Kate Boothman — Cale Crow — Kate Hessin

Oli Goldsmith — Ian Jack — Jennifer Trefiak

Article by Bill Hornbostel; images supplied

(L-R): Jennifer Trefiak, Kate Hessin, Kate Boothman, Ian Jack

The Art Gallery of Northumberland is launching a new Spotlight Series this summer, better tailored to meet the needs of the new pandemic environment. Where the earlier Spotlight Series were live events before an audience, Spotlight Series 3 is in a digital format; it will first be screened at select locations around Northumberland County, with appropriate health precautions in place, then streamed online.

Spotlight Series producer Elizabeth Palermo says, “What’s exciting is going digital allows us to take Spotlight Series to the streets and also reach expanded audiences online.”

Series 3 will feature artists and performers in a “mini-doc” format, providing a series of artist profiles in which they talk about things like their work, their influences, and their creative process. This year’s lineup consists of Kate Boothman, Cale Crow, Kate Hessin, Oli Goldsmith, Ian Jack, and Jennifer Trefiak.

Singer-songwriter Kate Boothman has just released her second album, My Next Mistake, which she says “started as an accident.” Boothman adds, “I wasn’t expecting to make a record; I wanted to exercise my songwriting a little bit.”

Kate Boothman

Boothman also talks about releasing an album during the pandemic, but without being able to perform. “I released the record from my living room; we’re not allowed to go out,” she says. “I just want to play these songs so badly! You’ve got be patient, right?”

Sculptor and painter Kate Hessin taps into her experience as a mother for her subject matter. “I’m trying to touch upon these really hard subjects that are really raw for a lot of moms, but to make it a little bit more literal,” Hessin says.

Kate Hessin

“I like to think of it as shining a light on some of these dark subjects, bringing that folklore and whimsical humor, and bringing these terrible, scary thoughts to the surface to make them out in the open so other people can connect with it, and we can kind of have a community, a connection, about these things that concern us,” adds Hessin.

Ian Jack, a member of local rock quartet North Hope and a music teacher, opens up about his process. “I have an app called Acapella, which allows you to record over yourself, so I can have up to nine Ian Jacks singing at the same time, or I can share the file [with others] and then make a song together.”

Ian Jack

“Whether it’s [working with band members] or collaborating with kids or collaborating with my writers, I am better for it because of them,” Jack adds.

Painter and musician Jennifer Trefiak creates “expressive landscapes.” “I like to paint the sense of place, or at least the sense that I get from the place,” she says. “And when I work in a series, I usually have some kind of underlying themes that I have in mind while I’m painting them.”

Jennifer Trefiak

For Trefiak, artwork is also a way to explore her Indigenous heritage. “I feel like I’m of both worlds, I feel like I’m Western and Indigenous,” says Trefiak. “And as I’ve been growing, and I’ve been searching for who I am, that’s come out in my art.”

While the first two Spotlight Series were ticketed events that raised funds to support children’s art education, the third series is free, possible through local sponsors and the Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities grant. The first two series raised $10,000, allowing the AGN to partner with Rebound Child and Youth Services to send children to a summer art camp, and Local Food for Local Good to put together art activity kits for Northumberland families. “Together we have brought community engagement art projects that perhaps would not have happened without the support of the Spotlight Series fundraiser,” says Palermo.

For more information about Spotlight Series 3, you may visit the webpage, artgalleryofnorthumberland.com/spotlight-series-3.

For more information about the Art Gallery of Northumberland or to arrange a time to visit, you may visit their Web site, artgalleryofnorthumberland.com, or call 905-372-0333. You may also follow the AGN on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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