Volunteer Spotlight: Illianna Wotton

Illianna Wotton is a grade 11 student at O’Neill Collegiate in Oshawa.  She has been volunteering with the RMG for many years and is currently completing a co-op placement with our Manager of Community and Volunteer Development. Illianna’s trademark has become the creation of the beautiful and informative signage on display for our monthly community event, RMG Fridays. We sat down with her to learn more about her time at the RMG.

The RMG: How did you get involved with volunteering at the RMG?

Illianna: When our family first moved to Oshawa, we realized there was an art gallery really close by; and when we attended our first RMG Fridays, my parents wanted to volunteer and help with this amazing space. As I grew older, I began to fall into the same sort of path, and started to volunteer as well.

sign for event

The RMG: Why were you interested in volunteering in an art gallery?

Illianna: I’m generally an artsy person, and I like the vibe that galleries give off. Since they needed volunteers, I thought “hey, why not volunteer somewhere fun”. And when I discovered it was possible to have a co-op placement here, I jumped on the opportunity.

a volunteer working

The RMG: What have you been doing during your placement at the gallery?

Illianna: It’s been a whole lot, honestly- Everything from data entry, to working in the gift shop, to organizing the libraries, to helping kickstart a new program for the Youth of Oshawa here in the gallery. I know that whenever I come to work in the morning, I don’t know for sure what I’ll be doing because it’s such an eclectically organized job.

The RMG: What is one thing you want to share about the RMG?

Illianna: The fact that everything looks a lot easier than it is. The way that this staff pulls every event off so flawlessly is astounding, but behind the scenes, there are a million tiny little tasks that need to be done. And it’s done once a month for RMG Fridays, once a year for RMG Exposed – every event you see here took careful planning and immaculate execution to get it the way it is and it’s just really satisfying being a part of that and seeing it become something fantastic.

a volunteer working

The RMG: What is your favourite museum?

Illianna: I think my favourite museum is the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal; I went to Montreal for a family trip on my sister’s birthday, and they had a beautiful installation outside of these spinning prisms with gels and lights and bells inside that made music when you spun them around. That got me hooked, and the museum itself was so cool. I’m a fan of more contemporary art so that was a fantastic place to be.

The RMG: What is your first memory of art?

Illianna: As a kid, when I lived in Toronto with a small television set, I remember watching a TV show called Art Attack and trying to drag yarn across my living room floor to make a picture like the guy on TV did. It didn’t turn out very well, but I remember having fun while I did it.

a volunteer working

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery receives an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery receives an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant

The Ontario Trillium Foundation announced today that The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, located in the heart of Oshawa, received a significant grant that supports the organization’s purpose—a  dedication to sharing, exploring, and engaging with various communities through the continuing story of modern and contemporary Canadian art.

The grant totals $167,100 over 36 months and will support improvements to the gallery including new flooring and signage. The funds also support the growing volunteer program, with specific focus on increasing youth and young adults’ access to arts and cultural programming and volunteerism in Oshawa. Funds are also included to support the popular RMG Fridays program through increased youth participation. RMG Fridays is a monthly all-ages event that includes live music, art talks, gallery tours, openings, and community partnerships.

Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation said,

“The Ontario Trillium Foundation has the unique opportunity to partner with a diverse range of not-for-profits and charities, all of whom are passionate and committed to helping their communities. I am excited to see what this round of grantees will accomplish with our support.”

Gabrielle Peacock, CEO of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery agreed that,

“This grant provides us the support we need to increase youth participation and engagement with arts and culture programming, ultimately helping us to forge valuable long-term relationships in our community while supporting youth volunteerism. We are grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support of our initiatives.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) enables Ontarians to work together to enhance the quality of life in their communities. The OTF believes that communities across Ontario are rich in talent, creativity and drive, and their grants stimulate communities to build on these assets.

Read More:

Learn more about the OTF at their website www.otf.ca.
Learn more about RMG Fridays at https://rmg.on.ca/RMG-FRIDAYS.php
Learn more about the RMG by watching this video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCzUEN6HbCc&w=560&h=315]

The Results are in! Making History: Youth Art & Writing Contest

This post comes from the desk of Sonya Jones, Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection.

The Making History: Youth Art & Writing Contest gave young writers and artists creative freedom to express what their community’s history means to them. Youth were asked to submit an art or writing project that was inspired by a photograph in the Thomas Bouckley Collection. I was thrilled with the diverse responses! Seven submissions were chosen to be included in a small exhibition in the RMG’s Windfield Lounge.

Image

Courtney Dianard Departure 2012

Image

Military fathers with their children, 1939

The five poems/short stories and 2 paintings appear next to the relevant photograph from the collection. The viewer sees the historical photograph in a new way—reinterpreting it based on the students’ creative expression. Congratulations to the winners Courtney Dainard, for the Best Overall Art prize, and Tara Zammit, for the Best Overall Writing prize. Courtney’s painting of a young girl’s sorrow at her father’s departure for war reminds us of the many children who experienced this feeling throughout our community’s history. And Tara’s poem, Open Your Ears, fills the piano room at Bishop Bethune College with joy and music.

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Piano Practice, Bishop Bethune College c. 1925

Open Your Ears

Dance little tune,

Fly about the room,

Capture my soul like soup on a spoon.

Piano erupt,

Let my ears indulge,

Open them to something some never love.

But I do, yes I do!

Brother, let me preach,

For the passion in the soul is something one cannot teach.

Let the curtains billow and whisper

As the wind whips around,

Let them join in the creation of this marvelous sound.

Old books line the shelves,

Collecting memories and dust,

Unveiling secrets of history, music and lust.

It’s too much for us!

The dull mind cannot bear

All the beauty, the joy

All the strife, all the cares.

Let the pictures be an audience.

Placid faces stay calm,

Though the spirits inside dance as if they still shone.

In my white blouse and navy,

I sing sweetly along.

On a stool by the piano

Is where I belong.

**

The exhibition Making History on view until March 3, 2013. The historical images come alive with different interpretive narratives—giving new meaning to Oshawa’s past.