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Culture Days celebration of all art forms was a virtual blockbuster

There are quite a few events coming up - both virtual and in-person - as groups learn to navigate these strange pandemic times, says arts columnist
Angie Nussey performed at the Culture Days event livestreamed from Creative Nomad Studios this past Saturday. Credit Steph Whalen
Angie Nussey performed at the Culture Days event at Creative Nomads Studio on Saturday. Steph Whalen photo

I want to start off this week by congratulating the Orillia District Arts Council, the City of Orillia Community Services Department (formerly the Parks Recreation and Culture Dept.), and Creative Nomad Studios on a very entertaining and successful virtual Culture Days event last Saturday.

My partner and I tuned in a few times during the day and it was hard to tear ourselves away.

The curation of all the different events, as well as the “fillers” in between, was topnotch, and the live streaming was excellent. It’s not easy to pull off a full day of livestreaming with multiple people, places, and things, and it was pulled off impeccably. Kudos to Michael Martyn and Anitta Hamming for doing just that!

I really enjoyed the emphasis on all the different kinds of arts that there was in the programming. ODAC has, over the past several years, looked like more of a place for visual artists, but every arts form was embraced and supported in this event: performing arts, storytelling, special FX makeup, acting, videography, music, history, visual art and more.

It really went with ODAC’s new tagline, displayed on the banner in many of the features: Educate, Advocate, Celebrate, All art forms. Congratulations ODAC and everyone else, you did exactly that on Saturday. The day’s events will be available to be re-watched shortly, I will let you know the link when it’s available.

Speaking of ODAC, it has partnered with Orillia Museum of Art and History and the City of Orillia Community Services Department for the annual Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards again this year. All the nominees have been announced, and there are many, across five categories:

In Education: Stacey Schat and Doug Ironside; Otter Art Club.

In Emerging Artist: Chief Lady Bird; Marta Solek; MJ Pollak; Norman Robert Catchpole.

In Events: The Essential Concert Series; Kevin Jon Gangloff and Roots North Revisited and Orillia Youth Centre events; Dick Johnston and the Take a Vet to Dinner event.

In Heritage: Carolyn Leclair and Elite Printing: Sarah Pickard and the Sawbones Society; Marcel Rousseau; Ron and Ann Harrison; and David Town.

Qennefer Browne Award: Rusty Draper; Molly Farquharson; Roy Menagh; Phil Jackman; Gaia Orion; Will McGarvey.

Among such a wealth of talented people, who will the lucky recipients be? Find out at the virtual awards night on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. on the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s YouTube channel, here.

Congratulations to all the nominees, we really have an arts and heritage sector to be proud of, in this small town.

There are actually quite a few events coming up, both virtual and in-person, as we all learn to navigate these strange pandemic times in a safe and responsible manner.

Of course, Halloween is this weekend, and the good news is, trick or treating isn’t cancelled, according to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. The unit does advise however, to include a face mask in your costume, stay six-feet apart, only trick or treat outside and with members of your own household, and perhaps use tongs to hand out candy. So, stay safe if you are going that route.

Alternatively, you may have pre-registered for the Trunk or Treat event at ODAS Park, or are thinking of going to the Quarentine-O-Ween event at It Happens Tech Repair. Trunk or Treat is full up, but the later event is going on Oct. 31 from 5 to 9 p.m. at 1-222 James St. W. where you can pop by for a safe Halloween treat.

Or maybe you are opting to have a safe event at home with members of your household. If you are staying home, you can have an amazing soundtrack to your night with the Dylan Lock Halloween Driveway Concert, Live on Facebook, starting Oct. 31 at 5:30 p.m. at Dylan Lock’s Facebook page, here. So far this year, the driveway concert series has raised over $55,000 for local charities. Check out this event and have a rock ‘n’ roll Halloween.

Another option is to check out the drive-in movie at Orillia Square Mall on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. The movie is the family-friendly Gnomeo and Juliet and cost is $20 a carload, with proceeds going to Building Hope. There are also giveaway goodie bags to the first 50 cars! To register your car, please contact the mall administration office at 705-325-2366.

And Jakob Pearce is playing at Fionn MacCool’s in Orillia on Oct. 31 starting at 8 p.m. They have a heated patio! Enjoy!

Coming up, OMAH is hosting a plein air watercolour workshop with local artist Julianna Hawke. It’s happening Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the beautiful Stephen Leacock Museum. For more details and to register, go here.

I don’t usually mention activities outside of the Orillia area, but this new virtual world does change things up a bit, and there is a virtual event nearby that I want to tell you about. The Culture Alliance of Georgian Bay, which encompasses Beausoleil First Nation, Midland, Penetang, and Tiny and Tay townships, is putting on a huge virtual cultural conference, starting on Nov. 3 and running throughout the month.

Your $25 ticket gives you access to all eight sessions and the breakout discussions and the speakers are amazing, including keynote speaker Katherine Nicholls. Katherine is a New York-based business exec who is chair of the New York State Council on the Arts.

The theme of the conference is Obstacles and Opportunities, and there have been plenty of both and will continue to be, for the cultural sector. If you are involved in the cultural world and community in any way, I urge you to check this out, there is a lot of good information to be found here.

On Nov. 7, the annual Kiwanis Club of Orillia auction is going online, lots more details on that next week!

Just announced, Jerry Leger will be performing live in an online fundraiser for Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie, on Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. Admission will be by donation and the event celebrates Giving Tuesday, the antidote to Black Friday. Will be a fun evening of great music by this amazing Canadian musician.

Mariposa Folk Festival is having another online mini concert, this one featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie, at some point in November. We will let you know as soon as we know!

Also in November, Craig Mainprize is having a solo show, at the newly renovated Creative Nomad Studios. The opening reception will be November 12, with an artist’s talk happening November 21. We will let you know more when we know!

Speaking of Creative Nomad, membership categories are now available for purchase and tours of the building can be booked! Check out lots more information on this hotly anticipated cultural centre, through the website here.

Have a safe and careful Halloween and see you next week! If you have arts news, send it to annaproctor111@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon.





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