State of the art: The struggle to find new and younger audiences | Catch My Job


This weekend, arts organizers and artists are meeting in Sudbury to brainstorm ideas to keep the arts strong and thriving in Northern Ontario.

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Art is wrongly considered elitist. It’s silly because except for a small minority, Canadian artists, whether they’re painters, musicians, actors or writers, dabble for a living.

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Arts organizations struggle to pay their bills when government support tightens. Chasing corporate sponsors is a full-time job that can be exhausting. And, with one in four Canadians over the age of 65, there is an audience for the arts.

Challenges for the arts are not new, but they have worsened during the pandemic. During the recovery, many elderly patrons are staying at home.

This weekend, arts organizers and artists from across Northern Ontario are meeting in Sudbury to develop ideas and make connections to keep the arts strong and thriving.

Rendezvous North, organized by the Sudbury Arts Council (SAC) and the City of Greater Sudbury, will offer workshops and networking experiences with more than 40 presenters sharing their experiences. Keynote speaker Juno Award winner Crystal Shawanda has advice on the path to success.

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The conference (Oct. 14 and 15) will be held at the McEwen School of Architecture and other locations downtown.

A weekend pass costs $100. Generous community sponsors are paying for art students to attend for free. Visit to register.

Innovative concert

The Sudbury Symphony Orchestra (SSO) hopes to develop new audiences with two innovative concert series in addition to its original series.

This Saturday, Oct. 15, the SSO Quartet will present music and stories for children, parents, grandparents — even single people — at the Greater Sudbury Public Library’s main branch at 10 a.m. The concert is free.

Sudbury’s Poet Laureate, Kyla Hemming, will mix stories with music in both French and English.

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Then on Sunday, October 16, at 2 p.m., the SSO presents the first in a series of family chamber music concerts by the SSO String Quartet at Place des Arts. Once again, the poet Heming and the musicians explore poetry, music, and storytelling. Special rates available for families and youth. Tickets for adults are $35.

Later in the month, the SSO welcomes guest Martin Macdonald to conduct the first major series of concerts of the season. The concert will be held at the Sudbury Theater Center on Saturday, October 22, at 7:30 p.m.

The symphony will feature music by Finland’s Jean Sibelius, Norway’s Edvard Grieg and Germany’s Ludwig Beethoven, as well as parts of France’s Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.” The evening will include pieces by accomplished Canadian composers Larissa Kuzmenko and Christine Donkin.

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There will be a pre-concert chat with Macdonald, considered one of Canada’s most dynamic and outstanding young conductors.

SSO is a miracle in a town the size of Sudbury and we are enriched by its existence. It will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2024.

Founded by Emil Furst, director of music for the Sudbury Board of Education, the Sudbury Philharmonic Society gave its first public performance on January 13, 1954.

In 1975, community leaders including Metro Kozak founded the Sudbury Symphony. Kozak, as conductor, led the SSO until his retirement in 1997. Victor Sawa took the podium and was followed by Melanie Leonard in 2016. Leonard has taken on a new challenge with Symphony New Brunswick.

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While the SSO searches for a new conductor, the 2022-23 season will be a treat with guest conductors such as McDonald and Josh Wood. (Wood will conduct the orchestra Nov. 26 at Fraser Auditorium, featuring soprano Pamela Teed.)

Single tickets for the concert are $45 for adults and $25 for those under 19. A family can get a single concert pass for $100.

For program and membership details, visit or phone 705-693-1280 or 705-222-8768.

Opera in Silver City

Cineplex is helping to create new audiences for the arts through live in HD offerings like Metropolitan Opera performances in New York City. The new series begins Oct. 22 with “Medea.” See local listings for Sudbury SilvercCty Cinemas.

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World-class specials including concerts by Dutch violinist and conductor André Riu and National Theater Live from England. Unfortunately, these offers are not well advertised. To find out, sign up for a free Cineplex Connect membership on the Cineplex website.

Folklore festival

From October 11 to 16, the Center Franco-Ontarian de Folklore (CFOF) presents the sixth annual Folklore Festival at the Place des Arts. This is its 50th anniversary CFOF, which was founded by Germaine Lemieux. It is devoted to the research and interpretation of Franco-Ontarian culture. The center has had various houses over the years but has returned to the heart of the town. The center offers workshops, lectures, a reference library and tours of exhibits.

Back to back music festival

Sudbury Music Festival organizers are planning the 2023 festival. Things will return to normal between March 25 and April 5 when young musicians will once again get a chance to carry on the 76-year-old tradition.

The Sudbury Music Festival was formerly known as the Sudbury Kiwanis Festival.

Registration for the 2023 festival will open on November 1. All relevant information, including the 2023 schedule, can be found at

This column is provided by the Sudbury Arts Council.


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