So what’s Ello?

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

Ello – It’s the newest social media on the block this month. Everyone has been talking about the developer’s approach to creating a social media platform that not only looks good, but functions without generating advertising revenue as a primary goal.

Ello was originally built by a group of seven well-known artists and programmers as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to use Ello that they built a public version of Ello. The network is still in the beta stage, but new features and users are being added every day. The main user appeal, apart from the streamlined design functionality, is that Ello does not sell ads or sell personal data to third parties.

After reading a bit about Ello, and playing around with it a bit myself, I decided to add the RMG to the community and be an early adopter of this network. So if you’re on Ello, come say hello and follow us at

Hot Topics: Community Curates II

Hot Topics comes from the desk of Jacquie Severs, Manager, Communications & Social Media

At the RMG our statement of purpose indicates we are dedicated to sharing, exploring and engaging with our communities through the continuing story of modern and contemporary Canadian art. There are many ways in which we do this, but from my office, a large part of the sharing, exploring, and engagement I work on is digital and social.

I recently worked with Assistant Curator Sonya Jones on developing our second Community Curates project. Last time, we developed a weekly survey through our blog, and voting determined the outcome of an exhibition. We felt that approach was successful but getting people to come back and vote every week for ten weeks wasn’t the easiest task. When managing a social community it isn’t advisable to drown people in repetitive requests week after week! So this time, we decided to make the voting a one-time survey that we could host on our website.

We’re a few weeks into promoting the survey through social media and gathering responses. I love looking over some of the data that is collected. We’ve had responses from Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. That means we’ve engaged international audiences in our Canadian art collection, and I think that’s a very important part of what makes social media so powerful for museums and galleries. Going back to the original intent, engaging with our communities, it is important to recognize that for art museums our communities is defined not just as our local community of Oshawa, the Durham Region, the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario and beyond, it is also the larger international community of people interested in art.

Social media has changed how museums and galleries can communicate and share art with fans and friends around the world. And we want to hear from you!

Have your say in the Community Curates II survey, and help select the works for an exhibition at the RMG.

Community Curates II

Community Curates II


Hot Topics: Museum Education & Social Media

Hot Topic posts come from the desk of Jacquie Severs, our Manager, Communications & Social Media. 


Last night I went to Whitby to meet with a group of art gallery and museum workers known as the Museum & Art Gallery Educators Collective – Durham, or MAGEC-D. This collective is aimed at those who live and work in Durham Region in the Museum and Art Gallery field, but it is open to all who are interested and includes members from Peterborough as well as recent graduates from programs such as Fleming College’s Museum Management. 

I attended the meeting last night at the request of Christine Castle, a Museum Education Consultant and publisher of the Museum Education Monitor. I was pleased to lead a discussion on social media within educational efforts at museums and galleries. It was a fun, chatter-filled night with each institution who attended sharing their ideas and progress, challenges and triumphs. 

From my perspective social media can offer insight into what happens behind-the-scenes and bring the collections out to the community in new and engaging ways. It helps us open up our vaults, so to speak, to show what it is we do and educate our friends locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally about our collection and historic significance. Social Media is often thought of as purely marketing but the educational components are so inspiring as well. 

Two examples of using social media in the education department here at the RMG are our Youtube page, which offers behind the scenes looks at installations and the projects that our summer campers create, and our Facebook fan page, which shows student work from our many classes and camps each Tuesday

Here are all the institutions that participated last night and their various homes on the web. If you are interested in history, culture and the arts in Durham Region, following along with each profile will provide you with loads of interesting and educational content.

Museum Education Monitor


Station Gallery, Whitby


Oshawa Community Museum


Art Gallery of Peterborough


Pickering Museum


The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Blog (you’re here!)

What would you like to see your local gallery and museum do using social media websites? What kind of content interests you? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section.

Roundup: Q in Oshawa Campaign

With just an hour or so to go in the Q in Oshawa campaign, we thought now would be a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved in an incredibly short window of time. Oshawa’s spirit for arts and culture is electric and we’re thrilled to be part of it. Here’s some links to things that have been suggested as reasons for Q to come to Oshawa. Win or lose, we’ve had so much fun working on this campaign and we are so proud of all of the supporters and friends we’ve made along the way.

Thanks Oshawa!


The Durham Theatre Festival is “in the queue to get Q to Oshawa!”

Our friends in Whitby the Station Gallery offered their vote of support. Thanks SG!

The Durham Shoestring Performers community theatre group.

The Get Bent Records Summer Solstice concert series

Oshawa saxophonist Matthew James

Our very own collection of works by Painters Eleven, the largest in the world.

The Ontario Philharmonic, based out of the historic Regent Theatre, Oshawa

Patrick Dorie‘s Hope in High Places kept us motivated….

World’s Collide Spiderman Comic Cover!

Isabella’s Chocolate Cafe loves Jian

Mad Cafe loves Jian (and so does Momma Mad Cafe!)

The Patty Shack offered Jian his very own namesake burger…

The Geek Freaks, Oshawa’s award-winning hip-hop dance crew, two time OUCH champs!

Fiesta Week, the best week-long multicultural festival in Ontario

The Oshawa Express printed a story about the campaign 

OCVI alumni ...Shalom Harlow, Ed Broadbent, John Donabie & Olympic figure skater Donald Jackson and Isla Craig, among many others…

Neil Pashrica, author of 1000 Awesome Things grew up here.

Forest City Lovers supported the campaign, and offered to sing back up for The Stellas if they got to perform this:


The Oshawa Art Association would love it if Jian came!

Durham College Journalism Students created this roundup of Arts & Culture stories students have collected!! How awesome is it? Super awesome. SHWASOME.

We collected Q Portraits at First Fridays!

Durham Tourism jumped on board…and shared through their Art of Transition campaign

Randy Boyagoda was born and raised here, wouldn’t he be an interesting guest?

Will McGuirk’s love for Star Records, Oshawa’s independant vinyl shop shone through

We’d love to hear supporters Cuff the Duke and The Stables play together again…an ode to Oshawa, “Rossland Square”


Andrew Nicholls and Darrell Vickers, writers for the CBC and the Tonight Show heard about the campaign all the way in Los Angeles!

Durham College/UOIT Campus’ famous O became a Q!


The Ontario Association of Art Galleries tweeted us with support, thanks OAAG!

We found out that Moxy Früvous once played the Moon Room. Thanks Kerri!!

Steppenwolf? Two members, totally from Oshawa. Born to be Wild!

Our popular blog post “Top Ten Reasons Jian should visit Oshawa” helped get things rolling.

Oshawhat Magazine, a new alternative publication set to launch jumped on board the first day.

Oshawa’s Mayor John Henry was the first notable to offer his support. Thanks John and the City of Oshawa for all of your support!

The Facebook page continues to buzz with posts as we type this. We’ve probably missed some friends and supporters! 

Our storied institutions Parkwood Estate, Oshawa Community Museums, the Canadian Automotive Museum, UOIT, Durham College, Trent University Oshawa, and of course all of us here at the RMG look forward to welcoming you to Oshawa Jian!

The Stellas support the Q in Oshawa Campaign with a Song

Friday night the RMG played host to a buzzing crowd for First Fridays. On the 4th floor committee members from the Art of Transition mingled, on the main floor the Gillian Margot Trio performed, while Marina Osmond snapped pictures in a photobooth. Artist Susan Dobson was in attendance, having travelled from Guelph to welcome Oshawa’s crowd to see her exhibition By Design. On the lower level the AIDS Committee of Durham Region hosted POZitive Portrayals, an exhibition of works by HIV positive artists from the region. The atmosphere was electric, and so many people took photos with our big red Q in support of the Q Live in Oshawa Campaign! We’re excited to share those with you in the morning.

The event had the kind of eclectic crowd you might expect, with mohawked teens seated next to seniors, mothers with babies in arms next to twenty-somethings on dates. Art has a way of bringing people of all stripes together. It is always a joy to see. February is the one year anniversary of First Fridays and so we think it would be a great time for Jian Ghomeshi and his show Q to come and check out Oshawa and see what we’re all about.

Tonight, country/pop duo and hometown favourites The Stellas posted this video to show their support of the campaign! Thanks you two! We are honoured to have your support in this competition, which gets to be more fun with each passing day.  Learn more about The Stellas on their website and be sure to ‘like’ the Q Live in Oshawa Campaign on facebook.




Press Release: RMG Brings Oshawa into CBC Radio 1 Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Oshawa, November 29, 2011

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery brings Oshawa into CBC Radio competition for live broadcast of Jian Ghomeshi’s “Q”.

It all started as a conversation at last week’s successful creative class event the Art of Transition Tourism Summit. With so much happening in Oshawa and Durham’s creative culture scene, the desire to bring attention to the various projects and opportunities in the area has never been greater. Staff from The Robert McLaughlin Gallery suggested this idea on twitter, and the tweet was recognized by CBC Radio 1 personality Jian Ghomeshi. The Q host has recently been promoting a campaign that cities could enter to bring his show to their community.

Never one to back down from a challenge, RMG CEO Gabrielle Peacock took up the cause, issuing more tweets and imploring staff to get on board. “We’ve got a lot happening here, just 35km from the city. Q shines a light on culture: music, art, theatre and more. This is why we want Oshawa selected — it’s not about what people know about us, it’s an opportunity for Jian and the Q listeners to discover some cultural assets in their own backyards. We’re joining the contest later than other cities, but we’ve got a lot of heart and think we have a shot at winning,” Peacock told staff. Staff jumped on board in just a few days a Facebook page has emerged as well as the promise to guests at the RMG’s monthly cultural event series “First Fridays” that this week’s event (December 2, 7pm) will include a way to get involved and show support.

“First Fridays has become a staple in the local culture diet,” says RMG Manager of Communications and Social Media, Jacquie Severs. “It’s the right place to promote this campaign. This week we feature Jazz performers The Gillian Margot Trio, alongside the photography exhibition “Susan Dobson: By Design” and the AIDS Committee of Durham Region’s “POZitive Portrayals” that features work by HIV Positive artists. We’ll have a photo booth with local photographer Marina Osmond. The event shows how diverse our cultural offerings are here. We wish Jian could come and see it for himself, we aren’t just a car town anymore!”

The RMG needs community support to make the campaign more powerful. Having already received votes of confidence from PFLAG Durham and Durham College’s Downtown Oshawa News, the RMG now needs ‘likes’ on its Facebook page, tweets with the hashtag #QinOshawa and community partnerships.  Local record label Get Bent Records has offered to bring bands to perform for Q. The RMG hopes other local arts & culture staples will get on board.

Oshawa’s mayor John Henry issued a statement of support, highlighting the RMG as an important asset in the campaign. “With the public’s support we can bring into the light one of Oshawa’s best kept secrets.”

“This is a grassroots effort, we need all the support we can get! The RMG is prepared to donate 20 memberships to community groups and businesses who offer support and services,” says Gabrielle Peacock.

To stay on top of the campaign please visit and like:





72 Queen Street, Civic Centre, Oshawa, Ontario L1H 3Z3



Q in Oshawa

Yesterday we were at the Art of Transition Tourism Summit and Creative Awards. An electric atmosphere was in that room; it was filled with like-minded individuals, those that care about Durham Region’s transition from a manufacturing economy to a creative economy. Artists, business people, musicians, dancers, chefs, writers, art galleries, museums, crafts people, engineers, students, filmmakers, ski hill operators, sustainability advocates, farmers, designers, communicators and more came together to highlight the importance of arts and culture in our community.

It is appropriate that it was during this event that we decided to lead the charge to bring Jian Ghomeshi and his CBC show Q to Oshawa. 



Q is an energetic daily arts, culture and entertainment magazine that takes you on a smart and surprising ride, interviewing personalities and tackling the cultural issues that matter.


Hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, with his trademark wit and spontaneity, Q covers pop culture and high arts alike with forays into the most provocative and compelling cultural trends.  

From music icons like Van Morrison and Neil Young; smart conversations with everyone from Al Gore to Barbara Walters; CNN operas; to the branding of politicians… Q brings you big names, big ideas, and those paving the way on the cultural landscape. 

Q is your cultural intervention! 

Learn more and get involved!

Join the Facebook Fan Page Q Live in Oshawa Campaign and share it with your friends.

Tweet it! Official hastag #QinOshawa – follow @jianghomeshi and include him on your tweets.

Stay tuned! More updates on how to get involved coming soon!


Social Media & Museums

This month our CEO Gabrielle Peacock had an article published in the newsletter of the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums. The article is below. As we seek to expand where the visitor experience begins and ends with projects such as Community Curates, our CEO took a moment to reflect on the benefits of these projects. Learn more about the CFFM here.

A series of articles that appeared in the New York Times earlier this year lauded some new celebrities in the museum world. They aren’t artists or curators or museum directors; they are the marketing and technology staff that run the social media campaigns of some of the

United State’s most progressive public art galleries. Behind the scenes, it is their creative voice and clever delivery of content that is making a huge impact on raising the profile and engagement opportunities for museums and galleries across North America. 

As museums continue to recognize the value and importance of the “visitor experience” it may be time to broaden the scope of defining when that experience begins and ends. 

Social media has the potential to represent for museums the most transformational tool in audience development and strategic brand building of the 21st century. The consumer habits of today’s potential museum-goer requires organizations to be digitally agile and content-persuasive in order to remain competitive and relevant. The benefit to the institutions ability to share, teach and learn is immeasurable. It has opened the floodgates of possibility to thousands of content-rich but budget-strapped galleries to represent their collections and promote exhibitions to the world. It provides the opportunity for like-minded people to intersect and interact with each other, creating a sense of community, regardless of where they live. It is being used to help institutions de-mystify and humanize themselves with blogs from curatorial departments and behind the scenes access. The pedagogical possibilities seem boundless and the fundraising opportunities ever evolving.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s foray into social media has been a revelation. The ability to engage with our virtual visitors and their ability to share feedback, opinions and debate ideas hopefully provides them with a real sense of ownership in the process. The comments and data we gather fuels our creativity and influences how and what we program going forward.

Our current project “Community Curates” is a 5 week crowd sourcing project that invites people to vote on a selection of works that are being considered for an exhibition this coming fall. It is a forum for us to talk about our collection of works on paper and the conservation issues galleries must contend with, and also allows participants to follow results in real-time, add comments and have a say in curating an exhibition.

 While nothing will ever replace the sensory experience of standing in front of a work of art, the use of social media to maintain an ongoing, interactive relationship will hopefully nurture a feeling of familiarity, accessibility and curiosity that will also inspire a visit in person.