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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Looking Back: Five years of RMG Fridays

What makes RMG Fridays so special? That all depends on who you ask. With so many different things going on at each RMG Friday, the gallery will still deliver, but the experience will strike a different cord with each person you ask.

We asked the wonderful staff at the RMG what they love and remember most about RMG Fridays as a tribute to five years of art, music, laughter and delight.

Our CEO, Donna Raetsen-Kemp recalls a mesmerizing moment watching one of our live music acts. “I’ll never forget the evening Birds of Bellwood created a magic moment. The room was mesmerized by their performance. It’s a beautiful thing to see a band bring a group of people together.”

boxing artists

A true art buff, Sam Mogelonsky, Manager of Marketing and Communications, has been star-struck several times by meeting her favourite artists at our events. “I have so many memories of RMG Fridays and love seeing the event come together each month. For me, it’s meeting the artists! I was so thrilled to get to meet and chat with Ron Shuebrook, who I had been following the work of for years. Meeting Coral Short was a real privilege as I was enthralled with her video Stop Beating Yourself Up during our Boxing: The Sweet Science exhibition. As well, meeting Wayne Petti of Greylands was a treat as Cuff the Duke was one of my favourite bands during undergrad!”

One of the main ladies behind RMG Fridays, Carla Sinclair, Manager of Community and Volunteer Development, remembers the charmed aura from December’s cozy holiday feel. “My favourite part of RMG Fridays is connecting with incredible people. This happens every month, be it conversations with visitors, volunteers or participating artists. One moment that really stands out is from our “Holiday Magic” event this past December. I had the privilege of witnessing singer Carolyn T from the first set of music join musicians Artemis and Dale in set two for an unrehearsed performance that filled the gallery with a sense of awe. The hushed room resonating with notes and harmonies created by a group of musicians who had only met a couple hours prior – another magical connection a la RMG Fridays.”

Linda Jansma, our Senior Curator, had an unexpected celebrity sighting when she realized how popular one of our performers had become since booking him as she saw swooning fans had filled the gallery! “I remember driving up to the gallery on a Friday evening and thinking ‘uh oh, there are so few cars here…’ and worrying about the turnout. When I walked in, the place was packed, and young women were sitting on chairs in the Isabel McLaughlin Gallery with no intent of moving before the second act. And the second act was Scott Helman. It was awesome that he and his band were booked before he really started to get media attention – and possibly beyond our budget! As we left that evening, cars were lined up with parents picking up their daughters who had been treated to an awesome evening in a perfect venue and an artist who has become something of a household name.”

scott helman

Our Associate Curator, Sonya Jones, reminisces about a magical and Celtic night last month. “Every RMG Fridays offers something different. I love it it’s always full of people of all ages. The January [event] was amazing; the film was excellent, Holly King was lovely, and the studio was chalk full of families painting fairy doors…not to mention the band, Ugly Horse, was great. It was a packed house with loads of buzz and activities!”

Cheryl-Ann, our Events Coordinator, sums up everything she loves most about RMG Fridays. “The RMG Fridays nights have certainly gone through many transitions over the last five years. The evening has become a place to meet friends before heading out to have dinner, or to enjoy a date night. The music is always entertaining and usually a fantastic surprise. The atmosphere is electric for a great evening. It’s always refreshing to talk to a first time guest one month and see them back the next. Meeting first-hand the community and guests from the surrounding area is joyous and very rewarding. It is an event we have every month and [is] very much anticipated by many staff and enjoyed by our supports; and it’s free, who doesn’t love that?”

rmgfri-dec2015

Carla Sinclair, our Manager of Community and Volunteer Development said “My favourite part of RMG Fridays is connecting with incredible people. This happens every month be it conversations with visitors, volunteers or participating artists. One moment that really stands out is from our ‘Holiday Magic’ event this past December. I had the privilege of witnessing singer Carolyn T from the first set of music join musicians Artemis and Dale in set two for an unrehearsed performance that filled the gallery with a sense of awe. The hushed room resonating with notes and harmonies created by a group of musicians who had only met a couple hours prior – another magical connection a la RMG Fridays.”

In five years, RMG Fridays has grown into the hotspot for art and music lovers on the first Friday of every month. According to our staff, the nights are full of unforgettable music filling the Isabel, favourite artists peeking around the gallery, strangers who soon become friends, and a little bit of magic.

The RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary on Feb. 5th  will be short on nothing, and if you haven’t felt the magic yet, now is your chance.

Now that you’ve seen what our favourite memories are, what are yours? Tell us at RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary!