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Check out these unique ways to support local artisans, performers

Local creatives are finding creative ways to continue pursuing their art and providing opportunities to support them, says arts columnist
Ron Douglas credit Ron Douglas
Ron Douglas, pictured, and Ritchie Benson are the featured performers in this week’s Essential Concert series, May 28 at 8 p.m. Contributed photo

Pandemic times are starting to morph into a new normal after 11 weeks.

Many retail establishments have been allowed to re-open with social distancing, masks, barriers for cashiers, arrows on the floors, limited numbers in stores, etc.

This includes our local galleries, so please put your mask on and go in and say a friendly hello to our gallery owners, who will welcome you back with open arms. Pick up some pieces of art for your home, as this is where we will mostly be for quite some time to come.

Still struggling and likely to be for a while, are the performing artists in our area, Canada, and around the world. Singing together, once a joyous thing, is now potentially lethal, as is spitting into a wind or brass instrument in a group, or emoting in a classic play.

Ditto sitting cheek by jowl in the audience of a festival or live concert. These are the things that will not be coming back until an effective vaccine is widely available and used, likely two years away.

Luckily, our creatives are…well, creative! There are many online concerts and shows going on, through Facebook and Instagram live, and also showcased on YouTube.

Wonderful shows by globally well-known artists, and amazing shows from artists right in our own backyard. Most of these events have an opportunity for you to show your appreciation through etransfer or Paypal, a kind of virtual tip jar.

The Essential Concert Series has been showcasing local musicians every Thursday night, since almost the beginning of this pandemic shut down.

Live from the stage at the Maker’s Market, this week’s featured musicians are Ron Douglas and Ritchie Benson. The show gets underway at 8 p.m., and monies collected will go to the Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital Foundation to help the hospital combat COVID-19. You can watch the show here.

On June 1, Unlimited, the juried street gallery show in the windows of Creative Nomad Studios on Mississaga Street, will open. Thirty-five artists have their work represented in this clever and unique street-level show.

You can view the art in the windows of Creative Nomad, and then go online and purchase your favourite. As the weather is only getting better, lots of great opportunity to go walking and safe shopping! Click here to shop for your art, starting June 1.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) is also offering safe shopping, with its QuarARTine virtual fundraiser, also going live June 1. You will have an opportunity to bid on 6-inch-by-6-inch original works of arts by local artists, starting at $15 each.

You can buy now at $30 and guarantee you get your favourite. There are many beautiful works of art to view, with more being added every two weeks, so don’t forget to check back. All proceeds support OMAH and help keep the bills paid. Starting on June 1, you can view and bid on your art here. For updates, check OMAH’s Facebook page, here.

I want to give a shout out to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake online fundraiser, Thursday starting at 7 p.m. I know, I know, bowling isn’t arts and culture, but they do have Charlotte and the Dirty Cowboys as their online entertainment in addition to Best Crazy Hat and Best Home Alleys contests, so I am claiming it as part of my column!

This is normally a huge fundraiser for this important local charity and my hat is off to the organizers for taking it online, and making the best of a really tough situation. To order your tickets, for only $7, click here. And/or go to Facebook here to watch the fun, and make a donation if you would like.

Enjoy the weather, think of your creatives and support them if you can, and have a wonderful last weekend in May. Send your arts news to by Tuesday at noon, to be included.