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“Connected” brings venerable art show out of Town Hall and to screens everywhere

May 21, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Art has a unique power to connect people – and this time of emergency is no exception.

The pandemic has sparked new ways of thinking, new lines of creativity and ingenuity, and new ways of reaching audiences.

The traditional Aurora Art Show & Sale is no exception.

The Aurora Art Show & Sale, a tradition now in its fifty-seventh year, was supposed to fill the corridors of Town Hall this month, showcasing work created by members of SOYRA, the Society of York Region Artists.

While the show is now postponed until the end of September due to current emergency measures, participating artists have collaborated with the Town of Aurora on a visual – and virtual – appetizer.

Online now through May 25, Connected: Aurora’s Online Show features an array of work created by local artists to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

“The Aurora Art Show & Sale is actually one of the longest-running shows in the GTA, but because of our current situation, we couldn’t have an in-person show yet. We didn’t want to postpone the opportunity for our community to experience phenomenal art,” says Shelley Ware, Special Events Coordinator for the Town of Aurora, on how Connected came to be. “Now is a time when social connections are so important for our health and wellness. One piece of art alone is beautiful, but having multiple pieces come together in a gallery demonstrates an incredible force of strength and movement.

“With the art show being at the beginning of May, we wanted to develop an online experience that would be up there for longer than the traditional art show would be and we wanted the show to carry us beyond Mother’s Day.”

The theme of staying connected inspired a re-think among some of the participating artists on just what they wanted to showcase, including Alexandra Bhatia.

Ms. Bhatia, an Aurora resident and secondary school teacher, says she took inspiration from the world around her. Living near Willow Farm Trail, Ms. Bhatia says she’s often on the trails to maintain her connection with nature and has witnessed some interesting phenomena since the start of social distancing measures.

“Just being out there, I haven’t seen such a variety of birds ever in my entire time in Aurora – decades – than I have experienced this spring,” she says. “Seeing nature coming back has impacted the piece I decided to put in. I have been working on it for a while and I am continuing with the theme of nature reclaiming itself. There is so much urbanization going on, construction and taking away the land – we’re coexisting in nature, that has been slowly and slowly removed bit by bit, year by year, and it is coming back.

“I was struck by the idea of nature still continuing on. With so much sadness and stress going on in the world, you can walk out there, decompress and see that life still continues. It’s an appreciation of what we do have.”

David Xu, a long-time participant in the Aurora Art Show & Sale, has contributed a recent painting of a domestic scene.

“When a lot of people stay at home, sometimes they feel disconnected, some might feel distracted or fretful by being home alone, and this show can make people feel connected,” he says, noting he hopes his work inspires people in the community to pursue their passions.

“Painting takes a lot of time, you have to make the effort and work on it, and a lot of people didn’t have time to do that. Now, this seems like a good opportunity for a people when they stay at home to listen to music while they practice painting. This is a good opportunity for a lot of people to work on their skills and make it a hobby”

If visual art isn’t among your own particular skillset, no matter. All that matters when you click on the online show is to settle in for a feast for the eyes and come to the table with an open mind.

“One piece of art alone is beautiful, but having multiple pieces come together in a spectacular gallery show demonstrates the incredible force of strength and movement,” says Ms. Ware. “While enjoying the perfect cup of coffee, let’s stay strong together and connect through Art and Technology.  Each image has its own flavor; some soothing, some strong, but like our current circumstance these emotions will carry us through the colour palette displayed before us.”

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By Brock Weir



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