By Sonya Poweska

Missed Part One of the Artful Pledge? Don’t worry, it’s still available here.

Check out our update on what GAC staff did for January’s theme (Join)

July: Attend

July is a big month for Guelph as Hillside Festival rolls into town. It’s known as one of the greatest festivals around. This award-winning and highly acclaimed festival boasts a great format and many amazing programs, which really celebrate the spirit of its founders and their passion for music, volunteerism, as well as green and local living.

But it’s not just Hillside – Art on the Street is another big event that happens annually on the second Saturday of July. This free, family-friendly event offers something for everyone. Co-hosted by the Downtown Guelph Business Association and Guelph Arts Council, Art on the Street brings over a hundred artists, and thousands of visitors to downtown Guelph for this juried exhibition and sale. Artists line both sides of Quebec Street with their wares while musicians entertain the crowds. This is a great entry point for those who are looking for a way to engage with artists. So mark your calendars now and join us for this great event!

August: Share

Do you have a favorite artist, musician, maker, event, or artisan? August is the month for sharing!

We here at Guelph Arts Council love discovering new artists. We also love hearing why your favorite artist has captured your attention. They can be seasoned or fresh, emerging or established, unknown or famous; we would love to hear them all.

For those of you who don’t know, we three staff members here at Guelph Arts Council have all worked in the creative industries in different capacities for many years. We each have our own artistic practices and love hearing about other artists’ processes, disciplines, mediums, and experimentation.

Each day in the month of August, we will share the work of a local artist on Facebook and twitter. Although we have many members whom we can brag about, we would like to hear about your favorite artists. We would also like artists to share images and links to their websites. Bonus points go to artists who share images, videos, or links that detail their creative process. What you share with us we’ll proudly share again with the rest of our network.

Helps us spread the word about Guelph artists, musicians, authors, makers, media artists, and innovators. Join us throughout the month of August as we share, share, share and open a dialogue about the art in our great city! Who knows, you might even discover something new!

September: Listen

It’s a great month for listening. The Downtown Guelph Businesses Association continues their run of great noon-hour concerts which are offered every Thursday afternoon at 12. These free and family friendly concerts feature local musicians and are a great way to infuse music into boring lunch hours.

September also welcomes two of the Fab Five Festivals, Guelph Jazz Festival and Eden Mills Writers Festival. Each festival offers different opportunities for attendees to enjoy the sounds, lectures, and words of the musicians, poets, and writers who participate.

If festivals and crowds aren’t your thing, why not treat your ears to the sounds of one of Guelph’s talented musicians or groups. Check out Guelph Chamber Choir, Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Tannis Slimmon, the barber shop musings of The Over Tones, or the great styling of The Funky Mamas. There is so much to choose from when it comes to Guelph’s music community. You can also checkout the selection of local musicians at The Bookshelf.

October: Engage

In October, we’d like to engage Guelph in, things you wanted to know about art/artists but were too afraid to ask. Send us your questions (we’ll protect your anonymity) and we’ll do our best to answer them all month long. Engaging in the arts takes a pretty wide definition, and we encourage you to catch up on a month you may have missed, such as Join, Learn, Listen, Share, Attend. And most importantly, we want you to engage with us by telling us what the artful pledge has meant for you.

November: Donate

November is typically the time when charities put their call out for community members, patrons, and supporters to donate. It’s also a time when we are ripe with Holiday debt and are busy using most of our disposable income on seasonal coffees, drinks, and festivities.

While all of us working in the sector acknowledge this financial crunch, it is also the time of the year that we often most need your support. Those working in the arts will acknowledge that November through to January is when we receive most of our charitable pledges. This allows us to plan into the New Year, design and plan for new activities, and often, to provide support to others who need it the most.

If you are unable to donate financial resources here are a list of other ways that you can show your support of your community, the arts, and the creative community that deliver creative, impactful, and bright programming throughout the year:

  1. Set up a monthly pledge. Most organizations will accept smaller monthly donations as an alternative to one larger annual contribution. Setting up a pledge of just $10 a month can make a great difference to an organization. If you are interested in contributing or setting up a monthly donation, you can do it at any time on our website or by talking to Katie.
  2. Send a postdated pledge-card or cheque. Do you want to donate, but you know you can’t commit until February? Why not send a postdated pledge card or cheque. Most charities are more than happy to hold onto a payment until a time that is more convenient to you.
  3. Volunteer your time. We all need a little extra help during the year and throughout the Holiday Season. Can you donate your time to a cause? A weekly, monthly, or one-time commitment are all appreciated by organizations like Guelph Arts Council. If you are interested, you can contact us at Guelph Arts Council to talk about volunteering in the arts community.

December: Buy

Nothing makes me happier than buying hand-made gifts for my family and friends. For me, it isn’t just about buying; it’s about supporting local artisans and businesses. It’s about connecting with my community and chatting with the makers who have produced the offering that I plan to share with my family and friends.

For many makers, the holiday season is often the most important part of their business year. If you know someone who is a maker, than you can probably confirm that they are pretty busy in the months leading up to the holidays. For us at the Arts Council, attending shows, sales, and exhibitions is a great way for us to catch up with artists, friends, and makers. It is a great social outing and with all the awesome shows, you can make a full day out of it.

In Guelph, we are lucky to have so many talented artists. During the month of December, why not show your support of the many artists and small businesses by purchasing something that is made, produced, fabricated, sung, played, or written by a fellow Guelphite. If we want to reap the benefits of all that our great creative city has to offer, then we need to support our local artists, organizations, and entrepreneurs that contribute to the vitality of the community in which we live.

To find out about all the great opportunities to buy local and support our local arts community, consider subscribing to our ArtsBlast e-newletter. This twice monthly subscription is jammed packed with great events, happenings, and stories about your community. A special Holiday Edition is always produced as well to highlight the many seasonal opportunities to connect with local artists and vendors.

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