• Throwback Thursday - Arts Beat January 2018 - 3

    January 15, 2018 by Kristina Durka


    ArtsBeat Throwback Thursday

    Poems by Margaret Saunders

    January 1995

    Passing Season

    The summer sails
    of Lake Huron have set

    The lonely pier
    has half-wandered
    into shore

    Refreshment stalls
    have stopped yawning -
    have shuttered themselves
    against a cold wind

    The beach echoes those gone
    to hunch the city’s
    winter madness

    And shadowing the distance
    circling gulls lament
    the passing season

    Margaret Saunders 1994



    Grand Canyon
    she takes out her camera
    asks him to back up

    Margaret Saunders 1994


    Margaret Saunders (Scotland 1926 – Hamilton, Ontario 2005). Ms Saunders adopted Ontario in her twenties. She contributed to the development of haiku in the eighties by founding the quarterly WEE Giant and later the biannual Daybreak. She also published three collections of haiku, notably, A Flock of Blackbirds (1979) with Unfinished Monument Press.


    Saunders, Margaret. “Passing Season & Senyru”.” Arts Beat, vol. 7, no. 4, Dec. ‘94 -Jan.1995, p. 5.

    Belleau, Janick , “Haiku Women Pioneers from Sea to Sea - (1928-1985) -- Des Pionnieres du Haiku d'un Ocean a l'autre (1928 - 1985),” The Haiku Foundation Digital Library, accessed January 8, 2018,


  • Throwback Thursday - Arts Beat January 2018 - 2

    January 8, 2018 by Kristina Durka

    Arts Beat Throwback Thursday

    Craft Photography Clinic - Diary of a Workshop by Deborrah Sherman

    January 1990

    Who knew whether this thing would fly? Certainly there is a need for crafts people to be able to make better slides of their work -any show juror can attest to that. But the question to grapple with was: do crafts people want to get into photographing, or are they basically content with their efforts? Would a learning experience be more beneficial, or a fast shoot-and-pay session? Expert advice from experts solved our dilemma. Consultation with knowledgeable resource people from the Ministry of Culture and Communications urged us to get to the root of the problem by stressing a hands-on learning process.

        We all know that slides are used more and more, in the jurying process for exhibitions and that “bad slides of good work can kill your chances of being accepted”. Organizers of juried shows are looking more towards jurying from slides since the cost of insurance and manpower in juring from actual pieces is becoming prohibitive. In addition, slides increase a rafts person’s chance of becoming known. “With the proliferation of craft magazines coming on the scene, there are more opportunities to have your work published. But it is necessary to put some effort into procuring a good image.” the reasons for having slides are not to be contested. We decided that if we could teach craft artists to take good slides using equipment that they could purchase or construct cheaply then we would be providing the best service.

        Discussions with Peter Hogan, a photography teacher attached to the Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design confirmed our ideas. One of the major benefits of photographing your own works is the element of control. As a professional, Hogan admits that he tends to have a formula for objects and sometimes things could begin to look the same. Hogan explains, “When an artist brings in fifteen pieces and wants the slides tomorrow, you begin to use the same set-ups again and again. When you have a few days to experiment and get to know the piece (an edge that the maker of the piece obviously has) then you can do something really spectacular.”

        Hogan came up with an excellent plan for a day-long workshop consisting of hands-on shooting with example slides and hand-outs for ‘at home digestion.’ The day began with an introduction covering the basics: camera care and handling; why a portfolio and what should go into it; camera exposure; metering; colour slide film and the main area of emphasis for the day, object analysis and light.

        We looked at many slides, identifying light sources, types and direction and their effects on subjects. The fact that light can support or deny the shape, form, surface and mass of an object was brought home by sample slides which showed one object with a variety of lighting.

        As a teacher Hogan feels that for an artist to experiment with lighting their own piece not only leads to the best photographs but can also lead to new ways of an artist looking at their own work. An object look can lead to new discoveries and enhances the creative process all around. “When you constantly take into consideration the way light affects things, you may find it begins to affect the way you design.” Peter encouraged participants to begin paying more attention to photographing our own work. Let the end use determine how it is to be done, and let the object dictate how it warrants to be photographed. Peter used his own camera to take slides, in addition to using a polaroid as a teaching aid to get instant on film results to lighting adjustments. He encouraged participants to shoot along with their own cameras.

        The really good news for us was that while he did bring some expensive equipment  that we might not be able or willing to duplicate at home, Peter also had many home-made diffusers, reflectors and backdrops that any of us could reproduce at home. He brought along some lights we could purchase at a store for less than $100 and manage nicely with. Skills we were learning were therefore not just for the studio - we will be able to apply them at home with minimal investment and a little imagination.

        Simple techniques such as using bracket exposures (shooting 2 or 3 frames of each picture increasing the exposure by 1 of ½ stop each time) were employed. Home made diffusers can be made from a simple wood stretcher frame covered with half-ounce spinnaker cloth available from sail-makers, cheap canvas can be painted to produce unusual backdrops that are interesting and unique. Peter managed to keep talking and working at the same time, and was patient and indulgent; a major benefit of having a workshop leader who is a professional teacher. By the end of the day, we knew it had flown. We had worked with some very inspiring artists and had witnessed shooting varied objects from silver jewellery to furniture to woven garments photographed on a model. We know there is a vast need for more of these workshops and as one of the participants said “It’s the best $25 bucks I ever spent”.

        Special thanks to the following members of the Craft Committee of the Hamilton and region Arts Council who volunteered their time by running a bingo to raise money to run this workshop: Andrina Carlton, Barbara Reid, and Lillian Small. Thanks to the Ministry of Culture and Communications, Christine Hart, Minister for a frant to make this workshop possible and to the Burlington Cultural Centre for accommodating the Arts Council in their excellent facility. Finally, a special thanks to Peter Hogan whose knowledge, experience and patience was greatly appreciated by everyone involved.


    Sherman, Deborrah. “Craft Photography Clinic - Diary of a Workshop”.” Arts Beat, vol. 3, no. 4, Dec. ‘89 -Jan.1990, p. 4.



  • Throwback Thursday - Arts Beat January 2018 - 1

    January 4, 2018 by Kristina Durka

    arts beat throwback thursday 

    Hamilton Public Library "Growing With You"

    January 1989

    Hamilton Public Library is 100 years old. To celebrate the occasion a variety of events are planned and everyone is invited.

    The theme of this centennial year is 'growing with you'. All festivities will emphasize the enduring connnection with the Hamilton community and the valuable role the institution has played in the city's development. However, the concept of a public library did not always receive universal support.

    in 1885, the mere suggestion of establishing a 'free library' as it was then called was met with vigorous opposition. Public-spirited citizens coalesced to voice their concerns. Some felt that the proposed library was a "scheme to let women read novels while their children were being taken care of at the kindergarden".

    When the issue was finally put forth for formal consideration, the debate ended with the statement, "all those in favour of taxing poor people to buy books for the rich to read, and also want to waste the city's money, hold up their hands". Needless to say, the motion was defeated. 

    Fortunately, library advocates did not relax their efforts and on January 7, 1889 a by-law was carried establishing the Hamilton Public Library.

    A century later the library is still a hot topic. For those interested in literature, music, film or, learning of any kind, there's no questio that this is the place to be. If you haven't checked out the services and programs offered by your branch, there's no time like the present. Consider yourself invited. 

    Bunka, Debora., and Graziani, Robert., and MacKenzie, Dianne. “Hamilton Public Library “Growing With You”.” Arts Beat, vol. 2, no. 5, Jan.-Feb. 1989, p. 10. 


  • Job Posting: Event & Admin Coordinator

    December 21, 2017 by Stephen Near

    Like many non-profit arts organizations in our city, the Hamilton Arts Council is sustained by the exceptional efforts of a very small team of dedicated individuals who juggle many competing priorities. As we enter into a new year, we have many new programs on the horizon. That’s why we’re pleased to announce that the Hamilton Arts Council is seeking another employee to join our team in 2018!

    The new role of Event & Admin Coordinator will will serve as the lead event coordinator on programs and events including Hamilton Arts Week, Living Arts Workshops, Art Bus Studio Tours and other public events. The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and outgoing arts professional who contributes strong event planning experience as well as a commitment to outreach and inclusion and a firm grounding in Hamilton’s diverse arts and cultural community. This placement is made possible through a new Work Experience initiative with Work In Culture so all applicants must be 30 years of age and younger. 

    Our call for qualified applicants is now open - please read, share widely and submit your applications for this new opportunity by Friday, January 12th, 2018.

  • 24th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards: Kerry Schooley Award Finalists

    November 25, 2017 by Stephen Near

    This is the forth in a four-part blog series showcasing the finalists of this year's 24th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards. Find out which authors will take home the prizes by attending the gala celebration on Nov. 27, 2017 at Theatre Aquarius.

    The Kerry Schooley Award is our most storied literary award at the Hamilton Arts Council. The award is named after Kerry Schooley, who was a larger-than-life, tireless promoter of both Hamilton and Hamilton writers. There is a good chance that if Kerry was still with us, he’d be nominated for this award regularly and would take it home at least one. This year’s shortlist has three very different books up for the award, which is given to the book that best captures the spirit of the Hamilton and its surrounding areas. Only the feel of the city in their pages holds these books together.

    In Evenings and Weekends: Five Years in Hamilton Music 2006-2011, Andrew Baulcomb explores  the roots of Hamilton’s legendary music scene. From blues singer Long John Baldry to the punk rock of Teenage Head, musicians, and music have made their home here. From innovative DJs to venue owners to radio hosts to the Arkells, Baulcomb interviews them all and weaves the story of an explosion of music in Hamilton with that of a generation adrift. This is a coming-of-age story that puts a human face on the people who made music happen, and on those who listened to it.

    In Nobody Here Will Harm You: Mass Medical Evacuation from the Eastern Arctic 1950-1965, Shawn Selway casts an unflinching eye on the evacuation of 1,274 Inuit and Cree sufferers of tuberculosis from the Eastern Arctic to Mountain Sanatorium in Hamilton, Ontario, from 1950 to 1965. Selway considers the political culture, and the systemic racism within that culture, in which the decisions were made, as well as the technological and economic changes that made these relocations possible. Selway carefully documents the impact of the evacuations on the Inuit community and has included an assortment of archival images within this important book about at a difficult time in our country's history.

    In Saints, Unexpected, author Brent van Staalduinen makes his debut in a magical tale about fifteen-year-old Mutton. Robbed at gunpoint while working in her mother's Hamilton thrift store, she loses a valuable item thus hurling herself and her family into a summer of remarkable and heartbreaking events. From fighting unscrupulous developers to first loves to the anguish that comes from never knowing what your final words to a loved one might be, Saints, Unexpected reminds us of the magic that comes with each opportunity to begin again. Brent van Staalduinen lives, works, and writes in Hamilton. He is the recipient of both the 2015 Bristol Short Story Prize and the 2015 Short Works Prize, his work appears in The Sycamore Review, The Bristol Prize Short Story Anthology 8, EVENT Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, and The New Guard Literary Review. A graduate of the Humber School of Writers, he also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and teaches writing at Redeemer University College.

    In Unbuilt Hamilton, author Mark Osbaldeston presents the Ambitious City at its most ambitious, exploring the origins and fates of unrealized building, planning, and transportation proposals from the early nineteenth century to the early twenty-first. Marvel at the sweeping vista down Hamilton’s own version of the Champs-Élysées as you enjoy a concert in the escarpment amphitheatre. Drive up the Gage Avenue tunnel, or ride down the Ottawa Street incline railway. Take in the sites at the King’s Forest Zoo, see the stars in the planetarium, or catch a game at Commonwealth Stadium before returning to your island home in Bay Shore Village.Featuring more than 150 illustrations, plans, and photographs, Unbuilt Hamilton gives life to the Hamilton that might have been. A Hamilton native, Mark Osbaldeston has written and spoken extensively on architectural and planning history. His first book, Unbuilt Toronto, was the basis for an exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum and was a finalist for the Toronto Book Awards and the Speaker’s Book Award.

    The Kerry Schooley Award is made possible this year in honor of the late Greg Quill. Greg Quill was an acclaimed Australian roots musician and longtime Toronto Star entertainment critic. The sponsorship of the Kerry Schooley Award in honour of Greg Quill was made possible by his wife, Ellen Davidson. The Hamilton Arts Council is deeply honoured to accept this gift in the name of her husband who gave so much to the arts.

    The Awards take place on November 27 at 7PM. RSVP TODAY!