• Be Inspired

    August 12, 2016 by Madeleine McMillan

    With the August Art Crawl approaching tonight on August 12, my Hamilton heart rejoices. It was not until I found out that Art Crawls existed at the end of my first year of University that I began to explore the downtown core. Although the AGH stands tall and can be noticed by outsiders who have moved to Hamilton, the James Street Art Crawl exists for only those who are “in the know”.  The Hamiltonians that recognize its existence are the ones who love art, and wish to see what their city has produced in the past month. The Art Crawl is the parallel of my love towards Hamilton. It is the communal representative of what this city means to me. The effort taken by stores and artists within our community to share and expose their art to the public on a monthly basis is what makes Hamilton stand out amongst the rest.

    Visiting an exhibition at Centre3

    Rain or shine, cold or unbearably hot, the Art Crawl continues to bring our community together. It is a contributor in what makes me want to stay in this city. It represents growth, passion, and inspiration. As an artist, I am inspired every time I go. It makes me want to return home and pick up a piece of paper and brainstorm my next art project.

    What inspires you? Who inspires you? To me, it is the passion I find in others that truly motivates me. It is the hope and joy I find around me, and the satisfaction others show in their accomplishments. When it comes to art, it is difficult to find artists who do not have critiques for their own work. At the Art Crawl, the pieces reach out and envelope the viewer. The artist presents their works proudly, for all to see. The Crawl shows process, as well as promise.

    Crowds visit the many Art Crawl vendors outside the Armoury

    Artists who inspire you can be your peers, your family members, anyone. I seek comfort in the works of Laurie Anderson, who reasons with a world, and promotes the idea of duality, which I think is present in all aspects of life. She is a woman who hosts a concert for dogs in Times Square to honor the passing of her late husband Lou Reid, as well as her dog Lolabelle. She offers art to an audience that is alternative, yet can still process the art given to them. I am also inspired by my friends who create art that helps them deal with the world we live in, creating aesthetic beauty as a means of comfort, and solace, and strength.

    Art is an outlet that the public does not embrace nearly enough. So tonight at Art Crawl, take a moment to be inspired. If you feel like it, go home and create something that is your own. It doesn’t matter the medium, it just matters that you let something affect you. And in return, you give back by creating even more. 

    *Banner image: Art Crawl vendors selling work outside Hamilton Artists Inc [Photo: Stephen Near]

  • Student Artist, Woman Artist, Artist

    August 9, 2016 by Madeleine McMillan

    First of all, I would like to point out that the Art Gallery of Hamilton offers Free Admission to McMaster University Students who show their Student ID. You’re at Mac for 3-6 years? Or more? Use it. Take advantage of that opportunity while it is around. It is a gift that I myself did not know about until the end of my First Year at Mac.

    As a student, I never considered myself an artist. I made art, through many mediums, sure, but I did not place value on my own work. I did not think it qualified as art, art being that that was recognized by peers, strangers, and society. My art was not worthy of the public eye, and I therefore was not an artist. While I continued to produce art, I did not decide to show any of it until I set up my online portfolio last summer. Even then I was harshly selective of what I put in my portfolio. After all, this was the content that represented who I was and what I was able to create. Forever unsatisfied with what I was capable of, I chose what I thought was the most aesthetically pleasing or detail-oriented, and left it at that.

    This past year, I put together my thesis project; a series of paintings (2 paintings, 4x6 feet in dimension) that portrayed the exact opposite of a still life - it was movement in two forms. It had the static painting component to it, but then extended dimension through video projections that I edited to make the paint appear to move. I remain unsatisfied with the series, as I would like to add to it, but became content in the fact that I created something that I loved to look at as a viewer. I detached myself from my hand in producing the work, and just looked at it as if it were not my own. I fell in love with it.

    The series (named “Unstill”) was accepted to be shown at HAVN gallery off of Cannon for three weeks in April. I was overjoyed at this opportunity, and although anxious about the public viewing my work, I was excited to consider myself, “finally”, as an artist.

    I came across this description recently: “As per the Canada Council’s guidelines, a professional artist is defined as someone who:

    • Has specialized artistic training (not necessarily in academic institutions)
    • Is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in thesame artistic tradition)
    • Has a history of public exhibition
    • Has produced an independent body of work”

    I can finally (no quotations necessary) regard myself as a professional artist, following Canadian guidelines. Although excited, just as I had been a few months ago, I also began to question everything involved in this label. Although I have created art my entire life, I was not a professional artist, and rightly so, but why on earth did I not consider myself an artist? This guideline implies that there is a divide between artist and professional artist - the recognition. And while I did not have recognition before, I would still have been an artist. I think it is not effective to limit one’s self because of a label. Art is the process and struggle and production of a visual/media object/performance, and by creating said concept or object, one is an artist.

    Following my convocation from McMaster University, degree in hand, there was a reception held at the AGH for Humanities graduates. It was the perfect place for a reception, seeing as I had received my degree in Art History and Multimedia. “The Artist Herself” exhibition was on display in one of the galleries. I was able to wander, degree still in hand, and look at all of the self-portraits of Canadian woman artists. The premise of the exhibition was showcasing how woman artists defined themselves in Canada. The works considered identity, self, just like I had been trying to capture for years. As a woman artist, I refused to consider myself an artist until others recognized my work. I did not see the value in my creative exploits. It wasn’t until I had created large-scale paintings, gained a gallery showing, received a piece of paper, and wandered through this gallery show that everything just seemed to click.

    The definition I found a few weeks ago just solidified what I had come to on my own. I am an artist, and each person who places value in his or her own work is an artist. Do not hesitate to seek out value in what you create. Even if it is for your own appreciation. There are no limitations on art, and therefore you should not put any limitations on yourself.

    *Banner image: Bertha May Ingle, “Self-Portrait”, around 1902 (detail). Oil on canvas. Part of “The Artist Herself” at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. [Photo: Mike Lalich]

  • Job Posting: Operations Officer (Parental Leave)

    July 28, 2016 by Stephanie Vegh

    The Hamilton Arts Council is seeking qualified applicants for the limited term position of Operations Officer. This is a temporary 16-week parental leave coverage position commencing Tuesday September 6, 2016 and ending Friday December 23, 2016.

    The Operations Officer of the Hamilton Arts Council is responsible for supporting the Executive Director in the implementation and communication of the vital role of arts and culture in Hamilton region. Over the term of this contract, this position will provide leadership on several key initiatives including Culture Guide distributions, Culture Days, the 23rd Hamilton Literary Awards, and our annual Holiday Party. The successful candidate will have a strong arts administrative background, experience in arts and cultural programming, and a demonstrated commitment to the local arts community.

    The Operations Officer will work on site in the Hamilton Arts Council office and at Hamilton-area arts venues for meetings and events as required. The successful candidate will work both independently and in collaboration with Hamilton Arts Council staff, Board directors and volunteers.


    • Manage content and distributions for the Hamilton Arts Council’s various communications platforms including website, e-newsletters and social media
    • Support the distribution of the 2016-2017 Culture Guide at Supercrawl and via regional deliveries to advertisers, arts organizations and distribution partners
    • Promote widespread participation in Culture Days 2016 activities in partnership with the Culture Days Community Task Force and local partners
    • Lead the successful delivery of the Hamilton Literary Awards event in partnership with our Literary Arts Committee including sponsorships, event planning and promotions
    • Coordinate the annual Member Holiday Party in partnership with our Membership Committee
    • Support the Executive Director with office and administrative tasks as assigned


    • Previous experience in arts administration and/or artist-run culture
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills with well-developed organizational skills and attention to detail
    • Ability to work independently and lead projects with strong personal initiative while remaining open to collaboration and feedback
    • High level of computer proficiency with Google Drive and Apps, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and Photoshop; experience with Mac OS and Hootsuite would be considered an asset
    • Demonstrated engagement and experience in Hamilton’s arts community
    • Valid Ontario Class G driver’s license and access to a vehicle would be considered an asset

    The Operations Officer (parental leave coverage) will work 30 hours a week at a rate of $16/hour with specific hours to be determined in consultation with the Executive Director; occasional evening and weekend hours are to be to be expected with this position and will be compensated with time off in lieu.

    Applicants are asked to submit a cover letter, current resume and contact information for two references as a Word or PDF file attachment no later than Friday August 12, 2016 at 4:00pm. Email your application to with the subject line “Operations Officer.”

    The Hamilton Arts Council is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified candidates.

    Please feel free to download this job posting in PDF form to share with your colleagues.



  • Culture Days: Register an Activity

    July 26, 2016 by Madeleine McMillan

    This year, Culture Days is taking place September 30, October 1 & 2. Are you presenting an activity for this national celebration of arts, culture, and community?

    If so, it's important that you register your activity on the Culture Days site to make sure you get all of the support and promotion being offered by the Hamilton Arts Council and Ontario Culture Days. That's why I've written this handy and comprehensive list of instructions to help you out! Whether you're holding your event as part of Culture Days @ the HPL or at another site in the community, it is extremely easy to sign up an activity/event with Culture Days!

    And, if you register by July 31, your region and/or community could benefit from a geo-targeted online advertisement that reaches thousands of people in your area. The digital ad will lead back to a web page with all the amazing activities happening nearby on the Culture Days weekend – including yours!

    Let's get #HamOnt on the Culture Days radar!

    First check this list to make sure your event follows the guidelines of Culture Days:

    1. Your event is a FREE event
    2. Your event involves audience participation or behind-the-scenes access
    3. Your event is happening between September 30 and October 2, 2016

    Now you can register on!

    Step 1.
    Go to

    Step 2.
    Login to your account or CREATE an account through Facebook or through e-mail.
    If you select through e-mail, provide all information required and submit.

    Step 3.
    Confirm your login by checking your e-mail and clicking the link that Culture Days has sent you.

    Step 4.
    Once you have confirmed your account, you will be directed to a page where you can select the “Register Activities” button.

    Step 5.
    You will be directed to your “My Activities” page, where you can “Add a New Activity”.

    Step 6.
    You will be asked to complete all required fields. If you need to still finalize information, you can save your activity as a “Draft” and return to it later to “Publish”.

    Step 7.
    Fill in all of the categories by selecting “Next” at the bottom of each page.
    Complete “General” “Location” “Categorization” “Contact” and even add “Images”!

    Step 8.
    To add an Image for your activity, select "Add Image", then pick out your photo. You will have the option to crop your image, and once you have done so, select "Save Image". You will also have the option to add a "photo credit", "pick a new image" or "delete image" if you would like to make changes after you have originally saved your image. Size limitations of jpeg/png images are: 3000 X 3000px (8MB). You also have the option to include an image gallery of multiple photos for your activity!

    Step 9.
    Once you are done with filling in all information to your event, hit PUBLISH!


    You have now successfully signed up your Activity for Culture Days 2016!


    *Header image is taken from Culture Days website

  • Quiet Study

    July 22, 2016 by Madeleine McMillan

    I find it difficult to approach blog posts, because I think it is hard to speak outwardly to any readers when my go-to is either formal or personal writing.  Writing a blog is different from any other form of writing that I find comfortable, in that it is a personal experience, but you share it with others. For any posts in the future, I think I may tie together my love of research and analysis of art with my personal musings, and have this first blog post give some context as to who I am and how I found myself in this field of work.

    I have always loved all forms of art. However, I put it on the back burner in my high school years, as I had built up this 15-year plan of becoming a neuroscientist and researcher. My focus was primarily maths and sciences, and while I did enjoy my studies, I realized by the end of my first year in Undergrad that the science route was not for me. I love education, and research, and problem solving, but I was burnt out all of the time, and sought out arts-related courses for my electives. I switched into Art History and Multimedia in my second year of University. I have not looked back.

    Most of the friends I made throughout my University career were either in Science, Engineering, or Kinesiology. I was in Art History and Multimedia, but I could not seem to bridge that gap between my science-based past and my desire to discuss the arts in my free time. My attempts at making the connection were founded in dragging my friends to Art Crawl and show openings (which I still do to this day). I would like to think that my friends enjoyed these exposures to art, but I think it is more likely that my excitement towards a gallery showing might have blinded me from seeing what they really think.

    With this background in mind, I tend to shy away from bringing up art-related discussion topics. It was not until my seminar classes and position as Teaching Assistant in my Fourth year that I fully embraced what I had chosen for myself three years ago. Being in a classroom setting, discussing Contemporary Art that I loved, with only six other people, was an extremely cathartic experience. For two hours on Monday mornings, I could open up and analyze pieces without thinking that others were not interested in hearing my opinions. As a TA, I found that reading others opinions were just as significant to my understanding of art. With so many views, Art History is revolutionary in and of itself. It is a transformative field of study, and I think that as I grow as an artist and as a person, any observed art piece may also change.

    I hope to further my studies and either pursue a career in Archiving, Curating, or Teaching. I want to speak to people who are already interested in art, as well as those who have no interest, but might just listen anyways. So this is just a little bit about me. The posts to come might tie together art and science, and analyze studies, or pieces of art, or artists. There are so many possibilities, but what it comes down to is writing about what I care about. It took me eight years in school to find something I am passionate about, and I am so thrilled to have an opportunity like this right after graduation. As the Arts Outreach Officer at the Hamilton Arts Council, I am literally immersed in what I care about most. It is amazing.

    *Banner image: Installation view with work by (from left) Barbara Astman, Suzy Lake, at McMaster Museum of Art [Photo: MMA]