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In this edition of The Bulletin:

  1. Movies Return Downtown!
  2. Calls for submissions: What about Rodman Hall / The Last Things
  3. MILLION DOLLAR PINK Closing Reception Friday 26 February 7PM
  4. In the Soil Arts Festival: Early Bird Festival Passes now available!

Dim the Lights, Let’s Start the Show

As many of you know, NAC has been working on developing a film program for the FirstOntario Performing Art Centre’s new Film House. Last night was opening night, the immigration drama Brooklyn screened to a sold out audience of 200.

This represents the culmination of a long odyssey for NAC. We first began our research and preparation to deliver a compelling variety of film titles specifically for Niagara audiences back in 2012 when NAC representatives attended the Art House Convergence in Utah. It’s been a long haul, and there’s more work ahead, but I wanted to thank the people who’ve helped make the return of great films to our downtown possible. NAC members Barry Grant and Joan Nicks anchored our programming committee and readily shared their vast knowledge and enthusiasm. Janis Barlow gathered the expertise and created a framework for NAC and the PAC to work together. NAC work horses Jon Eben Field, Dennis Soron, Natasha Pedros all volunteered time and effort to get this thing going. A special thanks to Kasia Smuga who came in to do the hard slogging with film distributors, while the clock ticked loudly, and hooked us up with some wonderful titles. Thanks also to Sara Palmieri and Steve Solski at the PAC for their confidence and guidance.

Now all we want you to do is go see films!  The March Calendar is available online and there’s something for just about everyone. Sundays at 1p it’s REEL GEMS; Wednesday nights is the DOC SPOTLIGHT; and Saturdays at 1:30p it’s FAMILY FILMS followed later at 9:30p by SPECUALTIVE FICTION (sci-fi, horror, fantasy, trashterpieces). The rest of the week is peppered with features, save for Monday when the Film House is closed.

Here are some screenings that may be of special interest to NAC members.

It’s really happening, movies are back downtown! It’s getting to be like a real city around here.


Stephen Remus
Minister of Energy, Minds, and Resources

NFB Animated Shorts
Canada, 67 min. All Ages, Family FIlm

The National Film Board of Canada is known for its precociously engaging animated shorts that delight and amuse, while challenging our notions of artistry, beauty, and humour. Using a variety of media and artistic forms, this family-oriented group of short films ranges from classics like The Cat Came Back to lesser-known shorts like Big Mouth Trudy, all while providing buckets of family fun. From road trips in the by-gone era of classic cars with no seatbelts to a whimsical tale of a violinist whose instrument plays him as much as he plays it, these wide-ranging and multifaceted short films display the best story-telling and cinema magic that the National Film Board has to offer to tickle your family’s funny bones.

The Man Who Fell to Earth
UK 1976. Directed by Nicholas Roeg, 139 min. R, Speculative Fiction

When it was released in the US in the spring of 1976, The Man Who Fell to Earth grossed $3,000 its opening week. Not an auspicious beginning for David Bowie’s first stab at movie acting. In this science-fiction drama, Bowie plays an extraterrestrial who comes to earth in search of water for his home planet. Bowie’s character parallels his life as a man marked by the media for scrutiny and subsequent misunderstanding, his own self-created alter-egos like Ziggy Stardust — and as his character becomes a gin-soaked alcoholic — his real-life struggles with drugs and addiction.

USA 1968. Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charolette Zwerin, 85 min. All Ages, Doc Spotlight
Released to universal critical acclaim, this black and white documentary by American iconoclasts, The Maysles brothers (Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens) along with editor Zwerin, chronicles four gum shoe salesmen as they peddle spendy bibles to low-income Catholics across the US. The seeds of Glengarry Glen Ross and the echoes of Arthur Miller’s Death of Salesman are easily recognized in the ‘direct cinema’ style that Canada pioneered and that these filmmakers deftly employ. The salesmen, dressed in hats, ties, and coats in ‘everyman’ William Burrrough’s banality are completely unselfconscious around the camera. There’s empathy and compassion here amidst the still prevailing American fascinations with religion and tactics to turn the almighty buck.

USA, Portugal 2015. Directed by Laurie Anderson, 75 min. PG, Doc Spotlight
“Hello, little bonehead. I’ll love you forever.” So begins Heart of a Dog, creative pioneer Laurie Anderson’s wry, wondrous and unforgettable cinematic journey through love, death and language.

Centering on Anderson’s beloved rat terrier Lolabelle, who died in 2011, Heart of a Dog is a personal essay that weaves together childhood memories, video diaries, philosophical musings on data collection, surveillance culture and the Buddhist conception of the afterlife, and heartfelt tributes to the artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers who inspire her.

Fusing her own witty, inquisitive narration with original violin compositions, hand-drawn animation, 8mm home movies, and artwork culled from exhibitions past and present, Anderson creates a hypnotic, collage-like visual language out of the raw materials of her life and art, examining how stories are constructed and told — and how we use them to make sense of our lives.

USA, France 2015. Directed by Kent Jones, 79 min. PG, Doc Spotlight
In 1962, Francois Truffaut persuaded Alfred Hitchcock to sit with him for a week-long interview in which the great British auteur would share with his young admirer the secrets of his cinema. Based on the original recordings of this meeting—used to produce the seminal book “Hitchcock/Truffaut”—this film illustrates the greatest cinema lesson of all time and plunges us into the world of the creator of PsychoThe Birds, and Vertigo. Hitchcock’s singular vision is elucidated and brought vividly to life by today’s leading filmmakers: Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Arnaud Desplechin, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Wes Anderson, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich, and Paul Schrader.

UK 1978. Directed by Martin Rosen, 101 min. PG, Family Film
This animated adventure film is based on the classic novel by English author Richard Adams, the story of a warren of rabbits anthropomorphized to the extent that they have their own language and mythologies. This isn’t Disney, there is violence, frightening scenes, and death. The film unflinchingly follows the tribulations of its loppy-eared hippity-hopping protaganists as they search to establish a new home in a hostile world. Ranked as one of the best British films of all time, it arrives at the PAC just in time for Easter, your milk chocolate bunny may never look the same.

Calls for Submissions  
What About Rodman Hall?
Deadline for submissions:
Thursday 24 March at 5PM at NAC

As an art gallery, Rodman Hall’s place in the consciousness of our community has fluctuated over its fifty-five-year history. The art gallery has at times been a proud emblem of civic health and an indicator of our collective progress, while at other times it has been misunderstood and purposefully marginalized.

The history of the Niagara Artists Centre and Rodman Hall are intertwined. Rodman Hall’s founding curator and director, Peter Harris, was one of NAC’s founding sixteen members. NAC also made an early home in the Coach House on the grounds of Rodman.

The place of the Rodman Hall Art Centre in our community is once again the subject of deliberation. Brock University, which in 2003 pledged to be the sole operator of the art gallery for twenty years, is now reconsidering the terms of its supporting role.

Why is it that our community leaders have not always recognized the value of having a strong, well-resourced public or university art gallery like Rodman Hall?

NAC is interested in the ideas that the visual artists of Niagara would like to share about Rodman, an organization that is mandated to support the development of artists and cultural workers in southern Ontario, as well as providing art experiences that enrich peoples’ lives.

What is the role of a public gallery such as Rodman in a community like ours?

What will the future of Rodman Hall look like?

What should our community leaders recognize about the value of an art gallery such as RodmanHall?

The Rodman Hall website includes a thorough history of the gallery. Artists are encouraged to visit the site.

Finished works will be accepted at NAC for consideration by the Programming Committee from Saturday 19 March until Thursday 24 March at 5PM.

Artists are also expected to submit an artist statement of no more than 250 words along with a short biography not exceeding 150 words.

The group exhibition, tentatively titled, What About Rodman Hall?, will open with a reception on Friday 1 April at 8PM in the Show Room Gallery at the Niagara Artists Centre, 354 St. Paul Street, downtown St. Catharines.

Artists with works accepted for exhibition will be paid at rates above those recommended by the Canadian Artists Representation Copyright Collective


Questions about the exhibit can be directed to Stephen Remus at the Niagara Artists Centre Please include What About Rodman Hall? in the subject line.

Call for Submissions
NAC’s Flea Market Gallery

Deadline for proposals: Wednesday 2 March 2016 to be received at NAC by 5PM

Once a thing is gone, that is the end of it. 
–Anna from In the Country of the Last Things by Paul Auster

Members of the Niagara Artists Centre are invited to submit proposals for art work to be included in an exhibition entitled The Last Things at NAC’s Flea Market Gallery.

Using materials sourced from the Flea Market, artists are invited to reconfigure found materials as a way of speculating on a post-industrial future. Tools, prototypes, contrived artefacts, and other imaginings are suggested to evoke a future era of salvage and survival. THE LAST THINGS proposes an imagining of future material cultures, the socio-political circumstances of those futures, and the kinds of innovations and responses that could arise with the disappearance of advanced technologies and newly manufactured goods. The exhibit wonders: Where and how does art merge with utility? What kinds of hybrids might arise out of necessity?

The title of this exhibition draws inspiration from the 1987 dystopian novel In the Country of the Last Things by Paul Auster. Set in a speculative future of an urban post-industrial wasteland, it follows Anna, a collector who scavenges and sells useful found objects.

The St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market—Niagara’s largest flea market—coincidentally opened its doors the same year that In the Country of Last Things was published. In 2010, NAC converted an 8’ x 10’ flea market booth into a gallery and invited artists to create site-responsive work for the space. THE LAST THINGS is one of over fifteen exhibits to be shown at NAC’s Flea Market Gallery

since it opened.  The Flea Market currently accommodates over 250 booths, and welcomes 2500 visitors every Sunday.

Your submission for the LAST THINGS should include:

  • a 300-word proposal describing the work and how it relates to the theme
  • up to five relevant drawings, diagrams or photographs that support your proposal (sized 1024 x 768)
  • a short artist statement/bio
  • up to ten images of related past work (sized 1024 x 768)

A jury will select works to be included in The LAST THINGS exhibited at NAC’s Flea Market Gallery in Spring 2016. CARFAC recommended artist-fees will be paid to selected artists or collectives.

For more information or questions please contact NAC member Maggie Groat at

Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at NAC
Closing Reception Friday 26 February 2016 7PM

Million Dollar Pink is Brock University’s Fourth Annual Juried Art Exhibition hosted by the Brock Art Collective. This year 16 students work was selected by jurors Linda Steer and Derek Knight. There is a range in media including: digital/anaglog photography, installation, painting, and video.

You can visit the show between February 17 – 26 at the Niagara Artists Centre. There will be a closing recepetion on February 26 from 7-9pm. At around 8pm that night we will be making annoucements including the top prizes. This is a free comunity event well equiped with refreshments.

In the Soil Arts Festival
29 April – 1 May 2016

Early Bird Passes available!

Over 650 artists will bring 150 acts/ installations to 15 venues with the care and support of over 150+ volunteers for the 8th annual In the Soil Arts Festival – an extraordinary showcase of original music, theatre, dance, spoken word, film, media art, street art and one-time performance experiences from 29 April – 1 May 2016.

Early bird festival passes are ON SALE NOW for only $30 (until 6pm on onday 29 Feb 2016) and provide first-come, first-serve access to over 150 acts and installations. Festival passes are $40 thereafter.

It has been a banner year for downtown St. Catharines with the arrival of Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. The streets are filled with new life each day and In the Soil Arts Festival is proud to grow with new venues and partners, celebrating the rich past and bright future of the downtown St. Catharines with a lense for the unexpected and extraordinary.

• Over 600 artists will be in downtown St. Catharines to welcome spring with open arms in 15+ performance and installation venues;
• A warm and cozy festival hub on James Street (between St. Paul and King Streets) that will include the Vendor Bender Arts Market in partnership with Craft Arts Market, delicious local beer and wine, interactive activities and our festival stage.

Stay tuned for a few big announcements as well as a full schedule and artist bios in mid-March.

Interested in volunteering for the festival? We’d love to have you and encourage you to check out more information at

In the Soil Arts Festival is brought to you by Suitcase in Point Theatre Company and festival partners with an aim to bring Niagara artists from a range of disciplines together to provide unique audience experiences. The festival nurtures the creation of new work, encourages innovation, offers learning opportunities for youth and provides intimate and uncommon platforms for audiences to experience artwork. Last year over 550 artists and 5000 festival attendees came together to celebrate the arts of Niagara and beyond. This year, In the Soil Arts Festival is bringing another rich and fruitful harvest to St. Catharines downtown core to help grow a Niagara that is self-determining and culturally distinct.

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