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OPINION: Cornwall needs more events like Art Walk – Cornwall Seaway News



The second Cornwall Art Walk was held this past Friday, and not only was beautiful art on display, but so was a beautiful community.
The event was held in Cornwall’s downtown from Third St. down to Water St.

My girlfriend and I went out for dinner that evening at one of Cornwall’s great downtown restaurants. We sat outside, and I’m very glad we did. We were treated to great food, we could hear live music from local artists, and could see pieces of art all around us. The real treat however, were all of the friends and familiar faces we saw pass us on the street.

Well over a half dozen different people stopped at our table as they walked by to talk to us and catch up. Rather than an inconvenience of having to pause in our meal ever few minutes, this was in fact my favourite part of the evening and the event.

I don’t think our experience on Friday night was unique to us. I think that the COVID-19 pandemic, the social distancing, the self-isolation has worn on all of us. This pandemic has separated us through computer screens and cancelled nearly all events.

This event created an opportunity to finally re-establish some long dormant connections. It was refreshing and invigorating.

To me, it highlighted the importance that events like these are to communities like Cornwall.

Not only were artists on display, but it finally got people together for the first time in months.

Of course, the spread of COVID-19 is always a concern. At time of writing, there are two active cases of COVID-19 in Cornwall, and three in the United Counties of SD&G. I was surprised and impressed to see the number of people who were walking along the street, in public and outdoors, but still wearing masks. It was good to see how seriously residents are taking public health. I guess all of those anti-maskers I see on our social media aren’t going too far from their keyboards.
I think that Cornwall could use more outdoor events, while the good weather lasts, and I believe that this past Friday’s Art Walk laid down the template for a successful event.

This event effectively used the space of Cornwall’s downtown. There was live music in Pommier Square, visual artists setup along Pitt St. near the restaurants, and the pop-up shops by the Cornwall Square were all being used, as was the space around them. There were theatrical activities taking place at the end of Pitt St. in front of the United Counties building. From top to bottom, this event used space, a lot of space, effectively.

One thing that I believe really helped this event was the pop-up patios and outside seating. As I explained above, enjoying my dinner outside literally on the sidewalk, added a different and much welcomed new dimension to Art Walk.

In some ways, this event reminded me of Beyond 21’s annual Food Fest, which takes place in the same space every August, except this one.

Something that I think Food Fest has always done right that events like Art Walk could copy would be closing Pitt St. from Third to Water. This will allow more free movement for event goers and would make it easier to maintain that all important social distancing.

I think that businesses along that part of Pitt St. that didn’t participate or weren’t open really missed out on Friday. The sidewalks had more pedestrians on them than I had ever seen save for a few other events.

Art Walk on Friday, and similar such events, are also a boon for Tourism. They start with local residents coming out, filling the streets, and enjoying the event. Once those pictures and that news is disseminated through the media, it will attract visitors who want to come and see what Cornwall has to offer as well.

My hat goes off to Mandy Prevost and the Art Walk organizing committee. I hope that they continue their great work, and that others are inspired and step up to hold similar festival style events.

Events like these don’t need to be limited to the downtown either, I have long believed that Le Village needs a neighbourhood festival as well, like Art Walk, like Food Fest.

What events would you like to see happen this fall in Cornwall’s two downtowns? What ideas would you have for the winter? Email me your Letter to the Editor to

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The divide between art and sports can be vast, but sometimes art and sports have been friends –



Hey guys! You know those movies from the ’80s, where the jock picks on the skinny kid with glasses — or the other way around, where the cool art kids treat the guy on the hockey team like a goon?

The divide between art and sports has been vast. So today, let’s talk about a few examples where art and sports have been friends.

Matthew Barney is an American artist who’s made epic, feature-length films with massive props. A lot of people might call his work dance, but here’s a good way of breaking it down. Barney used to be a jock — a football player, to be exact. And he made much of his early work, called Drawing Restraint, about the strong connection between the physical exertion needed for athleticism and the creative drive necessary to make an actual mark, whether it’s on a canvas or a bedroom wall.

Matthew Barney performing Drawing Restraint. (

In all the different versions of this series, he attached himself to bungee cords or made his studio into a rigorous obstacle course, making it an incredible physical feat just to make a single short line on a surface.

Why do this? Barney was making a comparison between what it takes to be an artist and what it takes to be an athlete. We have this tendency to see athleticism as disciplined and ordered, where art is unrestrained and free. But Barney was making it clear that both are forms of expression that require control and letting yourself go.

That’s an example of where an athlete brought his physicality into the art studio, but what about art that simply celebrates sports and tries to close the divide between the two worlds?

Thierry Marceau, a performance artist from Montreal, takes on many famous people’s personas to try to give us a look into their world. And I’m not talking about an impersonation — he becomes them, performing critical moments from their lives and taking on critical elements of their personality.

Thierry Marceau performing as Wayne Gretzky in The Great Alberta Tour (2010). (Thierry Marceau)

When he did this recently with Wayne Gretzky, he called up not only what was mesmerizing about the young hockey hero, but how his physical genius invigorated everybody around him, particularly Edmonton, the town that grieved his loss to LA and still celebrates him today. This is art about sports, or at least about an athlete, and the symbolic meaning an athlete can have for a town.

For artist Esmaa Mohamoud, sports become a tool to tell stories of Black identity. They also become the core for her art — like in Glorious Bones, where she uses 46 repurposed football helmets covered in an African wax batik print, calling up both the history and sacrifice of Black athletes over generations of football and the beauty of the sport itself.

Glorious Bones (2018) by Esmaa Mohamoud. (Esmaa Mohamoud)

In Blood and Tears Instead of Milk and Honey, the footballs themselves are stained black and lie still on black astroturf — like a memorial, or a tribute, to the sport that’s meant so much to North Americans. 

And in One of the Boys, she incorporates basketball jerseys into epic swirling gowns, calling up the inextricable connection between fashion and basketball, while she points to some of the ideas around gender that are always part of the history of sport.

One of the Boys (2017-2018) by Esmaa Mohamoud. (Esmaa Mohamoud/Qendrim Hoti)

Why is there such a divide between the art studio and the football field? Here’s an idea: traditionally — and I’m talking ancient Greece here — sports were an arena to perform gender, to build notions of virility and strength. And maybe art has been more receptive to those whose ideas of both gender and physicality were a little more fluid. Maybe sports, which often requires team thinking, has been seen as a bit at odds with individual thinking.

Each of these disparate practices informs the other. Athleticism is creative. It requires intellect, lateral thinking and incredible mental patience — just watch tennis finals and you’ll see that everything from Serena Williams’s outfits to her serve involve a high level of intellect and creativity, not to mention an incredible performance. And art, on its side, requires a physicality, patience and drive that rivals anything that happens during practice.

Who’s someone you can think of that brings art and sport together? Send me a line here at CBC Arts and together, perhaps we can stop one kid from getting pushed into their locker at lunch or let another get through the day without being called a meathead.

See you next time for more Art 101. 

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Petrolia Discovery offering tours and art show Saturday – Sarnia Observer



Oil and art are set to mix Saturday at the Petrolia Discovery heritage site.

Liz Welsh, with the Petrolia Discovery Foundation, is shown at the oil heritage site in Petrolia. It is offering self-guided tours and an art show and sale this Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Paul Morden / The Observer

Oil and art are set to mix Saturday at the Petrolia Discovery heritage site.

The foundation that operates the working oil field and heritage site in Petrolia has been opening the gates for self-guided tours on several Saturdays during the summer and fall, and this Saturday’s event will include a show and sale by local artists and artisans.

The Artist Day and tours run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is by donation.

Foundation board member Liz Welsh said the event was organized for local artists who missed out on traditional shows and sales during this year’s pandemic restrictions.

“It’s an opportunity for arts and craft people who would normally be travelling around and spending their summer hitting up all of these shows and earning their income,” Welsh said.

The event will feature 15 vendors, socially distanced outdoors at the site for the walk-through show and sale.

Welsh said, “We’ve kept it very local” with nearly all of the vendors from Petrolia, and offering items ranging from jewelry to paintings, photography, as well as fabric and leather art.

“I think maybe one or two aren’t quite in Petrolia, but we filled up with Petrolia people first.”

Welsh said COVID-19 precautions will be in place during the show, and the self-guided tours of the heritage buildings and oil field. Volunteers will be at the site and visitors will be given plastic covered tour guidebooks that are sanitized between use.

“They get to support local art and local history at the same time,” she said.

Visitors are asked to use the site’s north entrance through Bridgeview Park.

The site’s plans for the event have been cleared with the town’s emergency management coordinator, Welsh said.

Visitors are being asked to use cash to make purchases from vendors, and to wear a face mask while browsing the art.

The site offers “lots of room to distance,” Welsh said.

“And, the weather looks like it’s going to be fabulous.”

Saturday will also feature live music by the Lambton Brass Quintet from about 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Welsh said the group is make up of members of the Lambton Concert Band.

She said anyone with questions about the event can call the Discovery at 519-882-0897, or contact the foundation through its Facebook page.

The tours at the Discovery have been “really well-received,” including a previous Saturday that featured a local car club. Welsh said.

“We had lots of people, that day,” she said.

The Discovery will also expected to be open for self-guided tours on the Saturday of the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.

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Travel news: Local cultural events, live music and art classes – The Globe and Mail



Lekwungen traditional dancers in Saanich, B.C., in 2019.

Kevin Light/Handout

An expanded Culture Days 2020 launches Sept. 25 across Canada with the theme Unexpected Intersections, offering free livestream and in-person arts and culture experiences. Concerts, art classes, dance performances and self-guided tours are some of the options available until Oct. 25. Highlights include Nuit Blanche in Winnipeg, Behind the Wall: Making of a collective mural by the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre and the Yukon Arts Centre’s Waterfront Parade in Whitehorse.

Get a dose of live music at Vancouver’s Gastown Unplugged, a pop-up music series happening until the end of October. Wander the cobblestones or listen from a patio to local musicians at four locations including the Maple Tree Square Pop-Up Plaza.

At Vancouver’s Gastown Unplugged, listen from a patio to local musicians at four locations.

Gastown Unplugged/Handout

Supplement back to school with BIPOC history and stories: digital Doors Open Ontario has videos, virtual tours and photos from Canadian Black History sites such as Amherstburg Freedom Museum, Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historical Site and John Freeman Walls Underground Railroad Museum while Hot Docs at Home ( has launched For Viola, a documentary series focused on BIPOC stories and filmmakers, streaming for free.

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Kimpton Hotels has introduced Chief Virtual Learning Officers (CVLO), helping families on vacation with remote learning. Reserve access to an on-property CVLO and get set up with complimentary desks, snacks and school supplies. Now available at Toronto’s Kimpton Saint George (, the hotel currently offers a 15-per-cent discount on reservations made three days in advance for IHG members who book directly.

Writerfest in Kingston, Ont., in 2019.

Garrett Elliott/Handout

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