Culture on the cheap

October 27, 2011
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brianna Smrke 

The Silhouette


Do you think that to get some Bach, you need to forgo bacon? Or, that a seeing a masterpiece means giving your Mastercard more exercise that it can handle? Happily, you are wrong. There are experiences to be found on campus and around the city that can blow your mind without doing the same to your savings. Here are a select few.


The McMaster Art Gallery

Entrance by donation

Whether it’s the exceptionally friendly receptionist who welcomes you into this hidden-in-plain-sight gem or the fact that in less time than it takes to download an episode of Jersey Shore you can be face-to-face with a sculpture made of coat hangers, the McMaster Art Gallery is a tragically underloved corner of campus.

Current exhibitions range from 18th-century art to wall-sized paintings of influential members of the PEI arts community. Who could ask for more?


The Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH)

Free with your student card

A ten-minute bus ride into the heart of downtown Hamilton, the AGH is the place to go if you want to see a VW Scooby Doo van that has been converted into its own dystopian world, complete with railway tracks, skyscrapers and He-man figurines (Bruegel-Bosch Bus by Kim Adams). The slick, modern space also houses a surprising collection of African masks and sculptures, not to mention a current exhibition of French Realist painters that will make you wish you were a young woman in a park, bathed in light. The gallery is open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and could be an interesting start to many a night!


The James Street North Art Crawl


On the second Friday of every month, the gallery owners of James Street North open their doors, set out wine and cheese and wait for an interesting cross-section of Hamilton to emerge.

University students, white-haired women with wooden jewellery and big smiles, sleep-deprived artists eager to talk about their work and even young families venture out to look, listen and interact. If you go, be sure to check out HIStory + HERitage, a gallery that unearths the untold stories about the people who make up Hamilton – from Italian grandmothers to infamous architects.


Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO)

$10 for under-30s

For the cost of a combo at Bridges, you could be hit with a wall of beautiful sound. The HPO’s concerts range from purely classical to more popular, but under director Jamie Somerville, they have developed a fresh edge.

Their upcoming Masterwork piece, Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” (Nov. 5), takes the listener through a virtual art gallery. At a time when most of our music comes out of tinny iPod speakers, it’s a treat to hear the depth and richness of the real thing.


McMaster School of the Arts – Concerts, plays and more

Evening concerts $5 for students, lunchtime and student band concerts free

If you’d rather not venture off campus for your musical entertainment, look no further than the Arts Quad. Our School of the Arts (SOTA) hosts visiting cotemporary and classical artists in the regal setting of Convocation Hall.

For less than the price of a hamburger and fries at Centro, you could be transported by Carole Welsman’s honey and whiskey voice (Oct. 28, 8 pm) into a bygone era of jazz. And there’s more – whether it’s the student concert band, choir, percussion ensemble or jazz band, there will usually be something to listen to.

If you’re more in the mood for theatre or other on-campus performances, check the McMaster Daily News Events Calendar and the Theatre and Film Department for news and listings.

Being fiscally responsible doesn’t have to mean forgoing the finer things of life. There’s no reason not to experience the cultural wealth of your campus and city, so have your Cakespeare and eat it too!

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