Monthly Musical Member Video - Mr.J

Each month we’ll feature a video from one of GAC’s musical members. If you’re a musician and have a video you’d like us to feature, please send a YouTube link our way along with a short bio.

This month, we visit another of last month’s Hillside Homeside performers – Mr. J – who has been broadcasting live performances on Facebook during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also has new recorded audio and video material coming out soon for people of all ages to enjoy. Today we visit Mr. J’s version of a song that many of us will know and love – the Peter, Paul, and Mary classic “Puff the Magic Dragon” – so we encourage everyone to sing along.

Mr. J
Mr. J has been a full-time classroom teacher for more than 15 years - and hobby musician for many more.  With an exceptional ability to command a room, Mr. J puts on a performance that gets children (of all ages) singing, dancing, and clapping along with his infectious positive spirit and songs.
Learning to play the drums in an Elementary School Marching Band led Mr. J on a lifelong passion to pursue more musical understanding. Drums led into guitar and singing - which resulted in attempting to learn how to play any instrument that became available (from the ukulele to the clarinet).
Stories, books and music have always played an integral connection between the arts. Mr. J performs read out loud books and stories with the same passion as the song.

For more information and updates on what Mr. J is up to, visit the official Mr. J website. Also, don’t forget that Bandcamp will be forgoing their share of artist sales on the first Friday of each month until the end of 2020, so please visit that platform to support many of your favourite Guelph musicians.

We’re certain this will bring many of us back to childhood, and we hope everyone remembers the beauty of imagination as we enjoy Mr. J’s rendition of “Puff the Magic Dragon”

Kintsukuroi: the art of being broken

By Mariel Clayton

I suppose it's only appropriate that, as I sit here inking the cranial sutures of a Conquistador skull with broad axe trauma (in Aztec Gold of course) ..that what's blasting on the turntable to irritate the neighbours is some 'Alternative-Progressive Metal'.

Music, Skulls, Art, Science, Sake, Traditional Crafts, Metallurgy, Poetry, Osteology, Whisky.... this merging of everything is creating a monster project, one I’m not entirely certain I have under any sort of control.

Still, the brush gently daubs an occipital bone, and my subconscious disengages to meander off-leash. It’s those moments of ‘meditation’ when everything is intensely focused, and yet, simultaneously unencumbered, that are like breaking the waters surface.

Kintsukuroi – lit; ‘Golden Repair’ is the Japanese art/craft of taking broken pieces of pottery and joining them together with poisonous Urushi lacquer and powdered gold. This gentle, deliberate process of repairing that which would be discarded, and transforming the toxic into the treasured.

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Artist Mariel Clayton. Exhibition Kintsukuroi: the art of being broken at 10C Shared Space. Image courtesy of KyRoJo Photography Studio

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Digital Access to the Arts: A Direct[Message] to Older Adults in Southern Ontario  

By Rana El Kadi, Direct[Message] Research Lead & TJ Charlton, Direct[Message] Project Manager

Direct[Message] is a collaborative community arts project based out of Southern Ontario and generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund. The project was born in 2019 after a group of artists, researchers, and engineers decided to address the gap in accessible, inclusive artistic programming for older adults from under-served communities.

The Project

Before the pandemic started, studies showed that one third of Canadian seniors were at risk of experiencing social isolation, which negatively impacts health. And although participating in artistic programs is known to dramatically improve seniors’ social connection and wellbeing, research shows that Canadians who belong to the senior, visible minority, and disability communities have lower arts participation rates than others. So how can we use the arts to decrease seniors’ social isolation and improve their wellbeing, especially during times of pandemic?

The Direct[Message] team believes in the power of intergenerational collaboration, reciprocal learning and knowledge exchange. That is why we’re reaching out to community members in Hamilton, Guelph and London. We need your help to research and co-design digital applications and physical devices that would make it easier for older adults to access and participate in interactive artistic programs. Our initial focus was on live video streaming technology, and how galleries, museums and other arts organizations can use this technology to reach audiences beyond their physical spaces. Now with social distancing measures in place, there seems to be an even greater urgency to develop and test innovative online platforms that can provide virtual artistic programming to the community. We have also expanded our definition of the “arts” to include any activity that seniors consider creative (such as gardening, cooking, chair yoga, virtual reality experiences, etc.).

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Physically distanced Zoom interviews with the project's Community Consultants: Maggie Perquin (top left), Kathy Smith (top right), Richard Claus (middle left), Rana El Kadi (middle right), Suad Badri (bottom left), and Wilamina McGrimmond (bottom right)

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