A Celebration of Jazz Legends by Ken Young

A Celebration of Jazz Legends
Ken Young

Once again the TD Niagara Jazz Festival teams up with the Niagara Artists Centre for a visual art exhibit.

This year’s feature:

Ken Young with ‘ A Celebration of Jazz Legends’.

The artwork forms a 52’ continuous scroll, depicting in line ink and pencil the illustrated characterization of 65 legendary Jazz musicians. These form a biographical timeline of their progressive musical virtuosity. Establishing a pantheon of unsurpassed artistry that heralded the evolution of the most unique art form to originate in North America.

The images are an attempt to express the personality that exists between the music-maker and the music they create, an improvised extension of their inner-self.

The final project will be published as a book of continuous concertina pages with an accompanying narrative based on the original illustrations.

This is the initial showing of this original work and is subject to all the current 2017 regulatory laws of copyright.

“An illustrated homage to the musical art and artists of Jazz. Jazz as I know it and enjoy as my favourite listening hobby. It does not attempt to suggest an intimate knowledge of musical structure and composition. It takes the high road and sides with the view that if it sounds right it is right.” Ken Young

Exhibit reception with live jazz.

Admission is FREE

RSVP- liaison@niagarajazzfestival.com

New Work by Ben Ibebe / 3-16 June 2017

New Work by
Nigerian artist Ben Ibebe
Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at NAC
On display from 3-16 June 2017

Closing Reception Friday 16 June 7PM

Ben Ibebe is an internationally known African artist based in Nigeria. Ben focuses on images of West Africa using vibrant, captivating and very tactile paintings in oil and mixed media. Featuring every day scenes of Nigerian life, Ben’s unique impasto technique give each art work an almost three dimensional surface adding additional character to bright colors and geometric composition. His work has broad appeal, with particular appear to the growing interest in Sub-Saharan and West African art.


NUTS II: A New Bag / Sheldon Rooney / Fri 26 May 2017

Sheldon Rooney

On dispay from 19 May – 2 June 2017

Reception Fri 26 May 5:30PM

“Nuts Two? I’ve never even heard of Nuts One! What’s your name? Never heard of ya.”

My name is Sheldon Rooney. Nice to meet you. Again, for the first time, perhaps. It’s been awhile. I’ll explain:

“Nuts: Another Mixed Bag” was a 2009 art show of mine at the forever revered CRAM Art Gallery here in St.Kitts. Tobey C. Anderson, Owner. I was welcomed into Tobey’s world after my first show “Private People” at the Niagara Artists Centre. He became my mentor and friend and we spent a lot of good times together. He’d let me crash on the couch and I’d dig him a coy pond. He’d give me endless encouragement and I’d help him pack a container to be shipped to artists in Cuba. He is now a beautiful memory and his art will live on. Tobe. We went to a Gentlemans Club once and you fell asleep. Watching your peacefully deep face that night as I swatted away the strippers I felt I had found family. Rest well. This show is dedicated to you.

It’s been six years since my last solo show. In that time I became a father to my son, Declan. I kept creating work but I had left the scene. My boy is a little man now and already a talented, and passionate art enthusiast. I want to show him what’s possible. Bring work out to the public and see what happens. Maybe make a couple bucks. Good stuff for young eyes to see in times like these, am I right?

This show is a celebration of perserverance through custody battle pain, depression, and fear. Everything we feel when things get heavy. I cope in colour. “Heavy Metal loud” colour as Tobey once described my work. Tears have fallen on this work but joy and love (Sara! Declan!) has raised it to the walls of the never dull, always delivering Niagara Atrists Centre.

It’s crazy! It’s a New Bag! Of Nuts! Something for everyone young and old!! Won’t you come get Nuts with me?

Hope you have a chance to come and see the work and join me for a cheers on Friday 26 May from 5:30-8:30 at NAC.

-Sheldon Rooney

The Last Night at the Albert Street Motel / Amber Lee Williams / Sat 23 Nov 2016

The Last Night at the Albert Street Motel
A solo exhibition of Photographic work created in the darkroom by Amber Lee Williams
Saturday 26 November 7PM

The works are presented in three segments. 

1. The Last Night at the Albert Street Motel: A body of work consisting of 13 photographs and blind contour drawings captured in a single evening to explore themes of identity, time, and place. 

2. Family portraits: Photographs of distant and unknown relatives (100+years and found in a family album) double exposed and hand painted to create and discover relationships within the family (past and present). 

3. Books: Double exposures of my mother and daughter, two areas of my life that will never meet. Altering books to encase these personal and precious “memories”. To open the book is to accept the invitation to look. To close the book is to accept reality. 

Amber Lee Williams is a St. Catharines based artist and a student at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. For 7 years she has worked with encaustic paint, combining other mediums such as; sculpture, collage, oil sticks, etc. Within the past 2 years Amber has become interested in creating blind contour drawings of people she encounters in her life. Her recent work is experimental analog photography. The photographs are hand manipulated in and outside the darkroom. Through both figurative and abstract work, some of the themes she explores are; identity, family relationships, birth and death, etc.

devolve: wayne corlis + amber lee williams


Wayne Corlis + Amber Lee Williams

Join us for a special night of Art and Music! 

Opening Reception
Performance by THUNDERCLAP from 9 to 10pm

Devolve is a series of abstract works created by St. Catharines based artists Amber Lee Williams and Wayne Corlis. Exploration of various disciplines across art genres has resulted in this body of work; where both artists reject direct representation as a means of rekindling their love for the simple act of creation through colour, movement and fluidity. This series calls into question the evolution in art – has representation evolved from abstract, or vice versa? Or have the figurative and the abstract veins splintered from something else – some mixture of the two, where the lines are blurred between what is something and what is not…

The show will hang from August 6th to the 20th.

Wayne’s artwork is driven from both a love to paint and an interest in philosophy. In his work, Wayne aims to explore the potential for colour and texture to translate into sensation, and questions the relationships between representation, romanticism, and meaning making. Wayne holds both an Honour’s degree in Visual Arts and a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and the Arts from Brock University, as well as a diploma in graphic design from Niagara College.  

Painting with a blow torch, Amber creates her works with the beeswax-based medium known as encaustic. She embraces the fluidity and unpredictability of the medium, allowing the paint to guide her creations. Drawing from a wealth of real life experiences and hard-earned lessons, her work explores themes of identity, family relationships, birth, death, and chance. Following the birth of her daughter, Amber decided overnight to return to school and is currently completing an undergraduate degree in Visual Arts at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Other areas of art that Amber explores are drawing and analog photography, which she also approaches with strong concepts, but a loose set of controls, in an attempt to find meaning in randomness.

Relaxing and Rehearsing: Rare Photographs and Film of Duke Ellington: Thurs 28 July 2016 7:30PM

Relaxing and Rehearsing: 
Rare Photographs and Film of Duke Ellington
In the Dennis Tourbin Gallery and on the Thomas Craig Oliver Terrace
Thursday 28 July Opening Reception 7:30 pm / Film Screening 9:00 pm

Photographs on display from Saturday 23 July – Saturday 6 August 2016

By Claude Miles

In conjunction with the Niagara Jazz Fest, the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of photographs taken of Duke Ellington during a visit to CBC studios in Toronto in September 1964. Taken by Claude Miles for the now-defunct Toronto Telegram, the pictures show an infrequently seen side of Duke Ellington, a man known for his polish and panache. This black and white documentary photo-essay presents unique insights into an Ellington rehearsal including the inner workings of Ellington’s renowned orchestra, as well as rare glimpses of the bandleader in relaxed dress and manner.

Claude Miles was born in 1922 and discovered the art of photography while processing prints for shipmates on merchant navy tankers during WWII. He went on to study journalism at Ryerson University and worked as a journalist for several newspapers. Introduced to jazz as a twelve-year-old through a Louis Armstrong concert at Shea’s Hippodrome, Toronto’s major vaudeville theatre, Miles became devoted to this musical genre. Miles’ approach to photography is both candid and intimate, while presenting access to a rarely seen side of Duke Ellington’s persona.

A Documentary Screening (60 min)

One Time Only! Thursday 28 July
Screening begins at 9:00PM on the Thomas Craig Oliver Terrace at NAC

In collaboration with Niagara Jazz Fest, NAC invites you to enjoy a free public screening of a rarely seen 1965 CBC documentary entitled The Duke. Shot at the CBC television studios after the September 1964 rehearsals that Claude Miles photographed, this documentary highlights Duke Ellington at the piano (at one point playing the very first song he wrote), as well as demonstrates the tremendous synchronistic talents of his big band. Aired only a couple of times since its production, this documentary screening presents an opportunity to see footage of one of the most elegant piano players and significant musical visionaries of the 20th century in the beautiful open air setting of NAC’s rooftop terrace. Don’t miss this chance to catch this one-time only screening.

Refreshments at the reception and screening will be provided by Mahtay Café.

Sat 9 July 2016


Opening Reception
Saturday 9 July 7PM


My primary source of inspiration for the vibrant and diverse subject matter for ’15 YEARS’ – Photos in Paint, comes from photographs of images that I have taken that capture my interest and challenge my abilities as an artist. My love for detail in shadows cast by sunlight and reflections found in architecture, nature and everyday images are what I’m drawn to emulate.


DIG: William Griffiths


William Griffiths
Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at NAC
Opening Reception Saturday 18 June at 7PM
On display until Friday 8 July 2016


Artist Statement 
My art straddles two worlds: photography and painting. My inspiration, consciously or subconsciously, comes from the environment, and the allure found within. I am intrigued by the beauty in the natural world (landscapes, trees, rocks), as well as the beauty in man’s manufactured masses (metal, deteriorating structures, forgotten dwellings). I photograph overlooked objects, and use them as inspiration for abstract work. I strive to recreate the moment, and express what I see. 

I use unorthodox materials, and experiment with different mediums to emulate the surfaces I see. I am constantly challenging myself, and inventing new ways to relate what I see. I search for methods outside the norm to express myself. I take the medium into unfamiliar practices, and push it to create a new language for itself. Colour, texture and depth are the tools I use to bridge unconventional and traditional acts of painting. By merging abstract and representational methods, I work to create mood and beauty through transformation, similar to nature’s regeneration and structural decay. Leaving myself open to chance and mistakes gives way to new ideas, and this creative process is most important to me, regardless of the work’s final outcome. 

William Griffiths
William was born and raised in St. Catharines, and he currently lives in Niagara Falls. Although he is a graduate of Sheridan College, in the Illustration program, he is a self-taught painter, and photographer. His work has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions, in Toronto, Montreal, Kelowna, San Francisco, and Madrid. He has also participated in several International Art Fairs. His work displays prominently in private and corporate collections.

Passage and Recall / Krys Kaczkan / Sat 21 May 7PM

Passage and Recall
Krys Kaczkan
Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at NAC
Opening Reception Saturday 21 May 2016 7PM
On display until Friday 3 June

As a child growing up in Niagara, I spent seemingly endless summers at my grandparents’ farm, at first watching my parents and grandparents toil in the orchards and vineyards and later working there myself. That farm no longer exists, having been swallowed up by urban sprawl, but the recollection of that ever changing landscape, the emotions it evoked, and the hardship it created remains with me to this day.

I left Niagara intending to never return; First traveling to western Europe, then to western Canada, and finally, to the east coast. For some reason, I have always been drawn back to this place, and its haunting rhythmic landscape. The paintings in this exhibition, while inspired by specific sites within Niagara, are not imitations of those locations, but rather “recollections.” They are moments, edited by memory, filtered by recall and transformed by the passage of time. Through the years, I have chosen to explore other mediums and subject matter, both figuratively and conceptually, but each time I return to the Niagara landscape looking for more than the mere sum of form, colour and texture. The landscape has become a measure of growth for me. It has become my meter.

– Krys Kaczkan