As we approach a milestone, Norah O’Donnell, the Manager of Community and Volunteer Development finds herself reflecting on the past 4 years of RMG Fridays programming. What a whirlwind experience! Our Communication Coordinator, Sam Mogelonsky asked her a few questions – here is the result.
Sam: For those who are not aware, what is RMG Fridays?
Norah: RMG Fridays is a free, community-focused series held at the RMG on the first Friday of each month. It is a fun night where we meet as a community to take in 2 musical performances, exhibition openings, community collaborations, a cash bar and interactive art projects! We are very grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting this program.
Sam: You mentioned community collaborations. Who has partnered with RMG Fridays?
Norah: The partnerships that have developed through the program are vast and varied. They continue to diversify programming and our audience base. Over the past 4 years, we have collaborated with Durham College, Trent University, UOIT, Spark Centre for Innovation, City of Oshawa, Oshawa Public Library, Rotary Club of Oshawa, AIDS Committee of Durham, Girls Inc., Core 21, Durham Tourism, Oshawa Community Museum, Empty Cup Media, Cinefest Durham, Pride Durham, Oshawa Space Invaders, Broken Arts and Next Winter Festival.
Sam: How many participants have been involved?
Norah: I have made many friends at RMG Fridays! I love seeing new and familiar faces each month. Since 2011, our staff and volunteers have welcomed over 8400 guests!
Sam: Could you talk a bit about the planning process of RMG Fridays?
Norah: RMG Fridays is a collaborative effort amongst staff. We plan 4 months at a time to coincide with our newsletter production. The project scope has increased over the years to now include Nutshell Tours, exhibition openings and more. We have a great team of RMG Fridays volunteers who help run the event each month. A special thanks to all those who are currently involved and those who have helped over the past 4 years. We could not do it without their support. In addition, each month I am grateful to Nate and Jacob at JMS Audio for making us sound so specular!
Sam: What has been your favourite RMG Fridays moment?
Norah: It is almost impossible for me to choose just one. I would say my top 5 in no particular order has been:
- Forest City Lovers performing to a record number of attendees
- Launching the Gig Poster Show with the Marvelous Beauhunks and Viva Mars
- Celebrating the eve of International Women’s Day with Girls Inc. Durham, the barbershop quartet Surround Sound, Jenny Berkel, and Heather Luckhart and her Colbalt Babies.
- Dave Stathem swinging us into the holidays!
- The GeekFreaks breakdancing in the Isabel McLauglin Gallery
Sam: Who would be your dream band to perform at RMG Fridays?
Norah: Uptown Funk is currently stuck in my head on repeat. Bruno Mars is my current pick!