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COLUMN: 'Fascinating' new OMAH exhibits worth checking out

OMAH's Winter Gala, The Music Man, trivia competition and live music opportunities on the menu locally, says columnist
Artist Robyn Rennie speaks at the opening reception of the new winter exhibits at the Orillia Museum of Art and History. Rennie’s exhibit is an accessible art exhibit that runs until early April.

I had the opportunity to go to the opening reception of the three new winter exhibits at the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) on Saturday, and I heartily recommend you go sometime in the next few months. 

The exhibits run until early April, and all three are excellent. Robyn Rennie’s accessible show in the downstairs main gallery is fascinating, beautiful, and yes, accessible. Descriptions of the paintings are recorded and available to listen to, through headphones, and each painting has a tactile twin that can be touched to experience the art in a kinesthetic way. It’s really well done.

Rennie told me the show has been four years in the making, and she is really thrilled it is up, and available for everyone to experience.

“I’m so glad so many made it out to the opening, and it’s been wonderful seeing and talking to everyone,” she noted.

Upstairs in the main gallery, Connections Fibre Artists have a show called “Sybil,” named after one of their founding and very inspirational members. I loved this show as fibre art can take so many forms, and they were all there!

From more traditional wall hangings, to stick puppets, to actual sculptures, to a vintage dictionary with homemade papers attached to it, the pieces were many, varied, beautiful, and spoke to the audience. It’s a great show.

The third exhibit is a collection of films dating back to post war, taken by the Grant family of Orillia (yes, the Grant’s Woods Grant family). We actually didn’t get time to see this, but friends who did said it was incredible. There is even footage of the Olympics at Lake Placid in the 1920s. I will be back to take this in, for sure.

All in all, well worth going, so, check it out!

OMAH’s Winter Gala, A Celebration of Canadian History, is this Saturday night at Hawk Ridge. The speaker is award-winning journalist Mark Bourrie, and you can be guaranteed he will be fascinating. Tickets are $125 and include a complimentary glass of wine and a tax receipt for $75. Grab them here.

This Saturday at the Galaxy Theatre in Orillia, enjoy Live from the Met’s production of Carmen, starting at 12:55 p.m. It will be fantastic. 

Of course, St. Paul’s production of The Music Man is this week, running from Wednesday to Sunday, with matinees Saturday and Sunday. You can also order dinner to go with your show, down in the St. Paul’s Banquet Hall. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, what are you waiting for? This will be a phenomenal show. I’m going Thursday. Just go. Tickets

This Sunday at 1 p.m., Trivia Decades is happening at The Legion, in support of the Orillia Scottish Festival. Get your team of up to four people together, and you can enter for $10. All are welcome. Get your tickets here.

Former Orillian, singer-songwriter Shawn William Clarke has a new album, Softer Scissors, coming up in the spring, and the first single, Tall Trees, has just been released. It’s beautiful and is getting noticed. Listen to it through all your streaming platforms. 

Orillia musician Danny Webster also has a new song out, James, which I enjoyed quite a bit as well. It’s a great tune and you can listen to it through all the streaming platforms as well.

On Saturday, Feb. 3, local cover band The Offcuts are doing a fundraising show for the Orillia Youth Centre, at Creative Nomad Studios. Singer Bernadette Connors is the special guest, and the show gets under way at 7 p.m. This will be a fun night out while also supporting a great local cause. Tickets are $25 and they are limited. Grab them here.

Don’t forget about the Zachary Lucky U.S. Tour kickoff, Feb. 2 at PICNIC. Grab your tickets at

Coming up on Feb. 14, the Orillia Secondary School Band will be performing the premiere of Nish Princess, an original work by Russ Lamar and Brian Sarazin, arranged by Christian Overton. There will be a special feature on how this all happened, next week in OrilliaMatters. Look for it!

Tons more great shows happening in February and March as well; keep checking back here to be in the know.

Live music at Couchiching Craft Brewery this week, Ronnie Douglas Band Friday night and Jaclyn Kenyon Saturday night. Also this Saturday, Mudmen in Concert at the Orillia Opera House, tickets

Have a great week, and if you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included. 


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