Hot topic posts come from the desk of Jacquie Severs, Manager, Communications & Social Media
The RMG was proud host to Creative Social: Oshawa, last Thursday, 28 June. This came as a result of a conversation I had with Dana Jackson, the very first time I met her at an RMG Friday event. She was enthusiastic about that event series, and knew the RMG would be the perfect Oshawa host for this event that travels through the Region of Durham. Dana told me that Creative Social events encourage entrepreneurs, artists and other members of Durham Region’s creative community to come together to connect, inspire one another and develop new business opportunities.
The Oshawa event was fortuitously timed. Our CEO Gabrielle Peacock, along with RMG Curator Linda Jansma, City of Oshawa staff, engineers and City Council had been working on a plan to arrange and accept an extended loan-to-gift of a significant outdoor sculpture called Upstart II by Clement Meadmore. For my part, I had been using Photoshop to imagine where the sculpture might end up and how it would look. Also, I was doing my best not to spoil the surprise by telling, or tweeting, the news to anyone. Here’s one of those photo composites.
The sculpture will be conserved and prepared for installation over the summer, with its official unveiling during Culture Days this fall, on Friday 28 September at 2pm. It will be approximately located as pictured above.
Photo by Marina Osmond: Gabrielle Peacock announcing Upstart II
The event was jam packed, with presentations from Oshawhat Magazine editor Erin Elliott, Oshawa Downtown Development Office David Tuley, Members from the Spark Centre, Skopworks, and of course Dana from Creative Social and Kerri King, Tourism Manager for Durham Region, who partnered in the event.
Photo by Marina Osmond: Erin Elliott talks about the immediate and overwhelming popularity of Oshawhat.ca
David Tuley has been working on bringing a Creative Centre to downtown Oshawa for some time. It first hit my radar two years ago when the RMG hosted a workshop by Artscape, who are a Toronto-based organization who help transform old properties (like the Wychwood Barns for example) into new, creative spaces. I was able to participate in this event and some of the discussions that have followed, and have been hoping and wishing the right pieces would fall into place. These sorts of spaces allow for small not for profit organizations, artists, craftspeople, designers and others to rent small spaces for varying amounts of time. There are examples across the world of successful shared spaces like this. It’s exciting to see one come to Oshawa.
With the addition of Independent Project Managers, David was able to announce the shared space would become a reality. A naming competition was announced, and the $500 prize was awarded at the event to the winning entry from local artist Margaret Rogers, for her name The Core.
Photo by Marina Osmond: David Tuley talks about his big ideas.
After the talks, a film collective called The Goldfish Pool showed their time lapse film of Oshawa called Oshawacentric.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/44571321 w=500&h=283]
The crowd stuck around to mix and mingle, share ideas and come up with ways to collaborate. And eat some of Mad Café’s treats.
Photo by Marina Osmond: Treats from Mad Café
The next Creative Social is to be held in Ajax at another creative space reuse example, the St. Francis Centre for Community, Arts & Culture. This centre, built in the former St. Francis deSales Church (built 1871) is newly retrofitted and can serve as a community performance, meeting, and reception space. I am looking forward to attending to check out the beautiful building it all its restored glory. This community project had team members two years ago at the Artscape event I mentioned. They were excited to launch this space.
Photo of the St. Francis Centre via Toronto Observer
In industrial communities, creative thinking about space reuse serves as just one symbol of transformation. Public sculptures serve as symbols as well. These symbols aren’t just visual references though. They are physical examples of revived communities, ones whose members pull together to create action, to improve lives, and to bring arts in culture into the day-to-day experiences of all community members. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the revitalization of Oshawa, especially in the downtown core. See some of the links below to learn more about some of these projects.
Downtown Oshawa in Transition: