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Join us for a Retro Wine Tasting on November 19


Guelph Arts Council Celebrates 40th Anniversary with a Retro Wine Tasting
Guelph, ON – October 22, 2015 – Guelph Arts Council is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a ’70s-themed “Vintage Fête” at the River Run Centre, Thursday November 19 at 7 pm.

This community event will feature a wine and art pairing and tasting with sommelier Brian Lauder, a silent auction, and special guests Mayor Cam Guthrie and the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble.

Tickets are $30, or guests can support the arts in Guelph with a $50 ticket and get a $20 tax receipt. Tickets are available at riverrun.ca, guelpharts.ca or the River Run Box Office.

Arts Council Chair Cynthia Kinnunen says the event will be a fun way for local artists and arts supporters to network. “We’re so fortunate to have such a vibrant arts community in Guelph. This is a great chance to get together for some wine and retro fun.”

RR VintageFete

Guelph’s was one of the first arts councils in Ontario. It has served as a voice for the arts and artists and has been instrumental in the development of organizations such as Macdonald Stewart Arts Centre (now Art Gallery of Guelph), Guelph Chamber Choir, Guelph Civic Museum, the River Run Centre, Guelph Youth Singers, Royal City Musical Productions and many more.

“Guelph’s lively cultural scene is a testament to the strong role that Guelph Arts Council has played over the past 40 years in terms of cultural development and support,” says Sally Wismer, who served as executive director of the council from 1988 until 2010. “That’s certainly something to celebrate.”

For more information about Vintage Fête and Guelph Arts Council, please visit guelpharts.ca.



Guelph Arts Council Announces Deadline for Youth Opportunities Award

Guelph, ON – October 22, 2015 –Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce the deadline for the Youth Opportunities Award, which is made possible through the GAC Youth Opportunities Fund at The Guelph Community Foundation. The 2015 application deadline is Friday, November 13 at 4 pm. The award’s terms of reference and application instructions are posted at guelpharts.ca/gac-awards-bursaries. Apply online here.

Local artists, not-for-profit groups, and youth are eligible to apply for programs that initiate, enhance or expand opportunities for children and youth under age 25 to experience or become engaged in the arts in Guelph or Wellington County. Local youth are particularly encouraged to apply.

Guelph Arts Council’s Youth Fund was established through the financial success of Youth in Performance presentations that GAC sponsored between 1980 and 1990. Additions to the fund were made over the years, and in 2005 Guelph Arts Council turned over the capital of the fund to The Guelph Community Foundation to create the GAC Youth Opportunities Fund. Since 2009, with revenue generated by the fund, GAC has supported arts opportunities for youth.

The amount of the award(s) varies annually. For 2015, up to $500 will be awarded. Decisions will be made by the GAC Youth Awards Panel, and awards announced by the end of the year.

For more information about the Youth Opportunities Award and Guelph Arts Council, please visit guelpharts.ca, phone 519-836-3280, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or drop by 147 Wyndham Street North – Suite 404, Guelph.

Exploring the Hidden Histories of the Ward

If you haven’t heard of the Guelph Storytelling Project or Hidden Histories, it’s not too late to put it on your calendar. The Guelph Storytelling Project is a collaboration between the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, Grange Hill East neighbourhood group, Two Rivers neighbourhood group, ED Video Media Arts Centre, and the Guelph Film Festival, funded by the Guelph Community Foundation. The project offered a chance for new and experienced filmmakers to create a short film, with equipment and free educational support provided by ED Video. Local people with any level of filmmaking experience (including none!) were encouraged to “investigate and reveal an untold story of a person or place within the Two Rivers or Grange Hill East neighbourhoods of Guelph, illustrating their culture and community”.

Eight short films made through the Guelph Storytelling Project have been selected to be shown at the Guelph Film Festival as part of their ongoing Hidden Histories series.

Jay Wilson and Alison Walton are first-time filmmakers, whose short film is one of those included in Hidden Histories this November. I know Jay Wilson as both a member of Guelph Arts Council, and as a Volunteer Guide on our Historical Walking Tours. On how he got involved with this project, he says “My interest started with Terry Crowley (lead guide) introducing me to The Ward, the historic walks, personal interviews with "ward elders" and then playing in ED Video's sandbox of film making.”

A storyteller by nature and profession, he is also a musician, and has written and performed the original song for the film he and visual artist Alison Walton have created. Their contribution to Hidden Histories is called “There’s a Factory on Our Street” and follows Walton’s developing pastel portrait of the Northern Rubber plant (now Chemtura) on Alice Street in the Ward. In their words, “more a music video, than a documentary, the film is a tribute to the building.” There is a trailer out now, but you’ll have to see the full thing during Guelph Film Festival, and as part of HATCH.

These two had never made a movie before, and took advantage of the support offered by project partner ED Video in a series of free workshops. But they would “still have to come up with the concept, shoot it, add audio, and edit.” When the film was developing, Jay had been “gathering some stories, interviewing residents and reading up on The Ward” in his capacity as a Guelph Arts Council Walking Tour Guide, he detailed on his blog.


ward1 walk

GAC Historical Walking Tour VI: Ward One Pauses at Guelph Carpet and Spinning Mills

From Guelph Mercury Article by May Warren
Photo by Chris Seto

“There's lots of history, starting with Sir John A MacDonald buying up the land because he heard a rumour there might be a train coming through Guelph.

The train is a prominent feature of the Ward, as is the Speed River, several foundries, textile and rubber manufacturing, market gardens, small business and lots of exceptional people… but the documentary will focus on an activity - rendering a building in pastels (making a picture), all the while discovering what we can about its location, when it was built, who lived in it, what did they do, what was going on in the ward when the house was built and so on. Now, that the walks are done for the time being, it is time to focus on the movie making.”


by jay wilson - train tracks in guelph

Photo by Jay Wilson


While Alison was creating this picture, Jay was “filming and trying to figure out editing”, with support from ED Video, learning such skills as camera use, movie making, and the trials and tribulations that go along with it.


Northern Rubber

Northern Rubber (now Chemtura) by Alison Walton


Their short film may be about a building, but it’s also about the experience of a neighbourhood’s landmarks and its people. Many curious neighbours emerged during filming to ask what they were doing out there in front of the “factory on our street”, as the lyrics go. Something that sounds like it would have attracted attention was the unique equipment set up employed by the new filmmakers.

Jay explained that without proper equipment, it’s very difficult to do a ‘truck’ shot of a building, so improvisations become necessary. He went on to describe how, with a little imagination, a camera mounted on a plant stand and a longboard can get you that long, rolling shot you need, so long as it doesn’t escape and roll into traffic!


by jay wilson ed videos camera and plant stand

Pictured: The instruments of improvisation
Photo by Jay Wilson


Catch “There’s a Factory on Our Street” along with 7 other shorts that make up Hidden Histories at the following locations as part of Guelph Film Festival:

November 2 – Two Rivers Screening
7pm – Tytler P.S. – Free

Film screening followed by Q&A with directors and subjects

November 3 – Grange Hills East Screening
7pm – Community Room@394 Auden Rd – Free

Film screening followed by Q&A with directors and subjects

November 2-8
24hr projection – Guelph Arts Council: HATCH Space – Free

Hidden Histories is an ongoing series designed to give local filmmakers the opportunity to create new works. For 2015 the focus is on storytelling. The finished project includes nine short video documentaries by new and established filmmakers. The videos investigate and reveal untold stories within the Two Rivers and Grange Hill East neighbourhoods of Guelph, illustrating their culture and community. The project began last February, with workshops and mentoring through ED Video, and culminates with the inclusion of the films at the Guelph Film Festival.

Project Manager: Erin Sproule

Participating Artists: Sandy Clipsham, Nick Craine, Dawn Matheson, Elia Morrison, and Jay Wilson.

This project is co-presented by the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, ED Video, and GFF, with support from the Guelph Community Foundation and the Guelph Arts Council.

The Hidden Histories: The Story Telling Project has been co-curated by filmmaker Erin Sproule and Guelph Film Festival Coodinator Carolyn Meili.

Hidden Histories 2015 Teaser from Elia Morrison on Vimeo.

Have Your Say on Ontario’s First Culture Strategy

Did you know that Ontario is developing its first-ever Culture Strategy? Don’t miss your chance to contribute to this important conversation. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has launched province-wide public consultations – ‘Culture Talks’ – on the strategy. Consultations will run until December 7, 2015.

Your ideas will help develop a strategy that sets out a vision for arts and culture in Ontario and identifies priorities and actions to guide the government’s support for the sector in the years to come.

Together, let’s make sure Guelph has a say in this new strategy!

Culture Talks will help the province –

  • establish what Ontarians value about culture
  • identify opportunities to better meet the needs of the arts and culture sector
  • ensure that the government’s policies and programs reflect Ontario’s diverse populations and communities

How to participate

  • Discussion paper

Read the full discussion paper and share your comments. The contents of the submissions received will become part of the public record and may be made available for public viewing, either in person or electronically. Every community is different and each has its own unique cultural values and institutions. We encourage you to share stories and insights about what culture means to Guelph, and how your municipal government and local cultural organizations help to support this. More submission content ideas are included at the end of this article.

  • Town halls – October to December

Attend one of the town halls. Not your ‘average’ town halls, these events include engaging activities and inspiring conversations with local arts and culture personalities. 

  • Online discussion – Ontario.ca/CultureTalks

Join the conversation online, in real time. You can share your thoughts about Ontario arts and culture, discuss with other participants and vote on their ideas. 

How to encourage others to participate

Please encourage members of your sector or community to participate in Culture Talks.

Here are some ways you can spread the word –

  • emails – send an email to your stakeholders
  • newsletter – include a paragraph or two in your next newsletter
  • website – post information about the consultations on your website
  • social media channels – use your social media channels e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.
  • comment on the government’s social media sites

The Ministry has developed a social media toolkit to help you share information about Culture Talks. The toolkit includes content that you can use or adapt for your social media channels [e.g. photos, Tweets, Facebook posts, emails].

If you’re experiencing writer’s block, or aren’t sure where to start, here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Consider including some of these messages in your written submission:

Overall message about the importance of culture in the province

  • CULTURE IS VITAL to the prosperity of our communities. Through the lens of respect, sharing and inclusiveness, describe the importance of culture in Ontario through Guelph’s experiences. For example, how has culture:
    • Transformed our city?
    • Created jobs or new businesses in Guelph?
    • Made Guelph more attractive to live, work, and visit?

Reinforce the message that culture is important to Guelph's quality of place and the creation of a robust business environment, and it is crucial to Ontario's long-term success.

The role of culture at the municipal/regional/county level

  • LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE IMPORTANT and have a major direct impact on Ontario's cultural development. Describe the unique role your local government undertakes to enhance Ontario's culture sector. For example, does your local government:
    • Have a culture plan?
    • Invest in arts, cultural industries, cultural heritage, or public libraries? 
    • Own or maintain cultural assets for the community?
    • Work with the local community to increase cultural experiences and programming?

Reinforce the message that all governments, including local governments, have a role in helping to promote the value of culture in Ontario. Share stories, case studies, images, and numbers showcasing your municipality's work and investment in culture.

Detailed elements of what the Ontario Culture Strategy should address

  • ONTARIANS EXPECT local governments to be actively involved and want greater involvement by their local governments. How can the first-ever Ontario Culture Strategy help your local government? For example, would you like to see the following? If so, include this in your written submission, along with other requests specific to your municipality:
  • Emphasize the importance of local governments in the Ontario Culture Strategy Guiding Principles, recognizing that culture is different everywhere and highlight the unique role of local governments in supporting Ontario's diverse municipalities;
  • Invest in funding for municipalities to boost the implementation of municipal cultural plans, and strengthen the management and development of local cultural resources; and
  • Advance the role of local governments in fostering an environment in which arts, cultural industries, cultural heritage, and public libraries thrive in communities by partnering with relevant professional networks and organizations (like the Guelph Arts Council!) on the creation of new resources and tools, professional training, and knowledge sharing opportunities.

Ontario’s culture starts in its communities. Support to local governments and cultural organizations creates culturally vibrant and tourism-ready communities where people want to live, work and play.

If you’d like more information about Culture Talks contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for your support, commitment and efforts to promote arts and culture in Ontario.

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