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Looking to brush up on creativity? Virtual workshops are for you!

Our performing arts aren’t going to go back to normal for a long time, so virtual series will be useful to broaden audiences, says arts columnist
Anitta Hamming of Creative Nomad Studios-credit Creative Nomad Studios
Anitta Hamming of Creative Nomad Studios is offering a free instructional painting workshop on Feb. 28.

Well folks, we are almost at the end of the longest January. We will make it, I promise! And we will have the help of some excellent virtual programming and, finally, some things happening, even if we are participating from our couches while staying at home.

First up, our friends at the Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture are presenting a virtual conference for performance makers, starting on Feb. 6. Called Pixels, Programming, and Pragmatism, it is a mix of panel discussions and workshops over two days. The finale is a screening of performances by various artists, produced digitally in these pandemic times.

Workshop themes include: professional development in augmented reality technology; a web building and social media curation lab; and a workshop in digital collaboration.

The event is billed for performance makers, but I would broaden that to creatives and other interested parties, and add that it is free. Such a great opportunity to learn and grown in these times.

Realistically, our performing arts aren’t going to go “back to normal” for a long time, and perhaps never, so this is a useful series of events to broaden audiences and different ways to be in front of people again.

You can register and check it all out here.

Speaking of free and workshops, Anitta Hamming of Creative Nomad Studios has a free instructional painting workshop on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. Called ABT2 CrRe8, the workshop will focus on painting waterdrops on leaves in a realistic style. It runs live on YouTube and here is the link. You will need materials, and here is the link for that list. This workshop is for all levels, so enjoy CrRe8-ing!

The Orillia Public Library wants your input into their next offerings of virtual and digital programming. Please complete this short survey to help them curate their programming. The library has been doing an amazing job of programming all during this pandemic, and even won a Pivot Award from the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards to prove it! You can help them out here.

Also speaking of helping, the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s QuarArtine art auction is ongoing. This is an auction of 6x6 paintings donated by local artists, and 20 new paintings are put online to bid on, every two weeks. You can bid incrementally or buy the artwork outright for $30.

To see the art, click here. To register to bid, click here. Good luck!

Are you and your children staggering under the weight of online schooling? A local mom has a helping hand for you! Little Tigers offers a fun alternative to all that screen time: colouring! Little Tigers offers large size (2 by 5 foot) colouring posters for your littles, to give you parents a break.

So far, offerings include a giant tiger poster with tiger facts, a cheetah poster with facts, and an ABCs/123s poster. Each poster is $20 and can be dropped off or picked up in the Orillia area. For more information, and to order, go to their website.

Finally, I bet you need some laughter these days! Storytelling Orillia has just the thing: the Laughter Is the Best Medicine Story Circle, this Sunday, Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. Stories by Barb McKee will start the circle, and there will lots more online funny stories to share. To learn more and be part of the hilarity, email Storytelling Orillia at

Oh, and one more pandemic event: the Dress for Success Orillia/Barrie Power of the Purse online auction and event! This free, fun night is this coming Saturday, Jan. 30 starting at 7 p.m. and features entertainment by local comedian Andrea Murray, local classical pianist Tabitha Johnson (currently studying at the Manhattan School of Music), and a live auction by Layne “The Auctionista”.

There are many wonderful silent auction items to bid on, and three live auction items which are an absolute dream, including a stay at a beautiful boutique inn in Prince Edward County. To see and bid on all the auction items, click here. Have fun supporting this important local charity!

Stay home, stay safe, and send your arts news to by Tuesdays at noon to be included.