Guelph Fall Festivals and Arts Events

By Mike Baker

Fall is here and with the change of season there are local things to see and do to 'stay in touch' with local art initiatives.

The changing times have been a challenge to us and events have had to 'pivot' due to current circumstances.  Here's a list of fall 'happenings' that remain a part of our landscape that are presenting opportunities for us all, be they business as usual, a different format or promise of a return during the same period this time next year.

Culture Days: Sept 25-Oct 25

A national celebration of arts and culture, inviting the public to get hands-on and behind-the-scenes to highlight the importance of arts and culture in our communities. This year the celebrations have been extended beyond the traditional Culture Days weekend, to a more inclusive and interactive 4-week schedule of activities. Kicking off September 25th and running until October 25th, Culture Days invites everyone to participate in and show appreciation for arts and culture in their own communities and nationwide! Check out virtual and in-person Culture Days activities in Guelph.

Guelph Film Festival is On(Line): Nov 6 -14

The Guelph Film Festival is going ahead this year, but with a different look.

“We will be presenting our 2020 Festival online (November 6-14). This is a challenging time, and while we cannot be together in the ways we want to be, our stories are more important than ever.

Which is why we will be presenting an amazing festival of documentary films that embody and explore our commitment to social justice, our environment, and community building. We believe documentary film can be a catalyst for conversations about change in a time of crisis, as well as being an opportunity to learn and uplift.

Our program is an amazing way to explore the wider world without leaving your home through films like The Dilemma of Desire, an exploration of "cliteracy" and the clash between gender politics and female sexual desire, and Coded Bias which explores the intersection of facial recognition software and racism. These, along with a groundbreaking line-up of Indigenous-made shorts, exclusive feature length and short documentaries, entertaining kids' programming (including Tiny Docs by Tiny People), exciting community partnerships, and dynamic panel discussions means that our 2020 festival will be one to remember.” - Guelph Film Festival

Full Festival Passes will be available starting in October 2020 on a sliding scale from $35-$75 (you choose your price point!). Each pass will allow you full access to all of our films On-Demand for the duration of the festival (9 days). Guelph Film Festival will also be presenting four exclusive live streaming events featuring panel discussions, short films, and exciting guests from around the world. The GFF is a recognized artistic leader in our community because of their unique mission to challenge the norms of the film industry and society, spark community conversations, and highlight marginalized voices.

Bumaroo Livestream: Sept 26

Bumaroo is proud to present their annual music and arts festival this year, live streamed to you from their headquarters in Guelph, Ontario.

“We've been working tirelessly to bring you a myriad of amazing talent and entertainment this September 26th 2020. Bumaroo was founded on the goal of showcasing and supporting emerging artists and musicians in the local community by providing digital and event-based platforms. With the absence of live events these days, we’ve decided to move Bumaroo Festival to an online live-streamed format. It will combine performances from local bands, art-making workshops, fashion & design, live art, a prize giveaway, and local business promotions.”

 - Bumaroo

Behind the scenes with Bumaroo. Photo credit Bumaroo.

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Body Piercings, Board Games & Branding… It’s All Business As Unusual

By Aron Murch, partner at 2H Media in Guelph

Born into a nomadic family, Aron’s story begins 14,962km away, in Surfers Paradise, Australia (almost as far away as you can get before starting the return trip). By age 13 he had visited and lived in over 30 countries as his parents started and expanded a grassroots business (Nomad Silver) importing silver jewelry. As anyone with entrepreneurial parents understands, he was drafted into helping with family operations. His first taste of eCommerce, selling products and managing inventory came before he was in the 4th grade (he didn’t attend an institutional school until grade 9 at John F. Ross C.V.I.).

Alanna Dakin Bella Krieger Aron Murch in Red Brick Cafe Photo By Britney Townsend Photography
Alanna Dakin, Bella Krieger, Aron Murch in Red Brick Cafe. Photo by Britney Townsend Photography

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Guelph Arts Council Announces New Services for Local Artists

Guelph, ON – September 23, 2020 – With gratitude for support from the Guelph Community Support Fund and the City of Guelph Emergency Fund, Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce new services and programs to support local artists affected by COVID-19.


Free Artist and Organizational Memberships:

GAC one-year memberships are now offered at no charge to Guelph-Wellington artists of all disciplines, arts businesses, and not-for-profit arts organizations through December 31, 2020. GAC extends a special invitation to BIPOC, newcomer, Deaf, disabled, youth, and/or 2SLGBTQ+ artists to sign up. GAC members are featured in the Member Directory, and member events and listings are included in our online event calendar, in our monthly What’s On Arts Listing e-newsletter, and through our social media channels. All current GAC Artist and Organizational memberships will also be automatically renewed for one year. While free memberships are now offered to everyone, pay-what-you-can donations are gratefully accepted to help us fund our programming. Tax receipts are issued for all donations over $20. Sign up for a free GAC membership online.

Live-Performance Booking Service:

GAC invites Guelph-Wellington performing artists (musicians, dancers, theatre artists, spoken word artists, comedians, children’s entertainers, etc.) to apply online if they are interested in being included in a roster of artists available for safe, live performances. GAC will create and promote an online platform for Guelph-Wellington residents to select, book, and pay for performances in their neighbourhoods, near their workplaces, or in other safe settings, in accordance with public health and safety guidelines.

Free COVID-Recovery Workshops:

In partnership with 2h media and the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington, GAC will offer a series of workshops designed to support artists in their immediate economic recovery and longer-term response to a new future. First up is Creating a New Audience on LinkedIn, offered online on Thursday, October 22 from 10 am – 12 pm. Free for GAC members. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or watch your email for the promo code.


GAC staff continue to provide one-on-one consultations with artists and arts workers by phone, online, or safely in person (by appointment). Need some help with goal setting, marketing, or making connections? Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 519-836-3280.

In announcing these services, GAC Executive Director Patti Broughton said: “We are so grateful to have been able to continue to promote and support the arts in Guelph through the pandemic. Now, thanks to support from The Guelph Community Foundation, the United Way, the City of Guelph and, most recently, Oak Tree 6, we are able to enhance our support to local artists and organizations who’ve been impacted by COVID-19.”

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Guelph Arts Council Announces Deadline for GAC Jane Graham Memorial Award

Guelph, ON – September 16, 2020 – In memory of Guelph visual artist Jane Graham, Guelph Arts Council offers an annual award to a regional visual artist(s) to pursue professional development opportunities. The 2020 application deadline is Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm for paper applications and 11:59 pm for online applications. Any visual artist residing and actively practising in Guelph or Wellington County is encouraged to apply for opportunities that will be pursued after January 1, 2021. The award’s terms of reference and application instructions are posted at The award(s) will be announced in late fall 2020.

Jane Graham was a much loved and respected visual artist who lived and worked in the Guelph area for many years prior to her untimely death early in 2005. Working closely with the Graham family, later the same year Guelph Arts Council established a fund with donations made in Jane’s memory. The fund is managed by The Guelph Community Foundation. With annual fund revenue, Guelph Arts Council offers this award to support artists who wish to pursue opportunities that will contribute to personal artistic growth.

Annually, Guelph Arts Council appoints a volunteer award jury with representatives from the local visual arts community, past award recipients, Guelph Arts Council, and the Graham family. The jury reviews the applications and selects the award recipient(s).

Over the years, award recipients have included a textile artist, a potter, an audio-visual collective, a scientific illustrator, an artist blacksmith, printmaker, multidisciplinary artist, bead artist, art quilter, filmmaker, photographer, illustrator, and painters. All of these individuals have indicated that the award helped them take their artistic work to the next level.

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