Author Archives: megan o

The Pearl Company’s Art Bus Tour

This past Friday I decided to go on an adventure. I had kept hearing about The Pearl Company‘s Art Bus but had never considered going. Finally I saw a post calling for “butts on the bus” and decided I would give it a shot! It was quite a ride and so I thought I would share it with you!


We were instructed to meet at The Pearl Company at 6:30pm and pay the fee of $15 ($10 for students and artists). We then received our itinerary for the evening. The itinerary is different for every tour so you can go numerous  times and always see something new! The Art Bus runs on the first two Friday’s of every month – so you can even hop on the bus to hit up the James Street North Art Crawl if you want. I was told they stop off for an hour and a half for you to wander the art crawl at your own pace. Last Friday’s itinerary started us off at the Pearl Company which had a quaint display of local art, jewellery and graphic prints!

Then at precisely 6:40 we headed to our first stop – You Me Gallery on James North to see Harold Sikkema’s show ‘Landscrapes’. Harold creates “digital tapestries” using amalgamations of his own photography and environmental sculpture. His pieces are “hyper-detailed, digital composite images”. All of his pieces are fascinating as every time you look at the work you see something new. They are so intricately layered and so detailed you could stand in front of one piece for minutes and just explore it. I have decided to share a snippet from Harold’s artist statement so you have an idea of how he describes it in his words.

“I make digital tapestries. They are hyper-detailed, digital composite images under acrylic skin, or to put it another way; constructed contemporary amber, preserving ephemeral traces of life. To gather traces, I employ a camera, recording a dance of movement and rhythm. It’s a relentless ritual of careful looking.”

Careful looking. I like that. With each piece there was also a small written paragraph, poem or quote which was a part of the piece as well. Harold was at the You Me Gallery to greet us and answer any questions. It was nice to have the artist explain how he created his work. You can see a few samples of his work here but these photos do not do them justice. If you would like better images and more examples visit Harold online at He has also documented the show in video and you can find that here. Although I must say – seeing his work on the wall in full size is far more rewarding an experience than on your computer.

Our next stop on the Art Bus was the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (WAHC). There was tons going on at the WAHC last Friday night and we were glad to see the place so busy! First there was a book launchpremiering a book called ‘Boom, Bust and Crisis’ by John Peters. There was so much to see at the centre I did not have a chance to learn more about the book but I captured the display for anyone interested in knowing more. Secondly there was ‘The Spirit of our Movement’ which was a photographic show by John MacLennon. It documented in stunning photos the last decade of labour movement in Ontario including strikes, rallies, conventions, and direct actions. To compliment this show I also found a striking photo in a hallway called ‘May Day Parade’ from 1934 (see photos below). Upstairs we found a fascinating historical display called ‘Nine to Five: A History of Office Work’ as well as ‘Steel Town Views’ which is a collaboration between Centre3 and OPIRG. ‘Steel Town Views’ displays creative responses to Hamilton’s identity of “steel town” using a printmaking technique called collagraph. There was tons to see at WAHC and to top it all off there was a live performance in progress as well.


Next on the itinerary was a double stop. First we visited Nathanial Hughson Gallery, then we walked around the corner to see Manta Contemporary. Nathanial Hughson Gallery is a lovely gallery with a wide variety of different artist’s work on display. Their main show this month is artist Ryan Price with ‘Yesterday and Tomorrow’. Ryan creates stunning graphite and mixed media pieces on drywall. His work is very inspiring and detailed. Nathanial Hughson Gallery also had on display work from artists such as Tina Newlove, Christina Sealey, Stephanie Vegh, Laurie Kilgour-Walsh and Fiona Kinsella – among many others! It was wonderful to see such a variety of work. I also love the space at NHG – they have some beautiful bare stone walls that really give the gallery a unique feel. Here are a few shots I took there.

At Manta Contemporary we saw a show called ‘LoveLust’ by Charlene Chua. In sharp contrast to Ryan Price’s work, Charlene’s art is a “visual exploration of the two most prominent elements of romantic love… through stylized renderings of the female form.” Her work has a very strong illustrative quality and her illustrations played well with the physical and idealistic views of women. Manta Contemporary is a fairly new gallery and is quickly making a name for itself on King William.

At this point in the evening it was 8:45pm and I will admit I was starting to become tired. Everything I had seen was so inspiring and we had been going non-stop for two hours. After a full day of work its no wonder some of us were beginning to lag a bit. But we still had two more stops to make before the night was over. L’Arche was our next stop. L’Arche is an international family of communities for people who have learning disabilities and for those wishing to share their life with them. The L’Arche community in Hamilton was founded in 1978. We visited the L’Arche studio space where we had the honour of meeting two very important community members who gave us a wonderful tour of the space. Homemade cookies and hot apple cider were also quite welcomed at this point in the evening. The art on display was all made with care by those in the community with disabilities and we could tell just by looking at the work how much they love to create. This stop was inspiring for us in a different way – but it was inspiring none the less. Take a look at some of the art these lovely people created. All sale proceeds get put back into the L’Arche community.

Our final stop was Gallery 205 on Cannon. Gallery 205 is “in the process of re-claiming, re-energizing, re-tooling, re-inventing, renovating and incubating an urban arts corner in downtown Hamilton.” The space had everything a musician, performer or audio artist could need! They had a small stage in the front room for a cozy and comfortable jam session, then they had a party room in the back where they had another stage with tons of equipment. Finally in the very back there was an even bigger stage for a large concert, and open area for anything from a wrestling tournament to a filming gig – and a massive green screen and mic boom to boot. They were in the midst of renovating so we did not have the chance to see the place in all its glory but I could see them providing an excellent service to many film, audio and music artists in the community. Check out some of the photos from the tour (apologies for the quality!)

And that concluded the evening for us. We all piled back onto the bus and made our way back to The Pearl Company. We made it back around 10:00 to give you an idea of how late to expect to be out. It was an awesome night and I met some great people. All the galleries were SO glad to have us come by and some of the food spreads were awesome (I missed my dinner but was full by the end of the tour!). If you are considering hopping on the Art Bus I highly recommend it – but make sure you wear comfortable shoes! You can find more information about each individual Art Bus tour and where they will be going by checking out their Facebook page or finding them on Twitter (@ThePearlCompany). You can also check out their website to see all the other events the Pearl Company has to offer. They have something on almost every night!

Have you been on an Art Bus tour before? What was your experience like? Do you have any suggestions for where The Pearl Company might stop off on a future tour?


I have heard the words “Due to inclement weather” far too many times today. That is why I am pleased to announce that the James Street North Art Crawl is still on for tonight! For those of you brave enough to make it out make sure you travel safe! 

The Hamilton Arts Council has been amazing and has provided  an up to date list of who is open and who is not for the crawl tonight. You can find them on Twitter at @HamArtsCouncil as well as on Facebook here. Stolen straight from their timeline and sorted for your convenience:


Open So Far Today/Tonight:
Needleworks – including the info table for the City of Hamilton Arts Awards and the monthly Art Crawl food drive so bring those nominations forms and non-perishable food items!

B Contemporary – open this afternoon and tonight for the opening of the apt group show ‘North Wind: Drawing a line in the snow’

Manta Contemporary – closed this afternoon but open tonight 6-11 for ‘Love/Lust’
HAVN – Open tonight 8-11. Live coding, free improv and interactive video projections!!

Artword Art Bar – will be open but the Cat Berni Quartet is cancelled

Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts – hosting an opening for Glenn Lowson’s ‘The Hammer Essays’

James South Bookseller – hosting an opening for Richard Silliker opening

Hamilton Artists Inc – open!

Humble Pie – open!

Hawk & Sparrow – open!

Baltimore House – The show must go on! Kirby begins playing from 7:00, Blind Mule goes on at 10:00. PWYC.

This Ain’t Hollywood – still planning to move ahead with the Plants and Animals show tonight, with Joe Grass and Gasoline Gathers Hands, Gathers Friends. They will recommend checking their Event page though just in case they need to cancel after all

Latin Vintage Orchestra @ Club Absinthe on King William starting at 10pm, $10 cover

You Me Gallery – open!

Tiger Group Gallery 2 – open!

The Pearl Company – Winter Theatre Festival is also still on tonight, shows at 7:30 and 9:00.


Confirmed Closed:
Homegrown Hamilton – closed

The Freeway – closing this afternoon; Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra fundraiser is cancelled

Lyric Theatre – Tonight’s show of Shelley Marshall‘s Hold Mommy’s Cigarette is cancelled. Contact the Lyric to exchange your ticket for another performance date.

Mulberry Coffeehouse – closing at 6pm today. De Facto gallery opening for Lisa Pijuan-Nomura‘s show postponed to next Friday evening.

Nathaniel Hughson Gallery – closed, open tomorrow 12-8 for last chance viewing of their group exhibition

Factory-Hamilton Media-Arts – CD launch for the McMaster Cybernetic Orchestra cancelled – the bus got stuck 🙁

White Elephant – closed

Urban Arts Initiative – the Roots 2Leaf fundraiser is postponed until the March Art Crawl on March 8.

Mixed Media – closed

James North Studio (James North Art Collective) – closed tonight. They will host the opening of Februum – A February showcase featuring fanciful Art Dolls and fascinating Paintings next Friday (Feb. 15th)

Centre3 – closed

Hotel Hamilton (room #309) – Jenna Purnell and Lester Coloma’s Mask Show is cancelled for tonight


More news is constantly being inputed on the Hamilton Arts Council Facebook page so if you have any questions head on over there! Hope everyone has a fun-filled evening in the snow!

Hamilton Citizen of the Year goes to…

This past Monday the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce hosted the Hamilton Community Awards Dinner at Michelangelo’s. This dinner is hosted in order to recognize certain influential members of our community for their contributions to the city of Hamilton. The two main awards are the ‘Citizen of the Year Award’ (in its 75th year) and the ‘Youth Volunteer of the Year Award’ (in its 15th year). Special to this years award dinner the Chamber awarded the Honourable Lincoln Alexander the ‘Honourary Distinguished Hamilton Citizen of the Year Award’. The Hamilton Spectator covered the story in today’s paper. A few quotes from that article follow.

It is a testament to the success of Hamilton’s art community that the city’s distinguished citizen of the year award went to Supercrawl director Tim Potocic.

“I love it to death, and I’ll continue to do everything I can to bring arts and culture to Hamilton,” Potocic said of his hometown.

As co-owner of Sonic Unyon Records on Wilson Street near James, Potocic has long invested his time and energy in the core, working closely with the Hamilton Downtown BIA as well as the Hamilton Arts Council and a number of other downtown arts groups. –

The Hamilton Citizen of the Year Award is those individuals who have performed the act for which they are being nominated in a voluntary capacity in the Hamilton Community, over and above those required of them in the performance of their regular professional duties or in the course of their professional activity, have brought outstanding/remarkable attention to the Hamilton community on a provincial, national or international basis. Tim Potocic’s fellow nominees were Vitek Wincza of the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts and Werner Plessl of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust.

[Potocic] thanked his “co-winners” — nominees Vitek Wincza, artistic director for the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, and Werner Plessl, executive director of the Hamilton Waterfront Trust — as he accepted his RBC-sponsored award at a banquet at Michelangelo’s Monday night.

“It was a very close contest which speaks to the quality of all three nominees,” said Chamber of Commerce president and CEO David Adames.

Potocic agreed.

“We’re on the verge of something great.”

Supercrawl has grown in four years to draw more than 75,000 people to the downtown festival — and headliners such as Broken Social Scene and K’naan — to put Hamilton’s art scene on a national stage. –

Cheers to another year of successes at the James Street North Art Crawl and the annual Supercrawl!

For more information visit the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce website or The Hamilton Spectator website.