Taking Your Art Business Online

By Barbara Salsberg Mathews

With social distancing many artists realize that now more than ever it makes sense to take their art business online. Most recently Guelph Arts Council and the Downtown Guelph Business Association hosted Guelph's very first Art on the (Virtual) Street event whereby artists pivoted their business sales to be 100% online. Artist participant Taras Lachowsky reflects on his experience as an artist vendor and noted "human to human connection is important...my advice to artists going into online sales would be to organize your artworks and have really good photographs."

How to bridge personal connections with your customers online and having great photo documentation of your artwork is just one of many things to consider when taking your art business online.To learn more about this process, I interviewed Ken Braithwaite, Web designer/founder, Ethos Design. Ken graciously shared these insights and experiences:

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Ken Braithwaite, Web designer/founder, Ethos Design. Image provided by Ken Braithwaite.

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SongLine - Call for aspiring songwriters and composers

You’re an aspiring songwriter or composer, and you’ve been stuck on the first verse for a week.Or you’re staring at a blank page in your notebook and you’re playing the same two chords over and over and over. It doesn’t look good. But who are you going to call? Call SongLine.

SongLine is a new online resource created by songwriter, producer and music educator Aimee Copping.

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Aimee Copping leading an eight-piece synth band as part of the Blackball electronic music project. Photo credit Amber Homeniuk.

She conceived SongLine as an online discussion circle for the COVID-19 era. “I think of it as group therapy,” Aimee says. “It’s a support network for songwriters and aspiring songwriters.”

For an hour or two each week, SongLine participants will share songs, song ideas and thoughts about composition.

Aimee Copping plans to start leading free weekly online sessions as early as mid-July. To join in, all you need is a personal device, access to quiet room with a stable internet signal, and the desire to learn more about the craft of songwriting and musical storytelling. Any community member 18 and over is welcome, and there is no fee for participants.

Aimee Copping leading a workshop at Cambridge's Old Post Office | Idea Exchange. Photo credit, Amber Homeniuk.


Aimee Copping is the founder and executive director of Blackball, which provides hands-on electronic music instruction to young people and marginalized community members. Aimee has also worked as a mentor-producer with Pros and Cons, a restorative justice initiative that teaches songwriting to federal penitentiary inmates.

Both of these projects are on lockdown due to COVID-19, so Aimee created SongLine as a safe, virtual space for people to share their musical ideas in a safe, constructive, positive environment.

“There’s no ‘amateur’ or ‘professional’ in the SongLine universe,” Aimee says. “Anyone and everyone who wants to share musical ideas can be a part of the conversation.”

And the virtual “Zoom call” format makes it possible to meet safely in accordance with social distancing rules.

There are even post-pandemic plans to provide instruments to SongLine participants who need them. Aimee is in discussion with local organizations Girls’ Rock Camp and Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition to create a dedicated musical instrument lending library when social distancing guidelines are lifted.

If you, or anyone you know, has a song, a work in progress, or even just dreams of creating one, please feel free to spread the word about this new program.

Aimee Copping can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Welcome to Our New GAC Team Member!

Guelph Arts Council is excited to welcome our new Communications and Events Assistant for summer/fall 2020, Ahmri Vandeborne. Ahmri has been helping to promote local cultural events, artist opportunties and GAC artist members through social media and e-news articles. 

As a visual artist and musician, as well as a lover of all things arts-related, Ahmri is eager to work on some big and exciting projects with Guelph Arts Council including Digital Doors Open and the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Program, among others. She’s looking forward to working with the community in diverse and unique ways, and contributing to pre-existing projects and events in new ways that adapt to the current global circumstances that have encouraged us all to “go-digital”. 

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Ahmri Vandeborne, Guelph Arts Councils new Communications and Events Assistant for summer/fall 2020

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Dreaming Up A New Kind of Festival: IF 2020

By Sam Boer

The suggestion was brought forth unassumingly enough. Dr. Ajay Heble—currently the director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation out of the University of Guelph (IICSI), but also known for his award-winning teaching, research, and founding of the Guelph Jazz Festival—suggested that an online improvisational arts festival could be an exciting venture for IICSI. The Institute, which would usually be hosting its annual musical improvisation camp in Gaspé, Quebec and teaming up with KidsAbility Guelph to run Play Who You Are during the summer suddenly had an opportunity to try something new.

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IF 2020 Video performance still by festival founder Dr. Ajay Heble 

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