How are we doing at the Art Gallery of Mississauga?

Monday, February 19, 2007

The view from the car

A few posts ago, the 905er asked what art related things you do during the winter.

This past weekend 905 options included the Brampton Indie Arts Festival and a Photographing your Artwork Workshop at the Art Gallery of Mississauga.

905 artist Zan, has been doing plein air from his car. He wants suggestions for interesting locations.

What suggestions do you have for Zan? Or any art related suggestions to get through the remainder of this winter?

Comfortable yet respectable
from Martha Eleen's Into the 905: The View from the Car

Friday, February 16, 2007

Toronto (Star) looks toward the 905 for culture

Brampton throws an artsy bash

Feb 13, 2007 Erin Kobayashi Life Writer

It is becoming a tired cliché for the word "boring" to promptly follow the word "suburbs."

"Yes, we already know that `all culture dies in the suburbs' but what else?" says 29-year-old Richard Marsella, the founder and director of the seventh annual Brampton Indie Arts Festival, which kicks off tomorrow.

"If you are shallow enough to judge a place for its face value, which is just the way it looks, which is just a Wal-Mart (and) a bunch of homes, then the suburbs may appear boring. But if you look into every one of those homes, there is something unique happening."

A crusader for the arts in Brampton, Marsella has built a remarkably unique suburb-based arts festival that is dispelling the myth that culture doesn't exist in the 905. For four days, Brampton's Rose Theatre will revel in art by the likes of Mark Mothersbaugh and house live shows that include Final Fantasy and Andy Kim.

The festival, hosted by a puppet named Curtains and includes audio art set up in the washrooms, forces Toronto concertgoers to grudgingly make a reverse commute to the suburbs and accommodates those already there.

"I think the suburbs is rich in culture and this goes with any city," Marsella says. "You just have to look a little harder in the suburbs to find it. The suburbs is just short on venues to showcase the interesting and unique work it has but there is so much going on."

Although the arts festival will last only four days, Marsella knows the art, music and audience won't disappear once it wraps up because much to skeptics' astonishment: art lives and thrives in the suburbs. Surprise.

In fact, Marsella thinks that the infinite creativity from the suburbs has caused the emergence of independent suburb-based festivals. He mentions last summer's Beating Heart Festival, a concert series held on the concrete square of the Mississauga Central Library that staged acts like Magneta Lane and dd/mm/yyyy.

There is also Mississauga's A Month in Photography Festival, curated and run independently by Fausta Facciponte for the last two years. Her reason for creating the festival was her growing frustration with being an artist outside of Toronto and wanting to showcase regional talent.

"I thought Mississauga was lacking the support for photographic arts for emerging talent," says Facciponte. "There needs to be something more for up-and-coming artists, a place, event, spotlight to promote young talent."

Su-Ying Lee of the Art Gallery of Mississauga agrees with Facciponte and has seen a lot of DIY festivals popping up in the least likely places.

"There is a lot of effort from young people," says Lee. "We have heard of quite a few people wanting to begin a film or video festival."

However, Lee stresses that although there is plenty of talent to showcase, the festivals need more support from the corporate sector and municipal governments or they won't be able to survive. "It can get off the ground but can only continue for a certain number of years," she says.
Facciponte, who does not make a profit from the A Month of Photography Festival, relies heavily on local businesses to help support the event.

But perhaps the greatest breakthrough in the last 10 years has been festival organizers' reliance on the Internet to network with artists and connect with audiences. The suburbs, with a reputation for being sprawling spaces full of single-family homes and a car-heavy landscape, are also seen as intensely private. The Web allows those situated outside of the artistic hub of Toronto to inexpensively reach out to neighbours.

"A lot of the communication between me and the artists happens through email," says Facciponte. "The Internet has been a really important tool in all of this."

Similarly, The Beating Heart Festival's website is just a MySpace page, which keeps costs down but still allows organizers to post concert listings, publicity and spread the word to other users.

Shawn Micallef, co-founder of [murmur], a successful archival audio project curated in Toronto, is planning to set up another [murmur] project in Mississauga later this year. "I think [murmur] might help the spotlight shift from downtown," says Micallef who thinks that the suburbs are largely ignored.

He cites last fall's Nuit Blanche as a Toronto-centric event, hogged by downtown venues leaving the rest of the GTA notably absent from the festivities. "Maybe if the next Nuit Blanche is out in the suburbs, it would get people to put it on the mental radar of where art exists," Micallef says.

"The suburbs are not boring," he says. "Their stories just haven't been told as much."
This article from the Toronto Star at

Will you be going to the Brampton Indie Arts Festival?
The 905er has blogged thoughts about Nuit Blanche before. Do you agree with Micallef?

What do you think?

Monday, February 05, 2007


What the heck is AAHLUMNIEX?
It's work from selected artists who are alumni of A&AH

What is A&AH?
A&AH is the Art and Art History Program, established in 1971 when Sheridan College joined with the University of Toronto at Mississauga to establish Canada’s first collaborative art program between a college and university. Graduates of the program earn both a Diploma in Art and Art History from Sheridan College and a Bachelor of Arts or Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. Through this collaboration, students have the benefit of enrolling in studio courses at Sheridan College and art history and visual culture and communication courses at UTM.

Teresa Ascencao, Atanas Bozdarov, Tonia Di Risio, Fausta Facciponte, Stephen Fakiyesi, Dorian Fitzgerald, Emily Gove, Daniel Griscti, Natalie Harder, Mari Jørstad, Linda Martinello, Jennifer Matotek, Heidi May, Steve Mazza, Monika Raciborski, Heather Saunders, Julie Saunders, Ben Walmsley, Andrew Wright

When, where and all that other stuff
Dates: February 15 to March 25, 2007, Opening Reception Thursday, February 15th at 6pm
Location: Art Gallery of Mississauga
Admission: Free
Hours: Weekdays 9 am to 5 pm, weekends 12 to 4 pm
*Call 905 896 5088 to confirm hours

What will I see if I come to the Art Gallery of Mississauga for AAHLUMNIEX?
Well, you'll see a whole lotta good stuff but, here's a small sample for your viewing pleasure...

Teresa Ascencao
Portrait of a Young Bullfighter, 2000
Super 8 film

Dorian Fitzgerald
The Roses, 2006
acrylic and caulking on canvas
102 x 80 inches

Ben Walmsley

Helen II, 2006
oil on wood panel
60 x 30 inches

Andrew Wright
30 x 40 inches

Jennifer Matotek

Why Overweight Preteen Girls with Glasses Often Like Unicorns, 2006


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