By Lalaa Comrie
What do you get when you put dozens of artists in one room?
Magic, connection and plenty of creativity, and that was the vibe at the latest Artist Circle hosted by York Region Arts Council in partnership with Assembly Park.
The Artist Circle which is an interactive networking and social event for YRAC members, local artists, arts organizations, and tourism stakeholders from around the region!
The evening welcomed artists and stakeholders from across York Region who enjoyed performances, exhibitions, guest speakers, and tons of connections.
The event began with a welcome song and smudging ritual facilitated by Hayley Williamson, an Anishinaabe Kwe from the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, a Cultural Resource Advisor for Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services; and Lauri Hoeg a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation where she lives, works, and creates in her studio by the water called “Eagles in the East”.
The welcome gave the group an opportunity to introduce themselves and set the tone for the remainder of the event.
Next up was a panel discussion between Kevin Ker, the founder and President of Epidemic Music Group; Heather Cook – festival director and talent booker who heads Epidemic Music Group as well as Markham Village BIA; and Roshanak Jaberi from Jaberi Dance Theatre. Roshanak is an Iranian-born Canadian choreographer, director, and producer.
With a wealth of knowledge between all of them, the trio shared their knowledge and experience related to building and nurturing a community as people who create spaces for all types of artists. Their conversation was enlightening and provided tons of great tips and tools one can use.
The evening ended with words from York Region Arts Council Director, Monica Pain, followed by performances by Jaberi Dance Theatre and a song by Kevin Ker.
Jaberi Dance Theatre gave a snippet of their upcoming show, which tours Ontario beginning March 8th, NO WOMAN’S LAND, that tells the stories of women in refugee camps. The preview was breathtaking.
And Kevin Ker ended the evening with a good old community sing-along, that had everyone singing and dancing along.
In the background, YRAC artists were displaying their work throughout the event.
Visual Artist Christos Damianos shared his exquisite pieces and Madeline Rose Fiore Multidisciplinary Artist, Photographer, Writer, Poet, Filmmaker, and Storyteller, shared her work.
In addition, work was also displayed by the kri8mor collective that included work from Kristina Moraru and Galina Nikita
The event was made possible through a partnership with Assembly Park in Vaughan. The Studios at Assembly Park will be open for drop-ins from March 1 – March 7, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to tour the gallery and creation space.
Made possible by Assembly Park and the Government of Ontario ReConnect Grant as part of the Experience Trail.
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Lalaa Comrie is an afro-Caribbean poet, award-winning writer, literacy advocate, book blogger, and host of the Getting Lit Podcast. For over a decade, Lalaa has worked in communications by helping brands create content that is both diverse and inclusive while leveraging the talent of BIPOC creators and storytellers; work she continues at York Region Arts Council.