July 3, 2018 by Annette Paiement

    Taillin is a coastal town in Estonia with a population of 413,782 people. The Republic of Estonia has been an independent state since 1918, shortly interrupted by a half a century long Soviet occupation after World War II. In 1991, Estonia’s independence was restored.

    On June 11, 2018, I arrived in Tallinn where I met up with Rob Zeidler from the Cotton Factory, Hamilton, Ontario and Elin Kard, Vice-President and founding member of the Estonian Artists’ Association.

    The Hamilton Arts Council, in partnership with The Cotton Factory and the Estonian Artists’ Association have come together to build an artist exchange and residency program.

       Dragon | Draakoni Gallery













    An artist and curator in her own right, Elin Kard is the founding member of EKKM (Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia), teaches at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn and curates for EKL gallery; Horse Head Gallery & the Dragon Gallery, in Tallinn.

    Our visit to Taillon was a step towards building relations between our respective organizations, and an effort to set the stage for the Canada/Estonia Artist Exchange taking place in October, 2018. 


    We were fortunate to have Kard as our tour guide for much of the day, she took us to visit the many galleries in the Old City. Kard is involved with the Tallinn Art Hall, where we attended the 18th Annual Exhibition of the Estonian Artists’ Association’s annual juried show “Jubilee Spring 2018”.

    The exhibition was dedicated to Estonia’s centenary and the 75th anniversary of the Estonian Artists’ Association.

    We could not have received a better introduction to the beauty of Tallinn. The day was filled with art, walks through the Old City, conversation, and stories about history, art and culture.    

    Jubilee Spring 2018 was sponsored by the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Tallinn Culture Department and Estonia 100, and featured the artworks of 107 contemporary Estonian artists. This provided us with an overview of many of the artists currently participating in the Estonian art scene.

    MAARIT MURKA (1981) Mindroom 9, Oil on canvas, 100 x 130 x 20 cm, 2017

    Although it was the 18th spring show, it was the first time the Estonian Artists’ Association installed and presented works in the same manner as an art fair and featured the works of artists at varying career levels. 

    Kard explained that over the past 2-3 years there has been a trend with artists turning towards traditional drawing and graphic works. The resurgence of traditional techniques in drawing, painting and printmaking was evident in many of the works on view.

    “There is a move toward manual skills, leaving a trace of one’s hand. Less artists are working with video, desiring a more direct connection with the media they are working with.” explained Kard.

    This year’s exhibition marks the first time works displayed were listed for sale. This was done in an effort to encourage a new generation of art collectors.

    REIN MAGAR (1944) Time and Potatoes, Acrylic, watercolour, 145 x 95 cm, 2018

    “During the Soviet period, artists made art on a commissioned basis, galleries did not sell artist works.  And subsequently, galleries did not pay the artists.”

    LAURi, 100, Installation, 550 x 350 cm, 2018


    In 2011, as Vice President of The Estonian Artists’ Union, Kard led the way in an unprecedented move to compensate artists who exhibit artworks. This decision was made in an effort to make artists fees self-explanatory as is the case in other areas of culture.

    PEETER LAURITS, Rain News, Invisibly Rays, Diasec acrylic, 2017

    When asked about artists creating an income through the sale of limited edition prints, Kard explained this concept is currently unheard of in the Estonian art scene and considered unprofessional.  

    MARKO MAETAMM, I ONLY WANTED TO EXPRESS MYSELF, blue ball point pen on paper, 24x29cm, 2017

    MARKO MAETAMM, LION AND MAN, plastic, acrylic paint, 17 x 10x 9 (h) cm, 2016


    In Canada, artists prints are an affordable way for people to collect works of art. It also provides an artist with an additional source of  revenue for their work.

    TOOMAS KUUSING (1976), Poor Things Freeze on the Treetops, Linocut, 65 x 73 cm, 2018 (detail)

    Today the Association supports itself with the rental of artist live/work studios, commissioned art sales and memberships.

    After viewing exhibitions in the Old Town galleries, we walked to EKKM. (EKKM is an abbreviation for Eesti Kaasaegne Kunsti Muuseum meaning Estonia Contemporary Art Museum.) The Gallery is situated in the former offices for the Tallinn Heating Plant.

    It began as a squat in 2006 and has since become a not-for-profit, artist-run/do-it-yourself initiative.  

    The 17th Tallinn Print Triennial celebrated a half a century of traditional printmaking.  The exhibition examined the concept, “triennial”; how it plays in cultural history and the theme of tradition in the broader sense. Non-traditionalism in the art process of Estonia and other Baltic countries was integrated.

    There was so much to take in, and to process. The history of EKKM was as interesting to me as were all of the exhibitions presented in the gallery spaces and the architecture of the space.

    Our day ended with an exhibition opening by Liisi Eelmaa - Õrnalt õhus / Gently in the Air, at Hobusepea Gallery.  The event was sponsored by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Estonian Ministry of Culture. 

    It would be the first of many exhibition openings I would visit in the coming weeks.



  • Hamilton Planting an Artistic Seed in the Baltic

    July 3, 2018 by Stephen Near

    The Hamilton Arts Council has been busy coordinating our latest arts residency in Estonia. Early in June, the Hamilton Spectator featured an article about this exciting initiative so we're reposting the article here as written by Graham Rockingham. This article was originally written and posted at the the on June 01, 2018.


    Cotton Factory owner Robert Zeidler, left, artist Tor Lukasik-Foss and Hamilton Arts Council executive director Annette Paiement. [Photo: Gary Yokoyama, The Hamilton Spectator]

    Estonia isn't the sort of place that comes up in conversation when local artists sit down over coffee at the Mulberry.

    The kind of chit chat that goes, "Have you heard what they're doing with digital manipulation at the Estonian Institute of Humanities?"

    Or even, "I met the most darling transhuman ethicist from the University of Tartu the other day."

    That may all change due to an extraordinary new collaboration between the Hamilton Arts Council, The Cotton Factory and the Estonian Artists Association, which is based in Tallinn, the tiny Baltic nation's capital.

    It's an artist exchange. They send us one of theirs for a one-month residency and we send them one of ours. The plan is to make it an annual event.

    Tor Lukasik-Foss, one of Hamilton's better known multi-genre artists, will venture to Estonia in September to create new work, deliver talks and mingle with fellow artists, maybe even have a beer with them.

    Lukasik-Foss, who is of Norwegian descent, has never been to Estonia and knows none of its language, but feels confident he will be able to express himself through art.

    Lukasik-Foss works in multiple forms of visual art, but is also a songwriter who performs under the name Tiny Bill Cody. He's already thinking about working traditional Baltic themes into his own unique way of storytelling.

    "I want to do some songwriting while I'm there, contemporizing myth and folk tale as the basis," says Lukasik-Foss, who will take a month-long leave from his job as director of programs and education at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. "I'm hoping to write, perform and be as collaborative as possible."

    So far, the Estonians are one ahead of us in terms of the exchange. Last October, they sent multimedia artist Marko Mäetamm, who spent a month working on new projects in a studio provided by The Cotton Factory and giving artist talks.

    The experiment was considered a success and Mäetamm is returning in Hamilton for an exhibition of his art at the b contemporary gallery on James Street North from Sept. 4 to 29.

    While Lukasik-Foss is in Estonia wowing the locals, Estonian artist Peeter Laurits, who works in photography and digital manipulation, will be working in Hamilton's Cotton Factory.

    The exchange is the brainchild of Robert Zeidler, a Toronto transplant who bought the century-old Imperial Cotton building on Sherman North in 2014 for $4.7 million, renovated it, and turned it into a workspace for more than 110 artists, crafts workers, fashion designers, film and music makers.

    Since his investment, Zeidler has become a huge advocate and patron of the Hamilton arts scene.

    For the past year, he has set aside one studio for an "artist in residence" program, which provides free rent for two emerging artists over a three-month period.

    The residencies are juried by the Hamilton Arts Council, with Zeidler eating the rental cost. So far nine young artists have benefited from the program. (The current artists — Stylo Starr, who specializes in collage, and Tanya Denyer, a quilter — will hold an artists' talk on June 14, 7 p.m., at the The Cotton Factory).

    "It's been a big success and we think it's going to continue to be a success," says Zeidler. "It allows young artists to stay in Hamilton and not go seeking a residency in another city like Toronto."

    Last year, Zeidler decided to broaden the residency's horizon to include an international exchange component. But with what country?

    He started doing research and discovered a lively artistic community in Estonia, population less than 1.4 million.

    "The whole Baltic art scene is exploding right now and has been for the last 15 years," says Zeidler. "And because the country is so small, the artists have to have an international perspective. To be successful, they have to get out and be international."

    Zeidler met the Estonian ambassador to Canada and was even more impressed.

    "She came to Hamilton to visit the local Estonian community," he says. "I was quite inspired by her. She spoke about the arts and freedom, and I thought, this is exactly who we need to partner with."

    Zeidler's Cotton Factory funded Mäetamm's trip here last year, including his flight, apartment rent, and a weekly honorarium.

    The Cotton Factory is doing the same for Lukasik-Foss and Laurits, as well as a trip to Estonia next in mid-June by Hamilton Arts Council executive director Annette Paiement.

    The Arts Council is responsible for selecting the Hamilton participants in the exchange, making sure things run smoothly on the Estonian end, as well as helping to find new sources of funding.

    "I'll be making sure that the residency is set up well for Tor when he arrives in September," Paiement says. "The goal is to create good relations, to investigate other possible opportunities and partnerships so that we can keep the program going and expand it over many years."


    By Graham Rockingham. Graham is the Hamilton Spectator's music editor. He can be reached at, 905-526-3331. Follow him @RockatTheSpec.

  • Building Cultural Legacies Project Manager Applications

    June 26, 2018 by Stephen Near

    Building Cultural Legacies is a new initiative of the Hamilton Arts Council that will collect, preserve and broadly disseminate stories about the history of the arts in Hamilton through a collective memory approach. By engaging all citizens in sharing their cultural memories of Hamilton, we will ensure that today’s and tomorrow’s generation of artists and residents understand and value the significant contributions made by their predecessors in our arts community.

    The Hamilton Arts Council has received a three-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to establish a collective memory archive of the visual arts community in Hamilton that will serve as a foundation for other arts and cultural sectors to contribute their own histories in the future. We are therefore seeking an experienced and visionary Project Manager to lead the creation of a community-engaged platform for preserving Hamilton’s rich cultural legacy for future generations.

    Reporting to the Executive Director and working closely with a volunteer Steering Committee, the Project Manager will work on site in the Hamilton Arts Council office and with the wider community as needed to achieve the following outcomes by May 2020:

    · Establish broadly accessible archives of existing and new material about the visual arts in Hamilton in a range of media

    · Create tangible opportunities for the public and for artists to engage with the project and its work

    · Build a robust web presence including the use of social media to solicit and gather community memories

    · Develop a tool kit to help other genres and communities to identify, collect and tell their stories.


    · Lead the planning and implementation of Building Cultural Legacies according to an established project framework

    · Engage proactively with volunteer steering committees, senior artists, diverse communities and organizational partners to facilitate their contributions to this project

    · Coordinate tasks and deliverables among a diverse team of paid contractors and volunteer contributors

    · Manage all procurement documentation for Building Cultural Legacies such as contracts, invoices, and cheque requisitions

    · Monitor project expenses and provide accurate and timely reports on project status to the Executive Director and other stakeholders

    · Recruit and supervise contract service providers including web developer, archive and digitization specialists, artists and curator



    · Proven success in cultural program delivery demonstrated by 2-3 years of relevant experience in project management

    · Post-secondary education or equivalent experience in archives, art history and/or arts management including research experience

    · Experience managing annual project budgets of $80,000 or more

    · History of effective community engagement with diverse stakeholders of all ages through both traditional and digital means

    · Knowledge of oral history and collective memory practices and approaches is desirable

    · Demonstrated knowledge and interest in Hamilton’s arts community, local history, and cultural heritage

    · Excellent written and oral communication skills

    · Strong time management skills and ability to meet deadlines

    · High level of computer proficiency and digital literacy including databases, web-based research tools and social media platforms

    · Strong personal initiative, creative vision and attention to detail

    · Fluency in French and/or other languages would be considered an asset


    The Project Manager will be paid an annual salary of $31,200 based on a 28-hour work week with specific hours to be determined by consultation with the Executive Director and the time requirements to fulfill the project. Due to the community driven nature of this project, flexibility to work occasional evenings and weekends, as well as occasional travel within the Hamilton region, will be required.

    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 Tuesday, July 31, 2018 **EXTENDED DEADLINE**

    Email your application to with your full name and “BCL Project Manager” in the subject line.

    The Hamilton Arts Council is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified candidates. While we thank all applicants for their interest, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

    The Hamilton Arts Council is a charitable arts organization working on behalf of Hamilton’s diverse cultural community since 1973. We believe that the arts are a vital part of our culture and economy of our city and work to advocate, mediate and communicate for the role of the arts in Hamilton.

  • Hamilton Arts Week 2018

    May 24, 2018 by Stephen Near

    This blog is written by Glodeane Brown, an interior design consultant with a passion for all things relating to arts and culture. She is also the founder of Culture Fancier, a blog with the aim to educate, entertain, and inspire about art, art shows and events, as well as spotlight artists and other creative people.

    Photo: Hamilton Aerial Group + Cesar Kardoba

    Hamilton has a strong, vibrant arts and culture scene and Hamilton Arts Week plans to highlight it with over 100 scheduled events between June 2-9, 2018. The festival is in its fifth year and is presented by Hamilton Arts Council (one of the oldest community arts councils in Ontario) with support from the City of Hamilton, First Ontario Credit Union, Luna Station, and The Cotton Factory. The festival is in line with the council's mission to strengthen the role of arts and culture in the City of Hamilton by making the arts accessible and relevant to the entire community.

    Many may be familiar with Supercrawl the festival that expands on the city's monthly Art Crawls on James Street N, both important events for Hamilton that build community pride and the local economy. While Hamilton Arts Week has a similar function, it differs in that it is a city wide event. It not only acknowledges arts and culture and galleries along the James Street N strip, it aims to be inclusive. Arts and cultural organizations, artists, and communities are encouraged to celebrate throughout Hamilton. Hamilton Arts Council Executive Director Annette Paiement sees it as an opportunity for the city to come together, eliminate barriers, and share cultural pride. The word "artist" usually brings to mind the visual arts. In late 2017, Hamilton Arts Council launched the I Am An Artist campaign to build awareness around the diverse disciplines of art and culture in the city, promoting a broader definition of "artist" and encompassing all makers – theatre, literature, dance, music, film and media arts, as well as contemporary craft practices, tattoo, fashion, landscaping and architecture. Arts and culture are integral to day to day living and Hamilton Arts Week is a kind of extension of that awareness campaign.

    Photo: Above: Some of the performers that will be at Hamilton Arts Week, including Bel Canto Strings, The Spirit Bear Drummers, and Lazo

    More than 50 arts organizations are joining in the Hamilton Arts Council's efforts to ignite Hamilton and build a strong, sustainable city-wide celebration that is welcoming and inclusive. The Hamilton Arts Awards will take place in the middle of Hamilton Arts Week, furthering the celebration of the city's creative talent.

    Arts and culture are thriving, and the city's revitalization is directly linked to the cultural sector. The Ontario Arts Council recently released a report showing findings from Statistics Canada. Ontario's arts and culture sector represents $27.5 billion 0r 3.7% of the province's GDP and almost 287,000 jobs. Paiement says "There is a movement to brand Hamilton as a Music City, our cultural currency is robust and steeped in history. I feel we are a Creativity City  that encompasses a broader spectrum of the arts; culinary arts, literature, visual arts, architecture and design. We are booming with creativity! Celebrations like Hamilton Arts Week, Supercrawl and Art Crawl are necessary."

    The festival kicks off on June 2, 2018 with an opening celebration at 4 pm at The Cotton Factory, 270 Sherman Ave. N. This FREE event features a Night Market, Interactive Installations and Performances featuring the Hamilton Aerial Group, TH&B Collective and more! Outdoor Screening of METRIC: DREAMS so REAL after sunset followed by a dance party and live performances in the Mule Spinner! Food presentations by Nellie James and Jonny Blonde Food Truck. 

    The majority of festival events are free and cover dance, literary events, music, theatre, exhibits, workshops, open studios, community celebrations, visual arts festivities and interventions. There's something for everyone, no matter what your area of interest.

    Photo: Hamilton Aerial Group, To The Pointe Dance project, Lisa Emmons

    Follow Hamilton Arts Council on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates and daily highlights. Use the #HAMILTONARTSWEEK to share your favourite celebratory moments.

    And check out the complete schedule of Hamilton Arts Week events.

    All photos supplied by Annette Paiement

  • Call for Board Nominations - DEADLINE May 20, 2018!

    May 7, 2018 by Stephen Near

    The Hamilton Arts Council is seeking dynamic, hard-working individuals committed to furthering the reach and impact of the arts in the Hamilton region to join our Board of Directors.

    The role of the Board of Directors is to advise on policy, planning and strategic direction, and assist with the leadership and promotion of the Hamilton Arts Council’s Mission, Vision and Values in accordance with its bylaws.

    We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and experiences. Previous service on a not-for-profit board is considered an asset, as is experience as a practicing artist and/or cultural worker in the Hamilton region.

    Responsibilities of HAC Directors include, but are not limited to:

    • attending six annual board meetings

    • contributing to one of four Board committees by attending monthly meetings

    • acting as a vocal and positive ambassador and advocate of the Hamilton Arts Council’s Mission, Vision and Values and promote them to our stakeholders

    Interested candidates are asked to fill out our online application form at HAC Board of Directors: 2018 Application. DEADLINE for applications if May 20th, 2018.

    Questions about this call for nominations and the Hamilton Arts Council Board of Directors can be directed to Annette Paiement, Executive Director, at