3rd annual Muskoka Independent Film Festival happening at Gravenhurst OP

The 3rd Annual Muskoka Independent Film Festival (MIFF), previously a summer event in the Village of Rosseau, returns this year at its new venue, the Gravenhurst Opera House, Thursday, October 20th thru Saturday, October 22nd.

Selected from nearly 250 international submissions, this year’s festival is featuring over forty films from all genres and of all lengths including films from Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, United States, Iran and Germany.

In addition, for MIFF 2016, there’s not only a strong representation from Canada and Ontario filmmakers, but also an independent film shot in Muskoka entitleD “Go Fish” which will be featured at Thursday’s opening night screenings.

From comedies to dramas to documentaries, the themes of this year’s films range from lost in love to lost in outer space; the struggle between sisters to the struggle for tolerance; the will to live and the acceptance of death. For some of the film screenings the creators will be present for discussion. The viewing audience will also be asked to assist in choosing their favourites for “Best Of The Fest”.

With Muskoka increasingly being recognized as an international destination, the goal of MIFF is to grow and include more and more projects from filmmakers around the globe. Under the direction of stage and screenwriter Vince Grittani, the 2016 Muskoka Independent Film Festival at the Gravenhurst Opera House aims to celebrate the one medium that on a daily base is unifying our planet.

To see the schedule, click here.

There will be be free films for kids showing at the Gravenhurst Library next door to the Opera House on Saturday, October 22 from 10:30 to noon.

‘The Iron Workers Union: Part 3’ starts October 15th at the Chapel Gallery

Seven artists – Chad Arney, Matt Church, Hilary Clark Cole, Andrew Cohrs, Mikaila Davidson, Brendan Duggan, and Deb Harkness – working in metal, have come together to create The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 that will be on display at the Chapel Gallery beginning on October 15.

“The show is a gathering of artists with metal in the blood,” states Clark Cole. “We all love the medium and enjoy exploring its endless possibilities.”

The historical roots of today’s artistic metalworkers span cultures, civilizations and the millennia. Three thousand years after iron ore was first plucked from the ground with curiosity to the time when the clank and clatter of the blacksmith’s anvil ushered in the Iron Age then to the Industrial Revolution that changed nearly everything, metalworkers have had a profound effect on civilizations.

Metalworking techniques are varied ranging from hammering, soldering, brazing, forging and welding that transform metal into objects that fire our imaginations, awe us with their beauty or encourage us to question why. “I find metal an infinite medium. I continually challenge myself to see what might be possible in metal and I have yet to find it,” comments Hilary.

Inspiration for their work is as varied as the group. “I get my inspiration from everything including mechanical and natural forms,” says Brendan. “It’s an accumulative process that will take a lifetime to complete.” When making pieces for this exhibition, emerging artist Mikaila, was inspired by science fiction movies, as she wanted to “make something that looked like it came straight out of an Alien or Predator movie, something that could give you nightmares.” Recycled materials found along roadsides, in the woods or trash that are left behind and forgotten are the muse for Chad who gives these modern day castoffs new life as fun and entertaining assemblages. Matt Church who comes from a long line of blacksmiths wanted to create something new, to break away from his usual way of working and force himself into uncharted territories.

Learning their craft has required years of schooling, mentoring, experimentation and practice. Some, such as Deb studied at college then went on to apprentice at a blacksmith shop for nine years before venturing out on her own. While Brendan trained at traditional schools, most of this knowledge of welding techniques came from working in a commercial welding shop. Although Hilary was trained in the disciplines of sculpture and welding at the Ontario College of Art and Design, over the years, she has often been forced to innovate because there was no one to teach her what she wanted to learn.

Visitors to this exhibition will see how these seven artists are able to work with the hard rigid metal of steel and found metal objects and transform them into fantastical found object sculptures, mechanical works, flowers or life-size animals. “I hope the viewer will realize how difficult and challenging this form of art can be,” states Deb. “I hope they enjoy the work and gets a sense of the many varied metal crafting techniques are and how they can be put together,” adds Brendan.

The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 opens with a public reception on Saturday, October 15 from 1pm until 4pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until November 12. The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation.

For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.

New work by the Brown Baggers in Bracebridge

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 17, 2pm-4pm

The Brown Baggers are once again expressing their love of art. From a number of potential and challenging themes, the members voted for the concept of time. Time is a reference to the past, present or possibly the future. “It’s a broad theme having many interesting interpretations and lending itself to a variety of mediums and styles,” says Georgina Winterburn.

Many of the members chose a personal or emotional response to the theme of time and have explored a particular moment in time that they have experienced. Some are thought provoking and perhaps even inspirational.

Each artist has evolved through a time of learning, a time of self-doubt, a time of discovery, a time of accomplishment and a time of sharing that accomplishment.

This exhibition represents a variety of artwork by a talented group of artists who started to paint together in 1985. Founded by the late Jean Forder and Iris Gammon, these two friends decided to pack a lunch and head into the countryside to paint. The popularity of this activity grew and the Brown Baggers have grown in number over the years.

Each week in the spring, summer and fall, art supplies, a good chair and protection against the elements are packed, and the group members venture out to paint en plein air. During the winter, when the weather is not so welcoming, the Brown Baggers meet indoors to share experiences, techniques, ideas and friendly critiques.

Every September members go on a five-day plein air retreat somewhere in Ontario.

Their adventures have ranged from the comforts of resorts and lodges to the rough camping of the Algoma School of Landscape Painting where no electricity or indoor plumbing was the greatest challenge and Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay, were they were reminded of childhood adventures at summer camp. The YMCA’s Queen Elizabeth Camp provided a unique experience and accommodated everyone’s needs from kayaking, canoeing, hiking, campfire singing, fantastic food, and of course, spectacular scenery.

Organized workshops over the years, with noted, local artists have provided a wide range of valuable information in all media.

The group is an eclectic mix of skill levels, experience, and interests, so that, even with a particular theme it is difficult to predict the exciting array of artwork that will be at the show.

Visitors to the exhibition will see a variety of techniques and styles as the group is an eclectic mix of skill levels, experience, and interests, so that, even with a particular theme it is difficult to predict the exciting array of artwork that will be at the show.

Time opens with a public reception on Saturday, September 17 from 2pm until 4pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until October8. The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation.

For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.

MAC announces local arts scholarship winners

Muskoka Arts & Crafts is pleased to announce the recipients for the Elene J. Freer Art Scholarship (Sponsored by Muskoka Arts & Crafts) and the Mae C. Kennedy Memorial Award.

Samantha Jarvis who graduated from Huntsville High school received the Elene J. Freer Art Scholarship. For each year of her post-secondary education, Samantha will receive, for a maximum of four years, $1,200 a year from Muskoka Arts & Crafts. Samantha’s paintings already demonstrate a mature, consistent and identifiable sense of style. She attributes her high school experiences to helping to develop her artistic style.

Like many artists, art provides Samantha with a means of expression. “

“I’’ve never really been good at explaining myself”, Samantha reveals. “”When something bothered me, I’ve always been the type of person to think things over by myself and come to a conclusion. Art provides me not only with a sense of wholeness but a way to represent myself and create a sense of individuality in a physical form. My whole life, I have had a strong fascination with people, made apparent through their continued reoccurrence throughout my work.””

Samantha has been accepted for the Art and Design Foundation Program at the Centre for Arts, Design & Information Technology at George Brown College.

Mikaela Wichers-Schreur received the Mae C. Kennedy Memorial Award for $100. Mikaela graduated from Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and this fall will be attending George Brown Collage to further her education in jewellery. “

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“My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by art and creativity,” says Mikaela. “I have a vision for myself; working hard every day in a jewellery studio of my own, creating art that speaks to people in ways that’s hard to explain with words.””

Muskoka Arts & Crafts wishes Samantha and Mikaela all the best as they purse this next step in their education.