Watson Art Centre

zendoodling

The earth without art is just eh. ~ Unknown

I never considered myself an artist. I enjoy creating things but usually choose other means of creativity to express myself. Yet art has always intrigued me. I have often thought I would like to take an art class but I was too afraid. I always felt I didn’t have the natural skills to create a pretty piece worthy to hang on a wall. I decided it was time to challenge that view of myself and try something new. I noticed an advertisement for a Zendoodling Art Class that was being held at the Watson Art Centre in Dauphin. The class description claimed I didn’t need any special skills and that if I could write my name then I could create a zendoodle. It sounded like the perfect art class for a beginner and I quickly signed up.

When I arrived at the Watson Art Centre I was greeted by a familiar face, Jan Jenkins, a local artist. I was pleased to discover she would be teaching the zendoodling art class as she has such a welcoming and supportive personality. People began to trickle in to the class, a mixture of old and young, male and female, established artists and beginners. Jan went over the basics, describing how zendoodling is simply an abstract drawing created by using repetitive patterns. She demonstrated some basic zendoodling techniques and supplies and encouraged us to let go of any pre-conceived notions and to tap into our creative part of our brain. After a quick break we were ready to start our own zendoodle. Quiet music played while we let our doodles guide us in our new artwork. The techniques were surprisingly quite easy and it didn’t take long for myself and my classmates to create some interesting pieces of artwork.

The day after my zendoodling class I wanted more, I was officially hooked on zendoodling. I found a quiet spot in my house and I sat down and practiced the techniques and information I had learned in the class. I think my zendoodle “Sunny Daze” turned out pretty decent considering I am a beginner artist. I can’t wait to see what I come up with next!

If you are interested in taking an art class in Dauphin please visit the Watson Art Centre at www.watsonartcentre.com for more information. If I can create a piece of art, so can you!

the great canadian slugfest

The Stanfields make you proud to be a Maritimer, and jealous if you aren't. ~ Q104FM Halifax

Adding Nova Scotia charm to New York punk rock, Gloryhound continues to solidify their spot in the Canadian music scene. ~ The Examiner

I spent most of my twenties in Halifax, Nova Scotia where east coast music is celebrated and encouraged. I would routinely hit a local pub or bar with friends and catch the newest east coast band. I have many fond memories of those years, and lots of songs as souvenirs that immediately transport me back to that time in my life. When I moved to rural Manitoba it was a bit of a struggle to give up the idea of not being surrounded by east coast music. Friends back home would email me with tips on all these new great Nova Scotia bands they were seeing live, and a small piece of me would twinge with jealously that I wasn‘t there to see them in concert. Now it is their turn to be jealous of me.

Recently The Watson Art Centre in Dauphin hosted two fantastic Nova Scotia bands - Gloryhound and The Stanfields. I knew I had to go. Nova Scotians always support other Nova Scotians, especially when they are outside of Nova Scotia. I was familiar with The Stanfields, they came on the Nova Scotia music scene after I moved to Manitoba, but friends back home raved about how great they were live and I already knew all the words to a couple of their songs. Gloryhound seemed familiar but I didn’t know any of their music, but I had this gut feeling they were be great too.

Both bands were fantastic live at the Watson Art Centre. With two Nova Scotia flags proudly displayed on stage, both bands rocked out and put on a great show. Gloryhound was a heavier rock band, their talent and skills were very evident and they were great interacting with the crowd. The Stanfields combined traditional east coast music with old fashioned rock and roll, producing a very upbeat and enjoyable sound. After the concert was over both bands hung around and mixed with the audience. It was really nice to meet all the members of both bands and to share some east coast memories and stories. As I left the Watson Art Centre after the concert one of the other east coasters yelled out to me “see you later, Nova Scotian”. It was a proud moment. Proud to have the opportunity to see two great Nova Scotia bands in Dauphin, and proud that I live near Dauphin - a city that values up and coming Canadian music and strongly supports touring musicians.  I am thankful to the City of Dauphin, the Watson Art Centre, Gloryhound, and The Stanfields for offering me a small taste of home.

If you are like me, a “come from away” living in the Dauphin area, keep your eyes and ears open. You just never know when a band from home will cruise on into Dauphin and play a show. It sure was nice to have a little piece of home show up in my new Manitoba community.

For more information on The Stanfields please visit www.thestanfields.ca.

For more information on Gloryhound please visit www.gloryhoundband.com.

For more information on the Watson Art Centre visit www.watsonartcentre.com.

get wac'd

Now if you're going to be here, come along with me, maybe I could show you something you've never seen. ~ 54-40, Come Here

As I pay for my new t-shirt at the refreshment stand I nod my head in agreement with the slogan on the t-shirt - “Live Music Is Better At The WAC”. The WAC stands for Watson Art Centre, a really neat old heritage building in downtown Dauphin, Manitoba that has been turned into this great art and music centre. My first encounter at the WAC was a small free flow writing class a couple months ago which was a huge success. While in the building for the writing class I noticed a sign for an upcoming concert - the band 54-40. I knew I had to attend.  I have lived in the Dauphin area for just over two years but had yet to take in a concert at the WAC. I thought 54-40 would be the perfect band for my first “get WAC’d” experience. I had seen 54-40 in concert a few years ago when I lived in Halifax and fell absolutely in love with their music. I had a hunch the concert room at the WAC with its amazing old features such as a spiral staircase, balcony and patterned ceiling would create some interesting acoustics for a concert. So with my previous 54-40 concert experience and hunch about the neat acoustics I eagerly purchased a few tickets to the concert and arranged a girls night out with some friends.

As my girlfriends and I drove to the WAC we pondered what the concert experience would be like. We were not sure if it would be standing or sitting, or if the crowd would be packed and pumping, or more relaxed and subdued.  We were open to anything and everything. We arrived at the concert and climbed the steps to the hall. Refreshments and t-shirts for sale in the foyer proved very popular with patrons, and the hall was set up quite nicely with round tables and chairs, a dance floor at the front, and dim candle lighting. My first thought was this is such a great, small intimate venue for concerts, I wonder if the bands enjoy this set up too? I made a mental note to try and gauge whether 54-40 enjoyed their own “get wac‘d“ experience throughout the concert. We found a table close to the front and settled in with our drinks. The crowd was an interesting mixture of old and young, alternative and more traditional. I took comfort in the crowd, it really showcased nicely how Dauphin is a community that comes together to support music and the arts and that it doesn’t seem to matter who you are or what your taste is, there is a spot for you.

The opening act, The Bad Marleys, took the stage. They were a wonderful, tight country meets rock musical group, and interacted in a joking manner with the crowd. Perfect choice as an opener for 54-40. After a brief intermission and my unsuccessful try at winning a raffle draw, it was time for the main attraction. A small group of people began to make their way to the dance floor directly under the stage in anticipation for 54-40. I admired how the stage was high enough that even if you were sitting at the back of the room at a table, or up high in the old fashioned balcony you had a perfect view from every angle. We chose to stay seated at our table, as free food such as popcorn and veggies and dip had been brought to the tables and it had caught our attention. But as the band came on stage and struck up their first song the food no longer seemed important and we became fixated on enjoying the musical show. 54-40 played for quite a while, and once they started playing their hit songs we were drawn to the dance floor to rock out with the band too. As my friend and I danced and sang the lyrics a man, a complete stranger, leaned in and sang the lyrics right along with us. It was obvious he was having a great time, and I was having a great time too knowing this type of entertainment was available in Dauphin. It was also very obvious 54-40 was enjoying their own get WAC’d experience, smiling and laughing and interacting with the crowd.

When the concert finally drew to an end we left happy. Getting WAC’d was reasonably cheap, close to home, and a great way to have a girls night out on the town. We are already making plans for our next get WAC’d experience! For more information on the Watson Art Centre and how to create your own get WAC’d experience please visit www.watsonartcentre.com.