Umbrella Spring 2023

Page 8

What's Under the Umbrella?

o Nicole Burley Photography

o Jonathan Maracle

o Christopher Gentile

Spring 2023

Vol. 32 No. 1
Visual I Performance I Literary I Heritage I Education

Janet Jarrell, Executive Director

Kodie Trahan-Guay, Communications and Media Director

Andrew Gray, Graphic Designer

Kim Lidstone, Bookkeeper

The Quinte Arts Council is a not-for-profit, charitable organization, registration number 107869448 RR 0001. Publications mail agreement number 40667523. Published by: The Quinte Arts Council, P.O. Box 22113 Belleville, Ont. K8N 2Z5.

Material may be reprinted only with permission. Umbrella is mailed to members and delivered to distribution points throughout the Quinte Region. The information contained within is believed to be reliable, but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. We do not assume responsibility for any errors and/or omissions related to submitted content.

As we begin a new season, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the successes we've achieved together and look at the opportunities that lie ahead.

The QAC has been producing Umbrella since 1991, and this issue marks the beginning of 5 years as a magazine. I want to express my gratitude to our dedicated staff, all who contribute to Umbrella, volunteers, and supporters. Your hard work and commitment have made a significant impact on our arts community.

Looking forward, we have many exciting projects and initiatives on the horizon. The second celebration of Docs, Dinner and Drinks in April celebrates film students from Loyalist College. Our arts education program continues (see opposite page of our artist in schools program from last year). The theme of our biennial juried show, Expressions, is ‘Emergence.’ The planning is well underway for Plein Air, the Mayor’s Luncheon, Arts Recognition Awards and the Jazz Festival. Our gallery space continues to celebrate a diverse range of artists and we continue to be intentional about inclusivity in this work to ensure diverse perspectives are represented and experienced through art.

We are exploring new ways to expand our reach and make an even greater impact. Our goals for the year ahead include:

Increasing our outreach efforts to ensure that all members of our community have access to our programs, services and resources.

Enhancing our programs through innovation and collaboration with community partners.

Strengthening our organizational infrastructure to ensure that we are equipped to meet the needs of our community.

As we move forward, I encourage you to stay engaged with QAC; all members are invited to attend and vote at the Annual General Meeting in June and to continue to support our efforts in whatever way you can. Whether through volunteering, donating, or spreading the word about our work, every contribution makes a difference.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and I look forward to working together to create a vibrant and diverse arts community.

QAC programs are funded in part by: Cover: Nicole Burley Photography Back: Olivia H
John M. & Bernice MESSAGE FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Listen to the QAC's podcast, Makin' Stuff Up

Table of Contents

Message from the Chair + Contributors

Arts Education Impact of QAC arts education programming


Nicole Burley

Fine Arts

Vadim Vaskovsky

Quinte Arts Council RISE: Because We Are Equal Women's Day show


Jonathan Maracle

Jeanette Arsenault


The art of theatre props

Podcasting Christopher Gentile


DocFest 2023

Six Strings

Student Photography

Student Photography

Performing Arts

Wander Local Heritage

Parrott Gallery turns 50!

Evan Morton

Literary Creative Conversations with Abena Green

Artist to Watch: Chris Alexander

Sponsored by the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board

2 3 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32
Nicole Burley Photography PC: Hannah H


Dear Members and Supporters,

I hope this message finds you all in good health and spirits. As the Chair of the Quinte Arts Council, I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest appreciation for your ongoing support and dedication to our mission.

Despite the many challenges we faced over the past few years, we were able to continue making a positive impact in our arts community thanks to the tireless efforts of our volunteers and staff. Together, we were able to provide much-needed and enjoyed programming and professional development to our artists and audiences.

Looking ahead to 2023, I am confident that we will continue to build upon our successes and make an even greater impact in the coming year. But we cannot do it alone. We rely on your support!

Whether you choose to donate your time, money, or resources, every contribution makes a difference. So please, continue to support the QAC in whatever way you can, and together, we can create a vibrant and diverse arts community in the Quinte region, while supporting the new generation of artists, offering quality experiences and arts education.

Thank you again for all that you do!


Andrea Kerr Abena Green Ardith Racey Greg Cici Jennifer Shea Kodie Trahan-Guay Peter Paylor

Impact of QAC arts education programming

Cité Jeunesse, QW

ur arts education

program provides quality visual and performing arts training in the classroom at local schools in the Quinte Area educating students about cultural diversity and inclusion in the arts. In 2022, the QAC contributed over $13,000 bringing artists

Our arts education

program provides quality visual and performing arts training in the classroom at local schools in the Quinte Area educating students about cultural diversity and inclusion in the arts. In 2022, the QAC contributed over $13,000 bringing artists into the classrooms of seven local schools, including the francocphone schools in Quinte West.

03 Arts Education
Jonathan Maracle, Deseronto Public School

Nicole Burley

Nicole Burley is a photographer and illustrator who finds her inspiration seeking beauty and curiosity in the forgotten. Her hauntingly beautiful portraits of conceivably abandoned places encourages viewers to explore their curiosity and intangibly feel her images.

Nicole became fascinated with deserted buildings in 2019 when she purchased her first DSLR camera and lens and photographed a landscape of a collapsing barn in an overgrown field in Hastings County.

When Nicole isn’t photographing the forgotten or experimenting in dark art, you can still find her behind the lens sharing space with wildlife, insects and flowers. Her love and appreciation for the arts began at a very young age with the influence of her grandmother and aunt who are both painters. Nicole and her family have proudly called the Quinte area their home for 4 generations.



The volume of sky and horizon

Ukranian artist Vadim

Vaskovsky describes Prince Edward County as “his favourite place in Canada”. He qualifies that by saying he hasn’t seen all of Canada yet, but he

was drawn to move to the County from Newfoundland by the amount of sunlight. He finds inspiration in that and in the “volume of sky and horizon”.

Vadim was born in Central Asia and grew up between there, Russia and Ukraine. There are some craftsmen in his lineage, but no visual artists. Vadim says he first picked up a paintbrush at the age of 4 but became more serious about art when he was 7 or 8. “I asked my mom to bring me to the art school. She was happy to do so and supported me in this movement all my life and still now.”

He moved to Canada in 2001, then sponsored his wife and eldest son and his parents in the following years. Their first Canadian stop was Toronto, but they moved to Newfoundland so his wife could pursue her medical career.

Vadim graduated from the Grekov Art College (Odessa, Ukraine) in 1990 and his training is well-rounded, including

illustration and graphic design. A lot of time was devoted to life drawing and painting. “I use these skills, but more and more, I like to work from mind versus subject.”

Vadim has experimented with a variety of artistic mediums, but his favourite is oil. “I’ve been mixing it with cold wax to achieve a texture like carpet or fabric. It makes the paint deeper and looks more matte than glossy.” Vadim will sometimes use acrylic paint for its flatness, but he gets frustrated with how fast it dries. He has also worked with tempera paints and has created sculpture and stained-glass pieces.

It’s hard to put a label on Vadim’s artistic style. He has done impressionistic and modernistic work, portraiture (both realistic and abstract), still life, cubist style pieces, and more.

He continues to be inspired by Prince Edward County: “It’s fascinating, this volume of air around the horizon that you can always see.” Vadim created his latest series,

06 Fine Arts
Prince Edward County

AerialLandscapesfromPEC, based on a “bird’s viewpoint”. These colourful pieces are eye-catching and familiar.

“I’ve been changing styles often, but for now, I haven’t found myself expired with this style. At the same time, I’ve started working on something new.”

Vadim also takes inspiration from his youngest child, 8-year-old Maria, who seems to be taking after her father when it comes to creative pursuits. “I look at her and go to a more and more naive and childlike style of painting. She just jumps into work, with joy, which I lost a little bit on the way. I look at her hand movements, how she thinks.”

Vadim’s work is available through Studio 22 Fine Art Gallery in Kingston. He also sells through London-based art platform, Artfinder. He’s moving to more of an online presence with sales through his newly completed website.

Fine Arts

Annually, the Quinte Arts Council (QAC) devotes the month of March to our RISE: Because We Are Equal show celebrating the artistic achievements of women in our

community. The theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity - each artist interpreted this in their own way.

RISE features almost 40 pieces by artists, including an emerging artist from a local

high school, mid-career artists to established artists. This show is the largest collective show at the QAC gallery since the pandemic. It is a show of togetherness, moving forward and embracing equity.

“The mandate of the QAC includes advocating for an inclusive and diverse arts community in the Quinte region. Since 2020, the QAC has been hosting RISE, celebrating, elevating and amplifying the voices and aesthetics of women artists. Every year, this show grows - this year over twenty artists are participating, with many mediums represented including sculpture, acrylics and film.” says Janet Jarrell, QAC Executive Director. “Equity means creating an inclusive world. It's what we believe in, unconditionally. Our artists work collectively to impact this positive change.”

See the full gallery on our site.

Fertility Diety Dress by Marta Mouka Spirit Tina Osbourne WomanWading Lorraine Mackie Quinte Arts Council
Quinte Arts Council On Call Janice Burton Emergence Linda Mazur-Jack Decoy Briana Godden TheLadyEmerges Sandra Kidd

Growing up in a large Acadian family with music all around her, it seems almost inevitable that Jeanette Arsenault became a musician. Her mother is one of fourteen children, her father one of thirteen. Arsenault spent her childhood visiting with her seventy-five cousins. Her family is from

I’m an Acadian Canadian, Eh

the East Coast, living in an Acadian community on Prince Edward Island.

She remembers her summers spent at family gatherings where everyone would dance and sing. They would come together, sit in a big circle with people playing the spoons, harmonicas or accordions and together created music.

“We’d go down for the summer for five weeks and a lot of parties. That’s where I got my love of music. Acadians are big time musicians, or music appreciators.”

Her mother was a music appreciator and would tell Arsenault that the musicians needed someone to clap for them. She never learned an instrument but encouraged Arsenault to learn instruments as well as singing. Arsenault can play the spoons, the piano and the guitar. They were a large family, so often her mother would listen as she did housework - but she always listened.

“I wanted to be at the piano all the time. I would put a chair beside my piano for my mom to come and sit to listen to what I was learning.”

Arsenault was born in Hamilton, Ontario where she attended a French language school before her family moved to northern Ontario. She feels blessed that she was able to attend a French language school in Capreol. Arsenault is fully bilingual. She finds

PC: Sarah Kirby PC: Norma Langrish

this opens her world up by giving her access to another culture.

“I have two doors that are opened up and I can understand the language, listen to their music, and watch their movies. It’s a broader base.”

Arsenault is passionate about making sure the world learns about Acadian culture. She was inspired after releasing her song “I’m an Acadian Canadian, Eh.” People would come up to her and ask her about being Acadian, they didn’t realize Acadians are real.

Arsenault has partnered with Evva Massey to bring Acadian history to schools the the program Young Imaginations which tours schools in Ontario to bring history to life through the arts. Evva’s first program partnered with Indigenous people to teach students about Indigenous culture. She is now looking to bring Acadian culture to schools. Evva believes that Young Imaginations needs to partner with leaders in the cultures in order

to more effectively communicate with students.

Arsenault has spent more than 30 years as a singer/songwriter and is excited to be bringing Acadian culture to school children so they can step inside history and learn through the arts.

“Tell your story, what’s your story? Companies are encouraged to tell their story. This is people telling their stories and how better to share information then you have the authentic artist from each of the cultures telling their stories, sharing their stories. So it’s a different approach using the arts whether it’s painting or dancing or theatre, engaging the children. It’s very interactive”

To hear more, check out the Quinte Arts Council Podcast Makin’ Stuff Up: "The Power of the Voice" available on Amazon, Audible, Youtube and Spotify. youngimaginations

Theatre 11 Music
PC: Sarah Kirby PC: Val Carey

The Healer

How many discovered indigenous children is enough? Is 215 enough? Maybe it's 4118. Mohawk musician and songwriter Jonathan Maracle has wrapped himself in a blanket of culture, heritage, traditions and love of music to educate and ensure his healing message of truth and reconciliation is heard by all.

Maracle was born in Akwasasne, a Mohawk Nation in New York and at twelve years old relocated to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario. Early years were spent with his best friend Jerry fishing, swimming and exploring the St.

Regis River and Fulton's woods. Being a blue eyed, fair skinned indigenous child, he was bullied by other Indigenous children on the ride to school and Maracle also recalls, “When the bus arrived at school the reverse would take place and the white kids would give me a hard time because I was getting off the Indian bus.”

Those early experiences, as well as a missionary father, forged and wrought his character and life's direction. Maracle notes, “I saw how my father, as an Elder, shared his love and hope with them through his native expression and language and

I feel like I have the privilege and duty to continue the work my father exampled to me for so many years.”

He has continued his father's work through his songwriting, solo performances and band Broken Walls. A prolific songwriter with 14 albums based on his Indigenous culture and traditions, Maracle remarks, “These albums are meant to bring restoration, forgiveness and a general healing to Indigenous people who have or are dealing with bitterness and unforgiveness as a result of the treatment their people have suffered under colonialism and the Doctrine of Discovery.”

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory Feather River Photography

After absorbing some prophetic words by Osage Elder John Sanford at the Sacred Assembly in Quebec, Maracle was compelled to write the song “Broken Walls” minutes before he was to hit the stage and sing “Amazing Grace.” Instead he sang his newly minted song and was moved by the reaction. Maracle describes one such reaction from an Indigenous man who said, “I’ve always hated white men for what they’ve done to my people, but today I don’t want to hate them anymore, will you please forgive me?”

The room filled with sobs and cries for forgiveness - a powerful and pivotal

moment for Maracle. “The song “Broken Walls” was the beginning of an awakening for me, it showed me that using my cultural expression in songs could be a part of the restoration that needed to take place in the hearts and lives of Indigenous people.”

He isn't just a talented Indigenous musician, he's become a spiritual healer. Broken Walls tours worldwide with over 800 shows since 2000, offering healing music where truth and reconciliation are needed most. His greatest achievement, “After 28 years, I’m still seeing Broken Walls grow.”

Through the therapeutic magic of music, Maracle has spent his adult life passionately educating and healing both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people while mending the rift between them.

Broken Walls consists of Jonathan Maracle (Mohawk), Bill Pagaran (Tlingit) and Josh Maus (German-Austrian). You can listen to Jonathan Maracle on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube and the website.

Music 13

The art of theatre props

Playwrites imagine

the way a story will unfold on stage. They understand that the stage is a magical place where anything can happen. Nothing is impossible, which is good, because the imagination by its very nature is unfettered by reality. If they can imagine elk’s horns on a wall or a larger-than-life nativity scene or a larger-than-life sex toy, they can write that. If they can imagine a high-noon-style showdown between a laser-wielding alien and a 14th-century knight with a jewel-encrusted sword on the back of a dragon, they write that without giving it a second thought. Why? Because they know the creative team will find a way to make it happen, right down to the jewels on the sword. The lighting and sound people. The costumers. The set designers. The builders. The painters. The prop makers. The creators.

“I love to create stuff,” says Sarah Winn who is a wizard at creating for the stage. “It’s my nature. I like to use the muscle in my head. I like getting my hands dirty and making stuff out of stuff. It’s exciting. I just love it.”

“I’ve always been tinkering…like Frankenstein. I’m kind of a Frankenstein. I’ll take a piece of this and make it into that,” she says. “If you twist this and put that on there. You have to have a foundation for what -

Theatre 14
PC: Kodie Trahan-Guay Prop created by Enno Busse PC: Herb Deary

ever prop you’re making. For me, that usually means a trip to the thrift store.”

Like Winn, Lisa Morris has always loved to create stuff. “We did plays when we were kids, so we made stuff out of whatever we had lying around, whether it was turning boxes into robots or castles or whatever. It was making something out of nothing. It was taking a piece of styrofoam and turning it into a crown or a sword or a brick. It’s an illusion sometimes. I think you’re supposed to be able to look at the stage and whatever happens, happens. If it looks like a gun and you think it’s a gun, how cool is it to find out that it’s not even real. It’s all about what things look like from ten or twenty feet away.”

“It’s easy working with Sarah,” says Morris. We speak the same language. We’re on the same wavelength. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s energizing. She’s excited and supportive and she knows what she’s doing. And she’s so very talented. I’m lucky to be working with her. Creative minds when they all come together…there’s nothing more exciting. You could bottle that energy. It’s electric. Creative juices flow and unexpected things happen when you have the freedom…when someone trusts your creative abilities. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s very exciting.”

For the past year or so, Winn and Morris have been wowing audiences at Theatre in The Wings in downtown Belleville as the visual team behind productions of Christmas in Rosewood, Queen Victoria’s Tearoom, and Frankenstein. “We’re like the unsung heroes,” says Winn. “We’re always in the background. We’re always doing things that are wonderful and crazy, but the audience never sees us. It’s like a band. You’ve got the front man and then you’ve got the soundman. We’re the soundman. Nobody ever says anything about the soundman.”

PC: Janet Jarrell PC: Herb Deary PC: Herb Deary

Bringing big city talent to our neck of the woods

Derek Van Lint, Dan

Akryod and The Muppets are just a few of the big names that Christopher Gentile has worked with over the years. From his time in the film industry to his career now as a commercial photographer, he’s done a lot of everything.

Gentile grew up in Prince Edward County and that is where he returned to after spending forty years working in Toronto in the film industry, including being a cinematographer. He transitioned into commercial photography and now has a studio in downtown Belleville.

He got his start when a film crew came to Prince Edward County to shoot an Ontario Tourism commercial as part of the “Ontario, Yours to Discover” campaign. They were looking for on screen talent to run around the beach. Gentile, who planned on attending college to learn film production, got a group of his friends together to be in the commercial and ended up connecting with the film crew, who ended up being higher up in the industry then he thought.

“It turned out they [the film crew] were a real major player in the film industry and my plan was to go and study film production at Sheridan College and these guys were like “if you ever want to work in the film industry, here’s our card, come and see us.” I gave it some thought and sure enough day one I started working with those guys.”

His first job was as a Production Assistant (PA), or Gopher, so called because PAs are the ones who “go for” things and are always running around sets. Gentile’s work ethic and dedication helped grow his career.

“You’re freelance, doing little projects all the time and trying to gain more experience and more experience…you work through all the categories and then instead of being a PA, you might become a Production Manager, or an Assistant Director and then I started working with

talent more, directors more. It just kept growing and growing and growing.”

He hit a lucky break when one of his friends in the industry needed Gentile to cover a job for him in Australia.The job was for three days but he landed a position for a film company for ten years, and it gained him a mentor.

“This job was with Derek Van Lint, an amazing cinematographer, he worked with Ridley Scott on Alien, and was a great mentor to work with. He was really passionate about teaching people about his craft.”

Derek Van Lint isn’t the only talented person Gentile has worked with. Through his film career he worked on set with The

16 Podcasting

Muppets and the Jim Henson Company. For those who do not know, The Muppets are an ensemble cast of puppets known for their variety sketch comedy.

“The best thing for me was that when The Muppets were out, they had to be alive, that was the golden rule. It was really funny because people would be walking by and these things would be interacting, they’d start touching you and looking at you. They really were alive. It was really incredible, they were real characters.”

Transitioning to commercial photography enabled Gentile to work with Dan Akroyd for his company Crystal Head Vodka. Gentile had shot a picture of one of the bottles while working with a friend and had it on his website. Crystal Head called after they saw the image and hired him to shoot more.

“It goes back to just practising and doing something and you know that kind

of work does turn into paying work. There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, hopefully. It does work. It does pay off.”

Having been based out of Toronto for most of his career, it might seem that moving to a smaller community would have been a big shift but Gentile has found that there is a large artistic community in the Quinte region.

“Belleville was this ideal location, a diamond in the rough. I think what people see here is that there’s a community of artists around and the more they come, the more we start connecting.”

He finds Belleville to be a beautiful backdrop for on location shooting. With the downtown core full of older buildings, many of which are limestone - it’s aesthetically amazing for photographs. Gentile also finds that there is a big demand for photographers here.

“I was really surprised by the amount of work in the area, and there’s enough work for everybody which I think is great.”

For more of Gentile’s story, check out the Quinte Arts Council Podcast Makin’ Stuff Up: "The Power of the Commercial Photographer and Cinematographer" available on Amazon, Audible, Youtube and Spotify.

17 Podcasting

Hosting their first hybrid festival

Belleville Downtown

DocFest promotes awareness and understanding about global issues through documentary films - films that Quinte residents may not otherwise have the opportunity to see.

The first annual DocFest premiered in 2012 and was run by a group of dedicated volunteers. The organization has

continued to flourish ever since. DocFest, now in its twelfth year, is in the hands of two powerhouse women with backgrounds in the arts: Festival Chair Holly Dewar and Festival Coordinator Jodi Cooper.

Dewar grew up in Belleville before moving to Toronto - she returned to Belleville in 2012. Working at the Belleville Public Library gives her an opportunity to connect with what is going on locally. She

was asked to be part of DocFest and thought it would be a great opportunity to meet people and get involved in a community that had similar interests to hers.

Documentaries are an important global art form and a critical cultural practice that brings forth truth in ways which can have long term, profound effects on the audience.

Belleville Film Shelter, by Tess Girard Holly Dewar and Jodi Cooper PC: Brady Rogers

“I really like the way that they take you into a world that you might never have an opportunity to experience. So they really broaden your knowledge and they really influence your thinking on a subject and make you investigate it more,” says Dewar. “They delve deeper into topics that are often very interesting and that sometimes you wouldn’t have even thought you’d be keen on knowing more about.”

Cooper served as a DocFest committee member for years, and this year marks her first as the Festival Coordinator. She is a filmmaker who is passionate about telling stories.

“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved stories. My mom was involved with the theatre guild here when I was young so I’ve always wanted to go into that field.” says Cooper about why she is interested in film.

“I love docs because I’m a lifelong learner. I love to learn about new things. They do such a great job of storytelling, of being engaging, of kind of zooming in that microscope. You’re really close to the subject in a way you wouldn’t be able to be in any other way.” says Cooper. “Really good docs zoom you back out and show you how that connects to the rest of the world, how that connects to what you’re doing.”

Downtown DocFest 2023 was the first hybrid festival allowing for in-person screenings and virtual. It enabled them to grow

their audience and engage viewers from all over the province who look forward to experiencing the festival annually.

“Over the past two years we had moved to fully virtual and we recognized that was a great way to grow our audience because now we’re attracting viewers from across Ontario,” says Cooper about the festival. “We have some dedicated audience members who are not from our community but love to see the films.”

To hear more check out the Quinte Arts Council Podcast Makin’ Stuff Up: "Belleville Downtown Docfest", available on Amazon, Audible, Youtube and Spotify.

Images submitted by Docfest.

19 Film
Victor Cooper wins Local Spotlight: Best Short, Full–ARecipeforHappiness Tess Girard wins Local Spotlight: Best Feature, Shelter

Sharing Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory History through Film


the 7-min-

ute short film, Six Strings, is mesmerizing. It’s done in the Mohawk language of Kanyen’kéha with no subtitles, and it tells a compelling story even if this is not your native language.

It opens with the date, June 10, 1800, and depicts the true account of a bitter dispute between rival factions within the Mohawk Village that ended with the bloody murder of a father and son and the wounding of others. This was before the Indian Act, and the Mohawk community came together to handle the tragedy in their own traditional way.

Karen Lewis is a retired librarian with the Kanhiote Library on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. It was brought to her attention that the National Archives of Canada housed an original transcript of the nine-day Mohawk Council meeting that took place following the murders. She read the document and

found it fascinating. She started sharing it with others who were interested in Mohawk history.

“I’ve noticed with everyone who reads it, it kind of exposes our own biases, prejudices, or beliefs,” says Karen. “Everyone felt something strongly from it, but not the same thing.”

Some years ago, Karen gathered together several men in the community and they read the document as is, but

in first-person. She wanted to do something more creative with the piece, and that led to more recent discussions about turning it into a film.

Callie Hill, Executive Director of the Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Centre (and Karen’s sister) became involved and they consulted with Evva Massey of Young Imaginations (a creative arts centre) in Prince Edward County. They decided to apply for funding and were suc -


cessful in receiving a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

They were then connected to The Bawaadan Collective, which is made up of a diverse and highly skilled membership of Indigenous artists and collaborators, including filmmakers. The Collective agreed to direct the filming of Six Strings, “The goal was to reconnect and help elevate the voice of the community and, ideally, utilize the art of filmmaking for community development. This

project was very much centred around language revitalization.” It was filmed entirely on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory using local, inexperienced actors.

The short focuses on the moment before the violence and the immediate aftermath, followed by a tribal reckoning with the perpetrators. “It was conflict resolution. It was not a trial,” says Karen.

“Everyone came together in front of government people who were asked to help. It shows alternative justice or justice circles and it shows how our ways can bring that about without a jail and without punishment.”

The short ends by showing the creation of the six wampum strings. “When someone passes, there is a ceremony called The 3 Strings of Condolence,” says Callie. “Wampum specialists we talked to couldn’t really say why there were 6 (strings). It may be as simple as

3 strings for each victim, but the way it’s described in the paper, it says the 6 strings were attached to a belt. No-one has heard of that before.”

The dream of everyone involved is to see Six Strings made into a full-length feature film, and the search for funding for this project is already underway.

21 Film

Student Photography

Bay of Quinte youth

between the ages of 7 and 14 were invited to submit photos taken of people, places or things during the last year within the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board’s partner communities. The purpose of the contest was to encourage artistic development, experimentation and expression among youth and to see how youth perceive the world around us.

Thanks to the Bay of Quinte RMB for going above and beyond to encourage and nurture young artistic talent. The key to building a sustainable arts future lies in making young artists a priority today, in education and all other areas of everyday life. We celebrated the outstanding students participating in this photography show at the QAC gallery, showcasing impressive levels of skill, creativity and courage.

PC: Darby M
Student Photography
PC: Sameh S PC: Charlotte H PC: Alexander R PC: Colton B
PC: Emma P PC: Mathias T PC: Jaxon SR Student Photography

Wander Local

The Bay of Quinte

Regional Marketing Board held a workshop on experiential tourism, led by Celes Davar, one of Canada’s leading experts on experiential tourism. Davar, President and “Chief Experience Officer” for Earth Rhythms, an award-winning experiential tourism company based in Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley, made believers of everyone involved. The idea is simple – what tourists want most from a destination is to experience local art, cuisine and history through the eyes and the stories of the people who live there.

That workshop led to the crafting of a number of exciting Bay of Quinte experiences, including “Wander Local”- a series of walking tours “that capture the unique stories, urban nature, and public art of Downtown Belleville against the backdrop of a history worth remembering.”

One of these tours will begin this spring when both tourists and members of the local community will be invited to participate in an immersive theatre experience called “Whisky and Wingtips.” It’s a historical walking tour built into a play – a romantic comedy set in the 1920s

about two star-crossed lovers, separated by their families who are on opposite sides of the laws against liquor. Henry is the nephew of Claude Cole, a notorious rum-runner. Alice is the daughter of Frank Naphan, Belleville’s Licence Inspector under the Ontario Temperance Act. Alice and Henry are out on a date. As they wander along the streets of downtown, they run into four young men, each of them named Joe, each of them played by Belleville actor J. P. Harvey. “He’s the bridge between the story and the audience,” says Harvey.

“There’s a part of this production where we get the audience fully involved,” says Kodie Trahan-Guay who plays Alice. “I think that’s going to be so fun for people to learn a little bit about the 1920s.” Trahan-Guay describes Alice as “a modern 1920s woman who knows what she wants and goes after it with her whole self.”

Paige O’Brien plays Henry. “I’m a loveable guy who kinda skirts the law sometimes but I really just wanna impress Miss Alice Naphan. I want people to look past the sort of gruff exterior of Henry and see the kind heart he's got.”

O’Brien believes the audience will “look at downtown Belleville with a different eye after this experience.”

Belleville Performing Arts

“Local history is the most relatable history,” says Stacey Kerr of Scalliwag Toys, who along with partner Stuart Kerr, is producing the show. “It’s what people experience in their day-to-day lives, and I think that that type of history goes unappreciated and under-explored and really it’s the fun, exciting, and interesting part. This is a way to remind people of their heritage and share it with people that are coming and exploring and trying to get a sense of that small-town feel, because to be honest, most of the time, in different places in Ontario, that gets torn down and lost because it isn’t protected, and it isn’t shared. Being able to help preserve that and share those stories, I think is really important and I think doing it in a fun way will get people to appreciate it more.”

“I think people are going to have a fun time. The 1920s is a fun era and I hope this production takes people there,” says O’Brien. “I think the audience is really going to have a lot of fun experiencing history,” echoes Harvey.

“Whiskey and Wingtips” and Wander Local are supported by the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board, the City of Belleville, the Belleville Downtown District BIA, the Province of Ontario, and RTO9.

25 Performing

The ‘Parrott Gallery’ celebrates 50 Years

What does Henry

Corby have to do with the Parrott Gallery?

Previously called the Corby Library Gallery, the Belleville Library Gallery, and the John M. Parrott Art Gallery, Belleville’s first dedicated public gallery space opened its doors on September 29, 1973, and since then has been integral in supporting visual arts in the community.

The gallery originated in the historic building that began as a Mechanics' Institute operated from 1851 to 1859. Municipal Library service in Belleville officially began in November 1876 with the establishment of the ‘Mechanics' Institute and Library Association.’ In 1895, the name was changed to the Belleville Public Library.

Senator and Mrs. Henry Corby purchased the property which was the

Merchants Bank of Canada, remodeled it to serve as a library, and presented it to the City in 1908; thus, the Corby Library Gallery.

Acting curator, Wendy Rayson-Kerr says Olive Delaney, Head Librarian, ran the gallery from 1973-76 before it gained its first dedicated curator, Winsome Lewis (curator from 1976 – 1991) who passed away last year. Lewis was instrumental in

QAC art show
PC Belleville Intelligencer, l-r, Winsome Lewis, Linda Mustard, Jane Hull

organizing exhibits by highly renowned artists such as David Milne, David Hockney, Toller Cranston, and members of The Group of Seven. In its early years, the gallery was embraced as a space for local art groups and individual artists, both emerging and professional, to display and sell their work. Archival photos of an exhibition displaying work by artists from Lahr, Germany (Belleville’s sister city) shows curator Lewis with Linda Mustard, designer for the show, and Jane Hull, QAC member. QAC’s juried biennial show, Expressions, has been displayed in the gallery since 1996.

The move to the third floor of the new Library in 2006, during the time Susan Holland was curator (2003 -2020) increased the gallery space threefold, allowing for multiple exhibits and additional programs.

Bernice and John M Parrott supported the new gallery and generously donated their personal collection of original Manly MacDonald paintings.

The gallery continues to feature the Manly MacDonald collection as well as a wide range of rotating art exhibits in its two larger galleries. The return of ju-

ried shows (QAC, ECOAA, QFA, OSA, BAA) and Art in the Schools is also in the works. In fact, the gallery offers a wide range of opportunities, programs, and workshops. Rayson-Kerr is excited about the return of in-person workshops and events; she says that “for years, there were different speakers on Wednesdays, often with background music.” Still in the planning stages, events

scheduled for this September include a gala to commemorate the anniversary.

Thank you to Amanda Hill, Archivist from the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County for supplying the photos and historical information.

27 Heritage

The 'Unsung Hero’ of Tweed

Curators, just like artists, are storytellers. Evan Morton, curator of the Tweed Heritage Centre, has been collecting local art, artifacts, family and business histories, memorabilia, and heirlooms for almost fifty years. The collection is eclectic and extensive – inside the Centre there are rooms brimming with antiques, filing cabinets and shelves packed with written histories, village assessments, cemetery, birth, and

marriage records dating back to 1891, recent artisanal works, and more than 200 paintings by local artists. Much of this has been donated over the years, and Morton has been its caregiver.

There are many specific collections throughout the Centre: a military tribute, Scottish history, childrens’ toys, antique radios, needlework, railroad memorabilia, organizations and businesses now long gone, items made in Tweed (eg

Hawkins Cheezies), Indigenous art and artifacts, and Doug Connor’s impressive tool collection. There is also a room which showcases local artists’ works on a rotational basis. Venture further inside and there’s the Meiklejohn Reference Room and the Morton Archive with over 500 family histories.

Morton recalls becoming enthusiastic about old things in 1977 after seeing an exhibit at the Hungerford Township

“I’ve had the desire to preserve and promote what we have received from those who came before us,” he says humbly

Hall. It took another ten years before the Tweed Historical Society became a collective. Initially, items were housed in rooms vacated when the Tweed Police Force disbanded; later, the Centre moved to Colbourne Street, and then in 1994 to its current location – formally known as Houston House. An annex was added in 2000.

“I think it’s so important to preserve the past because once it’s gone, it’s gone,” says Morton. “If we don’t know our background, what have we got to build on?” Preserving the history of the area has been Morton’s life’s work. A true ‘unsung hero’, he has single-handedly built an amazing collection of history and art that tell the story of a community. “I’ve had the desire to preserve and promote what we have received from those who came before us,” he says humbly, “but, I also want to encourage local artists and younger people.”

“The municipality pays for the tourism component, and there are six regular volunteers, as well as others for special events, but the donors who have been the

most committed are now passing,” says Morton. His major concern is to “set in place a plan that involves the municipality because so many people ask what’s going to happen to this when I’m gone.”

The Centre is truly one-of-a-kind: its combination of archives, museum, and public art gallery have been ‘all in one’ and that’s what has made it viable until now. Its contents are irreplaceable.

Morton says that he’s “always learning.” He’s been writing a weekly column for The Tweed News for the past 30 years which he says is becoming “more demanding” given the wealth of material he now possesses. After almost 50 years of protecting and collecting local history, Morton is not only a wealth of knowledge, but a true storyteller who is Tweed’s ‘unsung hero’.

PC Ardith Racey Heritage

Creative Conversations

Manyof us have been creating solo for the last few years; you find yourself in a creative dip and missing real time interaction with other artists. Connecting with writers and dancers can really help in gleaning wisdom, inspiration and getting back into an artistic flow state. Essentially, for many, their ideal audience is themselves, but undeniably we all want to exchange energy with some cool people and revive a spark. That led to the creation of "Creative Conversations" (an ironically uncreative name -suggestions welcome) that you can find on the YouTube channel, Abena Green. The first two people you’ll meet are Tosin and Devin.

Tosin Ajogbeje is a poet and Public Relations Specialist living in Toronto, Ontario. She is full of ideas and stays on beat with popular culture and social issues. An avid conversationalist, Ajogbeje confesses that she was on the “noise-makers” list in school in Nigeria for talking too much. She aspired to become a female Eminem when she heard his lyrical style. She then read the works of Wole Soyinka and James Baldwin and gained reverence for poetry and writing in general. In Canada, Ajogbeje decided that writing was safer than speaking aloud because people would critique her Nigerian accent. Discovering spoken word in Halifax, Nova Scotia, gave her confidence to move past this insecurity. It saved her, she said.

Literary 30

“Writing is the ultimate power.” Maybe not the “ultimate” but it is undeniably powerful in terms of reach, impact, and longevity when it comes to ideas, stories and messages. Ajogbeje also noted, “Don’t insult God by not using your talent.” Your talent doesn’t have to make you money, but everyone should use theirs for themselves and perhaps more so, for others.

“Fraternizing '' which was inspired by TV shows, “The Office '', “Insecure” and by her work in the nonprofit world. She is observant and will “turn quirks into characters.” Her current project is “Hey Melanin'' which can be found on YouTube. Song lyrics often come to Bridgers while she’s asleep, usually around 2 to 3am and if she’s diligent, she will get up and write them down in a journal. Bridgers simultaneously crushed me (not a personal attack but it hit me) and gave me hope with her answer to my bonus question at the very end of the video. “Know when it’s your time to step away from something.” and “Don’t run out of your own time and miss the mark you were supposed to make on the earth because you didn’t believe and weren’t intentional about it.”

Listen to the QAC's podcast, Makin' Stuff Up

Devin Bridgers. Not only does Bridgers have a deep, rich tone of voice, she has such a collected way of sharing her life learnings. She exudes a fine smoothie of both self/life discovery and assurance. Bridgers is funny and laughter is never far from the surface in her conversations. She talks about the process of working on her five part web-series

Literary 31
Abena Green is an award winning poet and writer who uses spoken word and movement to create, engage, and elevate. Her poems address cultural, social, and environmental issues, relationships, and reflect on everyday life as a small-town raised, semi-nomadic, firstgeneration Canadian.
Song lyrics often come to Bridgers while she’s asleep, usually around 2 to 3am and if she’s diligent, she will get up and write them down in a journal.
PC: Joy Tagboto

Chris Alexander grew up in the Belleville/Trenton area. In 1979, he moved to Toronto working for 28 years in the camera department in motion pictures, commercials, series, TV movies and feature films. He began as a Focus Puller and ultimately as a Camera Operator and Director of Photography.

After leaving film, he specialized in Polarizing material used in motion pictures, Broadcast News and Sports. He developed/designed studio polarizing systems used at the broadcast facility for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and around the world.

He is retired, living in Belleville with wife Julie. He believes if a piece of art needs an explanation, it doesn’t work. The viewer’s impression is most important and they are the ultimate judge and critic.

created in collaboration with the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board
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