Oshawa’s biggest art gallery is linking two of its popular events but this time it’s virtual.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) has combined its monthly RMG Fridays events with its annual photography fundraiser to create RMG Fridays: Focused.
The event will be held completely virtual with a live broadcast Friday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. This is the gallery’s first virtual RMG Fridays event, with previous RMG Fridays in August and September being held as drive-ins.
The virtual event will feature pre-recorded performances by musicians Rory Taillon and Sacha, a tour of the gallery’s new photography exhibition, Aberrations, a photo activity on how to take high quality photos on your phone, and screenings of short films Lili and From Shadow presented by the Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF).
A silent auction will also be held for the work of the finalists of the gallery’s photography fundraiser competition, with the money raised helping fund free programs at RMG.
The gallery received more than 350 submissions for this year’s competition.
Sam Powless, visitor engagement and facilities manager at the gallery, says the target goal for the fundraiser is $5,000 which will help families interested in RMG’s programs who may not otherwise be able to afford them.
“Generally, we do a lot of subsidizing free community programming. So, we have subsidized spots, for like our summer camp programming for folks that might not be able to afford the fee to join,” says Powless.
Powless says photography is just as much a form of fine art than any other type of art and it is a good way for people to begin a collection.
“You know, for people to start collecting art and people that might not know where to start with purchasing fine art, photography is a good a good gateway into that world,” says Powless.
“You kind of look at something, decide that you like it, and it’s still affordable for most people, you know, who are interested in buying and collecting.”
Joyce Crago, winner of the grand prize for the photography competition, says the grand prize of $1,000 is a significant amount of money and having her work shown is motivation to continue.
“It’s just gratifying when things get shown and you know it just helps you go on,” says Crago.
Crago’s photo, Worn, Brown, is a tribute to her sister who passed away in 2018. She says she developed her style while at the School of the Photographic Arts in Ottawa.
“You know I always liked going to galleries and museums, but I just took photographs and I didn’t really understand about taking photographs and doing it in a body of work. So, I learned that there,” says Crago.
Powless says supporting artists is essential.
“All the works in the auction were donated to us, too. So, it’s important for those artists to get the support as well and to have artists who might be starting their careers, to have their names out there and be seen by people who are interested in buying artwork.”