National Arts Centre welcomes 'the now and the next generation of Canadian artists' for upcoming NAC Presents season - Canadanewsmedia
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National Arts Centre welcomes 'the now and the next generation of Canadian artists' for upcoming NAC Presents season

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Lynn Miles


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Singer-songwriters Patrick Watson, Johnny Reid, Lynn Miles and Tom Wilson, and the Montreal band Stars, will perform with the National Arts Centre Orchestra under a new collaboration that’s part of the gender-balanced and genre-blurring 2018-19 season of the NAC Presents concert series.

The four songwriter-meets-orchestra concerts, entitled Sessions, are among the highlights of the NAC Presents’ fall and winter season. More than 50 performances were announced as part of Wednesday’s initial season launch.

“If there’s any kind of vision to the series, it’s wanting to look at what I’m considering the now and the next generation of Canadian artists,” said Heather Gibson, executive producer of NAC Presents. “A lot of people hear the term singer-songwriter and associate it with the roots and folk tradition, but I think we’re trying to expand that with some of the pop and indie sensibility. I don’t want to be a gatekeeper in this job.”


Johnny Reid

Gavin Young /

Gavin Young

The orchestra concerts have been in the works for more than a year, and are part of an effort to develop new audiences for both the artist and orchestra. The performances also fulfill Gibson’s desire to “archive some of the country’s great songwriters.” Miles, for example, has been commissioned to create orchestra charts for several of her tunes. She will share her first NACO bill with Wilson, the deep-voiced Junkhouse and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings singer.

“We’re commissioning these works with Lynn, and it’s the first of a series of shows with her where eventually she’ll have a full show in Southam Hall by herself with the orchestra,” Gibson said.

Other artists headed to the NAC over the next year include critically acclaimed Canadians such as the Indigenous DJ crew A Tribe Called Red, indie soul troubadour Bahamas, jazz singer Holly Cole, husband-and-wife duo Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida, with their Moon vs Sun project, returning favourite Jill Barber and Quebec folk-pop singer Safia Nolin.


Patrick Watson 

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Gibson said she wouldn’t be doing her job properly if there wasn’t a balance between male and female artists in the lineup. “I think that it’s important that I continue to try and get closer to programming a reflection of the nation as far as gender and diversity in particular go,” she said.

In her third season on the job, the producer is also working on expanding the number of world-music acts performing as part of the series, including a return appearance by Afro-soul Montrealer Laetitia Zonzambe, who’s originally from the Central African Republic.

Representing the Ottawa music scene in the series are Boyhood, aka Caylie Runciman, singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson, bilingual folkies Moonfruits, funk outfit Slack Bridges, with Rita Carter, big-band soul purveyors The Commotions, theatrical popsters the PepTides, Indigenous hiphop hero Cody Coyote and country maven Tara Shannon, to name a few.

Gibson said she’s committed to being part of local music industry. “My personal opinion is that we need to contribute to the local music scene. We can’t just be this entity that brings music from the rest of the country. We have to support and develop artists who live here.

“I don’t want to be a special occasion place where you just come as an audience member on special occasions, or you come as an artist to perform for one thing,” she added. “I want us to be part of the fabric of your career. The NAC has tremendous resources at its disposal to help grow and develop talent in this country.”

“I don’t want to be a special occasion place where you just come as an audience member on special occasions, or you come as an artist to perform for one thing. . . . I want us to be part of the fabric of your career.”

One popular feature of NAC Presents that’s continuing is Fridays at the Fourth, in which emerging artists perform at the Fourth Stage with an affordable ticket price, usually $15. Gibson said she was surprised by the number of people who bought last-minute tickets at the door during this year’s series. NAC patrons traditionally buy tickets in advance.

“I’m pleased that we have a tremendous walk-up at those shows,” she said. “It’s weird for an arts centre but it’s also what I wanted to have happen. You can go out for beers or dinner, then go across the street and see a show for $15.”

Pre-sale tickets are on sale now. Regular sales commence at 10 a.m. Friday, available at the NAC box office, nac-cna.ca and ticketmaster.ca.

Complete details on prices and dates are available at nac-cna.ca.

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Photos: Piedmont Park Arts Festival

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  1. Photos: Piedmont Park Arts Festival  Atlanta Journal Constitution
  2. Full coverage



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Fine arts and theater notes, Aug. 19

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Martha Berry was awarded the grand prize for her beaded bandolier bag titled “The Orange Monster’s Masquerade Ball.” Berry has been recognized at the show many times and this is her third time being honored with the grand prize.

The premier Cherokee art show runs through Sept. 22 and features 92 pieces by 60 artists, divided into traditional and contemporary categories. Artists competed for a share of more than $10,000, sponsored by Cherokee Nation businesses.

For a list of winners, go to anadisgoi.com. For more information, go to cherokeeheritage.org.

UCO gallery hosts national photo contest

University of Central Oklahoma’s Woody Gaddis Gallery invites the community to enter the fourth annual national photo contest, “Modern Tribalism: Polarization and the Social Connect/Social Disconnect.”

This year’s theme encourages artists to submit work that embraces, fights against or questions modern tribalism through photography.

Participants may submit up to three works, which can include traditional darkroom, digital, alternative process and manipulated images. There is no entry fee. The deadline for digital submissions is Aug. 26, and the deadline for physical submissions is Sept. 21.

For submission requirements, go to sites.uco.edu/la/masscomm/photocontestnational.asp or contact Cejda Mackey at acjeda@uco.edu or 974-5887.

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This Ottawa arts centre film program is giving 'newcomer youth a voice'

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An Ottawa arts centre is hoping to inspire young people from the city's refugee and immigrant communities to use video to tell stories — especially their own.

SAW Video has partnersed with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization to launch a six-week video production program for youth between the ages of 13 and 24. 

Filmmakers Radamis Zaky and Aia Raafat are helping 10 youth conceive, shoot, direct and edit short videos about their experiences as newcomers to Canada.

Zaky told CBC Radio's In Town and Out that he felt the need to share his skills.

"These young people are excellent in telling stories. And they know how to tell stories. They are always on the social media," Zaky said.

"[But] they need to [learn the] basics. They need to understand the different shots, the different frames, different editing techniques." 

A partnership between SAW and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization created a new six weeks video production and filmmaking program specifically for newcomers, immigrant and refugee teens. 13:00

The next generation  

The program, called New Voices, is hoping to remove some of the barriers young people who are newcomers to Canada may face trying to learn video production.

Once they complete their final projects, participants will receive a certificate and have access to SAW Video's facilities and equipment. 

"This program is very valuable because it gives newcomer youth a voice," said Gabby Calugay-Casuga, a literary arts student at Canterbury High School who's enrolled in the program.  

"I think it's really great that we take a really diverse group and we are all pushed into a media setting and get to make films."

The program also teaches students about sound, lighting, composition and special effects. They'll eventually use those skills to create documentaries, dramatic films and experimental films.

"We started from the basics — and I needed that," Calugay-Casuga said.

'Sort of a therapy'

Some of the program's students are hesitant at first to share their stories, Zaky said.

Sometimes that's because they're too shy, but other times it's because they feel their stories are too despairing, he explained.

One of the program's students, Zaky said, is telling his story about the abuse he faced from teachers in one of the host countries he lived in as a refugee — and how that experience initially made him feel afraid in Canada. 

"This program is beyond just teaching the kids the basics of the video production … I would argue that this is sort of a therapy," Zaky said. 

One brilliant way for people to know each other is to watch… films.– Radamis   Zaky ,  filmmaker and New Voices Instructor 

"The program is helping them express frustration and also [recover] a little bit from the trauma that they had in their transition … from their countries of origin until they came to Canada." 

The films the students produce will be screened sometime this fall, he added. 

"People need to understand and to know each other," Zaky said. "And one brilliant way for people to know each other is to watch … films."

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