Throughout the month of May, Guelph Arts Council staff took the Artful Pledge to brave the unpredictable Spring elements and to explore this amazing creative city. Now admittedly, when you are immersed in creativity all day long, you can sometimes forget just how unique this community is.
Over the last few months we have been exploring the incredible creative spaces that exist here in Guelph, as well as working with business owners who value the arts and who want to be a part of strengthening this sector. In positioning to launch HATCH [pop-up art-space] we have explored new ways of bringing more space opportunities to artists, while simultaneously bringing more art to the public.
In the editorial series, entitled “MAKING [creative] SPACE” we have delved into the inner worlds of Studio 404, Diyode Community Workshop, Dancetheatre David Earle, Guelph Youth Music Centre and Necessary Arts Company to understand what inspired the birth of these creative spaces and what keeps them going every day.
This city is bursting at the seams with creativity, and while many of us are immersed in our own projects, it’s so important to get out there and see what everyone else has created and hear what they are dreaming up.
Explore Guelph’s idea-makers and attend The Elevator Project’s event, The Big Show, at the River Run Centre on May 28th! Guelph Arts Council has pitched HATCH to the community of investors through Elevator Project and these results, along with the rest of the investments, will be revealed at The Big Show this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
When Katie and Melissa told me about the Artful Pledge project, I thought it was a fabulous idea. What a great way to remain mindful of how art enriches our lives every day or, in other words, to live artfully.
May’s theme of Explore could not have been more appropriate for me as a newcomer to Guelph. Despite my crutches (which I’ll be rid of soon I hope), I have had the opportunity over the last few weeks to explore some of Guelph’s creative places.
At Boardinghouse Arts I was impressed by the opportunity offered to emerging artists through the incubator program. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit Diyode, Studio 404 (three times!), the Guelph Civic Museum, and Innovation Guelph. Although I have many more creative places in Guelph to explore, as a newcomer I have been struck over the past month by the respect shown to heritage structures in Guelph, and the community-building and collaborations taking place within them.
Each month seems to have its own brand of busy, but May being the gorgeous month that it is, I couldn’t help but slow down and notice art all around me.
Despite the construction going on at the newly re-named Art Gallery of Guelph, the Donald Forster Sculpture Park seems more inviting than ever, sprawled on its thick carpet of grass, enormous maples providing perfect shade for a picnic. While running errands downtown or waiting for the bus, Necessary Arts Company’s Hoop-La exhibition and sale in the window of Budd’s on Wyndham provides a welcome pause to take in some really unique local art. It’s easy to secure your favourite piece(s) at an extremely affordable $60! I was proud to take part as an artist and patron, and though I had to restrain myself to just one purchase: “Experiment #2” by GAC Artist Member Shannon Jill Bray, I’m extremely happy to be starting my own collection.The Guelph Pride Art Show was particularly striking at 10 Carden this May, and Kloepfer Framing has been showing off their recently expanded gallery with a solo show by GAC Artist Member Brett Forsyth “Turneffe Atoll: Below the Surface”.
One event I’d hoped to be able to attend was Guelph Dance’s kickoff event at Studio 404 featuring Portal Dance Project, choreographed by Guelph Dance Co-Artistic Director Janet Johnson. This is a new addition to the program, the festival taking place in early June. While I wasn’t able to attend due to an out-of-town side project, I’m told it was a great success with a full house for both performances, and am very much looking forward to the festival happening June 4 to 7.
Another great way to incorporate artful exploration into the everyday is to snap a few photos of the world around you and participate in GuelPhonography by tweeting and tagging @GuelPhonography. The best part about it is that you don’t have to consider yourself an artist to take part. Snap away and share your best images of Guelph taken with your phone.
I intend to continue exploring with the excellent GAC Historical Walking Tours throughout the summer, the Fab 5 festivals, and many smaller events and exhibitions throughout the season. Check the events calendar and member directoryto discover the arts that are living, breathing, and creating a better community for us all.
Next up is June: Watch, so get ready to go out and see some amazing things! http://www.guelpharts.ca/our-new-year-s-resolution-the-twelve-month-artful-pledge
By Necessary Arts Company
Hoop-La runs May 1, 2015 to May 31, 2015 in Budd’s Windows at 111 Wyndham Street North, Guelph, ON
Buy a piece of art from a local artist and support both the artist and development of a local Studio grant during this first annual Hoop-La event.
Necessary Arts Company with the support of Downtown Guelph Business Association and Budd’s is hosting an art exhibit and sale. The show opened on May 1 in Necessary Art’s downtown studio to a packed house of over 150 people, with 100 pieces of 6.5” round panel art available for purchase at $60 each. On May 2, the whole exhibit moved to Budd’s windows and the works are now available for purchase online at http://www.necessaryarts.ca/#!shop/c1yps or by phone at 519-400-4599. Budd’s has contributed the use of their prime showcase windows free of charge in support of local arts.
Necessary Arts Company’s co-owners, Frances Hahn and Cynthia Waldow organized this event with the creation of a grant for local artists in mind. Studio expenses are often the largest single expense each artist bears. This grant is intended to lighten that load by giving local artists the chance to apply for up to $600 each year to offset those costs. Also, artists often pay up to 50% commission fees on pieces sold via auctions or galleries. Hahn and Waldow wanted to create an exhibition where the art is more affordable to the buyer and the artists were paid the majority of the money. At 83% going to the artist, the participating Hoop-la artists are excited about the returns.
Alisa McRonald, participating textile artist said, “It’s really interesting to see how all the different mediums that were used contributed to [Hoop-la] being a cohesive show. Despite the restriction of the circle as the structure to start from, it ended up being very freeing.”
While most of the participating artists are illustrators and painters, there are a number of mixed media and textile artists included in the show. Forty-two emerging and established artists connected to the local community are exhibiting.
All pieces will continue to be sold online or by phone until end of the day May 31, 2015.
Necessary Arts Company is a creative co-working studio in the Gummer Building Downtown Guelph that opened in 2013.
Photo and artwork credits
Hoopla in Budd's - Cynthia Waldow
Hoopla promotion - Frances Hahn
Hoopla Opening - Meredith Blackmore
by Katie Wilde
Last year saw the inaugural Oak Tree Project, a collaborative fundraising effort in support of local charities, initiated by the MacTaggart Team. This year, they are focusing on the arts in our community.
Photo credit: The Oak Tree Project
In their words, this is why:
“Creative expression is something we’re passionate about. Not only have studies shown that arts programming can have a positive impact on the development of local communities and social networks, but also strengthening these roots will benefit future generations. Participating in art activities helps us to gain the tools necessary for understanding human experience, adapting to and respecting others’ ways of thinking and working, developing creative problem-solving skills and communicating thoughts and ideas in many different ways.
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.”
Inspired by Business for the Arts, we’re thrilled to see such a show of support from our business community with this year’s theme.
Sources: Creative City Network of Canada; Social Impact of the Arts Project, University of Pennsylvania; team analysis.
The success of this initiative relies on the entire community to play a role. Registered charities will be setting up profiles online and talking up the program to their stakeholders. Community members will have a chance to nominate the arts-related project close to their hearts and encourage their friends, families and peers to do the same. Community members, show your support for a program that’s close to your heart by sharing nomination stories between June 15 and July 15.
From the Oak Tree Project:
“It’s easy to nominate your favourite charity – or charities! Simply tell us your name, how to reach you, and provide a brief summary of why the charity deserves the donation. Put some thought into it – your words could be the deciding factor.
Charities will first be short-listed based on the number of nominations they receive. Spread the word! Nominate any arts charity once, and then talk it up: encourage people to visit the Oak Tree Project website often, follow @oaktreeguelph on Twitter, and tell others to nominate. You’ll increase the organization’s chances of being selected.
When the nomination period closes, a recipient will be selected based on a combination of the number of nominations received and the judging panel’s review of the stories submitted. More details on the selection process can be found here.”
The Oak Tree Project is looking to you to tell them who you are, what arts-focused projects you’re working on, and how they can help. The registration period for charities will close on Monday, June 8, 2015 (not June 5, as previously stated), so be sure to set up your profile by then.
Who is eligible? All organizations with arts programming. If you’re not an arts organization or not a registered charity, don’t stop reading; any charity with arts programming or an arts-based initiative can apply. If you’re not a charity, consider teaming up with one to deliver your initiative – collaborations are welcome.
Arts programmers, do we have your attention? This is a short timeline but well worth the effort to register.
Why? You’ve got nothing to lose!
If you have a new idea for which $5,000 means a pair of wings for your initiative to take flight and make an impact on our community, register it. If you need support for your ongoing arts programming to take it up a notch and make a bigger difference, register it.
There’s a lot to gain! At the very least you get a chance to engage your existing stakeholders and spread awareness to new audiences in Round 1, where stories are submitted to Oak Tree Project as nominations. At the end of this year’s Oak Tree Project, those stories are collected and transferred to you to help you communicate your impact whenever you need them. There will also be some opportunity at the finale to raise some funds for those who did not make the top prizes – this includes all registrants, not just those shortlisted.
In addition to spreading awareness of your organization’s initiative and valuable story-gathering, a prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the selected recipient, and an additional $1,000 to a runner-up.
Tip: Work hard to articulate WHY $5,000 will make a difference to your organization, rather than simply tell people WHAT you will do with it.
Check out last year’s finalists here: http://www.oaktreeguelph.ca/finale/
Timeline for registrants:
More information is available at http://www.oaktreeguelph.ca/ so visit, register, share through your networks, and reach out with any questions you might have about your initiative or nomination. Again, don’t forget to tag @oaktreeguelph and @guelpharts in your Twitter messages, and @Guelph Arts Council @The Oak Tree Project on Facebook so we can share with our followers as well.