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Local artists, creatives gearing up for Saturday's National Arts Drive

Despite the pandemic, there is lots happening - most of it virtually - in the local arts scene, says columnist
awards odac ladies
Some of the board members of Orillia District Arts Council at the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards, last year at the Geneva Event Centre. From left: Molly Farquharson, MJ Pollack, Christine Hager, Lynn Fisher, Kathryn Kaiser, and Jacqueline Sozcka, Manager of Culture. Nominations are now open for this year's event. Deb Halbot photo

Nominations are now open for the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards.

This newly combined evening of feting local arts and heritage champs is going full steam ahead even in these still pandemic times. The show will go on, whether virtually or in person, on Nov. 25 at a location to be announced.

Nominations are being accepted in five categories, and the winners in each category will be picked by a jury selected for that purpose.

The five categories are:

  • Education in Arts, Culture and Heritage;
  • Emerging Artist;
  • Heritage: Restoration, Renovation and Publication;
  • Event in Arts, Culture and Heritage; and
  • Qennefer Browne Achievement Award.

Anyone may nominate a person, event, publication, or group of people in the categories, and there is also a nomination committee, new this year, who will be available to help support nominations and help nominators. No self-nominations, please. All nominations will be submitted via an online portal. Nominations will close Oct. 2, 2020.

The Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards is a joint presentation of the Orillia District Arts Council and the Orillia Museum of Art and History. The awards are proudly sponsored by Accutrac Capital and the City of Orillia. For more details and to nominate, please click here.

Speaking of the Orillia District Arts Council, that organization is also the local co-organizer of the National Arts Drive, which is coming up this Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m.

This is a Canada-wide event, to facilitate supporting the arts during this pandemic. Artists, musicians, cultural institutions, and restaurants can register and put a pin in their location and drivers can register and receive a map with all participants in their area located on it, to facilitate a driving creatives tour in their area.

During the tour, drivers can view the work outside and inside, talk to the creatives, visit their websites, and/or buy works of art either online or safely in the artists’ studios.

In our area, Hobo Jam, many Peter Street and ODAC and OFFA artists and galleries, Creative Nomad Studios, and more are participating.

RAW Artists is the global independent arts organization which is spearheading this event across our nation and invites you to join in. You can find out more details and register as a driver, here.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History’s (OMAH) online art auction is still going strong, with new works of art being added each week. All proceeds from this auction go toward operating costs and OMAH. You can buy a piece you like outright for $30 or start your bidding at $15 and see if you win. To view the works and bid on your selection, click here.

Another arts event which is helping arts patrons who are missing out on our usual events, is the virtual Art Under the Pavilion video tour, organized by Paul Baxter.

Baxter is the long-time organizer of Art Under the Pavilion, usually taking place on the second weekend in June and the second weekend in August, in conjunction with the big waterfront festivals at the Port of Orillia. Art Under the Pavilion showcased local artists and their work, under the big pavilion by the water in Couchiching Beach Park.

Of course, this year, both these events are cancelled and there was to be no Art Under the Pavilion. Baxter decided to take matters into his own hands, and has helped put a lovely video together, to showcase the many different Art Under the Pavilions that took place over the years. Click here to watch and enjoy this online Art Under the Pavilion. Until next year!

Creative Nomad Studios 2020 Unlimited Juried art show is still ongoing, in the windows of Creative Nomad Studios, at 23 Mississaga St. W. Lots of beautiful art to check out as you stroll by, and it is all for sale. Creative Nomad is also hosting an online store for various downtown merchants and artists, through the Creative Nomad website. Check out all the 2020 Unlimited artworks here.

The downtown Orillia merchants and artists’ work can be found here.

The Essential Concert series this week features Steven Henry, Thurs. June 17 starting at 8 p.m. This is a weekly concert series in support of the Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation. To enjoy this wonderfully talented musician, tune in here.

More arts news next week, and don’t forget to send me yours, to