Art Battle March 15, 2017

Another full house on Wednesday night’s Art Battle at the LAC, and what a battle it was. 11 registered artists and 1 wildcard competed for the chance to advance to the regional finals on June 21, bragging rights and some cash of course. Most of the artists were first time Art Battle competitors. Remember folks, they only have 20 minutes to complete their masterpieces! Advancing from the first round were Denise Smith for her serene landscape and Michael Huggins for his very blue portrait. The wildcard, Jack Cooper, only 10 years old, competed in round 2. Jack’s dad, Mark, competed in round 1, looks like Jack’s following in his dad’s footsteps. Jack didn’t advance to round 2, but I think we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future. Advancing from round 2 were MAC’s own Khaula Mazhar with her magestic lion and Bonnie Wu with her painterly portrait. Congratulations to all the participants and to the evening’s winner Bonnie Wu. See you at the next Art Battle on May 17th, LAC

VAM Necessary Gestures Winners announced!

Congratulations to the winners of VAM’s Necessary Gestures exhibit. 

First place: Kelly Zantingh

1st Honourable Mention: Linh Thai

2nd Honourable Mention: Yoon Jin Jung


Linh Thai accepting her Honourary MAC membership

VAM is shining the spotlight on emerging, youth visual artists! VAM is pleased to welcome to the public it’s first-ever youth art exhibition, Necessary Gestures! This exhibition features 11 emerging artists from the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. Sponsored by TD Canada Trust, Necessary Gestures showcases artists ranging in age from 18-30. 

Necessary Gestures provides a platform for artists working in experimental processes using a combination of traditional and new media. The exhibition will run from February 6 until February 19, 2017 at the VAM gallery located at 2170 Riverwood Park.

Participating youth artists include: Zana Kozomora, Amanda Baron, Kelly Zantingh, Amrita Virdi, Kenneth Jeffrey, Allison Henry, Amanda Foulds, YoonJin Jung, Tamara Thompson, Linh Thai and Elvin Velasco. 


MAC’s Coffee Night at Studio.89 was a big success!

As many of you already know MAC and Studio.89 have partnered up to bring you Coffee Night! A night of singing, spoken word, acoustic music and all around sharing!

I had the awesome opportunity of meeting some talented people:


Shelly Sarkar performed a wonderful tale on the ups and downs of life. She was bold and brave, and she did a great blend of serious and comedic lines that the audiences appreciated with “ooos”, “awwws”, and “hahas”!

Zain Shah entranced the audience with his acoustic rendition of Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime. His finger-work on the guitar was superb, we could all tell he’d been practicing because the sound he produced was silky smooth.

Priyanka Stellinga recited two poems of her own creation titled, Mixed and More Than This. I know her performance got me thinking about my life and it seemed to have the same effect on everyone in that café.

Mileena Sobreira-Yousufyb sang a beautifully lyrical r&b song. She revealed to us that she had only written this particular song a couple days prior to the event and that it would be the first time she performed it. Her voice was absolutely fantastic. She harmonized beautifully with the mix of her track!


And of course we can’t forget about our host, Matt Stellinga, who hosted the entire show! He contributed to the event by playing an original song Lost at Sea and Time of your Life, an oldie but a goodie!

Thank you to all of you who came out to support our awesome performers at Studio.89 last night! It was a great success and we look forward to seeing you at the next Coffee Night on February 23rd 2017!

Watch out for a new Google form for February 23rd Coffee Night with MAC and Studio.89!


And the Curators Choice Award goes to…

Last week I was able to speak with the Curator of the AGM, Kendra Ainsworth, about the big opening night of VAM39.

Since the gallery has been in operation, the AGM and Visual Arts Mississauga (VAM) have collaborated in bringing the annual juried show to Mississauga residence and every year it seems to grow larger.

Ainsworth tells me that this has been the first year that a video format has been granted the first place prize. Shazia Javed’s video piece, Can You Hear Me?, 2015, features a young woman changing her appearance in order to grab the attention of, presumably, society.

The young woman calls out “can you hear me?” Some people listen but others did not, the young woman is told that it’s because of her hair that she was only grasping the attention of a portion of society.

She reappears with a head scarf and shouts once again “can you hear me?” Once again she only receives a portion of the attention she requires.

Next she appears fully covered except for her eyes and shouts one more time “can you hear me?” The response is even less.

Finally, she decides to rid herself of her hair entirely by buzzing it off. The video performance cuts to a black screen and the young woman’s voice asks “can you hear me now?”.

A marked offence against society’s constant concern with the outward appearances of women as opposed to looking beyond the exterior and into the skills, qualifications, and inner qualities that are constantly over shadowed.

I was truly moved by the performance; as were many others, according to Ainsworth.

Besides the juried awards there are two other awards that are given out, The Curator’s Choice award and The People’s Choice award.

The Curator’s Choice was awarded to Chizu Nakajima’s work Romeo and his Twisted Juliets, 2016.


“Having been the one to set everything up and really focusing on how to tie all the pieces together, I didn’t have a chance to jury the show. So I took a couple of days to digest what I’ve seen to come to a decision on who to pick for the Curator’s Choice award.” – Kendra Ainsworth

Nakajima’s work stood out to Ainsworth because the entire piece was done in coloured pencil. The amount of work and detail that went into this large-scale tapestry-like work is phenomenal for someone of such a young age.

You can see Nakajima’s Romeo and his Twisted Juliets and the rest of the VAM39 art work at the AGM until February 18, 2017!


You may also vote for your favourite piece by visiting the AGM’s Facebook page and liking the work you wish to vote for. The People’s choice award will be announced on the last day of the exhibition: February 18, 2017. Make sure to cast your vote A.S.A.P.!



The Mississauga Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is proud to announce that it has been awarded a $25,000 grant courtesy of the Ontario150 Community Celebration Program.

The grant will allow the organization to move forward with its plan to document and display the history of community orchestras in Ontario spanning 150 years.

Working with several partners, the exhibit and accompanying booklet titled, “The History of Community Orchestras in Ontario” will be on display at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga for one week in October 2017, reaching an audience of 10,000 people.

Following the presentation, the exhibit will be made available to other communities in Ontario with hopes to engage a broader audience.

To implement the ambitious project, the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra will contract a researcher and exhibit designer to gather information from various partners including:

  • Orchestras Canada
  • the National Archives
  • the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
  • Heritage Mississauga, Toronto Archives
  • Mississauga Archives

As well as several key Canadian musicologists to uncover the history and origin of Community Orchestras in Ontario. The source materials for the exhibit will be digitized and made available via an interactive digital document.

 The interactive digital document will be made available through the MSO website. The historic project will be made available to orchestras across the province, and the travelling exhibit made accessible for presentation in other communities.

The Community Celebration Program is a one-time, application-based program to support communities and community organizations across the province in commemorating and celebrating Ontario’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

The Community Celebration Program’s objective is to facilitate the creation and delivery of impactful, participatory and inclusive initiatives that celebrate and commemorate Canada and Ontario’s 150th anniversary.

This will be achieved by providing funding to communities and organizations across Ontario. About the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra The Mississauga Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1972 as the Mississauga Symphonic Association, an amateur community ensemble.

Based out of Hammerson Hall, a world-class performing arts facility located within Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre, the MSO has offered entertaining and increasingly sophisticated programs from the classic and popular repertoires of symphonic music, all performed to the highest artistic standards.

The MSO has continued to serve its original mandate to provide performance opportunities and personal development to talented amateurs while it has combined the strands of excellence and education by assisting young professional performers and composers through solo performance opportunities, commissions and mentoring.

The MSO can be found online at:; on Facebook at:; and on Twitter at: @MSymph. For further information, contact: Ryan Tobin, Assistant General Manager (905) 615-4404 |

Come Have Your Say at the Mississauga Culture Master Plan!


Have your say!

You’ve heard about the Future Directions Culture Master Plan, now it’s time to get up close and personal. 

Attend one of our upcoming community meetings, and share your vision for the future of culture in Mississauga.

Community Meeting Dates:

February 7, 2017 6 p.m. 
Clarke Memorial Hall, 161 Lakeshore Road West

March 4, 2017 10 a.m.
Clarke Memorial Hall, 161 Lakeshore Road West
Visit the Future Directions Culture Master Plan website.

City of Mississauga Culture Division
201 City Centre Drive, suite 202
Mississauga, Ontario L5B 2T4

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VAM39 – Juried show hosted by AGM

On Sunday January 8th at the Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM), the Civic Centre was buzzing with excitement as the set up for VAM39 was well underway! Bubbling artists strode into the AGM, carrying their work with pride, eagerly waiting to see their assigned wall space.

This annual exhibition and art sale has been hosted by the Art Gallery of Mississauga since 1987! The collaboration between the AGM and Visual Arts Mississauga (VAM) has been a successful means of exposure for residents of the City of Mississauga to appreciate local artists while also providing artists with the opportunity to present their work.

The artists practice different techniques and gravitate toward divergent styles! This is the kind of assortment that VAM and the AGM drives to show-case in their juried show every year.

I was fortunate enough to conduct a few interviews with some prominent artists who have been participating in the VAM juried show for many years. James Glen, Inge Kjeldgaard Tajik and Susan Clark, took the time to answer a few questions about their work!

 James Glen 

3rd place winner
Summer in the prairies 
24 x 30 In.
Casein on canvas board
Sale price $2400.00

Glen’s mentor, Allan Collier inspired him to approach painting while he was attending OCAD University in the 60’s. He generally prefers repeating patterns and using big shapes in his paintings!

“It creates the illusion of movement in the picture!” said Glen.

When I asked Glen what kind of paint he used for Summer in the Prairies he replied, “casein paint”.

Having been a fitness buff for many-a-year, my mind immediately went to casein protein… which is half right!

As Glen explained to me, casein paint is quite a difficult medium to use because of its quick drying properties. Compared to oils, which take days to dry and acrylics, which are very flexible, casein is a milk based substance—derived from milk protein – that dries in minutes!

I asked Glen why he prefers to use casein paint as opposed to other, more manageable mediums.

He replied, “I like the tonal differences that I can achieve with casein, a lot of people give up on it because of the difficulty of its application but I find the flatness adds to my subject matter, which is predominately based on central Canadian landscapes.”

The detail in Glen’s work is quite remarkable, I wondered how long it would take to complete such a delicate work. I was surprised to discover that it only takes a few days for Glen to get the majority of the painting completed, “when I go back I see things that I could have done better and I work on those areas.”

“The beauty of casein paint is that you can always go back and buff it up to give it a nice shine.” – James Glen

Inge Kjeldaard Tajik 

Subtle Reflections
16 x 24 In.
Egg tempera, varnished on primed board
Sale price $1200.00

Tajik was trained in fine arts at the Fünen Art Academy in Denmark. Her subject matter tends to be still life paintings. She revealed to me a very interesting process that she practices when putting together her still life arrangements:

“When I studied fine arts at the Fünen Art Academy, I was exposed to sculpture, design, painting and many other mediums. Building my own arrangements became an integral part of my practice. I found that I preferred to work from life as opposed to working from a photograph”

The artist tells a story with her work, “whether or not there are figures present.” Her current work, Subtle Reflections, allows the viewer’s eye to travel all around the painting.

She likes to handle objects that she is familiar with; ordinary household items that may not seem to carry much significance, but once Tajik has arranged them and painted them, they seem otherworldly, fascinating, and anything but ordinary.

I had a wonderful time discovering all the little details that are brought to life by a single brush stroke!

For more information on Tajik’s work click here to visit her website.


Susan Clark 

November Light 
36 x 24 In.
Oil on panel
Sale price $1900

Susan Clark was born in Montreal, Quebec and studied at John Abbott College for a short period of time but preferred teaching herself. Having been mostly a self-taught artist, Clark tells me that, “it would have been nice to have a mentor!”

She has previously won first place in the VAM juried show; holding the first place title in the years: 1999 and 2015.

Her paintings typically depict enigmatic tableaus that feature the use of line and colour.     

“I like to take my paintings a notch away from reality. I want to create a sense of mystery and wonder; to take something relatively ordinary and change it into a curiosity.”

I thought November Light had a similar style to Canadian artist, Alex Colville. To my delight Clark tells me she is a big Colville fan and has looked to his work for inspiration in the past!

“I have always looked up to Lauren Harris, Christopher Pratt, and Alex Colville.” – Clark

Clark works predominately with line work, generally using masking tape to help her keep a straight line. She likes to stick to her style so that she can gain a sense of recognition in the community.

For more information on Susan Clark click here to visit her personal website.

The 39th Annual Visual Arts Mississauga juried art exhibition and sale runs until February 18 2017! The people’s choice award will be announced on the closing of the exhibition, so make sure you vote for your favourite work!

Mississauga based Web Series, “Teenagers” flourishes on YouTube!

Do you remember what your high school experience was like?

Do you remember the drama, the intense moments of happiness followed by the deep feelings of sadness, hatred, jealousy, and contempt?

Do you remember feeling like your parents would kill you if they found out about your little secret? How ‘bout all the colourful friends your mom didn’t approve of or the boyfriends your father threatened to kill?

Or, maybe you had yourself a quiet four years… yeah right!

A screenshot of the “Teenagers” YouTube channel

Bring it all back with Mathew Murray’s web series Teenagers, a realistic and suitably dramatic depiction of modern day social teenagers facing the many issues in the uncharted age of social media, right here in Mississauga.  

Teenagers reveals a dark but truthful version of the lives young people hide from the adult world. A drama based on the realities of young people that no other high school show on TV has delved into before.

“So many TV series that portray teenagers commonly depict stereotypes and tropes of well-off, white students that so many other kids just can’t to relate to.”  – Mathew Murray

Because of its web series format, Murray is able to depict an unbiased and uncensored account that isn’t allowed on broadcast TV.

Murray began this project at age 19 while attending York University. After two successful seasons, Teenagers is on the verge of breaking into their third season, but they need some help!

If you’ve enjoyed the series so far and want to see more of it produced in Mississauga, please click here to donate to their Indiegogo campaign! So far the Teenagers team has raised over $17,000, but that’s only 40% of their required $40,000!

A screenshot of the “Teenagers” Indiegogo campaign

For up-to-date information follow Teenagers on Twitter @teenagersweb

To watch the entire series visit the Teenagers YouTube channel: teenagers


City of Mississauga asks YOU to speak up about Arts and Culture!


This is an exciting and important time for the future of arts, culture and heritage in Mississauga. As a valued member of the creative community, you are invited to take part in the creation of the City of Mississauga’s new Culture Master Plan.

The Culture Master Plan will be a leading strategy document that will highlight Mississauga’s vision and goals for the arts, as well as recommendations for how we can collectively elevate arts and culture in Mississauga. It is important that we create a shared vision for how we want to see arts, culture and heritage thrive and grow in Mississauga.

In order to do that, your participation will be very important.

We are hosting a series of focus group meetings around areas of discussion:

Meeting #1: Thursday January 12th 2017, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre,  Fleetwood Village Room (1500 Gulleden Drive)

Theme: How do we support and attract the arts?

Meeting #2: Thursday February 2nd 2017, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre Fleetwood Village Room (1500 Gulleden Drive)

Theme: How can we support cultural infrastructure, creative spaces and the public realm?

Meeting #3: Tuesday February 21st 2017, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Clarke Memorial Hall (161 Lakeshore Road West)

Theme: How do we address issues of diversity, accessibility and building a collective identity?

Meeting #4: Saturday March 4th, 10am – 1pm at Clarke Memorial Hall (161 Lakeshore Road West)

Theme: Design charrette focused on creative solutions to challenges within arts, culture and heritage

There are other ways to get involved: through our online survey as well as through hosting your own round-table discussions. More information and links to the survey and Host Your Own Toolkit will be shared with you in the new year.

I highly encourage you to take part in each of meetings! If you wish to attend, please RSVP by emailing:

*Coffee and snacks will be provided at the meetings

*Child minding may be available at Meeting #4, if requested

Mojan Jianfar, MES (Planning)

Assistant Planner, Culture Planning

City of Mississauga | Community Services Department, Culture Division