Volunteers Make GAC Better

Savvy not-for-profit organizations know that a big reason for their success is due to the time and talents of a host of volunteers. Guelph Arts Council has been fortunate to have had many wonderful volunteers over the years – individuals who have given so much to help our arts community thrive. We are tremendously grateful for all of our volunteers.

As GAC continues to work hard to re-energize this year, we are thrilled to see more volunteers coming on board and long-time volunteers renewing their commitments.

One of our super volunteers is Jay Wilson, who has been helping us connect directly with our members. “I attended the GAC annual general meeting in May and liked the changes I saw happening. An arts council is only as strong as the members who support it, so I decided to support GAC, not only through my membership but also by donating some time. If I really want a strong arts council, it’s up to me (us) to make it so. I believe in grassroots support, so I’ve been helping by engaging members, renewing memberships and getting feedback for GAC. Talking with fellow artists is really enjoyable and informative.” Jay owns Pandora’s Sox, a puppet and entertainment company in Guelph.

GAC needs you, too! If you’re interested in getting involved by volunteering with us, we have a number of volunteer positions available presently, including working with our Resource Development Committee (fundraising/events), assisting with research and updating of our new events listing on the website, community connectors, and more. Fill out our volunteer application form on the website today to get started. We’d love to have you in involved!

Whitestone Gallery Closes its Doors

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(Left) A few pieces from Whitestone Gallery's final exhibition, "Glass Art, Paper Masks and the stories that tie them together" by artist Barbara Bryce
(Right) Goldie Sherman, of Vessels Pottery, working in her studio space at Whitestone Gallery.

Photos taken by Noelle Lalonde

One of Guelph’s signature gallery spaces, Whitestone Gallery, will unfortunately be closing its doors by the end of the month due to rising rental costs. For almost seven years now, the Gallery has successfully served the community of Guelph as a multidisciplinary artists’ collective. Each of the artists–currently fourteen– holds a membership with Whitestone and has a permanent installation in the gallery, which displays at least one piece from each. Whitestone has had more than 50 members over the years, featuring artists from a variety of disciplines including sculpture, painting, printmaking, fused-glass, encaustic, and photography.

Located at 80 Norfolk Street in downtown Guelph, the Whitestone Gallery is hosting one last solo show to say goodbye to the community. "Glass Art, Paper Masks and the stories that tie them together" by artist Barbara Bryce is currently on display at Whitestone and will remain until Saturday, July 26. The exhibition includes a variety of stained glass works and paper masks that relate through a common theme of Tai Chi. Bryce is actively involved in theatre work that involves children and youth, so it is important to her that her work is accessible to this age group and perhaps the inner child in all of us.

Although the Whitestone Gallery closes at the beginning of August, the building will remain open as a pop-up gallery until the end of October. Goldie Sherman, of Vessels Pottery, and mixed-media artist Mosa McNeilly, will oversee subletting the building and encourage emerging solo or group artists to apply to exhibit in the space for the remaining three months. This is an ideal opportunity for young artists to experience exhibiting their work in an established location for a one-month period. Displaying artists are required to gallery sit on Fridays and Saturdays and pay a fee of $650 for the month. Please contact Goldie Sherman at 519-836-4243 for additional information regarding the space.

By Noelle Lalonde

A Fresh New Look and Online Space for GAC

It’s been a long time coming and, after a great deal of hard work, it is finally live – our new Guelph Arts Council (GAC) website at http://www.guelpharts.ca. A work-in-progress, the site will continue to grow to address the needs of our members and our arts and culture community.

The newly designed site will serve as the place to go for events, arts opportunities, showcasing of our artist members, creative spaces, advocacy and more. The site has a responsive design layout that, in addition to looking modern and uncluttered, meets AODA accessibility requirements.

“The GAC vision – to champion Guelph’s creative community – has been an integral piece in the design of the new site,” shares Cynthia Kinnunen, GAC board member. “That old site worked hard for ten years and had a lot of information on it but we heard from members repeatedly that they wanted a website that was easy to navigate and not cluttered. We also wanted to ensure that we’re building relevance and encouraging involvement of a younger demographic and demonstrating our support of all artistic disciplines.”

The newly designed guelpharts.ca will act as the organization’s main platform for sharing events, artist opportunities and updates pertaining to the arts community and GAC members. With an updated membership structure as well – making it very accessible to become a community member for $5, an artist member for $30 or organizational member for $50 – the overarching goal is to engage the broader community with the arts and to provide support to artists themselves.

Artist members specifically have the opportunity to profile themselves in an artist member directory, selecting up to six images to display and share links to a variety of online platforms, including YouTube, SoundCloud, Etsy and more. Social media links are also provided on profile pages.

Our member newsletter has now gone digital, too, to help maximize our limited resources, to be environmentally conscious, and to keep us as accessible as possible in an increasingly online world. Arts Blast, our new e-newsletter, will be emailed bi-weekly and provide highlights of selected activities in our arts community, sharing funding and volunteer opportunities, as well as linking to the events calendar.

We would like to extend huge thank you to the team at Digital Chaos, GAC board volunteers and staff for bringing the new guelpharts.ca to life! We welcome your feedback on the site and will continue to add content and features over time.

By Noelle Lalonde

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