Spotlight on Familiar Faces in our New School Performance Season!

For the Centre’s 15th anniversary, we’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “homecoming” and how we could reflect this idea in our programming as we celebrate this exciting milestone.

In our 2012-2013 school performance season, we are pleased to welcome back three of our favourite youth-based theatre troupes including Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, Green Thumb Theatre, and The American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life® program. 

Mermaid Theatre is an award-winning Canadian company that has received accolades for its colourful and lively stage adaptations of Eric Carle’s classic books. This year, we are proud to present Mermaid Theatre’s newest production A Brown Bear, A Moon and A Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric Carle (JK-3) for two shows on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. 

Mermaid Theatre returns to the LAC with a brand new show on Tuesday, November 20, 2012!

The last time we hosted Green Thumb Theatre at our centre, the company was finding a unique way to speak to students about addiction and drug culture through the use of theatre, spoken word, and hip hop in their original play, Cranked.

Building on their reputation for intelligent and impactful issues-based theatre, Green Thumb Theatre returns this year with Out in the Open (Gr. 7-12), an honest look at homophobia, friendship, social pressure, and navigating the complicated truths of teenage relationships.

How do we deal with our own fears and issues when faced with a shift in what we thought we knew?

Armed with a realistic story, two dynamic actors, and a detailed study guide to help teachers develop a dialogue about homophobia and how to build safer schools, this important production would be an ideal fit for English, Drama, Diversity, and Health & Physical Education classes. 

Having just visited us in the spring of 2012, The American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life® program is a relatively new addition to our school performance roster, but it is one that we could not imagine being without.

Focusing first and foremost on inspiring a love for reading with its verbatim adaptations of significant literary works, this New York-based company has a rich repertoire of plays written and directed by Wynn Handman, a protégé of Sanford Meisner, and a multiple Lifetime Achievement award winner for his contributions to the theatre.   

See this powerful coming-of-age story live at the LAC on February & & 8, 2013!

Our pick for this year’s season is The Secret Life of Bees (Gr. 6-12), a New York Times bestseller by Sue Monk Kidd that is set during the Civil Rights movement. Surrounded by a pre- and post-show interactive discussion led by an experienced educator, our presentation of this critically-acclaimed production on February 7 & 8, 2013 is sure to spark your students’ imaginations and kick start some engaging critical discussions just in time for Black History Month.

Tickets for all of our school performances are now on sale and more info can be found online at:

We hope to see you and your students for our 2012-2013 school performance season!


An Instagram Story: Raku Pottery

Our summer Raku Pottery class kicked off this month and we thought it might be fun to show you what goes into a typical raku firing!

Raku pottery differs from regular pottery in that it introduces different variables (unique glazes, temperature, timing, etc.) combined with a harsh cooling and oxidation process to produce unpredictable yet dazzling results.

Pieces are glaze fired in our outdoor propane kiln to ensure we have lots of well-ventilated space to work with.

When the kiln reaches the desired temperature, we carefully remove the ceramic pieces with tongs and prepare to transfer them.

Our studio techs lower the piping hot pieces into a metal can lined with combustible materials such as newspaper or sawdust. Once the lid is closed, the fire burns without oxygen creating a reduction atmosphere. The reduction atmosphere is what causes some raku glazes to crackle and other glazes with metallic compounds to deepen and change colour.

Once the pieces are out of the can, our studio tech douses them with water to cool them down quickly and uniformly.

Steel wool is then used to scrub off the excess carbon revealing the different effects of fire and smoke!

A finished raku piece.

The unglazed lip of the vessel turns matte black due to its intake of carbon in the oxidation process. In contrast, the glazed areas produce soft metallic gradients of colour that give this vessel a character that is truly one of a kind!

For a full listing of our community courses for the spring/summer session, please visit us online at

The summer session of community courses starts on July 10 and the fall/winter session goes on sale July 1!

Day Five: Carolyne Topdjian

Carolyne Topdjian (BFA, MA, PhD) is an artist-educator whose art practice and interests explore the experience of both real and unreal bodies and identity politics. She has published on the photographs of Claude Cahun in the peer-reviewed journal, Resources in Feminist Research, and recently earned a PhD at York University for her research on aesthetic theory and the representation of the female body in contemporary art and visual culture.

Prior to joining the Arts Programming department at the Living Arts Centre, Topdjian worked at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, National Ballet of Canada, and Ottawa Art Gallery.  She also taught for several years in the Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences atYork University.

Topdjian is currently writing a novel and working on a new series of paintings that addresses the idealization of bodies and popular romance—a selection of which she exhibited at the Gladstone Hotel in February 2012.

Image credit:
Carolyne Topdjian
Contraction, Contradiction
Acrylic on canvas

Day Four: Cole Swanson

Cole Swanson is an artist and the Curator & Residency Program Coordinator at the Living Arts Centre,Mississauga. His painting practice is an investigation of indigenous techniques, regional histories, and cultural notoriety.

In 2007, he was declared a national fellowship winner through the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute for his study on miniature paintings in Jaipur, India. Swanson has exhibited his works in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, U.S., China, Taiwan, India, and Italy. He has also appeared on several exhibition juries and discussion panels in partnership with the Art Gallery of Mississauga, South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), Sheridan Technical Institute, HumberCollege, Pearson International Airport, the University of  Toronto, and the University of Guelph. Recent publications include A Homespun Web (Living Arts Centre, Mississauga), Viktor Mitic: Rain Dance (Fourfront Editions, Toronto), and Rachael Wong: Flat Depth (Stride Gallery,Calgary). He is a candidate for the University of Toronto’s Masters of Art, Art History program; his research focus is on cross-cultural appropriation in the age of globalization.

Image credit:
Cole Swanson
Zipper Jump
Opaque watercolour on wasli paper

Day Three: Megan Press

Megan Press is a sculpture and installation artist whose practice deals with ideas of collecting, curating, and owning explored through assemblage and its various manifestations. She received her BFA with distinction from the University of Western Ontario in 2009, and completed her MFA at the University of Victoria, BC in 2011. Most recently, she was selected for the 2011 Windsor/Detroit Biennial at the Art Gallery of Windsor and exhibited in “Not for Sale” at the Forest City Gallery in London, ON. Other exhibitions include “I Can Do Better…” at the art LAB (London, ON); “Well it’s My Nipple Now”, a collaborative project at the Wright Lithography Building (London, ON); “Raw” at Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria, BC); “Interim” at Xchanges Gallery (Victoria, BC); and “Grappling the Monster… and Shouting Pictures” at the University of Victoria. Press has taught an introductory course in Sculpture and Material Methods at the University of Victoria and has participated in the Government of Ontario’s Summer Experience Program at The Art Gallery of Hamilton. Currently, she works at the Living Arts Centre in the Arts Programming department as the Administrative and Program Assistant

Image credit:
Megan Press
Installation View: Grappling the Monster…and Shouting Pictures
Mixed Media

Day Two: C. Harben

C. Harben is an artist and educator who received her BFA from NSCAD University. She works primarily with textiles, sculpture, and photography to create site-specific works that investigate the ecology of the individual and social bodies in space. She has designed youth programs for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Oakville Galleries, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Living Arts Centre. Recently, her work has been published in No More Potlucks and exhibited at The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine and the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax. Harben has also participated in a large-scale performance project by artist Annie Sprinkle, presented by SAW Gallery. She is the co-editor of Do You Read Me?, an anthology of zines and artworks by youth in Oakville and Toronto.

Image credit:
Cait Harben
photograph, site installation, hand-cut paper figures

Day One: Joel Alexander

Joel Alexander is a mixed-media artist with a strong background in glass sculpture. After working within Sheridan College’s Glass Program from 1997–2000, Alexander has participated in exhibitions across the continent including showcases at Scarone Hartley Gallery (Tampa Bay), Galerie Elena Lee (Montreal), University of Brooklyn (New York), and Lafrenier & Pai Gallery (Ottawa).

In 2003, Alexander was awarded Best Glass Award at the 42nd Annual Toronto Outdoor Exhibition. As an instructor, he has taught glassblowing techniques at Sheridan College, Haliburton School of the Arts, and Geisterblitz Studio inToronto. He has extensive studio-related technical experience and has been a central figure in the development and construction of the Glass studios at the Fireworks Studio, Kingston and at the Living Arts Centre, Mississauga.

Image credit:
Joel Alexander
Blown and sculpted glass, mixed media 2009

Decent Exposure: Introducing the Jury

With the upcoming submission deadline for our emerging artist exhibition Decent Exposure fast approaching – Friday, June 1st – we’d like to introduce you to the talented jury members that will be short-listing artists. Each juror is a member of the Living Arts Centre team and through their broad experiences brings a unique perspective to the process of judging. We’ll introduce you to a new member of the jury each day prior to the closing of submissions.

Summer 2012 – Clay Crazy Camper Interviews

Each summer, campers in the Clay Crazy and Clay Works camp at the Living Arts Centre have a chance to explore a variety of clay hand-building and design techniques, as well as trying their hand on the potter’s wheel. This summer we had a chance to catch up with two young artists in Clay Crazy. They gave us some advice on what they love about clay and how to keep cool in tricky situations!

LAC: So which projects have you enjoyed the most in Clay Crazy so far?

Camper1: Learning how to use potters wheel! And making butterfly tiles.

Camper2: I like learning how to work with clay and how to use tools to make designs and patterns. We did cool stuff like make frog sculptures, and pots to use in the kitchen.

LAC: Sounds like you’ve been busy! What is working on the potters wheel like?

Camper1: It is fun and difficult! It’s hard to “cone-up” but fun because you get dirty and can make so many awesome things!

Camper2: Definitely fun and difficult. It’s hard to keep the clay thick and not fall over! But you get to keep everything you make which is great!

LAC: What would you say is the most important thing you learned when using the potter’s wheel?

Camper1: Don’t panic! Just follow all of the steps and you’ll get the hang of it.

Camper2: Don’t make the walls too thin!

LAC: Would you recommend the potter’s wheel to other people? What would you tell someone interested in trying it for the first time?

Camper1: Yes! It gives you a chance to learn new things

Camper2: It’s fun, it’s kind of like driving and learning the pedals!

Check out our Summer Camp offerings for more great visual and performing arts programs. Click here

Creative Camps for Kids at the LAC

Thank you to all the campers, parents, and staff for an amazing summer camp 2011!  July and August were filled with fun, creativity, and imagination.  Check out some of the highlights from this summer!   

Join us for Winter Break (Jan 3 - 6, 2012), March Break (Mar 12 – 16, 2012) and Summer 2012 (Jul 3 – Aug 24, 2012).

CLICK HERE for programme information and 2012 camps registration.

Each Friday, campers aged 6 – 7 in All About Art prepared an exhibition for friends and family, showcasing all their hard work and creative ideas from the week. This week’s theme was “The Great Outdoors” and campers were busy constructing their favourite snacks out of papier-mâché. The end product looks convincingly tasty wouldn’t you agree?

This year’s Bravo Broadway was another smash hit! While the 8-10 year old’s refined their sweet tooth in the production of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, the 11-14 year olds worked hard to get by with just a few of their favourite things in the production of The Sound of Music! This camp is always a sell-out so don’t miss out!

Campers in Clay Crazy (ages 8 – 10) had a great time creating everything out of clay! From frog sculptures to functional serving dishes, campers learned a variety of hand building and decorating techniques, as well as trying their hand at the potter’s wheel! Stay tuned for the forthcoming interview with two of our campers as they explain why clay is so much fun and how using the potter’s wheel is kind of like learning how to drive a car!

Campers in Creative Couture were busy designing, measuring, cutting, styling, and sewing unique and functional fashion pieces! In addition to showcasing their new  creations down the runway at the Friday fashion show, campers also learned how to screen print and create other stylish accessories.

And an extra thank you goes out to all the volunteer assistants who woke up early each day and helped make each camper’s week a memorable one!  Good luck in the new school year!

Summer Camp 2012  ONSALE NOW!

Register early to avoid disappointment!