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Cultural institutions are closed, but remain virtually unstoppable

Orillia Public Library, Museum of Art & History, Leacock Museum among local facilities offering engaging, virtual programming during pandemic
inside of library looking to Opera House by Deb Halbot
The inside of the Orillia Public Library is quiet but staff are still offering multiple programs online. Deb Halbot photo

May is pretty much here and we are still in lockdown. Which is a good thing. Still lots going on, virtually and in other creative ways, with creative people in our creative area.

The Orillia Public Library has turned and adapted to this new normal and done it quickly. It now offers several virtual events a week. Trivia Night is this Friday, 8 p.m. Virtual game night is next Wednesday, 7 p.m., and the game featured will be Balderdash.

Virtual storytime for your littles is Saturday at 10:30 a.m., through the library’s Youtube channel. And every Monday afternoon, you can take a virtual walk through the OPL’s art collection in a virtual art tour, again on the library YouTube channel.

Writers can join a writing group which meets every two weeks virtually, Tuesdays at 6 p.m., in a supportive environment, to share their work. For more information, email facilitator stephen@sdavids.com.

The library also featured an online open mic recently with singer Jakob Pearce, so look for that as something that will be repeated in the future. Here is the link to Jakob’s performance.

Find out about these and other programs and events on the OPL website, here. Or check out the YouTube channel, here.

The Leacock Museum has been posting all kinds of interesting information on its Facebook page, here. The museum is currently closed to the public but that didn’t stop the Leacock Associates from creating its long list of books for the Leacock Medal, awarded each year to a humourous book, usually in a gala dinner here in town.

This year, there will be no gala, but the short list will be announced May 1, and the medal will be awarded to the winner on June 5. Here is the long list. Now get reading. We all need some humour in these pandemic times. You can grab your books through online ordering and delivery at Manticore Books here in town.

The Orillia Opera House is closed as well, of course, and are rescheduling events to after June 30. We are sure they are hoping to still have a summer theatre season in some form or another, and so ticket sales are ongoing for that. Wish them all the best for a start to some kind of live entertainment this summer!

The Orillia Museum of Art and History has not been resting on its laurels. Despite only having one staff at the moment, executive director Ninette Gyorody, OMAH has been posting interesting content in the form of videos and more on its Facebook page, here.

If you are able, consider donating to OMAH to help it get through these challenging times. Even renewing your membership would be a help. You can donate and renew virtually, through this link here.

Speaking of fundraising, if you are able, consider donating to a fundraiser organized by local artist, Meg Leslie, called Flirting with the Arts: Lighthouse edition. Meg is looking to raise $1000 through GoFundMe to fund virtual art workshops for the women currently living at the Lighthouse Shelter in Orillia.

Each $200 will fund DIY art kits for 15 women plus the artist to lead the workshop, virtually of course. Each workshop will be in a different medium so the women will be able to learn more than one kind of visual art. Here is the link to the fundraising page, please help if you are able. All donors will receive a tax receipt.

Just a reminder, if you are a creative or know someone who is, Orillia District Arts Council and City of Orillia Parks Recreation and Culture Deptartment have created an online list of help for artists and musicians in Ontario and Canada. This list will be updated as information changes, and can be found here. Do check it out now and often as things are changing quickly.

Hope everyone is keeping well and safe in these changing times. Please consider supporting creatives in our area if you can, most of the galleries on Peter Street have curbside pick up or delivery and online shops on Facebook and their websites. I will have more information on that next week.

Stay safe, stay in, and be in touch next week. Send your cultural news to annaproctor111@gmail.com by Tuesdays at noon to be included.