Guelph School of Art Gets Hands-On for Culture Days!

As Culture Days wound toward a close in Guelph, people gathered above Wyndham Art Supplies at the GSA to get up close and personal with art-making materials. The school's director, Laura Paghal, came up with the idea to pair a demo of Gamblin oil paints and mediums with an “Art Materials Petting Zoo.” The free afternoon event began with a demo led by Elora-based artist and former GSA instructor Phil Irish. More seminar than sales pitch, Phil taught attendees about a variety of Gamblin paints and mediums and how to use them. A medium, for those who don't know, refers in a wider sense to the material used to make a work of art. Paint, marble, clay, film and photography are common examples of visual artistic media. That said, it's worth checking out the staggering variety of less-traditional media contemporary artists are using. In this case though, medium has a more specific meaning: liquids and semi-solids of varying chemical properties which, when mixed with paint, alter its substance and behaviour such as flow, texture, and drying rate in amazing ways.


Irish had an offer to work for a paint company, but found he didn't actually like working with their particular product. Knowing he needed to stand behind a product he believed in, he thought about which materials he truly loved to work with, and approached the company who made them to see if they couldn't work together to their mutual benefit. Endorsed as a teacher by the former director of GSA, Irish is now the only Canadian Gamblin rep. In addition to having access to a deeper knowledge of materials and their properties, the company supplies him with quality materials to fuel his art practice. In this role, Phil not only shares his wealth of knowledge with demo attendees, but also supplies awesome (free!) goody bags of really nice mediums for artists of any experience level to experiment with.  

Following the demonstration, attendees rolled up their sleeves, threw on an apron, and got busy! Laura supplied a variety of mediums for people to try. There was a table with Indian ink with elegant bamboo brushes, another where indefatigable sticks of concentrated oil paint could be used to 'sketch' a painting.  Across the room, several children sat absorbed with the luminous chalk pastels they were provided, using them on heavy black paper to great effect. And of course, we got to try the mediums and paints used in the demo, on board, stretched canvas, and canvas cloth. What a treat!

Guelph School of Art hosts these types of demos about 6 times per year: two in fall, two in winter, and two in spring. They host their next free demo, this time with Golden Artist Colours, from 1-3 p.m. this coming weekend, Oct 5th, 2014. Get in touch with GSA to save yourself a spot.

Maybe we will see more "Stay and Play" type activities follow these demos in the future!

City of Guelph Seeks Public Art Advisors

Are you a resident of Guelph with significant experience in Arts and Culture? The City of Guelph is reaching out to find members for its Public Art Advisory Committee. The committee's role in Guelph is to steward and promote public art policy and enliven our public spaces. Over the coming year, these seven key people will "provide strategic input and advice to Council and Staff on matters pertaining to public art in the City of Guelph".


They are looking for a cross section of skills and professional experience ranging from urban planning and architecture, to the performing, visual and literary arts, curation, heritage, education and more. For a full list of sought-after skills, see the Public Art Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.

As the committee meets throughout the year, they will play a crucial role in bringing inspiring and engaging artwork to our city, and building the identity of Guelph as a strong cultural centre.

Do you have what it takes?

Fill out the application and submit by October 9. Help make Guelph one of Canada's great creative cities!

Goodbye and Good Luck Astero!

Guelph recently wished farewell to a valued member of our community. Astero Kalogeropoulos, the Arts and Culture Program Officer for the city of Guelph, has left to take over a new position in Waterloo as the Manager of Arts, Culture, Festivals, and Events. During her time in Guelph, Astero was instrumental in executing numerous events and initiatives to promote and enhance the arts within Guelph. Working closely with the Guelph Arts council, Astero was a part of memorable Culture Days activities like "Yarn Bombing", a community driven event that saw up to one hundred local and international donors sending yarn squares into Guelph and installing then in St. Georges Square. Astero was also queen of Guelph Culture Map, and as a true champion of public art, a force behind many of our city's Public Art treasures. Thank you, Astero, for all of your time and dedication to the arts community and to the city of Guelph.

2014 Eden Mills Writers' Festival Returns this September

In September of 1989, Governor General Award winning author and Eden Mills resident Leon Rooke invited friends Michael Ondaatje, Rohinton Mistry, Linda Spalding and Jane Urquhart to read from the steps of the historic Eden Mills general store. Hundreds of people showed up and the Eden Mills Writers' Festival was born! Today, the Eden Mills Writers' Festival has grown into a nationally respected literary festival, with up to 1,800 visitors joining hundreds of volunteers from Eden Mills, Guelph and area on a Sunday in September.

Throughout the village, six open air reading sites are set up for Adult, Young Adult and Children's author readings. These sites include: a 19th century fieldstone Mill, an 150-year-old fieldstone chapel, a backyard with the Eramosa River as a backdrop, and a field showcasing a local artist's sculptures. Authors read in hour-long sets of 3 or 4.

JENNY'S PLACE is founding EMWF Board member Jenny Kitson's home, also known as action central for the Sunday festival and houses the Authors' Green Room, hosts children's presenters in the backyard and on the front lawn. The Bookshelf sets up a booth where folks can buy our authors books. Book signing tables are next door.

THE 100 HUNDRED STORY WOOD is a day-long high school student writers' workshop occurring on Monday, September 15th at Camp Edgewood in Eden Mills. Four award winning Canadian authors and teachers conduct creative writing classes for local students. Teachers, high school students or their parents may contact Adrian Hoad-Reddick < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. > to register. Full information can be found on the EMWF website.

Author readings at the EMWF are by invitation and we love promoting local writers! This year, we have Guelphites Thomas King, Dr. Nicholas Ruddock, Jo Ellen Bogart, Ben Caesar and Zachary Collins, as well as Janet Wilson (Eden Mills) and Carrie Snyder (Kitchener/Waterloo). Local emcees include Guelph residents Craig Norris, James Gordon and Susan Ratcliffe; Hillside Executive Director Marie Zimmerman; and Guelph Library's Anne McKay.

The 26th EMWF Sunday Authors Festival takes place on September 14th, 2014, and will host over 50 Canadian authors from near and (very) far: current Booker winner, Eleanor Catton will be flying in from New Zealand. Governor General award winner Kate Pullinger will be arriving from her current home in London (England). Plus, writers from Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. will all be converging on Eden Mills and Guelph starting on Thursday, Sept. 11th through Monday, Sept. 15th.

Free shuttle buses will leave from the Sleeman Centre and the University of Guelph's University Centre to Eden Mills (and return) roughly every hour. Check the Festival website at for the all of the details.

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