The Brantford Arts Block is a colourful component of the downtown core, nestled comfortably on Dalhousie Street between the Sanderson Centre and Crazy Bill’s convenience store. Many Laurier students haven’t had the chance to view its original and often thought-provoking pieces but come autumn, this will all change. Beginning in September, this hip location will play host to the Artists Speak series, an open artistic studio experience in conjunction with the Grand River Forum. Laurier professors Katherine Rossiter and Ian MacRae have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to organize the event.

September 21 will mark the studio’s beginning. On this day, the doors will open to any student willing to try their hand at creation. From that date up until October 19, when Dr. J. Edward Chamberlin, whose book If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? Finding Common Ground is at the centre of the Grand River Forum, will deliver a lecture at the Sanderson Centre. Everyone is invited, regardless of ability, to contribute their time and creativity to crafting original art on Tuesdays from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Students who participate will be working with artists Aliki Mikulich and Dan Hill. Mikuclich is a Brantford resident who describes herself as an “environmentalist,” and her work as “[expressing] humanity’s place in the world, our struggle and connectivity, society’s responsibility and individual choice.” She received a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto, gained a diploma in Fine Arts at Sheridan College and went to Mohawk College for Intermediate Ceramics.

Dan Hill is the resident artist with the Brantford Arts Block. He recently held an exhibit featuring abstract paintings, which was praised on the location’s website as creating “harmonious compositions sure to instill a sense of appreciation of the abstract.”

“Dan and Aliki will be present to give students tips on how to make their ideas come to life, and to help put the larger piece together,” says Rossiter, in explaining why the two artists are such integral parts of the experience.

One of the main goals of the Artist Speak series is to make a larger mosaic out of the individual pieces. Each should highlight some of the issues and ideas expressed in Dr. Chamberlin’s book. On October 19, after the Grand River Forum and during the reception, the piece will be revealed. Rossiter mentions the connection.

“These workshops allow students to explore visual thinking in regards to Chamberlain’s book.”
Participants in this project will have the rare opportunity to experiment with different visual mediums, styles and colours. They will also be able to work alongside seasoned artists and generally meet new and interesting people. The Artists Speak series is the perfect opportunity to showcase your talent, learn about art or even glean something new about the world in general.

About The Author