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Arts and culture alive and well in Innisfil

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Enhancing the arts, culture and heritage as an integral part of Innisfil’s identity has long been on the minds of the Innisfil Arts, Culture and Heritage Council (IACHC).

Sydney Hardie, a current board member of the IACHC, said the council has been playing an impactful role in engaging the public in determining Innisfil’s priorities regarding local artists and arts groups.

“By reaching out and working with other community organizations and events, we are able to bring more awareness of the benefits and value of creativity and imagination as necessary components to a vibrant, developing community,” Hardie said.

Hardie explains that the goals of the IACHC is to help arts, culture and heritage individuals, groups and organizations realize their full creative, social and economic potential for the greater benefit of the community, and help Innisfil to become a recognized arts and culture destination.

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Established in 2012, the council is known for two signature events. The first is its annual pop-up picnic Dinner in White, a classy event and fundraiser that gathers community groups and individuals. Each year the event takes place in a secret location somewhere in Innisfil, revealed to party goers only hours beforehand.

The second signature event is the Innisfil Studio Tour, a self-directed tour of artists’ studios and group shows in Innisfil. The event has been running for over 25 years, and was taken on by the IACHC in 2014.

For the second year following the pandemic, the studio tour featured the Innisfil Autumn Art Show and Sale, held simultaneously at the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library and the Masonic Hall in Cookstown.

For this year’s event, which occurred on the first weekend of November, the IACHC also partnered with local schools to hold a youth art show, where the student artwork is shown as part of the studio tour.

“The tour has been a great opportunity for artists to promote their work and for the community and visitors from surrounding areas to see the varied types of art and artisanal works created by residents of Innisfil,” Hardie said.

The IACHC’s partnership projects include the concert series, which features four shows throughout the year at the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library.

For Hardie, community experience is an essential aspect of the works by local artists in Innisfil.

“I think a lot of our local artists are able to draw on the beauty of Innisfil, the feelings that our community instils in them, and use that with their own experiences to create very unique and beautiful works,” Hardie said.

Despite the many achievements throughout the years, the IACHC still struggles to bring awareness of local culture among new generations.

“As a growing town, with many young families, it is a challenge to attract and hold the attention of young parents, who are busy with kids and commuting,” Hardie added.

In the hope of reaching new people who are not yet aware of the cultural opportunities that exist in Innisfil, the council has been involved with community events, such as the farmers’ market, Culture Days, Celebrate Lake Simcoe, and the Santa Claus parade.

“We are looking to build the organization back up after COVID and are seeking people and artists who want to take an active part in creating a vibrant and innovative creative community,” Hardie said.

There are several opportunities to get involved in the Innisfil arts community, such as holding art classes and cultural events in town, which includes music events, art shows, festivals, etc.

“We welcome anyone to contact us with ideas and activities that they would like to see happen in Innisfil,” Hardie added.

For 2023, the council is hoping to host another concert series at the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, and is planning to bring back the full Innisfil Studio Tour.

“Of course, the art show and sale was such a success that we may also have to do one in the spring or summer,” Hardie said.

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Criss Bellini Art Fans Urge for Pop-Up Gallery – E! NEWS

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Since the brand’s launch in 2020, Bellini’s sales have skyrocketed, selling over $1 million in its first year and exceeding its sales in 2021, in 2022, with over 2 million sales in euros. Seeing this, it is clear that art sales are booming, and people want to see more of his unique pieces.

However, because Bellini’s website is the only place to view and purchase his art, the public has begun to request a gallery or a pop-up gallery where they can go visit Bellinis’ work and see it for themselves.

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Wish you could set fire to the last 3 years? A huge flaming art installation is coming to Toronto – CBC.ca

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3D digital rendering of The Burn, an art installation. Visible is a brassy dodecahedron adorned with perforated patterns. It appears to glow from within and floats above still dark water.
Rendering of The Burn, 2023. (Javid JAH)

What if you could just set fire to the past? Would you feel liberated — free to start fresh in 2023, flush with feelings of love and peace and other things you could file under positive vibes?

The City of Toronto launched an interactive art project last Thursday called The Burn, a seven-week initiative that aims to offer a moment of respite in the wake of COVID-19, and it comes to a climax on March 11 — the third anniversary of the pandemic. 

On that date, a monumental art installation will go up at Nathan Phillips Square, and the centrepiece involves three towering steel sculptures that’ll be set aflame for 24 hours — fires that will keep on burning with a little help from the public, who’ll be invited to add bits of (supplied) wood to the blaze.

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It’s a scenario that sounds significantly more thoughtful and controlled to hear Roger Mooking describe it. Mooking is the lead creative on the project, and he talks about The Burn as a chance to heal and grow as a collective. In short, it’s bigger than an all-day bonfire. 

Mooking says he began thinking about the work in 2021, prompted by the “overwhelming melancholy” of lockdown. “I recognized that I was not the only one, that we were in this kind of collective consciousness globally, and we all needed to heal,” he tells CBC Arts. And with The Burn, he’s inviting Torontonians to actively begin that healing process. 

The first phase of the project is already underway, and involves a series of interactive sculptures — significantly smaller vessels than the ones that’ll go up at Nathan Phillips Square. They’re being stationed at public sites around the GTA as part of a tour that launched Jan. 19 in three locations: Fort York National Historic Site, the Toronto Zoo and Twist — Mooking’s restaurant at Toronto Pearson International Airport. 

Here he is, testing it out in Terminal 1.

As of writing, people can find The Burn at three new sites through Feb. 1: Spadina Museum, Native Canadian Centre and the Market Gallery at St. Lawrence Market.

“We want to make sure that we’re hitting every corner of the GTA: north, east, south, west, central — all the nooks and crannies,” says Mooking. Twenty-one locations are currently scheduled for the tour, and a full map and schedule can be found through the city’s website. 

Through March 11, visitors will find metallic dodecahedrons at different destinations — sculptures created by local artist Javid JAH. And under each sculpture is a bowl of wooden balls: spheres the size of marbles that have been carved out of cedar. 

Photo of a brassy dodecahedron adorned with perforated ornate designs. It's mounted on a wooden stick. A wood bowl full of small wooden spheres rests below the polyhedron. In the background, two step-and-repeats printed with extensive instructions for how to engage with the artwork, are visible.
Find vessels like this one throughout the GTA. This shot was taken during The Burn’s install at Fort York National Historic Site. (CBC Arts)

Take a ball, and you’ll be asked to stop and think — to sit with your feelings, really. In the language of The Burn, you’ll be “setting an intention.” Is there something weighing on you: an emotion you wish you could change or simply set free? Once you’ve identified that feeling, you’re asked to drop your ball inside the sculpture. It’s a moment for “letting go,” so to speak. 

“People are carrying so many things, especially coming through this COVID time,” says Mooking. “It’s a very simple thing … that can be very, very emotional.”

A multihyphenate known for his success as a chef, TV personality (Man Fire Food), and musician (Bass is Base), Mooking’s presented participatory art projects for the city before. Just last August, to coincide with Emancipation Month programming at Toronto history museums, he launched Read(In), an interactive installation that also appeared in multiple locations throughout the GTA. 

To bring The Burn to life, project curator Umbereen Inayet connected him with collaborators JAH (who designed and produced the installation’s ornate sculptural elements) and artist Catherine Tammaro, a Wyandot Elder who served as an advisor, particularly concerning the project’s spiritual bent. Says Mooking: “There’s a deep history of Indigenous cultures using fire and water for cleansing and preservation and healing, so we needed that guidance to make sure that we were respecting that tradition.”

The wooden balls collected at each tour site will eventually fuel the fire on March 11, and Mooking says those attending the activation at Nathan Phillips Square will also have the opportunity to set an intention. At the big event, visitors will send their cedar spheres down a chute, directly into the flames. And when the fire’s extinguished, all the ash that’s left behind will be collected for use in city gardens. “We’re really trying to emulate the cycle of life: from the spark to the ash,” says Mooking. “We’re looking to carry the spiritual intentions from everybody in the city to fortify our Earth.”

The city says it will be announcing more public projects that respond to COVID’s impact on residents. Like The Burn, they’re part of a program called Stronger Together that launched in late November. More programming is expected to be revealed in February.

In the first few days of The Burn’s cross-city tour, Mooking says he was receiving reports from the participating venues. Folks are interacting with the sculptures already, he says. “It’s been cathartic, I hope. … I can’t wait to see how much healing we’re able to do when we really roll out the full scale of this at Nathan Phillips Square.”

Full event details, including a map of The Burn’s tour locations, can be found on the project’s website.

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Art is everywhere this weekend

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Saturday, Jan. 28

2023 ArtsEverywhere Festival

Multiple locations; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

From film screenings to drag brunches and book fairs, the free annual festival has something for everyone. Learn more here.

Winterstock

Royal City Studios; 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Join Royal City Studios for a live music tribute to Woodstock 1969; attendees are encouraged to wear their best 60s style clothes. Get tickets here.

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Music Weekends

Western Burgers & Steaks; 2:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The genre-bouncing Probable Cause will perform live at The Western, pay-by-donation. Doors open at 2 p.m., show starts at 2:30.

Sunday, Jan. 29

2023 ArtsEverywhere Festival

River Run Centre; 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The last day of the free festival features a lecture and a film screening, both at the River Run Centre. Learn more here.

Music Weekends

Onyx Nightclub; 2p.m. to 5 p.m.

Join SHEBAD for their live concert at Onyx. It’s family-friendly and pay-by-donation. Doors open at 2 p.m., show starts at 2:45.

OHL Hockey

2 p.m.: Guelph Storm vs. Sudbury Wolves, Sleeman Centre

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