Doors Open Guelph, Guelph’s annual celebration of its special places – historical, architectural, creative, and innovative – will be enhanced this year by Sharing Guelph’s Stories, an event-within-an-event that will increase the role the arts play in the event, and will be launched by Doors Open After Dark, presented by Guelph Museums.
Visitors can experience dramatic storytelling at the Gow Bridge with Jay Wilson, guided public art and downtown gallery walks with Ahmri + Abby, and arts activations at Doors Open sites. Also new this year is a Doors Open Bike Tour, in collaboration with Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation, and a Rest Stop & Info Hub at 46 Cork St., hosted by PIN and The Guelph Community Foundation.
Doors Open After Dark
Launching the weekend, Guelph Museums’ Doors Open After Dark will celebrate Guelph’s 192nd birthday and John Galt’s 240th with history and art activations that position our settler heritage within a present-day dialogue with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The activations will happen at and around the Civic Museum from 9 pm April 26 to 1 am April 27.
Featured artists include Tribal Vision, Guelph Pipe Band, Athena McQueen, Cynthia Kinnunen, Jenny Mitchell, VERSA, Gina Duque, and Tania Crook. The licensed event will feature food trucks, music performances and workshops, storytelling, live painting, face painting, beading demonstrations, behind-the-scenes Museum tours, and more. The event will immediately follow Fourth Friday, featuring singer-songwriter Annie Sumi, and a Museum-lighting ceremony will launch the provincial season of Doors Open Ontario events across the province.
Doors Open Guelph
On Saturday, April 27, Doors Open sites open for tours at 10 am. No tickets or registration are required for this free all-ages community event, and visitors can begin at any featured site and visit as many as they like, in any order. A complete site listing can be found at guelpharts.ca/doors-open-guelph. Visitors are advised that St. Mary’s Ukrainian Church, listed as site 14 in the event brochure, is no longer participating in Doors Open.
Sharing Guelph’s Stories – Gow Bridge Stories with Jay Wilson
This year Doors Open visitors can also participate in the enhanced Sharing Guelph’s Stories activities. Built in 1897, the Gow Bridge over the Speed River, located near McCrae Blvd. at Water St., is one of only ten stone bridges remaining in Ontario. Throughout the day, storyteller, actor, tour guide and lover of Guelph stories Jay Wilson will tell stories of the bridge, the Brooklyn area, and some of the scandalous events that took place nearby.
Sharing Guelph’s Stories – Art Walks with Ahmri + Abby
The Sharing Guelph’s Stories Art Walks will be led by Abby Nowakowski and AhmriVandeborne, two young artists who are out to change the way people look at the world around them. Both about to graduate from the University of Guelph’s Studio Art program, they create collaborative artwork together as Ahmri + Abby.
They help people notice things they walk by every day, but never really see, like a perfectly square little hole in the wall, or bricks peeking through a crack in plaster. “If you take time to pay attention to your surroundings, you may find something beautiful,” Abby says. Both artists are alumni of the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Project, a collaboration of Guelph Arts Council and the University of Guelph School of Fine Art and Music.
Highlights of the Art Walks include gallery stops at Necessary Arts, 10C Shared Space, Renann Isaacs Contemporary Art, Silence, Boarding House Arts, eBar, Guelph Creative Arts Association’s Guelph Artisans, Red Brick Café, Gritt Gallery, and Kloepfer Gallery, and studio visits with artists Helen Hoy, Laurie McGaw, Rosanne Morris, Mary Karavos, Jessica Steinhauser, Blue Iris Studios, and Arienne Wesley. The Art Walks depart from 46 Cork St. at 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Also New This Year
Ahmri + Abby’s art walks will start at the home of PIN and The Guelph Community Foundation, 46 Cork St., open during the event as a Rest Stop & Info Hub for Doors Open visitors and volunteers. Throughout the day, visitors are invited to stop in for coffee, soup, and to find out more about all these community resources have to offer.
Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation presents a guided bicycle tour of Spring Mill Distillery, Greenbriar, The Victory School, and Aberdeen House. Spaces are limited and participants can register and get more information by contacting email@example.com. Aberdeen House is presented in partnership with eMERGE Guelph.