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Christmas gifts on your mind? Check out Saturday's Art Hop

Local artists and artisans and shops need your support this year more than ever and there are many ways to provide support, says arts columnist
Norman Robert Catchpole credit same
Orillia newcomer Norman Robert Catchpole has been nominated in the Emerging Artist category of the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards. Contributed photo

Well folks, we have made it to November of this strange year. What does that mean? It means, even in a pandemic, we are going to start thinking of Christmas and holiday shopping and holiday open houses at some of our local shops and galleries.

I know Amazon seems tempting and safe in a pandemic but doing all your holiday shopping there paves the way for our downtown stores to be wiped out in this COVID-19 year.

This is the year to put on your mask, wash your hands, and safely shop downtown and in our arts district for special one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones. We have an incredible downtown and arts district and we need to be there for them now so they can be there for us in the future.

A great opportunity to see what’s out there in our arts district is the Orillia Arts District Art Hop this Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. Julie Grimaldi is guest artist at Hibernation Arts at 17 Peter St. S. and Kristine Drummond is guest artist at Peter Street Fine Arts at 23 Peter St. S. Both large galleries have a large selection of art and gifts from many other regular artists and artisans.

Three Crows Speak Studio at 9 Peter St. S. has artisan soaps, paintings, crystals, tarot cards, greeting cards and so much more, and features the artwork of Sylvia Tesori and Patti Agapi among others.

Lee Contemporary Art at 5 Peter St. S. Upper Level is showcasing the abstract work of Daisy Tsai. Her show, Doubled, will open this Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. to coincide with the Art Hop.

Another gallery to check out artwork is Creative Nomad Studios at 23 Mississaga St. W. The main floor gallery is open to visitors, and the rest of the space is open to members or for pre-booked guided tours.

This long-awaited creative/business hub and shared space has taken over a year to come to fruition but looks amazing! There are many and varied options for membership and a gorgeous main floor gallery where local artist Craig Mainprize currently has an exhibition entitled Wind. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Maybe you feel like a road trip? In gallery news farther afield, local artist and Otter Art Club co-founder Travis Shilling has a new exhibit, Colorado, opening this Saturday at Ingram Gallery at 24 Hazelton Ave. in Toronto. For more information and to view his stunning works, click here. There are plans in the works to have these amazing paintings compiled in a book which will be for sale. More deets coming soon!

Barn to Be Wild at 8936 Highway 12 West, just outside of Orillia, is having a holiday open house daily from Nov. 6 to 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mulled cider and home-baked good are complimentary.

Barn to Be Wild has a variety of artisanal items as well as used and antique home décor items. It’s a beautiful place to shop for gifts and to look for that special décor for your home for the holidays.

OC Emporium at 121 Mississaga St. E. is also having a holiday open house, from Nov. 13 to 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lots of gorgeous holiday and home décor and gifts here, in this beautiful store.

And, of course, the annual Kiwanis Auction has gone online this year and starts Saturday. This wonderful event is supported by many businesses and shoppers in the area, and going online does not mean there are less amazing things to bid on! For all the deets of what is on offer, click here.

If you are not in a shopping mood but still in a holiday mood this weekend, you can get tickets to see Cup of Cheer, Orillia’s Christmas movie for this year, at the Sunset Drive-in.

This is the local premiere of this spoof of Hallmark Christmas movies, featuring many local friends and spots in our downtown and beyond. There will be screenings Nov. 6 to 8. For tickets, click here. The movie Bad Santa will also be shown.

The Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards (ORHA) has gone virtual this year and the award recipients will be shown in a video awards ceremony on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.

Leading up to that big reveal, ORAHA is showcasing each award nominee in a series of posts on Facebook and Instagram. To be introduced to this year’s 20 awards nominees, check out the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s daily posts on Instagram @orilliamusem or on Facebook here.

Speaking of nominees, Orillia newcomer Norman Robert Catchpole has been nominated in the Emerging Artist category. Catchpole painted on and off in oils until he was 25 but then didn’t touch a paint brush again until he retired and moved to Orillia in January 2020, just in time for the pandemic.

Catchpole hasn’t let the pandemic deter him, however, as he has become a member of the Orillia Fine Arts Association and has participated in shows at Hibernation Arts and Creative Nomad Studios, where he plans on becoming a member.

He is also enthusiastic about applying for the Images Thanksgiving Studio Tour, and of course all the amazing creative opportunities and events there are in Orillia, including the Mariposa Folk Festival, Streets Alive, Orillia District Arts Council and lots more.

Catchpole's family had a cottage on Lake St. George, which is where he met his now wife, when she was 16 and he was 21. Fast forward 40 years, when they met again on Facebook and then he moved to be with her in the Orillia area, where she owned a home. They are now renovating a building on her property for him to use as his art studio.

What is Catchpole's painting style?

“I paint, using acrylics, from a combination of reference materials and infuse my imagination," he explains. "I work from the background forward, enjoy vivid colours and have no specific subject matter. I prefer large format canvas and like painting landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, wildlife, vintage pin-ups, portraits, flowers, pets. If it appeals to me visually, I simply want to paint it.”

Welcome to Orillia, Norman! You can see his work at Hibernation Arts in Orillia or on his website here.

In music news, Dual Therapy is playing Nov. 6 at Fionn MacCool’s Orillia.

The Mariposa Folk Festival has tickets on sale for the 2021 festival, come what may. You can buy tickets now and if things don’t work out, pandemic-wise, you can return for a full refund. So you might as well buy them! More information and ticket purchases here.

And finally, under giving… Local artist, Meg Leslie is doing an ongoing collection of gently used or new art supplies as a safe drop off to the black box on her front porch.

All materials are being re-gifted at her other part-time job at the Orillia Lighthouse Shelter. She puts together arts/crafts kits for those in quarantine or others in need of creativity or self-expression. On-going. Please reach out to Meg for more details at 519-501-0680 or

Enjoy the weekend and warm weather, folks! Send me your arts news by Tuesday at noon to