo Region, as well as Wellington and Dufferin counties.

About Guelph Arts Council

For forty years, Guelph Arts Council has been dedicated to supporting, stimulating and promoting arts and culture in Guelph. Guelph Arts Council is funded in part by The Guelph Community Foundation and City of Guelph. We also acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), an agency of the Government of Ontario.


For further information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Megan Brady, Communications Specialist
Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin
1-844-264-2993 Ext. 2106
226-979-4578 (cell)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Patti Broughton, Executive Director
Guelph Arts Council
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jane Graham Memorial Award Memories

by Graeme Sheffield


I think my first interest in blacksmithing began when I visited the local living history museum pioneer farmstead. I was about ten years old. Of all the displays that enchanted me, the most was the blacksmith shop. I was amazed at how the blacksmith could take a piece of plain straight steel, heat it in the fire of his forge, transfer it to his anvil and deftly turn it into a horseshoe nail ring, which he then presented to me. I still have the ring.

Twenty–odd years later, I still had fond memories of that farm smithy, so decided to teach myself blacksmithing as a creative way to relieve my stress from my job. This decision sent me down a path of discovery and learning that changed my life.

Within two years of part-time dabbling in my new-found passion I was accepted to be part of the 2005 Guelph Studio Tour. My creativity at the forge increased dramatically as the tour weekend approached. I was envisioning a new type of clientele that I had never met before. One who would admire and appreciate my work as an artist and the medium that I had chosen to work in. I was also apprehensive of the public’s view of my work and my newly discovered skills.

I was pleasantly surprised with a successful tour weekend, making sales and receiving commissions from the exposure. This positive experience drove my passion for the art further and a greater desire to learn everything I could about blacksmithing.

I heard about the untimely passing of one of the respected Studio Tour members, Jane Graham, earlier in 2005. Various Tour members commented on Jane’s passion for art and that it helped define who she was. The Graham family had set up a memorial fund to award successful applicants who demonstrated a commitment to advancing their artistic practice, through a professional development opportunity. This was exactly the boost I needed. This bursary would allow me to attend an intensive workshop with another respected local smith to develop my skills as a budding professional.

The Graham family and the Guelph Arts Council were pleased with my application and genuine commitment to furthering my skills and the craft of blacksmithing, so awarded me with the second annual Jane Graham Memorial Award.

I’m very glad to have been awarded the Jane Graham Award when I did. It gave me the boost I needed to launch me in the direction I wanted to go as an artist.

Here I am ten years later. I run a successful artisan blacksmithing business full time. Between completing commissions, I participate in art shows, give lessons, and public demonstrations. My passion for the art remains strong. It defines me.

- Graeme Sheffield, Blacksmith


2012 Business card front



Thank you, Graeme Sheffield, for helping us celebrate our 40th anniversary, and for all you do to help make Guelph a rich artistic community!

The history of Guelph Dance

 by Guelph Dance

Guelph Dance had its humble start in 1998, when its first-ever Festival was held. In 2016, it will celebrate its 18th season, and the organization is stronger than ever!

Founders Janet Johnson and Catrina von Radecki began the organization, formerly called the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, when they arrived in Guelph (Catrina from Montreal, Janet from Toronto) and found there was no established dance community here. Ever the arts entrepreneurs, they decided to create one, with the belief that dancers should be able to live, dance, and perform outside major metropolitan areas.

As dancers, choreographers, and teachers, Janet and Catrina did not have a lot of experience running a dance-presenting organization. Immediately they looked to the Guelph Arts Council (GAC) for guidance. GAC provided training, organizational assistance, and served as a fiscal sponsor before Guelph Dance received its charitable status. Even as Guelph Dance has grown and become a major player in the arts scene in Guelph, as well as across Canada, it has continued to benefit from the information and services GAC provides – from its online calendar, to asking its staff about best practices, to sharing office space.

Today, Guelph Dance offers a four-day Festival, featuring new and established contemporary dance artists from across Canada (and at times from abroad) performing and teaching in venues including the River Run Centre, Exhibition Park, and smaller studio spaces. It started the Local Initiatives project to ensure that local dance artists are included in the Festival and encouraged to be co-participants in growing the Guelph dance community.

Guelph Dance’s other presentations include the Youth Moves series, which presents youth dance companies from across Southern Ontario performing in a shared, professionally produced concert at River Run; the CSA Nooner Series, a co-presentation of professional dance with the Central Student Association at the University of Guelph; and ongoing co-presentations with Hillside Festival, Guelph Jazz Festival, Guelph Film Festival, and Eden Mills Writers’ Festival (collectively known as the “Fab 5”). Guelph Dance also offers several outreach programs, including the very popular Arts Explosion Camps in March and July, and a Workshop-in-Schools

Guelph Dance is indebted to GAC for all it has done for the organization, and perhaps most importantly, for fostering a rich and strong arts environment in Guelph that has helped all of the artists and arts organization here to thrive.

guelph dance


Thank you, Guelph Dance, for helping us to celebrate our 40th anniversary, and for all you do to make Guelph a rich artistic community!

A Dream Come True

by Focus on Nature


Focus on Nature is a local Community Benefit Organization that connects kids to nature through photography. With early support and guidance from the Guelph Arts Council (GAC), we have evolved from one mother’s great idea for encouraging her own kids to spend more time outdoors into the popular school program that we provide today.

In many ways we are a child of the GAC, as the Council nurtured Focus on Nature through its early steps of defining itself as an arts organization – while we linked with other like-minded community groups, writing successful grant applications, and piloting workshops in local elementary schools. Under the umbrella of the Arts Council, we were able to attract sufficient funding to get to the point where we are now: a thriving social enterprise with our own Registered Charity number from Revenue Canada.

From the beginning a core concept of Focus on Nature was to awaken a love of nature in children. An appreciation of the arts has always been an important way of discovering beauty in the natural world. Put a camera in the hands of a young person, show them how to shoot a well-composed image of nature and you open their eyes to new ways of seeing. “I never knew what a tree looked like before.” “I love exploring my backyard with my camera as soon as I get home.” These are some of the comments we receive from kids who have taken the day-long Focus on Nature workshop. A window of creative possibilities is opened, often for the first time, and the young photo artists are very proud of their work.

As a volunteer-driven organization we bring the community into the classroom. Volunteer mentors share their love of the arts, of science, of photography, and the joy of being outdoors, with the class. We are building bridges between generations that help build bridges to an appreciation of the natural world.

We teach them how to find the beauty of nature in their own neighbourhood, and then how to share that with their friends, families and community. Recently, the Guelph General Hospital Foundation commissioned 60 of the students’ photos as a tribute to their retiring CEO. These photos now hang permanently on the hospital walls to forever brighten the lives of patients, visitors and staff alike. The idea that their work will make a positive difference in other people’s lives is something that the students won’t soon forget.

Today Focus on Nature is touching the lives of thousands of young people, and reaching the wider community as well, with the message that our connections to nature need to be nurtured. The arts are an important way of achieving that and we thank GAC for helping to make this reality a dream come true!




Thank you, Focus on Nature, for helping us to celebrate our 40th anniversary, and for all you do to make Guelph a rich artistic community!

Sign up for e-news

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
GCF logo horiz BW