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COLUMN: Area artists sought for growing Art Trees project

The next two weeks in Orillia feature a jam-packed calendar of events in the arts and entertainment sectors, says columnist
art tree at loobies mj pollak
The Township of Oro-Medonte is looking for artists for an expansion of its Art Tree project. Local artist MJ Pollak designed the art tree outside of Loobies restaurant in Craighurst. | Greg McGrath-Goudie OrilliaMatters file photo

I hope all you local artists and art lovers have the art in public places strategic plan artist engagement session Thursday (Jan. 19) in your calendars and are planning to attend.

The City of Orillia and the Orillia Museum of Art and History are looking for your feedback and your input, so come out and get engaged.

The forum is open to the public and is “specifically designed to gather feedback from the local creative sector on the advancement of art within the public realm.” Consultant Cobalt Connects will lead the participants through various activities to “better understand the needs of local artists, potential sites for future public art projects, and an approach to art in public places throughout Orillia.”

It’s from 6 to 8 p.m. and it’s at Creative Nomad Studios in downtown Orillia.

So much for January being the slow month in arts and culture. The next two weeks are jam-packed with so many arts events; hold onto your hats (tuques).

First off, there is a time-sensitive call for artists for the Art Trees of Oro-Medonte project. The township has a new grant to expand and add to the project, and artists and business hosts are needed to make it come to fruition.

There are two ways artists can participate. One is by designing an art tree, on a smaller scale than the original ones, and the other is providing an image to be used on an outdoor-friendly panel. All will be displayed at businesses throughout Oro-Medonte and used as the basis for an Art Trees Walk.

The deadline for submissions is Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. — a tight turnaround, but I know our local artists can do this. For more information and the application form, click here. Please forward to anyone you think will be interested.

Arts Orillia presents hard wire Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House. This is a project by Bare Nerve, the choreographic collective of dance artists Emma Kerson and Jane-Alison McKinney. It will be beautiful, mesmerizing and evocative, and admission is pay what you can at the door. Come out and see what these talented young dancers have created.

Do you like comedy? Who doesn’t? On Friday (Jan. 20) at 7:30 p.m., enjoy the Den of Hilarities at Creative Nomad Studios. This show features an all-star lineup of some of the best regional comedians on the current scene, including Nigel Grinstead, Daniel Shaw and Marc Trinidad, and will have you laughing all the way through January.

Tickets are $30 in advance from Matthew Lund or $35 at the door, if available. Drinks and charcuterie boards will be available for purchase at the show.

If you would prefer to listen to some folk music Friday night, St. Paul’s Centre has you covered, with another fun Pub Night this Friday (Jan. 20) starting at 6 p.m. Following the success of the Pub Night in November, St. Paul’s has invited ALEX the folk band out for a great night of music, drinks, pub food and a silent auction featuring artwork by Mike Bailey as well as lots of other great items.

Tickets are $10 at the door, and you will need cash for that and the bar and pub food. If you end up purchasing a silent-auction item, you can use cash or a cheque for that. Come and enjoy this fun night out at St. Paul’s Centre’s lower Memorial Hall; enter through the rear Peter Street doors by the parking lot.

Lakehead University’s Third Age Learning Lakehead winter series kicks off next Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 9:30 a.m., and you have a choice to attend the five weekly lectures via Zoom or in person at St. Paul’s Centre — where you get cookies and coffee, too.

The theme for this five-part lecture series is Stories and Society, a theme dear to my heart, and the kick-off lecture is by former Lakehead dean Kim Fedderson, who will speak on the use and abuse of narrative, and I know it will be riveting.

Tickets for the entire series are still at the low price of $59, plus HST, and you can pick Zoom or in person when you register, but you have the choice to switch it up when you feel like it/are ill. Get your tickets here.

Don’t forget to get your tickets for Power of the Purse, just one week away on Jan. 26 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie. This fundraiser for Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie is a big one, as it is the first time in person since the pandemic.

There are incredible prizes to bid on, including stays at Glen Oro, Vetta Spa packages, a VIA Rail gift certificate, and, of course, lots of beautiful purses and jewelry. Tickets are $100 and you can find them here. Enjoy, and good luck.

The Orillia Kiwanis Music Festival (OKMF) will be back to an in-person format this year. Hooray!

“The deadline for individuals and groups (not school groups) is Jan. 31 and we want everyone who has a musical talent to participate,” said OKMF communications co-ordinator Lynda McNabb.

“We have had every age group, from young children to senior citizens. They have performed as individuals, duets and groups, small and large. There are a large number of people in Orillia with amazing musical talent and we would love to showcase them all.

“Ours is not a competitive festival. Instead, participants receive a mark from the adjudicator and feedback about their performance. They are encouraged to continue their musical training and performing.”

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up and start practising.

In live music this week, the Lucky Labrador pub is hosting Jakob Pearce as its first-ever live music act, this Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight. Couchiching Craft Brewing Co. has a nice lineup this week of DJ Wilverine on Thursday, Steven Henry and band on Friday, Chris Lemay on Saturday, and Songs and Stories with Ronnie Douglas on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Stay tuned for a Mariposa Arts Theatre Winter Film Nights reveal next week.

If you have arts news, send it to annaproctor111@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon to be included.