C/O Centre[3]

Centre[3] is opening a new studio to serve the Hamilton arts community

In our learning and community spaces, we have an obligation to ensure our online and physical environments are inclusive of individuals with disability. Now, Centre[3] for Artistic + Social Practice is expanding their services in the Hamilton arts community with the grand opening of their new studio space, designed to be wheelchair-accessible and inclusive of disabled community members.

Founded by Colina Maxwell and Katherine Zarull in 2004, Centre[3] first started as a print studio. It was conceptualized as a space where artists could create art together, though later they expanded their services to include education, gallery spaces and a wider range of studio equipment.

As a registered charity, Centre[3] is an entirely non-profit organisation. The cost of membership and access to facilities are entirely donation-based, allowing all members access to traditional studio spaces as well as screen printing services.

The name Centre[3] represents the organisation’s three major mandates: art, education and community. The number [3] also represents the three floors in their flagship building at 173 James Street North. The upper floor houses a high school program called Nu Steel, an alternative education program for print and media arts run in collaboration with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. The middle floor is where gallery spaces are held and the basement level is where screen-printing happens.

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The artist-run centre is led by staff and community members who are passionate about the arts and providing accessible services to the community.

“Centre[3] is unique in the fact that it is really trying to be accessible to everyone. We're not an exclusive organization but a community organization and I feel like art does bring us all together. When I drive around town I see a lot of graffiti and even that in a sense is bringing us together because it makes me think: who are these people? It’s really beautiful . . . and my wish is that artists come forward and have a place to be themselves and to be accepted,” said actress, producer and playwright Melissa Murray-Mutch, who currently serves on Centre[3]’s board of directors.

"We're not an exclusive organization but a community organization and I feel like art does bring us all together."

Melissa Murray-Mutch, An ACTRESS, PRODUCER AND PLAYWRIGHT, currentLy serving on Centre[3]’s board of directors.

The new studio space opening at 126 James Street North is a hub for three new studio facilities: audio, film and digital services. There is also a studio technician on-site, who can assist with recording, composing and more in the new studio space.

“Centre[3] is just thrilled to embark on this new journey of providing digital media services at our second location while ensuring accessibility. Colina Maxwell definitely made sure, thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant that we received, that it is accessible for all, so anyone is welcome . . . It’s a very proud project,” said Jeannie Kim, a local artist and administrative and sales coordinator for Centre[3].

"Centre[3] is just thrilled to embark on this new journey of providing digital media services at our second location while ensuring accessibility. Colina Maxwell definitely made sure, thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant that we received, that it is accessible for all, so anyone is welcome."

Jeannie Kim, a local artist and administrative and sales coordinator for Centre[3]

The new space was made possible in part thanks to the recent Ontario Trillium Foundation awarded to Centre[3]. After receiving the grant, David Hosten, one of Centre[3]’s board members, proposed the idea of starting a podcast but the organisation soon realized they lacked the proper space and resources to make it a reality. From there, the space at 126 James was conceived to address the organisation’s expanding needs and to better serve the community accessing their studio spaces.

“I'm especially proud of having a tiny hand in the podcast booth. I know a lot of people put together podcasts in their houses but there are limitations to doing it yourself. You've got to deal with sound and personally I have some equipment at home but I've had to deal with sound issues, family and all those sorts of things. Now people have a place they can go that’s super affordable,” said Murray-Mutch.

C/O Centre[3]
One of the areas inside Centre[3]'s new studio space

The grand opening happened on Nov. 12 during Art Crawl, consisting of a formal Ontario Trillium Fund recognition ceremony and opening to the public where artists were invited to try out the space for the first time. Donna Skelly, the MPP for Dundas-Flamborough, and Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP party, were both present at the grand opening, The event was an opportunity for the public to experience the space and was held as a celebratory ceremony for the committee and studio members who made the opening possible. 

For students, the current annual membership fee at Centre[3] is $35, aiming to provide services at a price point accessible to students. Memberships allow community members to receive access to the Centre[3] studios and enjoy member benefits, including access and discounts to artist talks, workshops and more.

“Centre[3] is all about accessibility and our price points are definitely going to be a lot lower [than other professional studios] because we have this in mind,” said Kim.

As a non-profit centre run by artists for the community, Centre[3] is dedicated to being an inclusive community space for engagement, for both students and the greater Hamilton arts community. They hope to expand their services and better serve the community through the opening of their new digital studio space.

C/O Mary Luciani

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Art Crawl returns from its long hiatus and brings back a sense of community

Artistry. Magic. Community. These are a few words that may come to people’s minds when they think of Art Crawl. After many months in lockdown and just in time for back to school, Art Crawl made its return to James Street North. On the second Friday of every month, public health guidelines permitting, restaurants, cafés and retail shops on the street, as well as artists and other vendors, will gather on James North to create a mystical event filled with food, music, art and handcrafted goods.

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Art Crawl started years ago as a grassroots event by the vendors and artists on James Street North. It is important to stress it is not a single person who is behind the event but rather a melting pot of many creatives in the community. It was also this community that drew Mary Luciani, the owner of The Pale Blue Dot, to Art Crawl for the past 10 years and inspired her to set up her shop on James Street North. 

Luciani began attending Art Crawl as a self-taught painter to share her pieces with the community. She was excited to connect with strangers and exchange stories with passers-by and other artists. Through these interactions, she felt she was able to form an authentic connection with the local community and the city. Today, she sells sustainable and ethical everyday items such as bamboo toothbrushes, compostable gloss, antiques and vintage clothing at the Pale Blue Dot. Students can also use code MACSTUDENT10 for 10% off at The Pale Blue Dot.

Luciani also started and manages the Instagram account on.jamesnorth which showcases the lovely shops and faces behind the James North community. The account occasionally organizes giveaways for supporters and shoppers as well. 

Given all the love, enthusiasm and pride for Art Crawl, Luciani and other vendors and goers of the fair were delighted to see it come back in August for the first time since its closure in late 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

“I couldn’t even tell you how magical it felt just to see familiar faces on the street and see the community back. It wasn’t revived to what it used to be just yet, but it was such a beautiful start,” Luciani said.

“I couldn’t even tell you how magical it felt just to see familiar faces on the street and see the community back. It wasn’t revived to what it used to be just yet, but it was such a beautiful start."

mary luciani, the owner of Pale blue dot
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The community missed it very much; the crowds were energetic and emotional. People were tapping their toes to the live music, enjoying the physical company of each other and immersing in the nostalgia and regained sense of normalcy during what has been an unpredictable and distressful year and a half.

“As a young artist 10 years ago, standing up on the street, there’s nowhere else that I would have the opportunity to do that . . . to showcase my paintings,” Luciani said.

“As a young artist 10 years ago, standing up on the street, there’s nowhere else that I would have the opportunity to do that . . . to showcase my paintings."

mary luciani, the owner of Pale blue dot

Art Crawl inspires and cultivates the spirit of local businesses and the arts in Hamilton. For those who are living in Hamilton for the first time, it can be a great introduction to the pockets of communities that exist off campus. With the next Art Crawl event coming up soon, students can watch out for details on on.jamesnorth on Instagram and for more giveaways. 


“Having a space where I could just come, show up and present my work . . .and connect with community members, I think it’s so wonderful,” Luciani said.

“Having a space where I could just come, show up and present my work…and connect with community members, I think it’s so wonderful."

mary luciani, the owner of Pale blue dot

Reloved Boutique strives to provide a conscious solution for fashion lovers of all sizes

Nestled in the heart of James Street North sits new consignment store Reloved Boutique. The store carries a selection of products by Canadian businesses as well as racks of one-of-a-kind clothing pieces. Curating a collection of beautiful secondhand items is the goal of this boutique headed by mother-daughter duo Raquel and Lateisha Brown.

Raquel and Lateisha have dreamt of opening Reloved Boutique for about three years. Although born and raised in Hamilton, Lateisha currently lives in Calgary where there are a plethora of consignment shops. After visiting Lateisha in Calgary, Raquel realized that Hamilton doesn’t offer the same range of selection for secondhand shopping. Together, they saw an opportunity to introduce a new consignment boutique to the Steel City.

Last December when Lateisha was in Hamilton for the holidays, the pair stumbled upon their current location and signed the lease almost immediately. In January, they began setting up the space and launched their Instagram page. Planning for a launch date of March 21, they began collecting items for their spring consignment collection.

However, when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, the pair had to re-evaluate their opening. Instead of opening their brick and mortar location, they launched an online shop instead. While navigating these new challenges, they were supported by a great landlord and by the local business community.

“The [business] community has been really supportive. We are in a bunch of networking groups that are just trying to support each other and give each other advice for the best. Like how to get through this or what this new life looks like,” said Lateisha.

Two months after their initial opening date, they unlocked their physical location in May with additional COVID-19 protocols. As Lateisha is still in Calgary, she handles the behind-the-scenes logistics, finance and social media while Raquel operates the storefront.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB52fydlZt5/

It was important to the mother-daughter duo to create a boutique experience for secondhand shopping. While they do not look for particular brands, they ensure that the items that make it to their racks are carefully curated based on current style trends, brand popularity and condition.

“I think that we've nailed it in terms of the aesthetic and how we want our stuff to be presented . . . I remember when I was a kid, I was mortified when we would go shopping at a thrift shop. But we created  . . . a secondhand shopping experience . . . [that] doesn’t feel like you’re shopping secondhand, nor do the clothes look like they’re secondhand,” said Lateisha.

“I think that we've nailed it in terms of the aesthetic and how we want our stuff to be presented . . . I remember when I was a kid, I was mortified when we would go shopping at a thrift shop. But we created  . . . a secondhand shopping experience . . . [that] doesn’t feel like you’re shopping secondhand, nor do the clothes look like they’re secondhand,” said Lateisha.

Where Reloved Boutique stands out most is through its mission for size-inclusivity. The fashion industry has continuously underserved plus-sized women and this has unfortunately been a trend in secondhand stores. Reloved Boutique strives to fill the gap in secondhand fashion and allow everyone to explore sustainable options. They actively promote larger size donations and consignments on their social media to ensure they have stock of all sizes.

Any unsold items at the end of a season that aren’t returned to consignors are donated to a local charity. Right now, the boutique has partnered with Interval House, a shelter for women survivors of intimate partner violence and their children. They hope to donate to different charities on a rotational basis.

The response from the Hamilton community has been positive. Since they began accepting items in January, people have been consistently dropping items off. Many of the items they’ve received have been great quality, which has made the pair even more excited about the store.

“The excitement from the community is what sets a fire in me, that they’ve never seen a boutique that looks like ours or they’ve never experienced consignment the way that we do it. I'm really happy and proud that we've accomplished that,” said Lateisha.

“The excitement from the community is what sets a fire in me, that they’ve never seen a boutique that looks like ours or they’ve never experienced consignment the way that we do it. I'm really happy and proud that we've accomplished that,” said Lateisha.

With the amount of clothes they’ve already received, Lateisha sees the store growing larger in the future. As a women-owned business, they also hope that they can host networking events and workshops for women entrepreneurs after COVID-19. Whatever the future holds, having overcome the challenges of COVID-19, Raquel and Lateisha have shown their resilience as business owners and the value of their store to Hamiltonian fashion lovers.

Photo C/O Katie Benfey

A year ago, a magical supply shop filled to the brim with tarot cards, spell supplies and a general sense of wonder was born. The Witch’s Fix (6 John St. N.) is a small slice of the arcane set against the backdrop of John Street. The inside of the shop is cozy and inviting, with fairy lights dotting exposed-brick walls, and every table piled high with unexpected curios. A small room at the back hosts tarot, oracle and tea leaf readings, for those interested in seeing into their future. 

The shop is run entirely by the owner, Lauren Campbell. For the past year, Campbell has been challenging the culture around magic and witchcraft.

“I love traditional witchy shops, but I also go into them, sometimes I feel a little bit overwhelmed or I feel silly asking questions. I feel like there's a lot of places that there's just a sense that you already need to know your stuff before you go in. I really wanted to create a space that was more encouraging to people just starting out, and fun and I want people to . . . ask questions and be curious and feel a little bit childlike. And really, it was just about creating an accessible, safe space to come explore the unknown,” said Campbell.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8MHdB9HDdS/

Campbell says that her store is popular with students; they frequently visit the shop to spend some time with their friends. Many of them come in search of information and guidance on their future and the choices they should make while they’re away from home. Campbell says that she didn’t know what to expect when she opened the shop.

“I didn't do all the things you're supposed to do when you open a business because I was just following my gut, and it could have easily been a total failure … It was sort of like that Field of Dreams ‘If you build it, they will come’ thing. All these people came out of the woodwork that were so enthusiastic about it. And, you know, it's now as much a part of them as it is me, and it's just become so much bigger than I thought it was going to be,” said Campbell. 

Hamilton has an ever-increasing number of small, independent businesses. James Street, Locke Street and Ottawa Street are well-known destinations for local shopping. However, with rent in the city on the rise, it can be difficult for small businesses to stay open. For example, art galleries are struggling to keep their doors open on James Street. Stores are opening and closing all the time, and even the iconic Hamilton favourite O’s Clothes, a store that has been on James for 8 years, has had to close its doors.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B76P36ynvrC/

“We’re lucky in Hamilton that so many people in the community are committed to shopping local, and I’ve been fortunate to experience a warm welcoming from customers who are eager to support my shop. I definitely worry about when the time comes to renew my lease, as with so much development happening downtown so quickly, rent is bound to go up. I’m hoping it’s a manageable number, but if it isn’t, I’ll have to figure out what will become of my business at that time,” said Campbell.

As popular and successful as The Witch’s Fix is, there is always a chance that rent will rise too high to continue running the store. However, Campbell remains optimistic, and is looking forward to what the next year has in store. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7d6p2Nnlot/

“It’s disheartening to see other small business owners closing their doors as a result of high rent, but unless you own your own commercial building, it’s always a possibility that lingers over the horizon. I don’t think people realize how much product you have to sell, as a retail store, to simply break even each month. It can be challenging, but so far I’ve been enjoying the process of learning how to run a business,” said Campbell. 

Campbell has plans to continue expanding the number of workshops and events that she offers, allowing even more people to become involved with the shop.

The Witch’s Fix is a shining example of how a business that has stayed strong despite the odds. The shop is a cozy, welcoming meeting place that’s open to everyone, regardless of their level of experience. Whatever is in store for the store, it’s sure to be magical. 

 

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What It Is:

Uncle Ray’s Food & Liquor (10 James St. North) brings a taste of Toronto’s Union Chicken to Hamilton. While on the Toronto menu, Uncle Ray’s is a section dedicated to fried chicken, the new Hamilton restaurant focuses on and expands this concept, becoming the fourth location to house “Ray’s Famous Fried Chicken”.

Over the last few months on James Street North, you may have noticed the decal of a bunny wearing an eye patch adorning the shopfront asking, “Who the hell is Uncle Ray?”. After our visit, it is safe to say we know exactly who Uncle Ray is.

The name is a metaphor for the passion that you find from all the staff. This not only comes across in service, but also through the quality of food that Uncle Ray’s dishes out to its customers.

How to Get There from

Campus:

Grab the 51 from campus towards Main Street West and James Street North. Head north-east past King Street East and you’ll find the restaurant on the east side of the street.

Alternatively, you can take the 5C or 1A from campus and jump off at Main Street West and MacNab Street South. Walk north-east towards King Street West, then east towards the intersection.

For a quicker trip, you can take the 10 from Main Street West and Emerson Street to Main Street West and MacNab Street South.

The Cost:

Entrees are broken into two categories, plates and fried chicken. Plates range from $17 to $29.50. Fried chicken will cost you $18 or $19 depending if you get the O.G. Plate or Lightning Chicken, respectively. I am warning you now, a to-go box will probably be a good idea as the meals are big, providing you with two great portions. Sides dishes range from $5 to $9. The restaurant also has a large list of snacks and appetizers that run from $6 to $19. If you are looking to share a meal with two to three friends, Ray’s Southern Platter costs $69. Uncle Ray’s is able to split cheques.

As the name boasts, Uncle Ray’s has a wide assortment of beer from domestic to craft, as well as a few draught lines. A variety of wines can also be found on the menu as well as a handful of mixed drinks. If you’re gonna grab a drink, expect to be paying anywhere from $6 to $29.

Craving something sweet? Uncle Ray’s has a small, yet delightful dessert menu ranging from $5 to $8.

What to Get:

The moment of truth —

what should you try? When I went to the restaurant with my housemates, we were immediately greeted by the warm, industrial atmosphere of the space. It is slightly reminiscent of HAMBRGR before their renovations.

To drink, I enjoyed a Piña Colada that looked like it was straight out of a Caribbean resort. If alcohol isn’t your thing, they also feature pop and three types of water — sparkling, bottled and filtered tap.

Looking at the food menu, all of our eyes immediately went to the fried chicken section. Not only is it on the cheaper side of the menu, we figured it would be a mistake not to try their in-house specialty. I ordered the O.G. Plate (which includes gravy, pieces of fried buttermilk, boneless chicken thighs, hot honey and green onions) with a side of triple cooked fries accompanied by a malt vinegar aioli. My housemates ordered the Lightning Chicken (which includes habanero hot sauce, Nashville style fried chicken, hot honey and pickles stacked on a piece of white bread) with a side of fries.

We all exchanged pieces of each other’s chicken, and took a bite at the same time. We were blown away by how the kitchen staff was able to achieve a moist, tender thigh on the inside while being crispy and flavourful on the outside. The O.G. had a savoury, sweet flavour from the gravy and honey mixing on the plate. The Lightning Chicken didn’t taste spicy at first; however, two thighs in and your nose will be running and your eyes will be watering. DO NOT make the mistake of rubbing your eyes like I did!

The magic doesn’t stop there as Uncle Ray’s dessert menu features a few delectable desserts. As I was celebrating an early birthday dinner, I was able to get the carrot cake on the house, while my other housemates had the buttermilk soft serve and pot of chocolate. Uncle Ray’s triple-layered carrot cake with cream cheese icing was by far the winner at our table.

Why It’s Great:

Uncle Ray’s Food & Liquor is quickly establishing itself as a go-to Hamilton spot in the downtown core. I know the price really doesn’t conform to the student-budget; however, if you are with a group of friends for a night out on the town and if you’re willing to splurge a little outside of this week’s food budget, Uncle Ray’s provides a great atmosphere to catch up and enjoy some tasty food.

A “life-hack” that my housemate and I learned with Uncle Ray’s leftovers: if you bring home your chicken and fries, pop them in the oven at 400°F for 25-35 minutes depending on the strength of your oven. If you can resist for about 5 minutes, your meal will be almost as crispy as when you first bought it.

 

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Photos by Matty Flader / Photo Reporter

Recently, Hamilton has seen an influx of craft breweries establishing themselves around the city. With craft beer on the rise, MERIT Brewing Company is one of the industry leaders, brewing locally in their space on 107 James St. North. 

Co-founder of MERIT and McMaster alumnus, Tej Sandhu, wanted to create a communal, welcoming space by combining a tap room, brewery, kitchen and bottle shop. 

“Really what we hope it is, is a space for community around [MERIT]. So much of what we built this place to be is to facilitate conversation, facilitate our community, and facilitate a great experience for people around these things that we love producing . . . in a space that is easy to get to, that is accessible, that’s inclusive, that is open and that is friendly and warm. Those are things that we had as our goal for what we wanted the space to be but for what we keep as our goals for everything we do as well,” said Sandhu.

MERIT Brewing Company on James Street North.

On Oct. 1, the Ontario Craft Brewers, a membership trade association that represents local breweries in Ontario, participated in a government roundtable in the Niagara region. The OCB represents the voices of approximately 30 per cent of craft breweries around Ontario

“We participated in the roundtable to provide our perspective and make sure the voice of local brewers is heard on potential changes to the alcohol system, which are critical to our future growth and success,” said the OCB via their Twitter account

(1/2) The Ontario Government is currently consulting on potential reforms to Ontario’s beverage alcohol sector. As Niagara is home to many craft producers, the govt hosted a series of roundtables this weekend w/ reps from craft wineries, distillers, cideries, and breweries.

— Ontario Craft Brewers (@OntCraftBrewers) September 29, 2019

(2/2) We participated in the roundtable to provide our perspective and make sure the voice of local brewers is heard on potential changes to the alcohol system, which are critical to our future growth and success.

— Ontario Craft Brewers (@OntCraftBrewers) September 29, 2019

The association also shared photos with Sam Oosterhoff, a Progressive Conservative member of provincial parliament from the Niagara-West riding. Oosterhoff has claimed that he wants to remove abortion rights. Additionally, he has actively opposed Bill 128 — the All Families Are Equal act, a piece of legislation that removes the words "mother" and "father" in favour of gender-neutral terms allowing all parents to be treated equally. He continues to defend his socio-political beliefs when confronted by the media. The tweets promoting Oosterhoff with the OCB were taken down after being posted.

The original tweets posted by Ontario Craft Brewers following an event with Sam Oosterhoof and Ontario breweries. This tweet has since been removed off of the OCB Twitter account.

 

Ontario Craft Brewers tweeted this photo with Sam Oosterhoff at a roundtable event. The photo has since been removed off of the OCB Twitter account.

Although not an OCB member, MERIT Brewing Company released a statement about the OCB’s event via their Facebook page on Oct. 1. 

“MERIT was not part of this discussion, nor are we members of the OCB, but we would like to say that we are unequivocally against the views of MPP Oosterhoff and outraged over the OCB’s decision to promote their work with him as some sort of gain for the industry or brushed off as part of their responsibility to work with the government,” said the statement.

MERIT turned their attention to the community that was being affected by the OCB’s statement.  The team reflected on their values of creating a welcoming, diverse space but found that the industry association that indirectly represents them was doing the opposite.

“While working together with the government is a good thing — when there's someone whose beliefs, outside of beer . . . are directly attacking not only owners of the businesses but staff members, people who are our guests and our consumers, that really strikes a chord as something that . . . the OCB did without thinking [about] what the implications are,” said Sandhu. “. . . We were angry because even if you're not an OCB member, the OCB indirectly represents our industry. They are the only association that we have. Their stance [on] promotion and their communication is reflective of our entire industry in Ontario.”

The OCB has issued an apology on Twitter

pic.twitter.com/g7kOYq48PY

— Ontario Craft Brewers (@OntCraftBrewers) October 1, 2019

Sandhu emphasized that MERIT, and all members of the OCB, had the responsibility to hold higher organizations accountable for their actions. 

While MERIT had voiced their concerns on an industry level, Sandhu also reflected on local level concerns in Hamilton. 

On Oct. 1, as a part of Hamilton’s “Fast 40” initiative, local and fast-growing businesses were recognized for contributing to the city’s economic development. MERIT Brewing Company was one business amongst many to receive the award given by mayor Fred Eisenberger.  In light of tensions between Eisenberger and the LGBTQA2S+ community, while MERIT claimed their reward, they left shortly before a photo opportunity with Eisenberger.

Merit Brewing Company has recently been recognized by the City of Hamilton for contributing to the city’s economic development. 

“There has been a ton of conversation internally about the handling of the LGBT community, the mayor’s response to the concerns that have been raised and the threat to our staff that are part of the community as well. [Our] action wasn’t meant to be a massive ‘F-U’ to the mayor, it was a way we could ask for accountability. It was something that was small that we thought would have, at the very least, an impact on showing our staff and our guests that we are standing up for them and not standing with someone who isn’t protecting them,” said Sandhu.

MERIT Brewing Company does not see themselves as a voice for marginalized communities, but rather as a microphone that allows their voices be heard. MERIT felt that their action was a step towards greater accountability among local leaders.

Regardless, you don't take a picture of brewery owners smiling and raising a glass with this guy. It's horrible PR. pic.twitter.com/W7njlY6jMu

— Robin LeBlanc, from work (@TheThirstyWench) September 30, 2019

Eisenberger has asked to sit down and meet with MERIT. While the company did not confirm a meeting before this article was released, Sandhu hopes to open a door for members of the community to start communicating with the mayor.

“Conversation is not enough; action needs to follow a conversation . . . You still need to have conversations to get to action . . . We’re trying to do our part. It’s inherent and embedded in what MERIT’s about, from why we are called “MERIT” to what we strive to do here and have be our experience. This is something that we feel is not only our responsibility, it’s our privilege to be able to speak out on these things and it’s something that we are doing because we’re passionate about it,” said Sandu.

Local businesses like MERIT Brewing Company are lending their voice to members of marginalized communities in hopes of not only starting a conversation but also demanding action. 

The Silhouette has reached out via email to Ontario Craft Brewers and the office of MPP Sam Oosterhoff for comment; however, we have not received a response.

 

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Hamilton is increasingly becoming known as a haven for artists. This is demonstrated in the street art that has taken over the walls of the downtown core. Several of these pieces were created during Concrete Canvas, a visual arts festival that took place this past July. Each piece was painted legally and with permission from the city. Take this map along with you and go take in some of the art Hamilton has to offer!

Click a point on the map below to see some of the art!

 

Stop #1: 126 James St. South, “Gateway” by Vivian Rosas & Vesna Asanovic

This vibrant street mural is located on James Street, immediately next to the Hamilton Go Centre (36 Hunter St. E). It depicts different scenes from around the city through beautiful splashes of yellow, purple and orange. Scenes include hiking the Bruce Trail, walking along Art Crawl and eating pizza. It replaced an older, faded piece and is made of aluminum composite panels so that it can last for years to come. 

 

Stop #2: 103 John St. South, Angelo Mosca tribute by @scottanddestroy 

Scott McDonald is the lead curator of Concrete Canvas. His piece commemorates Angelo Mosca, a Canadian Football League player and professional wrestler known as King Kong Mosca or The Mighty Hercules. Mosca was a player for the Hamilton Tiger Cats and is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. He is one of only a few players to have played in nine Grey Cup games. The painting is done in black, white and yellow to reflect the Tiger Cats colours, and shows Mosca running down the field.

 

Stop #3: 75-77 Hunter St. East, piece by @burnttoastcreative

This painting was done for Concrete Canvas by Burnt Toast Creative, also known as Canadian illustrator Scott Martin. It’s visible from blocks away with its blue sky and unique comic style. It sits directly opposite from the Angelo Mosca tribute and has an image of a giant hand holding someone aloft. If you're interested in his art style, you can see more of Martin's work on his website.

 

Stop #4: John Street and Jackson Street, parrot by @scottanddestroy 

This painting was also done by Scott McDonald. It features a colourful parrot that brightens up the otherwise grim parking lot and bus stop nearby. It is offset slightly by the Kings Pizza logo located immediately next to the beak. 

 

Stop #5: Main Street and John St. North, piece by @jordan_war  

This painting was done by Jordan Warmington, a tattoo artist at John Street Tattoo (179 John St. S). It was also done as a part of Concrete Canvas. It decorates the construction plywood that has been sitting unadorned for several years now. 

 

Stop #6: 81 King St. East, “Home Grown” by @luvsumone, @javid_jah and @danilotheartist

“Home Grown” was also done as a part of Concrete Canvas. It is located on the back of 81 King St. E, in a small alleyway. It features a house walking forward wearing boots. You can read more about this piece on @luvsumone's Instagram.

 

Stop #7: King Street East and Catherine Street, “Emanating Flash” by Kristofir Dean

This public art installation was created through the combined work of Effort Group, Scholar Properties Ltd. and the ARt Gallery of Hamilton. Dean is a contemporary artist and his work deals primarily in bright colours which can be found on display throughout the country, most notably at the Vancouver Mural in South Granville. You can read more about the piece on the installation itself.

 

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Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

By Donna Nadeem, Contributor

If you walk  by Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts (173 James St. North), you will no longer be able to peek through the gallery’s front window at the usual art. Instead, you will see a black curtain and green leaves, setting the atmosphere for the forest that has grown inside. 

From Sept. 5 to Oct. 3, Andrew O’Connor, a Hamilton-based multi-disciplinary artist, is exhibiting his sculptural, audiovisual installation, “Lost Illusions” — transporting visitors to Hamilton’s surrounding forests.

O’Connor is a Hamilton-based artist, VJ and designer whose work explores and blends light, video, 2D mixed media, animation and interactive installations. O’Connor completed his undergrad at McMaster University in 2012 with a double major in multimedia and studio arts. O’Connor has exhibited in Europe, the United States and around Canada and is a confounding member of  HAVN (26 Barton St. East).

“Lost Illusions” is about the moments of tranquility and solitude that resonate when being truly present with the natural landscape. Blending layers of painted surfaces infused with projected light, shadow and movement, the scenery elicits an introspective, meditative quality influenced from experiences of walking through moonlit trees under the midnight sky,” said O’Connor.

 The exhibition was made possible with the support of the Ontario Arts Council’s Media Artist Creation Project grant. O’Connor’s core idea was to blend projection lighting with painting. Unsure of what the final form would take, but focusing on site specifics, he knew that he wanted his artwork to change the entire ambience of a room and influence how a person felt when they walked in.

“The whole idea was that I wanted to capture that peace and tranquility that you can feel when you’re immersed in nature. When you’re away from all the distractions of society, the technological distractions . . . all the fears and anxieties when they melt away, you’re at peace. That was something that I definitely wanted to convey above all. It doesn’t matter to me what people see specifically, it’s more about what emotions that people are feeling from it,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor experimented with a variety of different materials to be the foundation of his work. He tried acetate, but found that it ripped too easily when being transported. After much trial and error, the artist landed on dura-lar, a polyester film that is a mix between mylar and acetate. 

O’Connor started with six stencil drawings that he created while hiking around local Hamilton forests. The artist scanned them into his computer, digitally cleaned them up and applied them to create the basis of “Lost Illusions”. 

“One idea that stuck out for me was . . . I remember I would just film stuff as I was biking through woods. I started filming the treetops as I’m biking through woods and I would look at those video clips and that sort of imagery stuck with me . . . A lot of it are just closeups of trees with the sun shining through and gusts of wind blowing the leaves,” said O’Connor. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bz_YZSHnRxs/

Although the video component was vital to O’Connor’s piece, something was missing. He realized that audio can immerse an audience and add depth to artwork.

“Given my background with VJing, I did a bunch of recording sessions of myself using a MIDI controller fading in and out, activating certain effects on the video clips as I’m listening to the composition, taking those recording and splicing together the best bits,” said O’Connor.

The still art and projections amalgamate to enchant the viewer, transporting them directly into the heart of Mother Nature without the pressures of the outside world.

“If students want an escape from whatever’s happening in their life, the exhibition has a very entrancing affect on you if you give it the chance. As students, we can be extremely stressed with our studies, but this piece is an entrancing piece, it’s a sense of escapism from the stresses and anxieties of your life,” said O’Connor.

“Lost Illusions” is on display at Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts at 173 James Street North until October 3, 2019.

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Point Of View

By: Matty Flader, Photo Reporter 

We’re taught from a young age that certain things in the world are constant. There’s a northern star in the sky, a brain in our heads and art for those who can’t use that brain towards “something more productive”. Yet, if you ask a group of people to take their own photos of the same thing, you’ll get a myriad of results. Suddenly, the illusion of some consistent reality is shattered. Our points of view dictate what we see and how we understand. It’s so easy to think that reality is a constant and tangible construct, but what can truthfully be said to be “real” without it first being filtered through the infinitely varying human perspective? Thus, reality can only fairly be understood as socially constructed through some sort of collective agreement. This is my visual recap of Supercrawl — the way I saw things. My contribution of “something more productive” to reality.

 

#unignorable

By: Cindy Cui, Photo Editor

Poverty, domestic violence, social isolation and mental illness. Sometimes, the most serious problems in our communities are the ones we don’t see. By ignoring these issues, we make it more difficult for those who are suffering to find and receive the help they need. Instead, these people  feel silenced, suffocated and invisible. As communities, we can help … but only if we recognize that these problems exist — only if we give them our attention. It's time that we make such issues, circumstances and stories #unignorable.

 

 

Photo c/o Christopher Mcleod

By Olivia Fava, Contributor

Democratic art. These are the two words that I would use to describe “EMERGENCY Pt2., Structures of Action”, a 2019 Supercrawl installation that built off of its 2018 predecessor to focus on the perspectives of the everyday person. 

Christopher McLeod, a McMaster studio art alumnus and the creator of this exhibit, was originally inspired by the general apathy he perceived from those around him. This informed part one of his project. 

“Looking at things that happen around us in our communities, our cities, our countries, around the world…I’d say to myself, ‘Is no one paying attention? What do people care about?’ I didn’t know,” said McLeod.

McLeod’s only solution was to ask the people exactly what they did care about. A tall “emergency” beacon invited passersby to share their greatest concerns on any scale, from political to personal. According to McLeod, he and his team heard from about 1,400 people over three days during last year’s Supercrawl festival.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2aNGk7n2-V/

The top three issues that were brought up in 2018 were safe streets, health and the environment. These formed the core of this year’s installation. While McLeod’s initial question dealt with what Hamiltonians were worried about, part two of his project asked a graver question: what are Hamiltonians willing to do about the core issues they had identified?

“Are we all just going to sit around and sort of watch what’s happening, or are we going to step up and try to make a difference?” asked McLeod.

This year, levels of action for each of the three issues were ranked one to five, from least to most involved. Like many others, I chose my level of action, signed my name on the corresponding colour of sticker, and stuck it to the beacon. Hamilton Youth Poets also performed spoken-word pieces on these issues, which were based on public submissions.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Z2LWkHbi0/

A high degree of public involvement in this project was very important to McLeod, as a way of drawing in those who might normally ignore these issues.

“I’m like a tool for society…my role [as an artist] is not to dictate. My role is: how do I create spaces, opportunities and experiences that allow a community to come together to have these conversations in a non-standard way?” said McLeod.

As I observed my sticker on the overflowing environmental side of the beacon, voices swirled around me. Kids were asking about road safety and friends were challenging each other to volunteer for the issues they were motivated to address. McLeod’s beacon stood in the middle of it all, literally and metaphorically shedding its light.

 

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