Tag Archives: YorkRegionArtsCouncil

Back from Africa

Art Building Children’s Dreams is an organization that provides financial assistance to schools and families at risk, by using children’s art to raise funds for their education and community development.

As part of the twelve volunteer Canadian team, I went to Tanzania to be an art teacher. I designed a mandala for the students to paint. Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘lotus blossom’ and cultures from all over the world draw them. As well as an art form, the mandala is about the process of healing.

The Tanzania Mandala was designed with images that would be easily recognizable by the children and for their specific meaning. The torch is Tanzania’s symbol for freedom. The butterfly personifies transformation and willingness to change. The elephant represents strength and patience. The Baobab tree exemplifies shelter, food, water and fire.

Amedusi wants to be a doctor. He is 13 years old. He lives alone, sleeps in the home of his deceased parents and goes to his grandmothers for food. It is difficult for me to fathom this type of life and imagine his dream as a reality.

Working with these children taught me to be with what is. Limiting my thinking of a situation as difficult is grounded in a belief that promotes judgement. This belief system requires something to be ‘ugly’ for us to recognize beauty.

The giraffe doesn’t think that that rhino is more beautiful or uglier than it is. They are devoid of judgement. The children of Tanzania taught me to be more aware of compartmentalizing everything as good or bad; right or wrong.

I became the student, and with this new perception, I can view John as the healer he wants to be and offer encouragement without attaching an outcome.

Artcures Inc. will soon have prints of painted mandalas available suitable for framing with proceeds donated to ABCD.

Visit www.artcures.ca for more information.
Herbert Pryke is founder of Artcures Inc. an Aurora based non profit organization that believes in the power of art to restore, repair and renew.



Succeeding or Surviving in Music? YOU Decide…

Marie-Lynn Hammond

By: Marie-Lynn Hammond

York Region just has its first big arts conference, Arts Exposed, and I sat on a panel called “Succeeding in the Music Business.” I joked that I really ought to have been in one called “Surviving in the Music Business,” because that’s how I generally think of my career.

 But one of the other panelists pointed out that success is relative, and we know there’s only so much room at the top for the Neil Youngs, K’naans, Shania Twains and Celine Dions. So for most of us working musicians, he said, we’ll pay the rent, create some music we’re proud of, and have a core group of fans who stick with us. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 (And, being Canadian, we’ll also get to travel thousands of kms through snow and blizzards to play to the other five people who were crazy enough to head out into the storm to hear us play. But I digress…)

 And I suppose the same goes for the other arts as well. We can’t all be geniuses — or, in the case of Justin Bieber, lucky. But many of us can make an okay, or even very decent, living as artistic creators.

 I’m currently recording a new CD, and I know it won’t get commercial airplay. I did three shows last month, to a total of probably less than 200 people. But I got an encore at each show (including a standing ovation – at an informal house concert, no less!), and I knew that I had taken those folks on a journey with my songs, from laughter to tears and back again. So am I successful? Well, I was those nights, for those audiences.

 But, okay, I’ve never gotten rich from my music. I’m far from a household word. Heck, I’m not even a hallway-closet word. Still, when I was a shy, miserable teen secretly making up songs in my bedroom, with no encouragement and no sense of whether I could even sing in tune, if someone had told me that I’d eventually have a listing in the Encylopedia of Music in Canada (http://is.gd/oclkan),  I’d have told them they were nuts. So given that, I guess I have succeeded. Like I said, it’s all relative.

 So what about you? What’s your definition of success in the music business? Join in and share your thoughts!


Marie-Lynn Hammond is a co-founder of Stringband, a seminal Canadian folk group, and a critically acclaimed songwriter living in York Region. In past lives she’s written plays and magazine articles and hosted national CBC radio shows. In between working on two new CDs, she freelances as an editor of both fiction and nonfiction. www.marielynnhammond.com


This just in – more silent auction items donated in support of the York Region Arts Council!

By: Jennifer Curtis

With our very first arts & culture conference, Arts Exposed just one week away, we are thrilled with the Silent Auction donations that continue to come in from the community. This week we look at a few more unique pieces that have been added to our Silent Auction list.

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How the Arts build a sense of community

York Scene Blogger Mia Herrera

By: Mia Herrera

Early in March I attended the launch  for Farzana Doctor’s new book, Six Meters of Pavement. Hosted by the Toronto-based This is Not a Reading Series  the launch offered a night of good conversation, storytelling and music at the Gladstone Hotel.

Though I’m usually a bit shy, with the book launch packed to standing room only, I grabbed a table with a few members of the Brockton Writers Series. The Brockton Writers Series, founded by Farzana Doctor and Sharanpal Ruprai, has gained incredible success as a series for established and emergent writers. I was eager to learn about the series firsthand, and my tablemates explained more about the group’s foundation and relevance to local writers. The conversation eventually evolved into a discussion about the importance of writing groups, spaces and councils – a conversation that soon included a discussion about the York Region Arts Council.

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Tickets, Paintings & Lessons, oh my! Our preview of the Arts Exposed Silent Auction


Jennifer Curtis, YRAC Arts Administrator

By: Jennifer Curtis

As York Region Arts Council Arts Exposed conference draws closer (only one month to go!) we’ve been thrilled level of support coming local artists and arts organizations. One of our featured conference events is a Silent Auction, which will run from March 30th to April 2nd at the Seneca Markham Campus.

So far we a have a number of exciting donations, ranging from vocal lessons to museum trips to season subscriptions at local theatres. This time we’re profiling  local artists and their generous donations. Check out their work and then start planning your bidding strategy!

Glassworks by  Greg Locke
Gotham Glassworks is a custom fine art glass proprietorship located in the historic village of Schomberg, Ontario, Canada, a scenic 45 minute drive north-west of Toronto in King Township; Greg Locke is owner and operator. Continue reading

Where are they now? Catching up with YRAC Grant Recipients, Part. 2

YRAC Arts Administrator Jennifer Curtis

By: Jennifer Curtis

Last week we told you about YRAC grant recipient Christopher Dallo’s big moment on stage with Josh Groban. This week we are checking in with Sean Cisterna of Mythic Productions.

In October Sean received a grant from the York Region Arts Council to support the marketing of his new film, MOON POINT shot in and around York Region. The feature-length film is directed by Sean and was written by Sean along with Robert Lazar.

MOON POINT is a quirky story of an ambitionless 24-year old who travels hundreds of miles in a wagon hooked onto the back of his friend’s electric wheelchair. He embarks on this quest in hopes of tracking down Sarah Cherry, his elementary school crush, now an obscure B-movie actress shooting a horror film in Moon Point. Darryl believes that taking Sarah to his cousin’s upcoming wedding will finally prove to his family that he isn’t as worthless as they make him out to be.

Sean and his team are and are looking for the help of York Region musicians to provide a unique soundtrack to their film and are offering musicians the chance to hear their song on the big screen! For a peek at  the film and the  contest check out the clip below: Continue reading

The Relationship Design – An Art in Progress!

Lesley Ann Marcovich

By: Lesley Ann Marcovich

“Will you be my valentine?” Or, “Will you be my partner in designing a magnificent union that is creative, productive, awe-inspiring, and that will stand the test of time?” Sounds like a tall order, but in essence, that’s what a relationship, especially an intimate one, requires.

Like anything built to withstand traffic, climate, and erosion, the relationship needs constant inspection, maintenance, and sometimes, when things get rickety or tired, a renovation … and sometimes, when things literally crumble to the ground, a complete restoration.

Respect is the mortar that keeps the foundation solid and immovable; respect for each other’s culture, sex, roots, ambitions, dreams, and life’s journey.

Memories and experiences make up the walls which are not always straight or perfect. Some are solid, some flimsy, some temporary, some immovable. They’re there to define the stages of our shared lives which are forever changing; sometimes working with us, sometimes against.    

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