I love discovering art on my own, or sometimes with a good friend, but every now and then it's nice to participate in a group art experience that has been curated for you. Last month I drove to Hamilton and hopped on the Art Bus with about 25 other art lovers. Art Bus Studio Tours are presented by the Hamilton Arts Council in partnership with The Seedworks Urban Offices and The Cotton Factory, sponsored by Attridge Transportation Inc. The tour is a behind-the-scenes event providing participants with the opportunity to visit emerging and established artists studios in the Greater Hamilton Area. The tour gives participants a chance to experience the artist at work, ask questions, purchase art and engage in their artistic process. Each tour features a ‘Special Guest Guide’. Singer/songwriter and history buff Big Rude Jake was October's guest. He entertained us between stops with songs, stories, and sing alongs.
Our first stop was True North Gallery in Waterdown. The gallery is also known as The Music Gallery of Fine Art. The record label was founded in 1969 and is home to musicians Bruce Cockburn, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and other folk, jazz, and world music artists. Cockburn was the first artist signed to the label and he is still with them to this day. They have been in their current location for about a year and a half. Co-owner Mabruka Kulawick is a visual artist and the gallery was her idea. In the gallery you'll find visual art by musicians or artists that are connected to the music industry.
Click the image to scroll and see the rest of the pictures. Inside True North Records. Look at all those awards! Artwork by Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen, Graham Nash
Next was Waterdown Goldsmith where we learned that being a goldsmith is both an art and a trade. Waterdown Goldsmith specializes in custom jewellery, repairs, and creative workshops lead by award winning Principal Goldsmith Joan Kirby.
The Creative Hub was a short walk away. The hub is an arts and pottery centre, a partnership between Creative Works and Creative Insight Pottery. They offer classes and workshops. Their goal is to evolve a community of inspiring one another to realize the endless value and benefits of simply making time for and respecting creativity in our lives.
Back on the bus to Hamilton where we stopped at Paul Elia Studio. Paul recently purchased an old industrial building and is in the middle of renovations into a large new gallery on the main floor with his living space on the 2nd floor. The front room was open with paintings on the walls, but due to construction, we were only able to see a portion of the rest of the space. It is a work in progress. He told us about the challenges that come with renovating such a space, and that he eventually plans to have artist studios in the space as well.
Our last stop was a place I'm familiar with from previous arts events, The Cotton Factory. We got a look at the shared artist co working space, Sharespace 1.0, and then were given some time to shop the open studios at The Cotton Factory.
No clowns here. The red balloons denote open studios. Artwork (far right) by Avery Tanner
It was a wonderful way to spend a warm fall afternoon. It would have been nice to have a little more time at each stop, but the tour is designed to be a sampling of sorts. Participants get a taste and then hopefully go back on their own to explore further. The Hamilton Arts Council's goal for the tour was to bring a diverse group of visitors, buyers and art lovers together for an afternoon of networking and fun. I think they succeeded.
The next tour is on Saturday, November 18 at 1 PM - 4 PM with musician Treasa Levasseur as the ‘Special Guest Guide’.
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Story by Glodeane Brown
Header photo from Facebook event page.
All other photos by Glodeane Brown