The third annual Hamilton Arts Week has come to a close, and we are so grateful to our community partners and sponsors who allowed us to successfully animate public spaces across various Hamilton neighbourhoods. A new initiative this year, the pop-up style live performances by local artists were organized in partnership with many of Hamilton’s BIAs as a way to present the arts in new and unexpected places, while expanding our reach outside the downtown core.
We kicked off the week on June 3rd with a pop-up performance by classical guitarist Grégoire Gagnon at the Waterdown Farmers Market and joined old friends and new at the Carnegie Gallery for the afternoon Launch Event. Artist Ingrid Mayrhofer joined us for a participatory relief printmaking activity that pulled visitors off the busy streets of Buskerfest and into the gallery space to try their hand at traditional printmaking techniques. One participant would begin with a drawing on the block, while another would carve away at the image before handing it off to someone new to complete the process. The collaborative activity brought all ages together – with our youngest participant at only 9 years old! Throughout the afternoon, a mystifying magic performance was presented by this year’s Emerging Theatre Artist nominee Michael Kras. (Congratulations to Michael!)
The duration of the week also featured pop-up performances from emerging singer-songwriter Jordan Andrew, in collaboration with the King Street West BIA. Jordan is a first-year Music and Theatre Arts student at Redeemer University who wowed us with his original songs. We also had the pleasure of entertaining guests of 541 Eatery and Exchange, thanks to the introduction by our friends at the Barton Village BIA. Violinists Ailish Corbett and Madeleine Kay played for the wonderful staff and patrons of 541, and we couldn’t help but to stay for lunch and enjoy their fresh, homemade meals – leaving some buttons behind to pay it forward!
The final day of Arts Week was packed with pop-ups by Jacob’s Cattle, led by the well-known guitarist/tunesmith Roy Patterson at the East Kiwanis Parkette on Ottawa Street. The beautiful shaded locale was provided by the Ottawa Street BIA, and served as the perfect spot for those extra hot temperatures this week. In the afternoon, we joined the bustling Gore Park Summer Promenade to program a dance performance by Sumona Roy. Through Indian Classical and Modern Dance, Roy presented a “brief look at Canadian music and musicians that contributed to the development of Canadian culture”. Her 45-minute choreographed performance featured music from great Canadian musicians including Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and more. These iconic tunes carried through the park and visitors were drawn to the fountain to stay and enjoy.
Our closing event was hosted at the AGH Annex, and we were thrilled to be a part of their exciting Art Crawl presentation of Jay Soule, a.k.a. Chippewar. Chippewar presented the latest in his series of mock-horror film posters as a pop-up exhibition, and spoke about art, activism, and contemporary Indigenous issues.
As my first official project in my new role at the Hamilton Arts Council, I am so grateful to have worked alongside our partners who are so passionate about bringing awareness to local artists and arts organizations. For me, Hamilton Arts Week was a great introduction to some of our community partners and members who support and believe in what we do here at the Arts Council. A special thank you to the Barton Village BIA, Downtown Hamilton BIA, King Street West BIA, Ottawa Street BIA, Waterdown BIA, and all the participating artists. Also to our new friends at 541 Eatery and Exchange, and old friends at the AGH Annex and Carnegie Gallery.
We look forward to continuing this success next year: further broadening our reach outside the downtown core to present more activations from more arts disciplines and connecting with the community to have conversations about what matters to the arts in this great city.