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It's Your Turn to Make Dreams Come True

By Sarah Goldrup

It's time for you, the community, to make some dreams come true!

The Oak Tree Project is a unique opportunity to strengthen the arts and culture of our community. Initiated by the Mactaggart Team, the Oak Tree Project recognizes the amazing impact that the arts can have on a community and how important it is to support the local charities that make that happen.

This is why they’ve decided to fund the arts this year:

“The arts also have the power to transform lives, provide a proven positive impact on development, help to refine motor skills and improve coordination, unlock talent, raise aspirations and establish an appreciation for different cultures.

This year, The Mactaggart Team will focus on strengthening local charities with the best ideas to build community through the arts. We’re looking for local charities that have the best ideas to enhance their capacity for supporting creative programming through the arts. We will donate $5,000 to an arts charity nominated by members of our community. A second donation of $1,000 will also be made.”

These not-for-profit initiatives invigorate their communities by creating opportunities and programming. They foster economic growth, support local artists, and bring a love for arts and culture to the youth and other members of our community. It’s a sure bet that all of us belong to or have been impacting by the amazing charities that sustain our community here in Guelph.

You can support your favourite local charities by voting for them through the Oak Tree Project. Many arts initiatives depend on external funding to continue their work or grow into exciting new projects. Through your nomination and by sharing your stories you will give your favourite charities a chance to receive the support to continue their work.

There are many fantastic projects and charities to be nominated, many of which are brought to you by members of Guelph Arts Council.

Please submit your nomination! Even if the charity isn’t awarded the full $5000, your stories are an invaluable boost to their efforts as they apply for other funding.

Nominations are open until July 15, 2015.

We at Guelph Arts Council have partnered with The Children’s Art Factory, an Art studio for children with a focus on the process of Art through play. We believe that in play, creativity blossoms. In order for children of all ages and incomes to benefit, CAF and Guelph Arts Council will build a series of portable art-based activities that could be borrowed or rented through an outreach program. This program would not only provide cutting-edge art education but revenue for both organizations. Examples of activities are plexi-glass easels; magnet table for building; a puppet theatre and stage with working instruments. Please vote for us!

But don’t stop there. Here are some of the other amazing local charities and what they’re working on. Below are our members’ initiatives, and the rest can (and should!) be viewed at http://live-oaktree-nominations.pantheon.io

Ed Video has had a meaningful relationship with the City of Guelph for almost 40 years. Media art matters here. Over the years our community has joined together to make works on art, political, environmental and social issues. To celebrate, we propose to use the Oaktree grant to do three short documentaries presenting creative stories from underserved communities in partnership with three other non-profits. This will launch a program and Web site we hope to continue through our 40th anniversary year. For more info go here: http://www.edvideo.org/donate/fundraising

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival will use the funds to revitalize our new facility, a lovely historical (former) church. Renovating this space will allow the Festival, now in its 27th year, to expand programming year-round, increasing the opportunities for established and emerging artists to present their work, publishers to showcase their authors, and aspiring writers and artists of all ages to participate in workshops and showcases. Funding will increase our capacity to support the arts by encouraging a culture of reading, writing and creating, as well as nurturing the next generation of writers and artists.

Focus on Nature provides full-day photography workshops in elementary schools, inspiring kids to express themselves creatively while exploring the natural world around them. We deliver our core programming in classrooms in order to reach the broadest audience, including kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access to specialized arts programming. Teachers love the program and many invite us back year after year. Unfortunately some schools can’t afford the subsidized fee that covers a portion of program costs. This grant will rectify that, allowing us to increase our reach into priority schools.

Guelph Jazz Festivalbelieves music-making is a tremendous formative experience for young people. Youths participating in Guelph Jazz Links (a Guelph Jazz Festival / Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble partnership) hone their music skills, create new works, and expand their thinking about music-making and themselves, all under the guidance of local musician Brent Rowan and internationally acclaimed jazz masters. The culminating experience is a series of featured performances during the Guelph Jazz Festival. Oak Tree funding will let Guelph Jazz Links operate year-round and add artists-in-residence to further mentor Guelph’s youth.

Guelph Little Theatre Our current home is a converted industrial building that we are working hard to turn into a first class theatre. With patron support, 250 new seats with aisle lighting were installed in 2013, last year we completely rebuilt and sealed the stage deck and we are looking ahead to replace signage in 2017. As it is with older buildings, the next job is around the corner. We share our stage with local arts organizations each year! 2015 sees GLT as the main stage for the Guelph Jazz Festival. Capital improvements to the theatre will help the community by increasing safety and accessibility.

Guelph Public Library provides lifelong learning opportunities and the freedom to read, learn, and discover offering a wealth of accessible resources, services, technologies, and programs to meet community needs. For many, access is crucial-attested by steadily rising usage and the 2800 people who enter our doors daily for tools to enrich, improve, and transform their lives. $5000 will expand our arts and culture programs for all, including youth, seniors, immigrants, and those with special needs- specifically creating a ‘living artist’ series where artists can create, inspire, and promote literacy through art.

Murals of Hope: A Mural Celebrating the Community of Guelph!

HATCH is a project that will address the need for more community arts space in Guelph. We at Guelph Arts Council (GAC) will collaborate with partners, artists and property owners to animate Guelph’s urban streetscape in unexpected ways. GAC will work with artists to ignite our downtown through the temporary installation of storefront art exhibitions, studios, and happenings. HATCH has attracted funding from The Elevator Project and the Guelph Community Foundation’s Musagetes Grant Program. Support from the Oak Tree Project would permit the extension of the project.

June: Watch - An Artful Pledge Update

By Guelph Arts Council Staff

Did you know that those who routinely attend, participate, and watch local events, performances, and artists report better satisfaction and health in their daily life? We can attest to this fact.

June’s artful pledge theme was “Watch” and boy did we see some amazing things by and for Guelphites.

Melissa Gobeil, HATCH Project Coordinator

This weekend I saw the performance of a lifetime. A thousand, yes one thousand performers, including Guelph Chamber Choir, came together for Apocolypsis, as part of the Luminato Festival at the Sony Centre in Toronto. It was incredible - an epic, apocalyptic story that took the audience on a sensory journey of light and dark.  They created a fully immersive experience, as the choir was dispersed throughout the audience, and at one point a whole choir developed right behind our row, where I could feel their breath, and smell their mints.

The first section of the performance was all about the end of the world, very discordant, and but in the end, the resolution was really beautiful; we really were taken into the depths and up to the heights. To see a thousand people on stage, constantly shifting and morphing, walking all through the audience and across the stage, was almost overwhelming, and a singular experience: uplifting, inspiring, and incredibly memorable.

Katie Wilde, Office Manager, Membership Coordinator

Early this month I saw my first Guelph Dance Festival ever. At the River Run Centre, in a series of intimate pieces, each performer was moving in their own way, and I mean moving in both senses of the word. Particularly exciting was the Q&A with the artists after the performances. There were some heated moments with the audience relaying their reactions to one of the pieces, and we got to hear first hand from world-renowned dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis on the controversy surrounding her Governor General’s Award and the arts-bashing interview that backfired on the now defunct Sun News. It was a pleasure and a real treat to be offered the opportunity for such candid interaction with these great Canadian artists. Thanks, Guelph Dance!

Just this past weekend, to brighten up a rainy Saturday, a friend and I made a jaunt over to Guelph Little Theatre to catch the recently revived one act festival, called the Ward One Acts. This was my first experience in a black-box style. The cushy theatre seats were blocked from view, and we entered directly up a ramp onto the stage where folding chairs were set up around 3 sides of the stage, and we were face to face and foot to foot with the actors and the set.

We spent the afternoon enjoying 3 short plays in these close quarters while the rain pattered steadily on the industrial metal building.

Pillar of the Community, written by Sean Jacklin and directed by Nick Swan, had us audience members sitting as if attendants of a funeral, where we watched the characters closest to the deceased slowly unraveled to awkwardly and emotionally reveal the stark contrast between this man’s professional public life, and the private one they each knew.

Lost In Her, written and directed by Guelph local Rochelle Richardson, is a lovely and lyrical piece about a young married couple and their two friends, struggling with internal and external challenges, giving voice to queer issues by illustrating the ultimate universality of any relationship’s communication and mental health struggles. Time and identity were played with in an interesting and artistic twist as well in this new play.

You Kiss by the Book, written by Jonathon De Souza and directed by Peter Busby was a truly dizzying trip through 17 styles of theatre. Interpreting, re-interpreting, and re-re-interpreting the first kiss scene from Romeo and Juliet, there were some awfully fun and poignant moments of acting. I found the scene where two high school kids are being rather poor students of Shakespeare, while inadvertently having a Romeo and Juliet moment of their own, particularly believable and funny.

I had never seen theatre like this, and while it was not your conventional storyline play, the mini festival was a joyous experience that the rain couldn’t dampen.

Patti Broughton, Executive Director

Two months into my new role as GAC’s Executive Director, and the journey of meeting members of Guelph’s arts community continues. Yesterday afternoon we put on a little event called Inspiration Monday. The main driver of the event was to provide an opportunity for the community to learn about the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s new investment strategy and granting programs. I watched the wheels start turning in people’s minds as they thought about what Trillium funding could mean for their projects. Watching the second part of the event was especially inspiring for me. We asked people to bring something they were working on or that inspired them, and I watched eyes light up as people talked about their passions. As an arts manager, it’s the inspiration and creativity of the artists I have the privilege of working with that inspire me to keep dreaming, planning, connecting, writing, budgeting, fundraising, and all the other things that make up a “day in the life”.

Taryn McIntosh, Summer Co-op Student

June is my first artful pledge since beginning my work at Guelph Arts Council. Reading through the artful pledge updates from previous months, I am amazed at the amount that is always happening in the city and very inspired to become even more involved in the arts in Guelph! When I think about ‘watch’ing Guelph, I immediately think of a few of the local festivals that I look forward to every year. The annual Hillside Festival is probably my favourite Guelph event, and I fully partake in the tradition of ‘counting sleeps’ until the festival begins (only 24 left!!) especially as the summer festival season starts. Another annual event in June that I love is the Backwoods Festival. I recently attended this year’s Backwoods, which is a small music festival that started in the backyard of a Guelph teenager’s home and has grown every year since then. This year it was held in a community hall and featured young bands from Guelph, most of which are made up of current students and alumni of Guelph high schools. I am very grateful to be part of the Guelph community and smaller communities of creative people within Guelph. The talent that is visible when opportunities are given to artists here always amazes me, which is part of the reason I’m so happy to be working with Guelph Arts Council!

I’m looking forward to a great month with Guelph Arts Council and I can’t wait to attend all of the events happening in and around the city in July.

Next month we cross over to the Artful Pledge Part Two July's theme is Attend. Be there!

Visit AGG's Imagination Station at Riverside Park on Canada Day

By Katie Wilde and AGG

Visit AGG's Imagination Station at Riverside Park on Wednesday

On Wednesday, July 1, join AGG at the Rotary Club of Guelph's annual Canada Day in the Park celebration at Riverside Park (Guelph). Let your imagination run wild at AGG's Imagination Station! Using industry cast-offs, found objects, and odd craft materials, kids can create whatever they can imagine. AGG Staff will be onsite to help bring the wackiest ideas to life! AGG invites parents to join in the fun too.

The Imagination Station will run from 11am to 5pm.

Follow the signs at Riverside Park to find the Canada Day celebrations. The Imagination Station will be in Exhibitor’s Row.

This free activity station is the Art Gallery of Guelph’s first appearance at the Canada Day celebrations, and we hope it won’t be the last. This is a great opportunity for families and individuals of all ages to take part in some free-form, no pressure creativity and mess making!  Pre-cut materials available for those too young to use scissors, although school age children will get the most out of the activities, and you can even take your creations home with you.

You may have noticed that the Art Gallery of Guelph (formerly Macdonald Stewart Art Centre), has been undergoing some changes lately. But don’t let the construction fences fool you – these folks are busier than ever!

On Sunday, June 14 the AGG brought their Inflatable Gallery to the Exhibition Park Neighbourhood Group Creativity Picnic, where children painted on the plastic sheeting, inside and out!

inflatable gallery

Photo Credit: Sally Evans, Art Gallery of Guelph

Art on the Street is historically a very hot day. Look for refreshing treats available from people in AGG t-shirts, who will be selling ice cream from push-carts.

They are also running a series of fun and cleverly educational art camps for kids this summer. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Elise at 519-837-0010 x5. Visit the Boarding House Gallery (12-5pm) for a Registration Package. Camps will be held at Harcourt Memorial Church while the gallery undergoes renovations.

The gallery’s name change coincides with an important renovation to safety and accessibility features at the front of the building. On Thursday, September 17, they will reopen with a bang to three new exhibitions, and all members of the public and their families are welcome at the reception.

Exhibitions opening that evening:

"Of Time and Buildings" (Sep 17 - Nov 1)
"Of Time and Buildings" considers space, place, and time as expressed and depicted photographically before and after the digital turn.

"The Queer Feeling of Tomorrow" (Sep 17 - Dec 13)
Curated by the winner of the 3rd Annual Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators, Adam Barbu, the exhibition traces a kind of queer orientation to the world expressed through a pursuit of the ambiguous enclaves and shadows of “official culture.”

"ART/CRAFT" (Sep 17 - Nov 14)
This year’s major fundraising event, ART/CRAFT, will feature 30 works by regional artists in an eight-week long exhibition that will close with a live auction on Saturday, November 14.

See you tomorrow at Riverside Park! Have a happy, safe, and artful Canada Day.

Art on the Street Returns For 2015

By Taryn McIntosh

The 13th Annual Art on the Street will be held on Saturday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Join us on Quebec Street as Downtown Guelph comes alive with music, colour, art and fine craft!

Co-organized by the Guelph Arts Council the Downtown Guelph Business Association, Art on the Street is a highly regarded exhibition and sale that has become a staple event for art lovers of all ages. It is Guelph’s largest outdoor juried exhibition, spotlighting the talented and diverse art community in Guelph. Since its inception in 2003, the event has grown in both caliber of artist and scale, welcoming several thousand visitors each year.

Artists will showcase their works in temporary, open-air studios along Quebec Street during the event. Because of the diversity of the local arts community and our artist lineup, just about every medium will be on display: textiles, photography, pottery, watercolours, oils, acrylics, jewelry, metalwork, apparel and more. It is completely free and open to all ages. Come browse the art, shop, and experience our beautiful city!

The Children’s Art Festival

While the exhibition floods Quebec Street, kids of all ages are invited to join the fun at The Children’s Arts Festival collective in St. George’s Square! The festival will inspire creativity with a full day of interactive programs, all set within a space designed with your child’s inner artist in mind. The festival aims to enable children to discover, enjoy and celebrate the arts – as audience, learners and creators of their own art. Kids will be completely immersed, whether it is in music, performance or paint!

The Play with Clay craft bus will be on site, as will the Guelph Public Library, Guelph School of Art, and Suzuki String School of Guelph, each offering an engaging activity for your family to enjoy. From the stage in the main square we will see all sorts of entertainment provided by the Children’s Art Factory. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Kids will be invited to sing their hearts out performing on the elaborately decorated stage, and use their imaginations to play dress up and do their own face painting. Programming and activities will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 11 right next to Art on the Street in St. George’s Square.

Art in the Shops

As a preview to Art on the Street, the Downtown Guelph Business Association has paired a variety of participating artists and venues together for Art in the Shops, which will run the week leading up to Art on the Street, July 6th– 11th. By marrying businesses with artists, Art in the Shops creates a superb opportunity for local artists to display some of their work in the week leading up to the outdoor event. Take time to visit the beautiful streets, shops, and eateries of Downtown Guelph and enjoy a sneak peak of our rich cultural community.


Other Events during Art on the Street

Quebec Street Offers

Don’t forget to visit the businesses on Quebec Street to take advantage of their special Art on the Street offers. Participating businesses include: All Strung Out, Bag It, Creative Edge, On the Verge, The Bookshelf and many more. A full listing can be found in the Art on the Street brochure (linked on our website).

Art Gallery of Guelph Ice Cream Cart

Keep an eye out for the ice cream push cart, brought to you by the folks at the newly renamed Art Gallery of Guelph.

Art Around Town

Visitors are also invited to attend these other great creative events happening in Downtown Guelph on July 11:

Renann Isaacs Contemporary Art – 31 Quebec Street - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - A group show featuring the work of two mid-career artists Cora Cluett and Alec Livingston, alongside the work of two emerging artists Max Wright and Emily Schaefer.

Royal City Church – 50 Quebec Street – 10 a.m. 5 p.m. – Presenting The Art Within, featuring amateur artists, local musicians, and refreshments.

Old Quebec Street Shops – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – The Guelph Horticultural Annual Flower Show is a juried event open for viewing in the concourse of the Old Quebec Street Mall.

Red Brick Café – 8 Douglas Street – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – There Won’t Be Cows in This Show – artist Ivano Stocco will be meeting and greeting attendees to his new exhibit at the Red Brick Café.

40 Baker Street – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Displaying and selling art by Gallery artists, Saturday and Sunday.

See you on July 11! 

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