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Creator of cartridge shell poppy speaks at Guelph Civic Museum

New Zealand artist Stephen Mulqueen uses discarded cartridge shells from the First and Second World Wars to construct brass poppies, transforming the refuse of war into symbolic and wearable objects. He is set to speak at the Guelph Civic Museum Friday, September 5th at 2 pm, about the significance of his poppies in a talk entitled, Poppies of War and Peace.

The brass poppies were inspired by Mulqueen's travels to war sites in France, Belgium, and Germany in 2001. "I visited the Flanders Field Museum in Ypres and Tyne Cot Cemetery for the first time and found this very moving," says Mulqueen. "Upon return to New Zealand in 2002, the impact of this journey began to infiltrate my workshop practice."

His goal in creating the poppies was to commemorate the World Wars, and to provoke reflection on "the causes and consequences of war." "I believe that we can engage memory by making things which offer a very tangible link to our own relationships with the past, with each other, and with the possibilities for the future," says Mulqueen. He describes the brass poppy as "a residue of war where 'beauty meets terror.'"

Guelph is the first stop on Mulqueen's North American tour, which is supported by a Fullbright and New Zealand Arts grant.

#HappyMaking Pianos Return to Streets of Guelph this September


Downtown Guelph – Once again, downtown streets will come alive with the sound of music when the #happymaking pianos are rolled out on September 4th.  


Until the end of September, twelve pianos will be scattered throughout the downtown core outside of the following businesses and organizations:  Grey Rock Clothing Co., Thomas Video, Budds, Shakti, TD Canada Trust, Wyndham Art Supplies, River Run Centre, Guelph Community Health Centre and the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. Flour Barrel will have a piano inside the store for shoppers to enjoy.  Guelph Transit will host two pianos, one at Platform #12 and the other in the transit shelter near the fountain in St. George’s Square.

The brain child of Ian Findlay, the #happymaking project started with a simple idea in July 2013. Findlay, owner of Thomas Video on Baker Street, placed a piano on the sidewalk outside of his business and encouraged passersby not only to play the instrument, but also to decorate it with markers. The response was so positive that Findlay decided to partner with the Downtown Guelph Business Association and the Guelph Arts Council to place eight pianos around downtown for the month of September.

Speaking about the project to the Guelph Mercury in September of last year, Findlay said, “It's been an overwhelming success. I think part of its charm is just the simplicity of it. It's just simply putting something that you don't normally see outside on the sidewalks, out to play."

The pianos will be available and free-of-charge for anyone to play every day starting September 4th, although they will be locked and covered overnight. On September 30th, the pianos will be rolled away for seasonal storage at the Sleeman Centre. 

More information about the #happymaking project can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b2kX3uE9oM

Play. Tweet. Share. #happymaking

Culture Days is Almost Here!


There is still plenty of time to register your Culture Days activity. There is no fee to register. If you have a free participatory or interactive arts or cultural activity to offer to the public during the Culture Days weekend, click here to register it today. If you’re not sure about what’s involved in registering, download the Participation Guide. You can also contact Ontario Culture Days with any questions you may have.

This year’s Culture Days weekend will take place on September 26, 27 and 28, 2014. Once again, the event will feature thousands of free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind the scenes”. For more information on presenting an activity or to find activities in your area please visit www.culturedays.ca.

The Culture Days website has a wealth of free tips and tools, including customizable downloadable marketing resources such as the Culture Days logo, posters, postcards, web banners, video bumpers, e-flyers, and more.


Guelph Jazz Festival Readying to Entertain, Inspire and Challenge Audiences

Sun Ra Arkestra, photo by Bud Fulginiti

Guelph Jazz Festival, one of Guelph’s Fab5, returns this fall to bring us five soulful days of innovative, world-class music. The Festival has been at the forefront of scholarly thought on jazz for the past 20 years, exploring the realm of “out” jazz across the globe. The festival features a main stage concert series showcasing critically acclaimed Canadian and international artists, free and Pay What you Can concerts at Market Square and around town, as well as an internationally renowned educational colloquium.

We spoke with David Lander, the Festival’s Metcalf Performing Arts Intern, about what we can look forward to this fall.

Guelph Arts Council What's your role at the Guelph Jazz Festival? What sorts of things have you been doing to prepare for this year’s event?

David Lander I am the Metcalf Performing Arts Intern. It’s a paid internship that Julie Dawn Smith, Executive Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival, and myself applied for together. The Metcalf Foundation does some great things – check them out at http://www.metcalffoundation.com.

D.L. My job is basically to help Julie Dawn Smith with the overwhelming tasks of putting the festival on. This year I have orchestrated the Jazz Around Town component of the festival and will be site managing the free open-air concert happening on Saturday, September 6th from noon to 1 a.m. on Carden Street. I also update the website, I’ve been to Toronto several times to help organize performances that were collaborations/partnerships with the Fort York Heritage Society – lots of stuff!

GAC What can we expect for this year’s line up? Are local musicians performing as well as national and international artists?

D.L. This year’s program features some of the best local artists – Adrian Raso Trio, GUH, Banjo Mechanics (Lewis Melville and Ian Pattison), national artists - Afrodizz (Quebec), Lee Pui Ming (Toronto), Pugs and Crows (BC), international artists – Randy Weston’s African Rhythm’s Trio (NYC), Vijay Iyer (NYC), Mola Sylla (Senegal) and even some not of this planet – Sun Ra Arkestra (Saturn).

GAC What unique qualities - besides featuring musicians from other planets - does the Guelph Jazz Festival bring?

D.L. The Guelph Jazz Festival is a critically acclaimed international festival known for presenting innovative jazz and creative improvised music in a community setting. We present the colloquium, one of the few events in North America to combine a scholarly colloquium with a music festival. Co-presented with the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project (ICASP), the colloquium offers a stimulating mix of panels and keynote addresses by top scholars along with eclectic workshops and concerts featuring Festival artists. For more information on the colloquium, head to guelphjazzfestival.com/2014/colloquium

GAC On the Guelph Jazz Festival website, founding and current Artistic Director, Ajay Heble, refers to the Festival as “a must-go ‘out jazz’ destination for musicians and audiences from around the world.” Can you clarify what Heble is referring to by the term “out jazz”?

D.L. "Out" Jazz is basically just jazz that isn't 'traditional' jazz – more experimental, more improvisational, more unique forms... not big band jazz like Duke Ellington or smooth jazz like Wynton Marsallis but more like Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman and Milfred Graves. Check out them online. You'll see the difference!

The 21st annual Guelph Jazz Festival runs from September 3 until September 7, 2014. Tickets are available for purchase in person, over the phone, or online from the River Run Centre Box Office. Tickets may also be purchased at the door of the concert venue pending availability. See you there!

By Noelle Lalonde

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