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Welcome Back Sonya! Farewell Noelle…

Sonya Poweska, Executive Director of Guelph Arts Council, has returned from maternity leave. After a year away, Sonya is eager to get back to work, "I'm excited for all the new changes; the new website is finally up in action and looks great! I'm also really excited to work with the new staff and to talk with our members again, and the upcoming fundraising initiative."



With over 15 years of experience working in the arts, Sonya Poweska has a passion for promoting and developing the cultural sector both locally and nationally. Over the years, Poweska has worked as a curator, an events and program manager, a fundraiser, and as an executive director. Her work has taken her across Ontario including to Ottawa, Kingston, London, Mississauga, and Guelph. Sonya came to Guelph Arts Council in January of 2012 after working for the Mississauga Arts Council.

Throughout her career, Poweska has sought to deepen public understanding of the importance of the arts as both cultural and economic areas of development. This continues to be the focus of her work as an artist, curator, and arts administrator. "My favourite part about being an Executive Director is working with the community and advocating for the arts; making people realize culture is important to community vitality, economic development and tourism," states Poweska.

This September we also say goodbye to our wonderful summer student, Noelle Lalonde. Noelle was hired in June through the Canada Summer Jobs program and has been busy this summer working as our Communications Coordinator. As the Communications Coordinator, Noelle has been managing our Twitter and Facebook pages and maintaining guelpharts.ca. She has also been interviewing GAC members and volunteers for our biweekly Arts Blasts, as well as writing and publishing the articles. Noelle is headed back to school in Toronto this fall, where she studies Drawing and Painting at OCAD University. We wish you all the best with your studies!

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.


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