Gaby with Dr. Colin Carrie, MP Oshawa, and Shane Kelly

An interview with outgoing CEO Gaby Peacock

“Hot Topics” blog posts come from the desk of Sam Mogelonsky, our Communications & Social Media Coordinator.

As our CEO Gaby Peacock departs from the RMG, Sam spoke with her about her great accomplishments over the last five years. We all thank Gaby for her enthusiasm and innovations at the RMG and wish her all the best for the future!

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015

The RMG: Looking back on five years at the RMG, what would you say has been the biggest change to the gallery from then until now?

Gaby Peacock: Working to change perceptions about the gallery and our greater role in the community has been a real priority for me from the beginning. We have tried very hard to insure that our internal staff culture, and public persona are accessible, inviting and inclusive. We have also somewhat redefined the role of museum as it relates to the needs of our community. No one size fits all. It has required us to listen to what people want and think about our work in terms of audience-driven programming. I also felt like we could do more in terms of unconventional partnerships and supporting other not-for-profits.. We have tried to repositioned the RMG as a leader and collaborator within the region.

RMG: What do you feel will be your lasting contribution to the RMG community?

Gaby: It is so important to be responsive to the changing needs of your audience. For now, RMG Fridays has a tremendous following, and I am proud to have been a part of its creation. It has made a huge impact on our ability to welcome new people to the gallery each month, and rerally connected us with the growing population of Millenials in Durham.

Perhaps more tangible (and lasting) contributions will be the public sculpture projects we initiated. I loved working with Doug Coupland to realize “Group Portrait 1957”, and the Meadmore in front of City Hall is very near and dear to my heart. Noel Harding’s commission for the GM Centre will not be installed before I leave-but I will be back to see it unveiled!

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015 with Dr. Tim McTiernan, UOIT, Leo Groarke, Trent University, Don Lovisa, Durham College, Mayor John Henry and Dr. Colin Carrie, MP Oshawa.

RMG: You have also contributed to the community at large. Please tell us why these initiatives have been important to you?

Gaby: Being a part of the Culture Counts team for Oshawa’s first culture and heritage plan was incredibly rewarding. It was a real exercise in grassroots democracy. People came together and collectively made something really significant happen. It is one thing to get a plan funded and approved, but another to see that it has legs to get things done. I think a lot of people felt that they have seen other plans come and go, without much progress. There is a real desire from City staff and Council to make things happen and see the plan executed. That is half the battle. It was also really important to me that I was part of project that would create a tangible roadmap in alignment with the work we were doing at the RMG. It is all about creating a critical mass of cultural initiatives. Gradually, perceptions begin to shift.

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Senior Curator Linda Jansma, artist Douglas Coupland and CEO Gaby Peacock in front of “Group Portrait 1957″

RMG: What will you miss most about the RMG?

Gaby: I am going to miss the incredible team of people I work with everyday. Staff, and volunteers that are committed to providing visitors with amazing interactions and experiences around art and art-making. I will also miss my community colleagues who are so invested in helping Oshawa promote its rich cultural assets and change negative stereotypes.

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Interview with Gallery A artist Toni Hamel

“Hot Topics” blog posts come from the desk of Sam Mogelonsky, our Communications & Social Media Coordinator.

The RMG caught up with artist Toni Hamel. Her exhibition, The land of Id is, on view in Gallery A from March 3 to 29. She will speak about her work on Sunday 29 March from 1-3pm.

The RMG: Hi Toni! Please tell us a bit about yourself?

Toni Hamel: I am an Oshawa-based visual artist. I received my BFA from the Academy of Fine Arts of Lecce, Italy in 1983, but my career as a visual artist is still considered ‘emerging’ in that my first public show took place only about six years ago, in 2009. However, in these short years I have been fortunate enough to achieve some level of recognition, having received three Ontario Arts Council grants and many other awards. More recently, one of my artworks has been purchased by the Archives of Ontario for inclusion in the Government of Ontario’s permanent art collection, certainly a great honour of which I am extremely grateful.

RMG: What materials do you work in?

TH: As an inter-disciplinary artist the material utilized in my work is varied. I am fond of vintage and recycled objects for instance, which I often use in my installations and sculptural pieces. Their inclusion is never gratuitous however, as these objects need to carry either an aesthetic or a semantic function. Thus far my practice has been focused on drawing, but painting will also be part of my oeuvre in the near future.

RMG: Why were you interested in Gallery A’s Art Lab residency? What have you made while working as an artist in residence for the month of February?

TH: Originally my intention was to create a large site-specific installation for Gallery A, and that was in fact the reason why I had originally applied for the Art Lab residency. Unfortunately scheduling oversights prevented me from utilizing Gallery A during that period of time, an event that forced me to revise my plans at the last minute. Eventually I decided to work on large-scale paintings that are part of “The land of Id” series, a body of work funded by the Ontario Arts Council. However, the three-week residency period was not at all sufficient to bring these oil paintings to completion, therefore I continued working on them while in Gallery A. It was also my intention to experiment with mechanical flip-book animations, but lack of time has prevented me from doing so.

RMG: Can you please tell us a bit about your exhibition The Land of Id, on view in Gallery A?

“The land of Id” continues my discourse on human behaviour, focusing on our misguided relationship with the natural environment. In a nutshell, It looks at issues of land exploitation and its repercussions.  For more information, please visit http://www.rmg.on.ca/gallery-a-toni-hamel.php.

RMG: What inspires you? Is there a particular artist’s work that has influenced your practice?

TH: Life inspires me – if not my own, then it’ll be that of others. I am unfortunately a news-junkie and also watch too many documentaries. I find it important for an artist to be knowledgeable and well-versed in the issues of the day, as I feel that Art must bear witness. I deal with the culture of my time, trying to raise awareness about particularly pressing topics which I feel are deserving of attention. ‘The land of Id’ is just an example of that.

There are many artists that have influenced my work or admire greatly. From contemporary figures like Victor Mann,  Adrian Ghenie and Michael Borremans, to historical figures like Velasquez and Goya. I am attracted to works that have something to say, rich in content and meaning. I’m definitely not interested in ‘pretty images’ or ‘decor art’.

 

Image: Toni Hamel

The artists acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council for this exhibition.

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Gabrielle Peacock gives keynote address at Sustainable Economies: Regional Public Art Galleries and Art-Vibrant Scenes

On Friday, 27 March, the RMG will send two team members to the Art Gallery of Windsor to speak at Sustainable Economies: Regional Public Art Galleries and Art-Vibrant Scenes, a one-day professional development exchange presented by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG). This event gathers directors, curators, and emerging arts professionals together to explore the role and sustainability of public art gallery collections in today’s fluctuating economies.

With a focus on gallery impacts arising from the 2008 and 2009 recession in the automotive-based economies of Oshawa, Windsor and Detroit, presenters and panelists will share examples of ongoing and sustained artistic innovations undertaken during depressed and changing economies. Gabrielle Peacock, the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of the RMG, will present Making Culture Count: A Case Study in the Role of the Museum Leadership and City Revitalization.

Communications and Social Media Coordinator, Sam Mogelonsky, will present on the gallery’s monthly program, RMG Fridays. For four years, on the first Friday of the month, the gallery comes to life at night with musical performances and interactive art experiences. With continued support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, this free program showcases local talent while providing an avenue for the RMG to expand its audiences and engage with community partners.

OAAG aims to empower Ontario public art galleries through advocacy, professional development, and network building. Attendees of OAAG’s event will have the opportunity to discuss how galleries have adapted, opportunities and barriers for artistic innovation existing in each community, as well as share regional funding and revenue strategies that can help sustain public art gallery collections. Joining Peacock as a keynote speaker is Catharine Mastin, Director, Art Gallery of Windsor, who will speak on support for arts and culture through municipal funding.

 

PHOTO CREDITS
(Left) Border Cultures part 3 (security, surveillance), 2015, installation view, Art Gallery of Windsor.
(Right) Exterior view by Michel Cullen, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Michael Prosserman, UNITY Charity, Founder & Executive Director

Volunteer Youth Leaders Symposium at the RMG

On Thursday 14 May, 2015, the RMG will host a one-day Volunteer Youth Leaders Symposium for volunteer coordinators and administrators in the Durham Region. The day will feature an innovative keynote speaker, panel discussions, workshops and networking opportunities. Register now to get involved!

Keynote Speaker: Michael Prosserman, UNITY Charity, Founder & Executive Director

Michael Prosserman (aka break dancer “Bboy Piecez”) felt the transformative impact of his performance and saw the potential to share this impact with others. He will share the exciting journey of UNITY Charity’s rapid growth and his success in achieving life-changing outcomes for youth. UNITY engages youth 10 to 18 by implementing school and community programs helping youth positively express their stress and develop skills for success. UNITY empowers youth to make better choices as leaders, mentors and positive community role models leading to more productive citizens, safer schools, and healthier communities.

Afternoon Workshops:
Workshop 1: Youth Engagement 101
The Students Commission of Canada, Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement

Workshop 2: Program Evaluation
Darren O’Donnell, Artistic & Research Director, of Mammalia

Register Now!

Spaces are limited.

We are grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting this symposium.

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RMG Fridays April: Emerging Superstars

We encourage you to Bring-a-Friend to our RMG Fridays April event on April 10 from 7-10m (*Note Special Date) to share in the fun! The night features performances by highly-acclaimed pop singer/songwriter Scott Helman, the 2014 nominee for the CBC Music Rising Star award and smart-pop, love-rockers So Young from London. This event runs alongside the opening of Speak Up! Youth Art Exhibition.

For more information:
Speak Up: https://www.facebook.com/speakuposhawa
Scott Helman: http://www.scotthelmanmusic.com/home/
So Young: http://soyoung.bandcamp.com/

On the first Friday of the month, join the RMG in celebrating local talent. The gallery buzzes with live musical performances, interactive art experiences, open gallery spaces, social mingling and more. Suitable for music lovers, youth, families, date nights, and culture-vultures.

Free to attend | 7-10pm | Cash Bar | All ages welcome.

Follow the twitter feed at #RMGFridays!

The RMG is grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support of this programming.

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Call for Submissions: Motor City Stories

Submission Deadline: 6 April 2015

ABOUT THE PROJECT

In conjunction with the Toronto 2015 Pan /Parapan American Games, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in partnership with the Motor City Boxing Club, invite regional artists to produce new works inspired by the sport of boxing. Selected artists will be invited to visit the Motor City Boxing Club (Oshawa), observe athletes in training, work in situ at the club and produce new work based on their observations.

Artists are encouraged to work in a wide variety of visual media including drawing, painting, photography, media and integrated art forms. The resulting work will be displayed in a group exhibition in Gallery A @the RMG in conjunction with other PAN AM exhibition programming

ARTIST FEE

Selected artists are provided a fee of $250.00

TIMELINE

Notification: by 10 April
Drop off work (ready to display): Monday 13 July, 1pm
Exhibition duration: 14 July – 2 August
Opening Reception: Sunday 19 July 1-3pm
Pick up artwork: Tuesday 4 August, 9am
ELIGIBILITY

Open to all professional artists and collectives residing in the Durham Region

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Letter of intent (maximum 1 page)
3-5 digital images or other relevant work
A current artist CV and biography in PDF format

SUBMIT at http://www.rmg.on.ca/gallery-a-motor-city-stories.php

 

Images courtesy of Motor City Boxing.

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Call for Submissions: Gallery A

With the support of the Aked Endowment and funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, the RMG is embarked on an exciting new initiative aimed at fostering a thriving local arts community. During the summer of 2014, we renovated our space to create a professional exhibition space reserved for exhibiting the work of local artists, community collaborations, and themed group exhibits.

Opportunities are available for community partnerships and special initiatives as well as an annual artist residency that prioritizes artists who wish to experiment with new ideas, collaborate, and work in new directions. Exhibiting artists will have opportunities to give public talks on their work, participate in professional development workshops, and give and receive critical feedback from peers. Programming of this space is separate from our curatorial planning and proposal selections will be made through a jury of local artists and arts professionals.

Application Deadline:
Sunday 15 March, 2015
Projects will take place from September 2015 to February 2016.

More info and to apply: http://www.rmg.on.ca/gallery-a-about.php

 

Image: Pete Smith speaking about his exhibition Postscript, 2015.