The Guelph Tool Library Hits the Airwaves to Stay Connected With Guelphites

By Thirza Armstrong

When COVID-19 hit in early March, the Guelph Tool Library understood that our entire model of community support was, essentially, for the birds. Operating out of a school board-owned location, we had less than a week to prepare for our enforced closure. With no street entrance and with schools remaining closed into the fall, when we can resume our old ways, if ever, is open to interpretation. As with everything, COVID-19 has made us feel uncomfortable and anxious for what the future holds. But, if you had thought that this (admittedly large) road block would stop the GTL from spreading its mission of sharing, growing, and supporting, you would be mistaken.

We knew things were going to be uncertain and ever changing, and that whatever we did would need to start quickly and be adaptable. As guidelines on physical distancing and safety protocols evolved by the hour, we tried to evolve with it. With about two days’ notice from when closures were announced to when they went into effect, we took to the internet. Instead of finding us on the top floor of Tytler Public School, you can now find us hosting workshops, seminars, and podcasts almost every night of the week. On Mondays, Workshop Coordinator Steph Clarke hosts community craft nights over Zoom. From 6-9pm, drop in to ask sewing or crafting questions, get inspiration, or just socialize with those outside your approved dwelling of under 5 people! On Wednesdays, head to the Backyard Caring project’s Instagram to see Meredith Sweeney, BYC Coordinator, give instructions on the best methods for backyard gardening. On Thursday nights, Steph returns to chat with volunteer fixers over Instagram live on maintenance and repair of household items like cast irons, zippers, sewing machines, and drywall. On Fridays, our new podcast, The Crow’s Nest comes out.

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The Crow's Nest. GTL's new podcast series with host Thirza Armstrong. Image credit: Beth Bray

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Stay Home Fest - Livestream Events Supporting Artists and Musicians

By Nik Wever and Ali McDonald

StayHome Fest (SHF) 2020 was born from the need to help artists and musicians have a consolidated platform to post Livestream events and shows during these difficult times. Under new social and physical distancing protocol, artists, musicians and members of the public alike were asked to stay home, which of course created a complete change in how the arts could be seen, heard and felt.

At the beginning of April, Ali McDonald of Infinity Marketing & Design proposed the idea that GAIN Music create the SHF Facebook page so that artists, musicians, promoters, entrepreneurs, venue owners and members of the artistic community could collaborate on one page to promote their streamed events and shows. The SHF page gives the artist or musician the ability to post streams to their own Facebook page for their fans to view, while also giving them another page to crosspost their stream to in order to help get external viewership.

Through a collaborative effort with Infinity Marketing & Design a website is also currently under construction for SHF as we look to expand the scope of SHF. It is the hope that SHF isn't to be limited to just the current times, but something that can be grown and eventually encompass many other areas of the arts. Although currently in its infancy, it's providing a virtual stage and the means to access and share the arts and entertainment.

In addition to the streamed events being hosted on the Stay Home Fest page, GAIN Music is also putting together a few special showcases and events via our brand new website (courtesy Infinity Marketing & Design) and a few specific events will be streamed through the GAIN Music social sites as well. These will include special features with artists we’ve worked with in the past or plan on working with in the future once more restrictions are lifted, of course.

 Kitzl based out in Guelph. Kitzl (aka Emily Aussem) is a young musician who has a
bright future ahead of her. She's played a number of shows and showcases both in Guelph
and beyond and teaches at Jam School. Image by ThatGoodGraphic (Justin Alexis).

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GAC Artist Member Korey Steckle Talks about Being a Father and an Artist Amidst the Pandemic

By Korey Steckle

Making the decision to relocate my life and studio from the Junction in Guelph, Ontario to Glace Bay, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia has given me the gift of awareness that life itself is impermanent like everything else. Accepting this is a daily conscious task. As well as realizing that the things that we cannot control have not changed.  It is my son who is now eleven and lives in Nova Scotia who drives and motivates. So I now feel I'm where I need to be near him and where he is being raised by his mother Kim during these uncertain times. During my regular March break visit the three of us decided that it would be best if I stayed nearby. 

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Image courtesy of the artist Korey Steckle.

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Embrace Uncertainty with Improv

By The Making Box

This pandemic has been the largest acts of global improvisation in our lifetime. When the unexpected happens, improvisers are trained to embrace the uncertainty and make the most of it. One thing has been clear: the improv skills we practice have become more important than ever.

Here are four improv principles that The Making-Box is using right now and how you can use them too.

Photo credit: The Making Box

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