These are challenging times for all of us, and the arts sector has been hard hit indeed by the necessary restrictions resulting from the pandemic and the slowing of the economy. Times have been tough given that many visual artists rely on crowded art openings and art fairs to gain exposure and sell their work. The social and community building function of these events is also sorely missed by those who would regularly participate.
This September, we see arts organizations such as Artspace and the Art Gallery of Peterborough carefully opening once more, with stringent safety measures in place. Many studio tours in the area gearing up for a COVID-safe art viewing experience, while community-oriented groups, such as the First Friday Peterborough volunteer arts committee and Electric City Culture Council are making things happen to liven up the scene.
We have a brand new mural about to be finished, funded by Ashburnham Realty and the Peterborough DBIA, and an artist-run arts channel creating a space for discussion and connection created and funded by the Electric City Arts Council.
First Friday Peterborough mural kick-off and COVID-careful art exhibits
Illustrator Kathryn Durst is putting the final touches on a mural of the alleyway of the Commerce Building, at the northwest corner of Water and Hunter streets in downtown Peterborough, which is home to the studios of many of the artists who participate in the First Friday Peterborough art crawl.
The mural has been made possible by the initiative of Paul Bennett of Ashburnham Realty (landlord of the Commerce Building) and the First Friday Peterborough volunteer committee. After Paul mentioned he would like to have a mural painted in the alleyway, the committee got together and put out a call to artists for a site-specific mural. Five local arts champions were selected to sift through proposals, looking for one that best reflected the vibe of the arts scene and that provided contrast to existing mural work.
Peterborough-based artist, muralist, and accomplished illustrator Kathryn Durst was selected to do the job. Her whimsical colourful style (she illustrated a children’s book written by Sir Paul McCartney) and fun design captures the spirit of the monthly art crawl, and illustrates the diversity, feeling of community, and art appreciation that is celebrated by participants in the downtown arts scene.
The project has been generously funded by Ashburnham Realty and the DBIA, and spearheaded by First Friday committee members Anna Eidt of Watson & Lou and Leslie Menagh of Madderhouse Textile Studios.
The official mural launch will happen on Friday, September 4th from 6 to 10 p.m. Come out and see the latest public art in Peterborough and meet the artist in the Commerce Building/Banker’s Common alleyway, between 383 and 385 Water Street.
Stick around to check out the nearby art shows while you’re in the neighbourhood. Physical distancing and masks are both encouraged and expected during all gatherings.
If murals interest any of you artists out there, then keep your eyes peeled for another call for mural proposals. There is another location pending and another mural may soon be in the works. The mural initiative comes at a time when the arts have been hard hit by COVID-related restrictions and is an encouraging development for the city and artists alike.
Atelier Ludmila presents ‘from inquisition to slapstick’, works on paper by James Matheson
The First Friday festivities are cautiously gearing back up! On Friday, September 4th from 6 to 11 p.m., Atelier Ludmila will be open to groups operating within social bubbles and individuals. People will be admitted for 15 minutes at a time on a first-come first-served basis, with names and contact information taken at the door. Masks are required inside the Commerce Building.
Joe Stable and the Copper Closet will also be setting up a display outside in the square.
On display at Atelier Ludmila until Sunday, September 27th, James Matheson’s ‘from inquisition to slapstick’ features a series of non-representational pieces on paper. Matheson’s post-modern philosophy and instinctual need to create drive him to create visceral and immediate pieces, a history of mark making for the viewer to peruse. They do not represent recognisable scenes, but moments of creation.
Operated by artistic director Laurel Paluck, the Atelier Ludmila gallery is located on the second floor of the Commerce Building (129 1/2 Hunter St. W., Peterborough). Gallery hours outside of First Friday are Saturday and Sundays from 11 a.m. tol 6 p.m. To make an appointment for viewing, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit atelierludmila.com.
Union Studio presents works by Tim Schins
Tim Schins is a Toronto-based artist and designer who is gracing the walls of the Union Studio salon with his work.
Schins’ work is painted on a wide variety of surfaces, from skateboards, t-shirts, and walls to more traditional wood panel and canvas. Vibrant colour and expressive faces are hallmarks of his style.
Union Studio will be open for viewing during First Friday on September 4th.
Union Studio is located at 391 Water Street in downtown Peterborough. For more information, call 705-740-2682 or visit unionstudioptbo.com.
Art Gallery of Peterborough presents ‘Offering’, selections from the permanent collection
The newest show on display at the Art Gallery of Peterborough is ‘Offering’, a selection of work from the gallery’s permanent collection. This exhibit features pieces by Carl Beam, Michael Belmore, Ivan Eyre, Nobuo Kubota, Dyan Marie, Sanaz Mazinani, Shaan Syed, Oliver Tiura, Dennis Tourbin. and Bill Vazan. Some of them are on display for the first time in the gallery space.
The show reflects perspective, interconnection. and transformation and has been curated in response to the current times. It will be on display until Sunday, November 8th.
Make an appointment to go and meditate upon the work of these 10 fascinating artists and, if you haven’t yet, see the other exhibits (‘locked in a way’ and ‘217) that will be on display until October 4th, and get a taste of what will be featured on the upcoming Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour.
The gallery will definitely be a place of quiet reflection as only 10 people are allowed in the gallery at one time. The Art Gallery of Peterborough is located at 250 Crescent Street in downtown Peterborough and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday by appointment only. For more information, call 705-743-9179 or visit agp.on.ca.
Fall studio tour season during the pandemic
It’s fall studio tour season, and many tours are going ahead this year with pandemic precautions in place.
The Art Gallery of Peterborough has taken a very careful approach to this year’s 36th annual Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour. All studio visits will be by appointment only, but the tour will run for a full month, from September 1st to 30th. Artists who opted out of physical visits will instead have links to their websites. ‘Selections’ the annual show featuring artists participating in the tour, is also now on display at the gallery until Sunday, November 8th.
For more information, visit agp.on.ca/events/kawartha-autumn-studio-tour/.
Other area tours are also still going ahead, with mandatory masks and limited numbers of visitors at any one time. The 27th annual Apsley Studio Tour features 27 artists and artisans in 13 studio locations in North Kawartha and Wollaston townships from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 19th and Sunday, September 20th.
The 35th Victoria County Studio Tour takes place in the City of Kawartha Lakes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. over two weekends, September 26th and 27th and October 3rd and 4th. For more information, visit victoriacountystudiotour.com.
The Bancroft Studio Tour has been cancelled for 2020, and will return in 2021.
The Electric City Culture Council hosts ‘Peterborough Arts Alive on Slack’ curated by Christy Haldane
Local artists and arts enthusiasts suffering from a lack of contact with peers may be interested in ‘Peterborough Arts Alive on Slack’, an initiative of the Electric City Culture Council.
Curated and moderated by artist Christy Haldane, the Peterborough Arts Alive on Slack workspace serves as a way to digitally engage with artists and create a dialogue around the ways the pandemic has affected the arts sector, individual artists, and cultural workers.
Slack is a free group chat service, and you can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play (a web-based version is also available).
Every week an artist is commissioned to write a mini essay in order to get the ball rolling. So far Esther Vincent, Victoria Ward, Anne Jaeger, Alice Olsen Williams, and Caroline Langill have been featured.
To sign up, view essays, take part in conversations, and listen to interviews, visit ecthree.org/program/peterborough-arts-alive-on-slack/ .
Artspace presents ‘MAKE/SHIFT’ by Alexis Bulman
Artspace is opening back up this September, but with pandemic safety measures in place.
Alexis Bulman’s MAKE/SHIFT will be on display from Friday, September 11th until Saturday, October 24th. Her first solo show, MAKE/SHIFT has two parts: “Remodel”, a series of drywall sculptures, and “Tending To”, a video performance and installation. This exhibition deals with accessibility and care, thinking about the ways people with disabilities overcome challenges related to accessibility and the potential for change in a system that is not accessibility minded.
There will be no in-person reception, and people will be asked to sign in when entering the space for record-keeping purposes. Masks are required and only five visitors will be allowed entry at a time. The show will also be available online, including 360-degree photography of the work in situ, with comments by the artist.
In conjunction with the current exhibition, Artspace is presents a participatory workshop, ‘Archive of Sensation’, developed by Aislinn Thomas.
The project invites viewers to respond to the ‘Remodel’ series in whatever medium they choose (e.g., writing, video, audio, images, or movement). Responses will be collected through email and Google forms. Entries will then be shared on Artspace’s Instagram @artspaceptbo. This is a nice way of responding to Bulman’s work and sparking some dialogue in a time when we aren’t able to gather and discuss the work in person
Artspace is located at 378 Aylmer Street in downtown Peterborough and offers barrier-free access (to all but Gallery 2) and free admission during regular open hours: Tuesday to Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Parking is available in the municipal lot on Hunter Street between Aylmer and George. For more information, including Artspace’s COVID-19 safety protocols, visit artspace-arc.org.