Olivia Dudnik

On Friday, August 11, the Hamilton Arts Council, in collaboration with the Seedworks Urban Offices, hosted the monthly Art Crawl Walking Tour. The guided tour, which was launched last month for July Art Crawl , is part of HAC’s new public program initiatives, along with the Art Bus Studio Tours, which made its debut on Saturday, August 19.

The Art Crawl Walking Tour provides the opportunity for those who are not familiar with the Hamilton arts scene to become acquainted with James Street North’s galleries and collectives. The tour is also a great opportunity for experienced “crawlers” to enjoy the Art Crawl in a different way. The galleries along James Street North consist of artist-run centres and collectives, which are different from bigger institutions like the Art Gallery of Hamilton. These galleries and collectives showcase contemporary local art and provide a glimpse into what is happening now in the art world.

[work from Vermillion Sands - Drowned World, by Jacqui Oakley and Jamie Lawson on view at The Assembly, photo by Olivia Dudnik]

The tours meet at the Seedworks  (126 Catherine St. North), located a couple of blocks away from the hub of James Street North for refreshments and opening remarks about the history of James North and the Art Crawl. Participants then head out for the tour. The tour highlights different stops each month, as James North has too much to cover in one night. This also allows participants to join again on another tour.

At the galleries, the artists or gallery owners give a talk to the group about the work on view. This month’s tour featured a variety of of media -- painting & collage (The Assembly Gallery), film (AGH Annex), performance (Hamilton Artists Inc.) and a collaboration between painting and music (Oswald’s Gallery & Goods). This variety of media reflects James North’s diverse artistic community.

[Artists, Jacqui Oakley & Jamie Lawson giving a talk on their work at The Assembly, photo by Olivia Dudnik]

Art Crawl is a great way to spend a Friday night. It is more than an “arts” event - it is a community activity, open to everyone and it makes Hamilton unique from other cities.

[Annette Paiement and artist Nancy Benoy in the Courtyard of the Hamilton Store at July Art Crawl, photo by Rebecca Fera]

Since I began going out to  Art Crawl in 2012, the distance of the Crawl has expanded. It typically ended just before Barton Street, now it extends past Barton with the relatively new collective, Oswald’s Gallery & Goods and the woodworking furniture store, Lea Wood Co. In addition to a vibrant arts community, many new restaurants have opened on the surrounding streets of James North -- King William is a bustling street of restaurants, the hip restaurant Nique, is located just off of James on Vine Street.The vast selection of restaurants adds to the Art Crawl evening. People can go for dinner first before hitting up the galleries, or can end the evening with drinks.


Stay tuned for details about future Art Crawl Walking Tours! For further information, visit our Facebook page or contact Rebecca Fera, HAC’s Public Programs Officer at


Olivia Dudnik is the Arts Outreach Assistant at the Hamilton Arts Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from McMaster University and is currently completing her Masters in Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. Olivia, born and raised in Hamilton, coordinated and facilitated both the July and August Art Crawl Walking Tours. She is familiar with the neighbourhood home to the Art Crawl through her time at McMaster, and also through her sister, Amanda, an artist who had a painting studio at the Hotel Hamilton Studios (above Mulberry Coffee House).