New art projects will tell stories of Guelph’s limestone and plants

GUELPH – Two multi-disciplinary art projects will bring together artistic creation with Guelph’s heritage and community thanks to funding from a new Guelph Arts Council (GAC) award.

The Research and Renewal Award creates opportunities for local creatives to engage with archives, collections and resources in developing research-based art projects.

GAC supporter and volunteer Jason Nadon initiated the award.

“I am always looking for ways to give back,” Nadon said. “The last two years have been so hard on creatives, and I wanted to come up with something that would help…. the concept of ‘Research and Renewal’ came to mind as it lives at the intersection of all that I am passionate about: community, heritage and creation.”

Nadon, GAC staff, and the award jury were pleased with the quality of applicants for this new award and chose to fund two: one collaboration with music and animation proposed by Silas Chinsen and Lizzy Mikulich, and one by music artist Alia Miroshnichenko.

Chinsen and Mikulich’s research proposal, Carved From Stone, will “examine Guelph’s long history with limestone to use as the creative material for two pieces of music and animation,” according to the proposal.

The work will use field recordings of local limestone and bodies of water, and the animation of historic photos and original drawings.

“The music and animation of the first piece will depict the melting of glaciers and the eroding of rock using audio samples as textural, percussive and melodic instruments,” the proposal adds.

“Limestone provided Guelph with both the materials to build many of its older buildings in the downtown area, and an economic resource to the growing city.”

The second piece will scan and animate old photos of historic buildings to use in conjunction with the audio.

Chinsen is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist based in Guelph.

Mikulich is an emerging artist who works in digital drawing and animation.

Miroshnichenko is a Siberian-Canadian composer, operatic singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer.

Her proposal aims to “rediscover the connection between the Guelph community and its plant-based life by creating a series of musical compositions that would involve collaborative musical cooperation between human and non-human subjects like trees, mushrooms, and plants… using an electronic device with censors to read biometric data” and building her music compositions around the biodata.

“I chose the Arboretum because it is symbolic on many levels: it is a part of Guelph’s identity, but it also represents the Canadian identity mosaic: many plants and trees in the Arboretum were contributed and donated from across the world, and in that, they represent the local community,” Miroshnichenko said.

Digital exhibition space

The music composition will have an accompanying digital exhibition space where the community will be able to engage with the artwork.

GAC executive director Patti Broughton is excited about the new award and the projects it will generate.

“Support for artists’ exploration and discovery – so fundamental to the creative process – is important, and we’re so grateful for Jason’s vision and generosity in supporting this new GAC award,” Broughton said.

Watch for updates on these projects on GAC social media and at