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Celebrate the art of spring in Orillia

Why not check out Orillia's art galleries and take in a concert this weekend?
2019-03-20 OCB and TAPPs
Orillia Concert Band music director James Hilts with members of TAPPs Performing Arts, getting ready for the big show this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre in Orillia. Orillia Concert Band/Supplied photo

Starting off this week’s column, I want to give a bit of a shout-out to Atherley Arts, Urban Sketchers Orillia, Meg Leslie, and all the things she is getting going. Meg used to live here and was involved in all things artistic, left for a few years to move to Kitchener and do lots of things artsy and not there, and now has come back and is getting her new studio here ready: Atherley Arts, on Creighton Street in O-town.

Although she has barely moved in and hasn’t even opened her studio, and is starting a new job, Meg has still managed to start Urban Sketchers Orillia, along with local artists Patti Agapi and Kathryn Kaiser, and have it running regularly, once a month. What is Urban Sketchers, you say? People get together in a specified place and sketch it! This month, Urban Sketchers Orillia is sketching the library, starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Urban Sketchers is open to all ages, although younger children must be supervised by a parent or guardian, and all skill levels. Bring your sketchpad and pencil or charcoal of choice and have at it. At the end of the sketching period, less than two hours, participants have a “throw-down” where they share their art. You can sketch any part of the locale you are in, and hone in on minute details or go for “the big picture,” so to speak. It sounds like a lot of fun, it’s free, and I urge you to check it out on Facebook at

For lots more information on what Meg and Atherley Arts have planned, including upcoming art workshops, check out her Atherley Arts Facebook page at There is a Creative Creatures workshop coming up March 29 that you should look into, and an official open house for the studio is happening April 14, as well as lots more events and workshops. Meg brings in guest artists to run workshops, too. So, yeah, lots going on there.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the other art galleries and studios in town that are also rockin’ the workshops/events/show openings. Hibernation Arts at 7 Peter St. S. in Orillia’s official Arts District is having its monthly poetry reading this Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., with readings from Dave Armishaw and Josh Poitras. $10 gets you in, with some refreshments to boot. This monthly event already has quite a following in town, so stop by and check it out. This will also be the last weekend to check out the About Women show Molly has in there, featuring several excellent local artists. March 30 is the deadline for the next show, titled Spring! Let’s hope it’s true. You can check out more Hibernation Arts events here:

The venerable southern anchor of the Arts District is the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) at 30 Peter St. S. This three-storey historic building has four galleries and a workshop space as well as a wonderful shop where you can pick up art and books from many talented local artists and writers. OMAH always has tons going on: art openings, storytelling, exhibits, talks and workshops. This Saturday, artist Kelli Dove’s exhibit titled Eh-Ok! opens in the Lounge Gallery, and in celebration of World Storytelling Day, there is a storytelling extravaganza featuring storytellers, bagpipers, fiddlers, and tea and oatcakes. A Dram to Warm the Hall: Stories and Music from Scotland, runs Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m.

Sunday, OMAH has its weekly Family Fun drop-in from 2 to 3 p.m. where the kiddies get to do loads of awesome art-related stuff in the third-floor workshop space. Cost is only $5 per family, or free with a family membership. You are also running out of time to see the Legacy Landscapes show, closing after Sunday, and the OMAH@20 show, which closes March 31. So get in there! For more information, check out

Want to know about other galleries and studios on Peter. St. S., our Arts District? Check out Tango Artspace, Otter Art Club, Lee Contemporary Art, Three Crows Speak Studio, and Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery and Studio, all on Facebook. Or, better yet, take a walk this Saturday and soak it all in.

The Orillia Concert Band, a venerable 30-year-old tradition in Orillia, has a concert featuring dancers from TAPPs Performing Arts in Orillia. This will be a cool, family-friendly show with family-friendly pricing, too, at just $30 for a whole gang, at the door. Show gets underway at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday at St. Paul’s Centre, 62 Peter St. N. All tickets at the door.

Jubilee Chorale choir of Orillia was happy to donate proceeds in support of community from its December concert. President Shirley Huntley, along with conductor Brent Mayhew and some chorale members presented a cheque for $1,000 to Pastor Lori Pilatzki in support of St. David’s Anglican-Lutheran Church programs. Jubilee Chorale is working toward an upcoming concert on June 2 at 2:30 p.m., at Westmount Congregation, Orillia.

Mariposa House Hospice has a fundraiser Saturday, March 30, at the Geneva Event Centre, 16 West St. S. Doors open at 7 p.m., the show gets underway at 8 p.m. and features local musicians the Polyester Slackers and Michael Martyn. Tickets are only $15, cash only, available at Sunshine Carpet, Carson Funeral Home, or Electronic Lifestyles, or you can try your luck at the door. This is an of-age event.

Lots more music and fun this weekend, including Outside I’m a Giant at the Geneva Friday, The Straight Goods at the Hog ’N Penny Saturday, Jakob Pearce Saturday at Fionn MacCool’s, Basic White Saturday at the Brownstone, Rock of Ages Saturday at Casino Rama, Parham’s Cross at the Geneva Saturday (a fundraiser for the Orillia Suns Volleyball team), Studabakers Ladies Night on Friday with DJ KAOS, and McGinnis and Marshall at the Hog ’N Penny Friday.

Send me your arts news by Tuesday at noon, to, and keep encouraging the spring to come!