There's a surprising lot of interesting stuff going on around here, and this space is devoted to discovering and sharing it. We'll post regular updates on merchants, activities and events. Look in often and soon you'll see why Meaford calls itself "The other Big Apple".

posted October 11th, 2014
Works by local artists usher in Autumn

As Meaford itself becomes a vibrant display of autumn foliage, the Meaford Creative Arts Association (MCAA) displays work by all of its members at the annual Changing Colours art show and sale at Meaford Hall. From now through November 16, you can view – and purchase (well in time for Christmas) – paintings, pottery, jewellery and fabric art by dozens of local artists and artisans. This year, look for a new addition: “miniature paintings”, highly detailed works perfect for small spaces. The show, in the Hall Galleries, is free to visit.

Changing Colours Exhibit

The MCAA, launched in 2002, brings together local artists working in a variety of media. The group organizes juried art exhibits and sales, a summer youth art camp, and was behind a project to turn ceiling tiles at the Meaford Hospital into works of art, providing welcome colour and beauty for patients.

If you’re interested in joining the MCAA, call Judy Shield at 519.599.3817, or drop by the Terrace Room at Meaford Hall any Monday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The group meets there weekly to paint and participate in workshops and discussions, heading outside in July and August to sketch or paint en plein air.

posted September 17th, 2014
The Marsh Girls showcases the painting of local family

In the Marsh family, painting is a family affair.

Anne Marsh Evans has long been known for her watercolours and other works which feature local landscapes and architecture. Anne’s daughter, Cynthia Marsh, owns the Marsh Street Gallery and Studio in Clarksburg, and also teaches locally. And recently Cynthia’s sister, Dale, has embarked on her own paintings.

The Marsh Girls

Until September 28, you have an opportunity to see the works of all three “Marsh Girls” in one place, at Meaford Hall.

The free show runs until Sunday, September 28.

posted May 30th, 2014
Popular Meaford artists featured in major retrospective at Meaford Hall

A new exhibition at Meaford Hall showcases a story of love and shared passion that found fulfillment in Meaford. Chuck Finley and Margot Bodwell met in Toronto in the late 1930s, where they both worked in the Advertising Department at Eaton’s. The romance blossomed, though they waited till 1954 to marry, with war service and busy careers occupying much of the intervening years.

Chuck and Margot FindleyWhen they both retired, in 1967, Chuck brought Margot home to his native Meaford, and in their retirement years, they found time to devote to their shared passion for painting.

Their works capture many sides of Meaford. Chuck’s work in oils depicted local landscapes, and Margot focused on watercolours of old barns, houses and municipal buildings. Neighbours and friends admired their work, and Chuck’s and Margot’s paintings hung on the walls of many a Meaford home.

Last year, a group of volunteers decided to mount a retrospective of their work, and they put out a call for paintings owned by people in the community. Committee Chair, Jack Morgan, notes that the careers of the two artists spanned much of the 20th century and that this retrospective exhibit would attempt to document some small part of that history as reflected in the lives of the artists.

The Charles and Margot Finley Retrospective Exhibition opens on Wednesday, with a reception in the Meaford Hall Galleries on Thursday. Admission is free.

The Exhibition runs till July 30.

posted March 31st, 2012
Meaford Hall Juried Art Show

Meaford has lots of opportunities to enjoy the fine arts. But if you’re an artist yourself, you’ve really found a great place to retire to. Do you paint? Photograph? Draw? On May 21, Meaford Hall’s Third Annual Juried Show will welcome photography and fine art/2D entries. It’s open to artists in Grey, Bruce and Simcoe counties, and those selected by the jury will be exhibited in the in the beautiful, light-filled galleries at the Hall from May 28 through June 23. Top winners will also receive cash prizes.

Get your entry form here.

Meaford arts organizations you might want to get to know.

Meaford Hall and Culture Foundation
Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts
Grey-Bruce Arts Collective
Meaford Creative Arts Association: Contact:Bryan Gibbins, president MCAA, 519-538-0386

posted February 25th, 2012
Meaford church windows restore beauty from the rubble of war

Among the casualties of the Second World War was the architecture of Europe. Countless magnificent, ancient structures crumbled under the blasts of bombs and shells. Churches suffered as well; centuries of craftsmanship and painstaking, devotion to craft were reduced to rubble in seconds.

But in Meaford, fragments of European ecclesiastical history are preserved in the stained glass windows of Christ Church Anglican. Broken glass from 125 English and European cathedrals and churches have gained new life in the beautiful Gothic windows, and while the stone church itself is more than a century old, its windows contain glass once gazed upon by clergy and churchgoers during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Christ Church Anglican stained glass windows

Christ Church Anglican stained glass windows

The first Anglican service in Meaford was conducted in Stephenson’s Inn in 1856, and six years later, the parish built a frame building on the south side of the Bighead River. In 1876, a more substantial stone church welcomed the congregation, and within 14 years, the stone building had expanded to include a bell tower and a larger building which has now become the parish hall.

In 1938, a young rector arrived at the church, and Reverend Harold Appleyard quickly plunged into working with the congregation, the community, and the building, spearheading the difficult task of excavating under the original church to create a basement with a passage under the cloister to link it with the parish hall basement

But when war broke out in Europe, it wasn’t long before Reverend Appleyard heard the call. He joined the Grey and Simcoe Foresters in 1941as Chaplain, and on Sunday, March 22, 1942 preached his farewell sermon before leaving to join the Canadian Chaplain Service.

The destruction in England struck him as appalling nearly as soon as he landed. He quickly began to collect shards of stained glass from the shattered windows of damaged churches, and soon began to envision using them for a memorial window at his parish church. On volunteer fire duty one night in the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, he met an architect responsible for London’s ancient churches, who referred him to the Cox and Barnard Stained Glass Works in Hove, Sussex. The firm offered to design and re-lead the glass into windows to fit Appleyard’s Meaford church – free of charge in gratitude for the Canadian war effort.

Rev. Harold Appleyard in 1946

Rev. Harold Appleyard in 1946

After being shipped to Europe, Appleyard continued his collection, retrieving glass from churches in France, Belgium and Holland, and a year after the war ended, the church unveiled them as memorials to the parishioners and townspeople who had been killed or wounded during the years of fighting.

“During my first few moments in England, the appalling destruction of homes and churches alike, along with the courage of the British people, made it desirable to link their sacrifice with ours,” said Appleyard at the service dedicating the memorial windows, his words heard in a broadcast across Canada and Britain.

The church, which became a Centre for Prayer for World Peace in 1999, is celebrating its 150 year anniversary this year. You may visit Christ Church and see the windows on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. For information on the windows or booking tours, call Sharleen Schefter at (519) 538-3365.

posted January 28th, 2012
Beautiful quilts on display

Quilting seems to go with a small-town, rural way of life, and Meaford’s Friendship Circle Quilters have long been a big part of the community. Now’s your chance to see their work; you still have a week to enjoy their latest exhibit in the Meaford Hall Galleries. The display of nearly 40 stunning quilts (many for sale) went up a couple of weeks ago, and the exhibit runs through Saturday, February 4.

“The Friendship Circle Quilters are glad to bring the warmth back to the Galleries, Friendship Circle Quilters president, Cheryl Smith, told the Meaford Independent. “The quilts look beautiful in this great, light-filled space, and their presence gives the Galleries a very soft, warm and inviting feeling.”

Admission to the exhibit, which includes hand-quilted, pieced, appliquéd, and machine quilted works, is free, but call Meaford Hall to check for open times: 1.877.538.0463.

Meaford quilt

Courtesy The Meaford Independent

posted December 17th, 2011
Husband and wife share love of art with new exhibit

Last weekend, Kerry Riley and David Johnston kicked off their show of painting and photography at Meaford Hall, Recent Works, with an opening reception in the galleries.

David and Kerry are long-time Meaford residents, who met at Ryerson University, where Kerry studied applied art and design and David taught interior design.

David has always painted. Since studying art and design at the Winchester School of Art and the Central School of Art in his native England, he has exhibited works in Toronto, Hamilton, and at local galleries.

Upon retiring from his professorship a couple of years ago, David took to his studio in the couple’s attached garage and indulged his passion for painting more than he’d been able to in recent years, often working into the wee hours. His output has been prodigious, as the new show reveals. David’s work combines stylized objective imagery superimposed on randomly controlled colour fields.

Kerry, a business owner and active community volunteer, who was part of the group that initiated the restoration and renovation of Meaford Hall, has continued to work in mixed media and drawing, designing a number of posters for community events and the emblematic scarecrow for Meaford’s Scarecrow Invasion. She has also refined a rare photographic eye, as this show reveals. Borrowing David’s digital SLR camera during the last year or so, she has caught unique glimpses of beauty hidden in landscapes and seemingly random still lifes. The images are printed as she’s captured them in the camera, with no post-processing or digital hocus pocus – just her clear, artistic vision.

You can catch the exhibit until January 7.

posted November 1st, 2011
Inside Fran Bouwman’s Fairy Tree

We mentioned the “Fairy Tree” at Ted’s the other day. Fran Bouwman, the sculptor who created the work, has a great story about its genesis here.

It seems that rather than cut down a dying tree in the parking lot, Ted decided to have Fran turn it into something magical. But when she discovered that the tree was rotten inside, she thought she’d have to abandon the project. But Ted insisted, and Fran persisted. After much thought, an idea struck her. She decided to carve a trio of remarkable fairies to inhabit the heart of the old tree – fairies who captivated the young girl gazing at them.

Fairy Tree by Fran Bouwman

Now, Fran is an amazing sculptor, but she’s also a great singer and musician and has played many a night at various venues around town with different incarnations of her band, featuring Drew McIvor, Jay Stiles, Rich Fletcher and others.

One regular gig was the Fisherman’s Wharf, and speaking of the Wharf… we’ve got a bit of news on that next.

posted June 3rd, 2011
Free art show introduces you to local artists

The canvases have been hung and the winners chosen for the Second Annual Juried Art Show at Meaford Hall Gallery. Drop in to enjoy a wide range of fine art and photography by local and regional artists from now through July 2, or make plans to attend the free reception honouring the winners this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Artists submitted their work last weekend, and a trio of established artists judged the entrants, choosing three winners and three honourable mentions.

Joan Redford Brown won first place for her acrylic, “Rocky Shores”.
Terry Best took second, for his oil painting, “Swamp Infatuation”.
And Anne Evans placed third with her “Mist Saltspring Is”, also in oil.

Rocky Shores

"Rocky Shores" by Joan Redford Brown

Swamp Infatuation

"Swamp Infatuation", Terry Best

Mist Saltspring Is

"Mist Saltspring Is" by Anne Evans

Honourable mentions were:
Shauna Earle, “Running at Sunset” – Acrylic
Eldora Taylor, “Bridgewater Retreat” – Soft Pastel
Valerie Cargo, “Fearless” – Mixed Media Oil

The show is free and open to the public during regular Hall hours and during events.

Judges were Merv Richardson, Vlasta Kelemen and Marr Thurman.