WCC’s Artfest

This past Saturday, Nov. 26, the Woodland Cultural Centre (WCC) hosted its first Winter Artfest. A delightful (and free!) celebration of Indigenous artistry, complete with tasty food and tons of incredible items for sale, such as beadwork and handmade jewellery.  

 

The WCC serves as an art gallery integrated with a museum to celebrate and preserve Indigenous culture, bringing to life the stories of Indigenous leaders, residential school victims and everyone in between.  

 

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the main hall was bustling with art-lovers trying out the tasting menu catered by Esha Eats and exploring the displays of purchasable works made by various Indigenous artisans.  

 

One particular highlight of the day was the WCC’s artist-in-residence Cody Houle, working away at his art for the public to watch in the “Moving Forward: The Next 50 Years” exhibit.  

 

Houle did several brilliant live paintings throughout the day much to the delight of those who made their way around the centre’s art gallery, in which the “Moving Forward” exhibit is the final stop on the journey through the artistic and cultural history of Indigenous peoples preserved by the WCC.  

 

Houle is an Anishinaabe artist from northern Ontario currently living and creating his woodland art in Brantford. I had the distinct pleasure of watching him work on a striking abstract piece alongside several other amazed patrons who I could tell all had the same questions as me. How is anyone this talented and how is anyone able to create such beauty under such pressure? 

 

As a first-time visitor to the centre, I was taken aback by how moving it was to walk through the gallery. Like walking through a time portal, seeing hundreds of years of history, art and life all in under an hour.  

 

Most importantly, the centre is highly educational and sparks a great deal of discussion among visitors. I noticed just how much an event like this not only brings people together to have some fun and enjoy art, but also keeps us rooted in the past, keeps us learning and promotes education on these topics that are often overlooked in our school system.  

 

There were also some terrific desserts for the taking at the festival, which is enough to get me just about anywhere.  

 

All in all, the Woodland Cultural Centre is a must visit for anyone living in or around Brantford and the first Winter Artfest was a definite success! 

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