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Guelph Black Heritage Society Announces New Heritage Hall Rehearsal Studio



The Guelph Black Heritage Society is pleased to announce that we will be opening a new, inclusive music rehearsal space for rent in the basement of Heritage Hall. The space will feature a PA system, full drum kit, piano keyboard, and microphones, as well as gender-neutral washrooms and a kitchen for patrons to use.

GBHS Heritage Hall 20181103 6138 Pano

The initiative was proposed by GBHS volunteer and local musician Laura Bailey, who identified a lack of inclusive rehearsal space geared toward diverse musicians who are women, people of colour, LGBTQIA, gender non-binary, and more. “There are very few rehearsal spaces for bands in general,” said Bailey, “and the ones that do exist are usually very male dominated. Some have even taken the whole ‘man cave’ thing to a new level.” Her vision for this new rehearsal space is to “create a safe and welcoming place for musicians who might not be able to find that elsewhere.” She believes that the historic building—a church built by refugee slaves from the Underground Railroad—makes Heritage Hall the perfect place for a diverse array of people to make music.

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General Membership ($5) is now Arts Supporter Membership ($20

Guelph arts supporters, we heard you. When you said “General Membership is only $5?! Don’t you want or need more?” the answer was “Yes it is, and yes we do.”

Our $5 membership was intended to make membership wide open to anyone. But since this membership level was introduced a few years ago, most of our General Members have opted  to give $20 or more and receive a tax receipt. For that reason we’ve decided to update the membership level and name to reflect the support our members want to give.

Money should never be a barrier to get involved and support the arts though, and we still invite anyone interested in supporting in any way to come talk to us. We have lots of volunteer opportunities, and are always excited to speak with anyone who wants to connect with the arts!

The Arts Supporter membership replaces the General Membership. This level is still open to any individual who is interested in the arts in Guelph. We will keep you informed about what’s happening with the arts and artists in our community. You’ll receive our regular e-newsletters and invitations to special events. Plus, you will receive a tax receipt for $20 (or more if you choose to give beyond $20.)

Thank you, Arts Supporters. We couldn’t do it without you.

Two Local Recipients to share the 2018 Guelph Arts Council Jane Graham Memorial Award

Guelph, ON – November 6, 2018 – Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce that the 2018 Jane Graham Memorial Award will be shared by visual artist Jessica Masters, and VERSA, an audio-visual collective led by multidisciplinary artist Monika Hauck and music/video artist Alex Ricci. The recipients all live and work in Guelph, and submitted requests for assistance to pursue specialized professional development opportunities.

Jessica Masters in her studio (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Jessica Masters works in both soft pastel and oils, painting in a simplified and poignant way that grabs viewers’ emotions. She also teaches art to adults. Her request for assistance is to cover the costs of a four-week online course with Felicia Forte whose painting style and compositions are simplified and poetic, and engage the viewer directly. Jessica feels that working with Felicia would be a good match, and would help her develop her technical skills, ideas of composition and colour use. Jessica also believes that Felicia could help her develop some skills for future online teaching. The jury commended Jessica for her longtime involvement in the local artistic community, and for her desire to take her work to the next level.

photo.VERSA1.2018  photo.VERSA2.2018  photo.VERSA3.2018
VERSA performing live (images courtesy of the artists)

VERSA creates powerful instrumental music written around live looping bass guitar, and pairs this with responsive projections that visualize sound. Their new performance format, with its intrinsic combination of music and visual art, makes their work accessible, immersive and memorable. In order to further develop their skills and expand the scale and complexity of their projection installations, VERSA submitted a request that would allow Monika and Alex to attend a four-day video projection mapping workshop at Trinity Square Video in Toronto. The jury were excited by VERSA’s work and commended their goal of unlocking new creative possibilities as well as a wider variety of presentation opportunities.

Both Guelph Arts Council and the jury panel were extremely pleased with the applications for the 2018 Jane Graham Memorial Award. The applicants’ stories were all compelling, presenting the jury with some challenging decision-making.

Established in memory of local artist Jane Graham following her untimely death in March 2005, the Guelph Arts Council Jane Graham Memorial Fund is managed by the Guelph Community Foundation. As a result, Guelph Arts Council is annually able to assist visual artists residing and actively practising in Guelph or Wellington County, helping them to pursue professional development opportunities that will contribute to individual personal artistic growth.

For more information about the Jane Graham Memorial Award program 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 our offices at 10C Shared Space, 42 Carden Street, Guelph. For more information about Jessica Masters or VERSA, please visit their websites at http://www.jessicamasters.com/ or http://www.versavisuals.com/ respectively.

About Guelph Arts Council:
For forty years, Guelph Arts Council has been dedicated to supporting, stimulating and promoting arts and culture in Guelph. Guelph Arts Council is funded in part by The Guelph Community Foundation and City of Guelph. We also acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and our annual sponsor Meridian.

View original media release here

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