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Two Local Recipients to share the 2018 Guelph Arts Council Jane Graham Memorial Award

Guelph, ON – November 6, 2018 – Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce that the 2018 Jane Graham Memorial Award will be shared by visual artist Jessica Masters, and VERSA, an audio-visual collective led by multidisciplinary artist Monika Hauck and music/video artist Alex Ricci. The recipients all live and work in Guelph, and submitted requests for assistance to pursue specialized professional development opportunities.

Jessica Masters works in both soft pastel and oils, painting in a simplified and poignant way that grabs viewers’ emotions. She also teaches art to adults. Her request for assistance is to cover the costs of a four-week online course with Felicia Forte whose painting style and compositions are simplified and poetic, and engage the viewer directly. Jessica feels that working with Felicia would be a good match, and would help her develop her technical skills, ideas of composition and colour use. Jessica also believes that Felicia could help her develop some skills for future online teaching. The jury commended Jessica for her longtime involvement in the local artistic community, and for her desire to take her work to the next level.

VERSA creates powerful instrumental music written around live looping bass guitar, and pairs this with responsive projections that visualize sound. Their new performance format, with its intrinsic combination of music and visual art, makes their work accessible, immersive and memorable. In order to further develop their skills and expand the scale and complexity of their projection installations, VERSA submitted a request that would allow Monika and Alex to attend a four-day video projection mapping workshop at Trinity Square Video in Toronto. The jury were excited by VERSA’s work and commended their goal of unlocking new creative possibilities as well as a wider variety of presentation opportunities.

Both Guelph Arts Council and the jury panel were extremely pleased with the applications for the 2018 Jane Graham Memorial Award. The applicants’ stories were all compelling, presenting the jury with some challenging decision-making.

Established in memory of local artist Jane Graham following her untimely death in March 2005, the Guelph Arts Council Jane Graham Memorial Fund is managed by the Guelph Community Foundation. As a result, Guelph Arts Council is annually able to assist visual artists residing and actively practising in Guelph or Wellington County, helping them to pursue professional development opportunities that will contribute to individual personal artistic growth.

For more information about the Jane Graham Memorial Award program and Guelph Arts Council, please visit guelpharts.ca, phone 519-836-3280, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or drop by our offices at 10C Shared Space, 42 Carden Street, Guelph. For more information about Jessica Masters or VERSA, please visit their websites at http://www.jessicamasters.com/ or http://www.versavisuals.com/ respectively.

About Guelph Arts Council:
For forty years, Guelph Arts Council has been dedicated to supporting, stimulating and promoting arts and culture in Guelph. Guelph Arts Council is funded in part by The Guelph Community Foundation and City of Guelph. We also acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and our annual sponsor Meridian.

View original media release here

Inspiration 2018 – Creating Brighter Futures Through the Arts

by Patti Broughton

The sixth annual Inspiration Guelph concert on Thursday, November 8 will bring young performers together with seasoned professionals for an entertaining musical evening. Through sponsors and guests, the event raises funds for the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington’s Free to Play/Free to Grow program, which provides grants for kids to access arts programming, and all the benefits of nurturing creativity, despite their families’ financial circumstances.

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All images courtesy of Inspiration Guelph

After a 10-year hiatus, the reunited The Philosopher Kings bring their high-energy performance style to the concert. The Juno-award winning band promises to entertain with old favourites and new material. Inspiration organizers, through local music business contacts, connected with the band, who were excited to headline this family-focused community event, including sharing the stage with all the featured acts in the finale! Other performers in this family-friendly evening include Cheer On Bears Cheerleading, The Jam School, and Guelph Family Martial Arts. Also featured this year is Romanian jazz piano prodigy Alex Padureanu. Each year’s performance finale ultimately brings all acts together – 150+ people! – in celebration on the River Run Stage.

The benefits of involvement in the arts for children and youth are well documented, and include:

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Powering Creative Ideas

Ideas are like sparks, and when it comes to the arts, donations to GAC can be the fuel that feeds the fire. Through GAC programs such as the Youth Opportunities Award (taking applications until Nov 15, 2018) our supporters allow us to help bring great ideas to reality in Guelph, and for that we say a resounding ‘thank you!’ - Guelph Arts Council

by Jane Litchfield

A strong believer in the power of art, Shera Mekhail had an idea. She knew that people who needed art supplies – like families, teachers and camp leaders – often couldn’t get their hands on the materials they wanted. Meanwhile, other people and organizations had raw materials languishing in the back of closets – or worse, going to landfill. She wanted to create an accessible hub that would bring them together. 

When Mekhail received Guelph Arts Council’s Youth Opportunities Award in 2015, that dream became reality. “It was an idea sitting in my brain for a long time, but it took someone to say ‘Hey, that’s a great idea. You can do this,’ to give me the push and to get me excited about it.”

Creation Station is now housed in Community of Hearts Lifelong Learning Centre, where Mekhail is Development and Outreach Coordinator. There, she has seen the difference art can make for people who are non-verbal or minimally verbal. Through art they find new ways of communicating – and even add new verbal skills.

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Shera Mekhail at the Creation Station's new location: Community of Hears (photo by Jane Litchfield)

Creation Station also offers inspiration for arts program leaders, and Mekhail is putting together examples of how to use donated items such as bottle caps and test tubes.

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Local Composer Goes Larger Than Life

by GAC and Peter Skoggard

Local composer Peter Skoggard has developed a new concert experience for audiences this season. LARGER THAN LIFE comes to the Wellington County Museum and Archives on Friday, November 30, at 7:30pm, featuring local and international musicians performing the music of Leonard Bernstein as well as original compositions by Peter Skoggard.

Peter at piano photo credit Tara Scroi
Peter at his piano (photo by Tara Scroi)

Soprano Marion Samuel-Stevens from Rockwood, tenor Robert Missen of Burlington, pianist Daniel Wnukowski of Collingwood, pianist Christopher Burton of Thornbury, and pianist Irene Gregorio of Guelph will perform, as well as one of Canada's most reknowned string quartets, the Penderecki String Quartet of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Songs and duets from the works of Leonard Bernstein, some from West Side Story, some from On the Town, make up the first half of the concert.  Also included will be settings of poems by poets Billy Collins and T.S. Eliot, composed and performed by Skoggard. Daniel Wnukoski is a Polish Canadian pianist living in Vienna, Austria and Collingwood, who will dazzle audiences with his amazing virtuosity and musical depth of emotion. He recently revived the music of Jewish composers who suffered under the Nazi regime, some surviving, some not. Wnukowski will be performing the piano version of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

After intermission, Burton and the Pendercki Quartet will perform Skoggard's Piano Quintet in seven movements: ROMA

The performance begins at 7:30 at the Wellington County Museum. Tickets are $40 at the door. To purchase tickets in advance, call 226 203-3595.

Composer Peter Skoggard comments on the string quartet as a musical form and the inspiration behind the concert:

“I often liken the string quartet to the art of drawing, and orchestral works as the art of painting.

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Register Now for GAC Fall 2018 Workshops

Together with an amazing group of community partners, including Guelph Spoken Word, Meridian, RLB LLP, the Art Gallery of Guelph, and the University of Guelph School of Fine Art & Music, GAC is excited to present two fall workshops.

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Artist Finances – Weds Oct 31, 1 – 3 pm, 10C Shared Space

Making art, that’s my jam! Budgets, taxes, business #?... not so much. Come and learn the necessities to do your taxes and run the financial side of being a professional artist. Co-presented with Guelph Spoken Word, RLB Chartered Professional Accountants, and Meridian Credit Union. Presenters include Jeffrey Klompus, Meridian; Jonas Postons and Peter Niemeier, RLB; and Jay Reid, The Making-Box. See bios, details and register on eventbrite.

$20 or $15 for GAC members


Just one of many amazing workshops presented as part of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, hosted by Guelph Spoken Word from October 28 – November 3. Check out all the Festival details here and register here for Artist Finances and other Festival workshops here.

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Opportunity Knocks: An Evening of Conversation with Arts Innovators – Thurs Nov 15, 6 – 9 pm, Art Gallery of Guelph

Guelph Arts Council, the Art Gallery of Guelph and the University of Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music present Opportunity Knocks: A Evening of Conversation with Arts Innovators. Four arts professionals - all collaborators and innovators in diverse creative projects - will share perspectives on developing and responding to creative opportunities. Artists and creatives of all disciplines, ages and experience levels are welcome.

The session includes four intro presentations (one by each arts innovator), a panel discussion and Q&A, and networking. Featuring four artists who are leading innovation in arts and culture through unique creative ventures, Lisa Hirmer, co-founder of DodoLab, Gordon Hatt, Executive Director of CAFKA, Rui Pimenta, Founder and Co-Curator of Art Spin, and Steph Yates, co-founder of Girls Rock Camp Guelph, will share stories and practical lessons learned in the process of transforming vision into practice. Presenter bios are posted here.

Registration fees are $15 for GAC members and youth (25 and under), and $20 for non-members and at the door. Please register online or by calling Guelph Arts Council at 519-836-3280.


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