The Mainstreeter announces new community events to spotlight social issues and local artists

Lorne Abugov

The Mainstreeter is pleased to announce that it will work in collaboration with several organizations and groups in Old Ottawa East (OOE) to partner and promote a series of innovative
community events, beginning this month and continuing into 2021.

The goal is to allow readers of the newspaper the opportunity to delve more deeply into a range of social issues of importance in OOE and to enjoy greater engagement with our talented local creative community.

The cornerstone of The Mainstreeter’s newly formed community collaborations is a “social alliance” developed with Saint Paul University’s Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop (the “Atelier”), at 95 Clegg Street.

Working in conjunction with the Atelier, The Mainstreeter will launch a series of community issues based panel discussions and lectures, featuring issue experts with local, national
and international perspectives and experiences.

Kicking off the Mainstreeter/Atelier “social issues” series on Friday, October 16th is a socially distanced panel discussion on the topic of Food Security, timed to coincide with World Food Day,
which has been observed annually since 1981. Weather permitting, the afternoon event will be staged outdoors, either at the Main Street Farmer’s Market or across the street on the lawn adjacent to Saint Paul University.

Bonnie Weppler, co-chairperson of The Mainstreeter’s Board of Directors, explained that the explosive growth and dynamism of Old Ottawa East has raised new and exciting challenges and
opportunities for the community that The Mainstreeter and the Atelier are well-positioned to explore together.

“This isn’t the first time that The Mainstreeter has worked with the Atelier, and it won’t be the last,” Weppler explained. “Our Board of Directors appreciate that we have many valuable
partners and friends in Old Ottawa East, all of whom enhance the work that The Mainstreeter and the community can do. These partnerships ensure that social issues and the arts in Old Ottawa East
are well entrenched in The Mainstreeter, sometimes through our own initiatives and sometimes through the good work of our partners and friends.”

Speaking for the Atelier, Elisabeth Bruins, the community and youth engagement officer with the social innovation workshop, said that the collaboration with the community newspaper will help her organization to promote its social innovation agenda, expand the ambit of bilingual programs and services offered within Old Ottawa East and enhance its focus on the social challenges that face the community and its residents.

Alice Trudelle, the director general of the Atelier, acknowledges that “it will be tempting to “return to normal” (after the pandemic), but we believe it is precisely at this moment that we must develop new ways of functioning that are more democratic, egalitarian and collective.

To that end, we want to anchor our work more meaningfully in the local community,” she says.

Trudelle adds that “we are collaborating with The Mainstreeter and other organizations because we don’t want the work that happens in our social innovation ecosystem to be disconnected from the local reality, or the university resources to be exclusive to the campus.

Many members of our ecosystem are already working on topics related to food security, for instance, so collaborating with organizations like The Mainstreeter allows this work to connect with the reality and experience of folks in the community.”

The Mainstreeter/Atelier social issues series will extend throughout 2021 and is expected to include expert panel presentations and lectures on some of the following issues of relevance to Old Ottawa East: affordable housing; environmental change; sustainability; densification; local governance and pandemic impacts.

In addition, buoyed by the success of its expanded coverage of local artists through the Art Beat pages, edited by Tanis Browning-Shelp, and Peter Fowler’s Focus on photography features, The Mainstreeter will organize several special events this year and next designed to expose our readers to the creative talent in our community.

The Mainstreeter will join forces with Old Ottawa East’s growing cadre of local artists and photographers, and with the OOE Community Activities Group (CAG), to develop and promote events showcasing the depth of creative artists living and working in our community.

The first cultural event is an outdoors and socially distanced Old Ottawa East Mini Art Tour, featuring local artists Rosie Cusson, Steve Fick and Kathleen McCrea, displaying their artwork outside their homes on Saturday, August 22nd from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm (rain date, Sunday,
August 23rd).

In what is hoped to be the first of an expanded annual OOE artist studio tour, the trio of local artists will proudly display their paintings, icons and ceramic sculpture to the community.

Carol Toone, Executive Director of CAG believes the planned arts and culture events dovetail well with her organization’s mandate to provide cultural programming in Old Ottawa East that is accessible, diverse and responsive to community interests and needs.

“The CAG is proud to partner with The Mainstreeter on promoting quality, interesting and relevant programming for the community of Old Ottawa East. These online events are in keeping with the CAG philosophy of continued connections through programming in this challenging time,” Toone explained.

The month of November will see an array of outstanding local photographers, many of whom have
already graced the pages of The Mainstreeter, come together with the support of the newspaper and CAG to mount “FRAMEwork: Home and Away”, the first photography exhibition dedicated to the imagery of Old Ottawa East, as well as images from abroad taken by our local OOE photographers.

Organizers hope the event could become annual in frequency and could have one or both of an indoor gallery format (COVID pandemic permitting) and an online format. The date, location and additional details on the exhibition will be forthcoming through The Mainstreeter.

Any Old Ottawa East resident interested in volunteering to help out with any of the new
event initiatives planned for the community should email either editor@mainstreeter.
ca or and provide contact details and specific volunteer

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