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Local art galleries welcome back patrons ... finally!

Step 1 of province's reopening has triggered a wave of openings and events that is great news for those who love the arts, says columnist

It’s already the middle of June and we are solidly into Step One of Re-Opening Ontario, which is good news for all of us. This means retail stores can open, we can meet each other outdoors and there are even some COVID-cautious events coming up in the near future!

Roger and Heather Kerslake, of Kerslake Pottery in Oro-Medonte, have teamed up with The Couchiching Conservancy to create an outdoor art show at their beautiful property in Oro-Medonte this weekend.

Roger and Heather both work in pottery, but in different ways. Heather graduated from Alfred University in New York, and she works mainly in terra cotta, producing works that are whimsical, humorous, and often mythical, both functional and sculptural.

Roger hails from England, where he was trained and worked in pottery for nine years before emigrating to Canada in 1970. He creates functional pieces of all sorts, including teapots, vases, jugs, mugs, bowls and more; as well as textural murals. He works in both stoneware and porcelain.

The pair decided to team up with The Couchiching Conservancy for this show because they both value and respect the Conservancy so much for the work it does and what it protects. Forty percent of the sales of the show will be donated to The Couchiching Conservancy.

In order to make this a COVID-19 friendly show, much of it will be a socially-distanced outdoor Art Show. The Kerslakes have created a teapot trail, which takes you to five other areas throughout the property.

Bring your mask and you can explore the workshop, kiln shed and gallery. The show will run June 19 and June 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3270 Line 10 North (at Horseshoe Valley Rd.) in Oro-Medonte. 

There will be many beautiful and functional works of pottery for sale, so bring your wallet and enjoy being out in the world again and supporting art and The Couchiching Conservancy. The show will be a go, rain or shine.

Speaking of shows, both Hibernation Arts (HA) and Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery and Studio have guest artists this month. HA is showing the work of Mike Sallows, a painter from Severn Bridge, and there will be an opening of his show on Saturday, June 19 from 1 to 3 p.m., at 17 Peter St. S. Bring your mask and come and view and purchase some art!

Peter Street Fine Arts’ (PSFA) guest artist is Al Manseau, who works in acrylics, watercolours and photography. PSFA is located at 23 Peter St. South and is open all weekend from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Do come out and support all the local galleries in our Orillia Arts District.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) has been virtually showing the work of local artist Will McGarvey this month, and there will be an artist talk and virtual showing on Wed. June 23 from 7 to 8 p.m.

McGarvey will be taking you on a tour through his exhibit, “Sticks and Stones’, and discussing the thought processes behind selected pieces. You can click here to register.

OMAH also has another event, tonight (June 16) at 7 p.m. Come and enjoy the History Speaker’s series, this month focusing on Vanishing Barns. Speaker Cathy Walton will take us on her journey of discovering Ontario’s vanishing barns and their histories. To register, email or call Monica at 705-326-2159.

Speaking of OMAH, did you know they have virtual programming for both adults and children? There are several classes, focusing on different topics, with different OMAH staff directing. Learn about the history of sports, animals, or music, or how to work in different media, including acrylic. Or, learn about painting in the style of the Group of Seven!

To check out all of OMAH’s virtual programming, for all ages, click here.

OMAH is also planning on having children’s camps, this summer. Due to COVID-19, camps will have a limit of 12 spots per week available, so, don’t delay and book your child’s spot now by calling 705-326-2159 today.

Cloud Gallery, located in the Creative Nomad Studios space at 23 Mississaga St. West, opens its Simcoe Summer Show on June 18 until July 5. The show is dedicated to “Capturing the beauty of the Lake Simcoe and Central Ontario Cottage Country region.”

The show will feature works by Catherine Cadieux, Amanda Christina, Liz Schamehorn, Melody Lynn Madden, Dave Beckett, Miriam Slam, and Sue A. Miller. The gallery is open with COVID-19 capacity limits, or you can check out the art online.

And, there is a new gallery in town! Local artist Jimi McKee has jumped into a space in the old train station on Front Street to showcase some of his varied and eclectic pieces of art. The space is also host to a flea market and an eatery, and you can read more about it in the the OrilliaMatters article here.

Finally, a couple of call-outs for talent!

Sustainable Orillia is looking for artwork on the theme of trees for its summer artist call out. Please send a photo of your art, an artist’s statement on the work and how it relates to the theme, and a brief bio, to by the end of June to be included. Winning artist will receive an honorarium and the work will be showcased in SO’s media for the summer.

Filmmaker Sean Cisterna is shooting a film in Orillia starting July 12 and is looking for local crew members in various departments with a focus on art direction, set dressing, props, wardrobe, hair and make-up, and general production assistant duties. Positions are paid. Shoot will be 14 days, weekdays only.

If interested, please forward a resume (don't worry if it is not extensive) and a little about yourself to or

And finally, if you were looking to nominate a favourite person in arts, entertainment or history in our local Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards, don’t worry! The deadline for nominees for the awards isn’t until mid October, and the online portal for submissions will be opening Sept. 1, after an enjoyable summer break, we hope. So, lots of time to fine tune and ponder your nominations.

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