Headwaters Arts Festival: more than just art for sale

November 14, 2014   ·   0 Comments

This is the perfect time of year to buy an original piece of art. The whole area is vibrant with Nature’s festival of fall colours just coming in.

Driving and visiting the SGI Centre where the Art for Art’s Sake Show and Sale is taking place and the many studios all around the region are open to visitors is an immense pleasure. The opportunity to meet the artists and learn something about the inspiration and work that goes into creating a new work of art is a thrill and an education in itself.

This is the season of the Headwaters Art Festival, which encompasses the arts of every sort and, in particular, for the sake of a purchase – something to hang on your wall or poise on a table, pedestal or cabinet, a token of your taste, a treasure to have forever.

First, though, we will also mention the other aspects of art for you to enjoy.

There is Leisa Way’s show, Country Jukebox, at Theatre Orangeville opening this week (today) and running from Thursday, September 25 to Sunday, September 28. Tickets at Theatre Orangeville box office 519-942-3423; or

The written word is revered by an Authors Night with Joseph Boyden, Terry Fallis and Eva Stachniak on Friday, September 26 at the SGI Canada Centre. Tickets at the Headwaters office 519-942-1149, at BookLore, 519-942-3830; online www.headwatersarts .com.

The Festival was launched last Friday with the Art Gala held at the SGI Centre to open the Art Show and Sale, when the juried artists were introduced to the attending crowd.

An extremely varied collection of art is displayed at the SGI, a clear demonstration of the spectrum of artists who live here.

This is the second weekend of the show at the SGI and the Studio Tour. Again this weekend, artists will be at the Centre to talk to you about their work.

In a conversation with Anne Marie Warburton, Chairperson of this year’s Festival, she told us that she had been on the Board of Directors for Headwaters Arts for several years and felt that “the thing to do was to step forward to chair the festival this year.”

With not much prior experience of steering such a ship, Ms. Warburton was sure that she could depend on the team of people volunteering to help.

Two of these were young women who had been on the committee the year before and so, had a solid idea of the organization of the festival, Jacklyn Hancock and Tanya Bottomley.

Ms. Warburton praised them for their willingness to assist.  While Ms. Bottomley had to attend to family matters part way through the setup of the festival, “Jacklyn just did whatever it took,” Ms. Warburton said. “She made lists and lists and sent emails – she just impressed me so much. At age 23, she was so competent.”

Rose Hasner, one of the artists, was also there to make things work.

There were, naturally, a number of moments of frustration due to new staff and miscommunications but, withal, people came back to Ms. Warburton after the Gala to tell her that “It was the most enjoyable evening ever.”

She commented, “The show is beautiful from the Art Cards, which are still small originals at $35 each, to the three-dimensional wall by Paul Morin for $32,000. Otherwise, there is quite a range [of prices] from $150 up.”

One aspect of putting the festival together that was helpful is that the SGI Centre has been the venue for the festival for many years. This meant that “there were certain bases that could continue. The layout could be consistent. You could count on companies and people following from other years.”

Part of the show is the Club Art Room, which is part of the Club Art on Broadway, a place where young people are encouraged to come and explore their creativity.

At the Show, there is a room where some of this art is displayed and the young people are there to talk about what becoming involved in the arts has meant to them.

The artists whose work is hanging or standing at the show are almost all people who have been connected with Headwaters Arts in one way or another for some time.

One artist, though, Diana Skeates, whose introduction to this arts organization was quite recent, is extremely happy to have been invited to participate with her work in this year’s festival.

Ms. Skeates calls herself a contemporary Celtic artist. Her art is her own interpretation of the historical Celtic designs, using the traditional interweaving knots in, sometimes, conjunction with other, ancient healing symbols. All her work is graphic, not pictorial; she does the drawing and painting of the symmetrical and intricate pictures entirely free hand.

Asked how she felt about the show, she commented, “I am astounded by the quality not only of the art [in the show] but also of the artists themselves – they really are an amazing group of people.

“I was worried about joining this group of really good artists but they have been very welcoming and supportive – not just as artists but as people, they have been very supportive.”

Not having had the occasion to display her work in an environment like this before, Ms. Skeates’ reaction to the opportunity, to this moment in her life as an artist was, “I’ve arrived. I’ve been accepted as an artist by my peers in a way I didn’t expect. The whole thing is extraordinary. It is very exciting.”

She has been invited to participate in future exhibitions.

Ms. Warburton remarked about the importance of actually purchasing original art work. “There are a number of things about buying art – there’s real life there, a person’s passion – they’re living it on the page. There is often a story that goes with the art.

“It’s a whole different thing – there’s a back story to original art rather than, ‘it goes   with the sofa.’ ”

The Art Show and Sale at the SGI Centre at 20490 Porterfield Road, near Alton, is on this weekend through to Sunday, September 28. So too, is the studio tour all throughout the Headwaters region.

The Arts Festival brochures with a map and details are distributed at many shops and restaurants. Information may be obtained as well at the Headwaters Arts office: 519-942-1149 or online

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