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  • 24th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards: Poetry Finalists

    November 6, 2017 by Stephen Near

    This is the first 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.

    Hamilton is a city that abounds in poets, and this year's finalists speak to the diversity of the poetry being written in our city. From the life of legendary painter, to our complicated relationship with grief, to a nightmarish journey through a strange Metropolis, these books move from the conversational to the surreal and blur the boundaries between genres.

    It has been almost a century since the painter Tom Thomson was murdered at the age of 39. The mystery of his death has captivated people almost as much as his passionate work. As both a friend and an inspiration to the members of The Group of Seven, founded shortly after his death, Thomson holds an important place in Canadian art.  Earth Day at Leith Churchyard: Poems in Search of Tom Thomson is a collection of poems inspired by the paintings and the character of Tom Thomson, and by the landscape he loved. Bernadette Rule, a former professor of English at Mohawk College, is the host of Art Waves, a weekly arts-interview program on Mohawk College radio. She has published six collections of poetry.

    Love is complicated, and in Love, Despite the Ache Chris Pannell has captured the sharp pain and deep affection of a son for his parents as they age and slip away from him. Along with love and loss, this is a book about our own aging. Our own, inevitable, death. Pannell writes of seeing close friends die unexpectedly, watching elderly couples as they travel together. He considers wheelchairs, walkers, lost memories and rests for a few moments in the contemplation of great art. Pannell details it all unsparingly, but with a great humanity. Chris Pannell's previous collection, A Nervous City, won the Hamilton Arts Council's Kerry Schooley Award. Another book, Drive, received the Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry and the Arts Hamilton Award for Best Poetry Book of the Year. His other books include Under Old Stars, Everything Comes from Above and Sorry I Spent Your Poem.

    In Darrell Epp's latest collection After Hours, our hero awaits Dorothee's return, while frankensteins invade Canada. Poltergeists patrol the hollowed—out manufacturing sector. The future's a let—down; contingency plans are hastily constructed. Every moment's an apocalypse as divine grace pummels Metropolis like a blizzard of fists. In this, Epp’s second collection of poems, he explores diversity of themes with stark images rooted within a gritty postmodern setting. Darrell Epp has been published in literary magazines internationally and his poetry has appeared in dozens of magazines around the world including Maisonneuve, Poetry Ireland, Sub-Terrain, and The Saranac Review. His previous poetry collection was entitled Imaginary Maps (2009).

    This year's Award for Poetry is sponsored by:

    Next: the finalists for Non-Fiction

  • The Hamilton Arts Council is Hiring!

    October 23, 2017 by Stephen Near

    PUBLIC PROGRAMS OFFICER

    The Public Programs Officer reports to the Executive Director and will serve as the lead project coordinator on public programs and events including Hamilton Arts Week, LivingArts Workshops, Art Bus Studio Tours and other public events presented by the Hamilton Arts Council.

    The ideal candidate will be a dynamic, 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.

    Experience in marketing, graphic design (Adobe InDesign and Photoshop). Grant and copy writing experience is also desirable. The successful candidate will work on site in the Hamilton Arts Council office and at Hamilton-area arts venues when working with community stakeholders.

    The Public Program Officer will work both independently and in collaboration with Hamilton Arts Council staff, Board of Directors and volunteers. 

    RESPONSIBILITIES:

    • Lead the coordination of annual Hamilton Arts Week in collaboration with community stakeholders.
    • Planning and execution of Arts Week events including evaluation and grant reporting. 
    • Coordinate LivingArts Workshops and other professional development activities presented by the Hamilton Arts Council.
    • Planning and Day of Coordination of the Art Bus Studio Tours. 
    • Collaborate with the Visual Arts Committee and deliver ongoing programs. 
    • Sit on Visual Arts Committee as HAC staff representative. 
    • Prospective grant research and application writing (in conjunction with other staff).
    • Must be available to flex hours to accommodate evening and weekend events.  
    • Outgoing and friendly disposition.
    • A valid Drivers License.
    • Experience working with arts organizations or other not-for-profit organizations. 
    • A strong interest in outreach activities.
    • Minimum of 2 years administrative experience.
    • Strong organizational and analytical skills.
    • Excellent interpersonal and collaborative skills.
    • Excellent written and verbal communication.
    • Ability to meet deadlines.
    • Ability to multitask.
    • Attention to detail and accuracy.
    • Experience with Google Drive, Adobe In-Design and Microsoft.

    EMPLOYMENT DETAILS:
    Hours: 3.5 days per week = 24 hours weekly 
    Salary: $25,000 per annum.
    This is a one-year contract position with the possibility of renewal 

    APPLICATION DEADLINE: November 3, 2017 by 4PM. 

    Interested candidates are invited to submit their resume, cover letter and 3 references via email to: The Hiring Committee at executive@hamiltonartscouncil.ca

    For information about the Hamilton Arts Council visit: www.hamiltonartscouncil.ca or download the PDF.

  • Interview with Emma Rush

    July 6, 2017 by Bud Roach

    This week, Hamilton Arts Council Board member and Hammer Baroque Artistic Director Bud Roach presents the next installment of his new blog video series. This in-depth conversation features Emma Rush from Guitar Hamilton which hosts the 7th Hamilton International Guitar Festival & Competition from July 7-9, 2017.

  • Job Opportunity: Hamilton Arts Council Executive Director

    July 5, 2017 by Annette Paiement

    The Hamilton Arts Council is seeking an experienced and visionary arts administrator to lead the organization as Executive Director. The successful candidate will possess strong arts administration knowledge and report to the Hamilton Arts Council Board. A proven leader, the ED is responsible for the overall performance, impact and growth of the organization. Displaying strong financial, fundraising, administrative and project management experience, the ED will lead government relations, activities, develop and nurture strategic partnerships, and bring the strategic plan to life through incorporating the goals and objectives of the organization. Deadline for application submissions is Monday, July 31 at 4:30 pm.

    The Hamilton Arts Council has a vision to strengthen the role of the arts and culture in the City of Hamilton by making the arts accessible and relevant to the entire community. Our mission is to communicate, advocate and mediate for the arts and the role of the arts in the community of Hamilton. Founded in 1969 and incorporated in 1973, the Hamilton Arts Council is the second largest and one of the oldest community arts councils in Ontario and is an affiliate member of Artist-Run Centres & Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO).

    The Executive Director will possess strong arts administration knowledge and report to the Hamilton Arts Council Board. A proven leader, the ED is responsible for the overall performance, impact and growth of the organization. Displaying strong financial, fundraising, administrative and project management experience, the ED will be responsible for a $300,000 budget.

    As a strategic thinker, the ED will lead government relations, activities, develop and nurture strategic partnerships, and bring the strategic plan to life through incorporating the goals and objectives of the organization. Demonstrating a strong knowledge of the arts, the ED will demonstrate the highest professional ethical standards, inclusion and thoughtfulness while leading a team of staff and volunteers.

    Holding a degree in a relevant field and arts management experience, the successful candidate will have a passion for the Hamilton Arts community and the ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously.

    To Apply:

    Attention: Hiring Committee
    Please send cover letter and resume in PDF.
    Closing Date: Monday, July 31 at 4:30 pm.
    Please email your application to: executive@hamiltonartscouncil.ca with the subject line “Attention Hiring Committee: Executive Director Application”

    Please be aware the selection process may involve any of interviews, test, and presentations or any combination thereof.

    The Hamilton Arts Council is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to inclusive, barrier-free recruitment and selection processes. Accommodations are available for all applicants with disabilities throughout the recruitment process. If you require accommodations for interviews or other meetings, please contact Interim Executive Director. We appreciate your interest, however, only those selected for an interview will be notified.

    Executive Director – Job Description PDF

  • Opera Returns to Hamilton!

    June 28, 2017 by Boris Brott

    (This is the third in a series of blog posts by the Brott Music Festival in celebration of the Festival’s 30th anniversary this year which kicks off in June.)

    Brott Music Festival has been performing staged Opera and PopOpera productions since 2004 as part of their nine-week summer festival, BrottOpera was officially founded on January 13th, 2014. The artistic mission of BrottOpera is to be the destination performing opera organization that entertains, educates and enriches Hamilton and its environs to be driven by both traditional and cutting-edge opera programming, grassroots partnerships which will stimulate new audiences and partner with other community organizations.

    Scene from Marriage of Figaro [Photo: Bob Hatcher]

    Following two successful years BrottOpera is now entering its third season. Each year has consisted of a PopOpera – an evening of favourite opera arias – as well as a fully staged opera; the past two seasons have seen performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. This year will again include a PopOpera (July 6th) as well as a production of Bizet’s Carmen (July 13th) directed by Patrick Hansen, who is currently the Director of Opera Studies at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

    Set in Seville around the year 1830, the opera deals with the love and jealousy of Don José, who is lured away from his duty as a soldier and his beloved Micaëla by the gypsy factory-girl Carmen, whom he allows to escape from custody. He is later induced to join the smugglers with whom Carmen is associated, but is driven wild by jealousy. This comes to a head when Carmen makes clear her preference for the bull-fighter Escamillo. The last act, outside the bull-ring in Seville, brings Escamillo to the arena, accompanied by Carmen, there stabbed to death by Don José, who has been awaiting her arrival.

    Scene from Marriage of Figaro [Photo: Bob Hatcher]

    Carmen was a one-of-a-kind outlier of an opera when it was written. It shocked the French audiences with its onstage violence. It was also not an actual "opera" per se, because its form was really that of a musical: the story is told in both dialogue and in music. Formally much of it is Italian grand opera, but it is sung in French, set in Spain, and some of the music is based on Cuban dance rhythms (the Habanero, for example). Very advanced for its time! “It is the best example of "verismo" opera I can think of until Puccini comes along with La bohème or Leoncavallo's Pagliacci” says director Patrick Hansen. 

    This Carmen will be set in the 1930s Spanish Civil War - a war Franco eventually won. Carmen's story will be told through that lens of war, rebellion, the quest for freedom against oppression -- the very things that Carmen is all about! Carmen herself is 100% rebel; she fights against the status quo, she fights to be taken seriously as an individual and not just some gypsy who works in a cigarette factory, she smuggles arms for the war, she loves who she wants and when she wants. She and her gypsy friends are smugglers fighting in the resistance to overthrow the political structure in place and defend themselves against the coming Franco oppression. Oppression is everywhere in the opera. Don Jose, Morales, and Zuniga are all soldiers in the regime who simultaneously oppress the people but also want to be part of their culture (namely enjoying themselves at Lilas Pastia's place and the Bull Ring). Micaela represents the oppression that arises from the religious patriarchy -- (come home and marry a good girl, have a family, and forget everything else.) Escamillo represents the machismo oppression found throughout the culture. Carmen and her fellow gypsies represent freedom and liberty and superstition. Carmen's final outburst at the end of the opera sums it up well: she lives free and she will die free!

    Scene from Barber of Seville [Photo: Hugh Caughey]

    “As the stage director, I'll be looking for ways to show the oppression throughout the show, trying to bring out some of the more entertaining aspects of the show (to hit the tragedy at the end a little harder), and making sure the story gets told as clearly as possible. The update alters little, if anything, to the story -- it mostly changes props and weapons. Instead of swords and daggers we will use rifles, pistols and switchblades. Instead of smuggling contraband, the gypsies will be smuggling weapons. The other, oft-overlooked, aspect of Carmen is her belief in destiny and the tarot. This is integral to her belief system and I'll be striving to make it more a part of the story throughout the opera”.

    In addition to the performances, BrottOpera is a two-week program with a very heavy schedule for our emerging professional opera singers, which includes master-classes by some of opera’s top stars: tenor Richard Margison (July 4th 10am-12:30pm) and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka (July 9th 2pm-5pm). These masterclasses are free to the public and will be held at St. John the Evangelist Church (320 Charlton Ave W) in the heart of Hamilton.

    Scene from Barber of Seville [Photo: Hugh Caughey]

    “Very much looking forward to the Carmen production. We have a spectacular cast of first rate soloists chosen from 222 eager applicants. 10 of our best professional stars” says Boris Brott.  “You have a chance to get to know each of them individually singing their best chosen solo arias from different repertoire in our PopOpera program July 6 and then in their roles in Carmen July 13. Patrick Hansen is a brilliant director - we have worked together before at Opera McGill. He is imaginative and has a dramatic concept for Carmen which will delight you. Opera brings it all together - orchestra, chorus, lighting, costumes, sets, and you the audience- don’t miss it!”

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