April 2006






literary arts



visual arts

& tours

& calls

New Advocacy Committee
works for the arts in Kingston


The Advocacy Committee aims to be a voice for Kingston artists by working for a dynamic arts scene in Kingston. This committee of the Kingston Arts Council Board took shape at the end of 2005, at the initiative of Jean-Jacques Hamm with Margaret Hughes serving as the Committee’s Board liaison. Our goals were approved by the Board in January of this year.

A central goal is to press the City of Kingston to put in place a cultural policy that supports a strong role for artists and creators across all disciplines - including but not restricted to visual art, craft, film, literature, theater, dance, music - in the life of the City. Ad hoc, crisis-driven attention to the needs of the arts community should be replaced by balanced, substantial and sustained support, including annual operating and program funds for non-profit arts organizations. In recognition that the arts community has the expertise, experience, volunteers, and networking capacity to most effectively deliver programs in the arts, arts organizations and their members should play a strong role in allocation of arts funding. We note that there are plenty of good models for such participation in other cities.

Advocacy Committee members are researching current arts support in the City, the impact of low and erratic levels of civic support on Kingston arts groups, and municipal arts programs in peer communities. Such information will lay groundwork for an arts-awareness campaign in conjunction with the fall 2006 municipal elections. Kingston has made culture a cental part of its Strategic Plan, and a number of useful studies have been conducted. The time for action ishere: it’s up to us to work together to express our needs, and to insist upon an effective arts policy for this city. In the coming months, we’ll be seeking your assistance in making this a reality.

Jan Allen, Advocacy Committee Chair
Kingston Arts Council


The following article about the JK Tett has been reprinted from the March 15 Queen's Gazette

Tett Centre site a win-win for city and Queen's, VP says

by Kay Langmuir

Redevelopment of the waterfront Tett Centre presents an exceptional opportunity for Queen's to build cultural links with the city, says Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) Andrew Simpson.

“We will work with the city and the community, and I'm hopeful and optimistic that we can put forward something that council will be impressed with, and the community as well,” he said in an interview with the Gazette. There is an increasing recognition that community-academic partnerships can be mutually enriching, and potential collaboration on the Tett Centre re-development is exciting for Queen's, he said.

The city is looking at three options for the former brewery site and its century-old limestone structures: leaving it essentially unchanged, redeveloping the community uses of the site to make it more self-sustaining, or redeveloping it for joint use by the community and the university.

For many years, the university has been looking for a site for a new performing arts facility, which will include a concert hall and theatre. Mr. Simpson believes the site can accommodate both the community and the university’s needs, but cautions that the project is still at a concept level and technical details have yet to be worked out. “We don’t have all the answers to all the questions yet. We have been listening to the community’s needs as a first priority.”

Local residents who use the centre are concerned about what major changes may be required as the city moves to make the site more self-sustaining. And some of that anxiety has been directed at Queen’s, with some people at a recent public meeting suggesting Queen’s may try to take over the site.

“There’s a certain (level) of anxiety and it’s not just about Queen’s,” said Reid Henry, a consultant with Toronto-based Artscape, which has been hired by the City of Kingston to compile a report on the site. Artscape was chosen primarily for its experience in developing cultural cluster sites, such as Toronto’s Distillery District. Current tenants at the site, which include theatres, artisans, and other community groups, have enjoyed low rents for 35 years, but it’s costing the city about

$50,000 a year, he said. Most of the heritage buildings on the site also require some retrofitting and updating. To make the site affordable and self-sustaining will require new visions, new partnerships and plenty of collaboration. The Tett site needs a diverse mix of groups working together to change the site from a liability to an asset, said Mr. Henry. “Tenants need to become more active and more collaborative, and the city must also do its part, and part of this is recognizing what Queen’s’ involvement could provide,” he said.

Robin Etherington, the city’s culture and heritage manager, also stressed that forming vigorous and workable partnerships is crucial to the success of the project. These partnerships are the glue that forges cultural clusters, an increasingly popular and successful model for sustaining arts within a community, she said. “These cultural-cluster initiatives are actually being undertaken by more and more municipalities in Ontario,” she said. They have been established in St. Catharines, Peterborough, Ottawa, and Toronto, she said. Queen's involvement in the Tett Centre site is only one of the options being studied, she added.

Following the completed round of public consultation and cultural-sector surveys, Artscape consultants are preparing a draft report, scheduled to be presented by the end of March to the city's Standing Committee on Arts, Recreation and Community. The consultants' final report is expected to be presented to city council by the end of April, said Ms. Etherington.

The JK Tett Creativity Complex

reprinted from the Friends of The Tett website

During the nineteenth century, Kingston had a strong industrial base. Along the shore of Lake Ontario, at 370 King St. West, we can still see the original limestone buildings of one of the oldest of these industries, Morton’s Brewery. There are three industrial buildings remaining on what is now the Tett site, the brewery built in 1839, the distillery built in 1843, and the stables built in the same time period.

Mr. Morton lost the brewery to bankruptcy, and after a number of owners the whole, now very large property was acquired by the Government of Canada in 1918, first to be used as the Sydenham Military Hospital and then in 1924 as Army Headquarters for Eastern Ontario.

When the property was declared surplus Corrections Canada acquired the larger portion in 1968. The City of Kingston bought the lower industrial buildings in 1971 for $120,000.

The city’s acquisition includes the large, now empty building on the west side. It was named the Stella Buck building, and housed the Social Services work training program. The mid-section (the former stables) were leased to Domino Theatre Inc. in 1971 as a not-for-profit volunteer-run community theatre with one condition; that the group itself fund all renovations to turn the rabbit warren of offices built on the stable floor into a top quality theatre, which it still is today.

The east building housed the city’s engineering department for two years, after which the city invited a number of cultural groups to rent or lease space there, to create a cultural complex. The building is called the J.K. Tett Building.

Most groups currently renting or leasing in the J.K. Tett Cultural Complex have been doing so since the creation of the complex. The following is a short history of each and its contribution to the culture and vitality of Kingston.

The Potters’ Guild of 90 members is a co-operative organization that has invested approximately $50,000 in their area for fittings and equipment. Pottery classes are held regularly, available to all. The range of their donations to other charitable groups to help them raise funds includes Martha’s Table (the annual soup bowl initiative with bowls donated by the Potters), the Rotary Club, church groups, school fundraisers and many others. A major funding announcement will be released soon.

The Kingston Handloom Weavers and Spinners Guild, with a membership of 80, has been actively promoting the fibre and textile crafts since 1948. This well-established Kingston organization is the largest guild of weavers and spinners in eastern Ontario. It participates in the Annual Sheep Dog trials, Heritage Day at Fort Henry, and the Plowing Match, as well as donating items to The Better Beginnings organization, Hotel Dieu Pastoral Care and the Food Bank. Classes and workshops are open to the general public.

The Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club, with its 120 members, has been at the Tett over 35 years. Club members’ ages range from 11 to 97. The club holds public classes, provides free talks about rocks to Grades 4 and 5 classes, and have an extensive range of equipment for our members to use. The Lapidary Club’s yearly Gem Storm show and sale attracts 1,600 attendees from all parts of Ontario, Quebec and the northern United States.

Kingston School of Dance is a non-profit organization dedicated to high quality ballet and jazz instruction. The Ballet School curriculum utilizes the Cecchetti method, a syllabus which teaches strong technique, stamina and encourages virtuosity in performance. The KSD is a recreational ballet school that welcomes anyone who has an interest and desire to dance. The current enrolment of 135 includes students supported through the Pro Kids program. Ballet is a performing art and the school has several performances, in which all of its students have the opportunity to display their talents. Many


Kingston School of Dance students have pursued careers in dancing and the arts, and others have become highly respected, contributing members of their communities in other professions where the discipline and memory work of the ballet class proved to be invaluable. The school believes that young people can learn to be better people through the discipline of the ballet environment, while learning to believe in themselves and working with others to achieve beauty and grace.

The Girl Guides of Canada, Kingston Division, has a roster of 800 youth and 180 leaders. The Girl Guides have been in the Tett building since the mid-1970s, with the major operation there being the Girl Guide store. It is run by volunteers, with any profit going to the Kingston Division Girl Guide Camp. Kingston Division Guides perform service projects for a number of local organizations, such as the Food Bank, local nursing homes, Kingston General Hospital, the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Mayor’s walk and many others.

The Andy Fund of Kingston holds a yearly Christmas shop in the Rotunda room of the Tett building. This very successful sale raises money for cancer related projects, with all monies raised staying here in Kingston. The Tett Complex provides much needed parking that aids in the success of this sale.

The Volunteer Committee of the Kingston Symphony Association, numbering over 200 members, raises approximately 10% of the funds for the Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Strings, Youth Orchestra, Choral Society and the Community Strings. At the Tett Centre, the Volunteer Committee holds the semi-annual Nearly New and Vinyl Record Sales. The VC-KSA’s largest event at the Tett Centre is the Symphony Book Fair, now in its 47th year. Book dealers from all over Ontario, Quebec and New York State flock to Kingston, paying admission to this exciting sale. Funds raised also allow the presentation of cash awards to deserving young classical musicians in the community and two prizes at the Kiwanis Music Festival.

Theatre 5, founded by Gordon and Valerie Robertson, has been in its space since 1973. Theatre 5 produces its own shows and offers many theatre and acting classes for all ages. It provides much needed affordable rental space for small theatre groups in which to produce their often experimental theatre. Local writers such as Bob Bowes, Charles Robertson and Colin Wright have been able to see their plays come to life at Theatre 5. Joint fundraisers have included the Red Cross (Dracula), Easter Seals, C.N.I.B. (The Miracle Worker), and the Limestone Learning Foundation.

Domino Theatre Inc., an all-volunteer community theatre group with a membership of 300, is in the middle building, with part of its leasehold in the attached Stella Buck building. Domino produces seven full-length plays a year and hosts a nine play One-Act Festival that encourages new playwrights. As a founder of and anchor theatre for the Eastern Ontario Drama League (EODL), Domino regularly hosts one-act and full length festivals throughout the EODL, bringing theatre groups to Kingston from Ottawa, Cornwall, Belleville and Peterborough and many places in between. Fourteen nights of theatre are rented by various charities as fundraisers for their groups, including Martha’s Table, Volunteer Kingston, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Jewish Community Council and the Autism Society, to name a few.

All of these groups hope to work with the city of Kingston so that they can continue renting at the J.K. Tett Creativity Complex and keep volunteering their valuable services, classes and art to the citizens of Kingston.

Acknowledgements: Dorothy Young, Linda MacKinnon, Margaret Hughes, the Review of Services documents, “The Domino Affair” by Kenneth Weston and Patricia Beharriell C.M. Compiled by Liz Schell

for more information about the JK Centre and the Friends of The Tett, please visit the Friends' website:


Canadian Artists' Representation (CARFAC) and RAAV hope to significantly raise exhibition fees over the next few years.

Under the Canadian and the Quebec laws on the status of the artist, CARFAC and RAAV are pursuing artists' rights through negotiations with presenters. Jointly, Carfac and RAAV are negotiating with the National Gallery of Canada. RAAV prepares important negotiations with Quebec presenters. These actions are extremely significant for artists and will impact on our ability to earn a reasonable income for years to come.

There is some opposition by public galleries to the fee increases. While the percentage of fee increase might seem large, these simply represent the percentages that are needed to catch up. Fees have not been increased, except for cost of living, over the past 20 years, and there was no differentiation in the fees paid by large and small galleries.

When exhibition fees became a legal right for artists nearly 20 years ago some public galleries were reluctant to pay them. Some still don't want to pay them today. Many ask artists to waive many of the fees they are legally entitled to.

Public art galleries are public institutions operating in a public economy. Artists are part of that economy and essential to the public exhibitions they present. As the creators of the work exhibited Artists deserve to be compensated.

CARFAC and RAAV need your support in asking for fair treatment and our basic rights.

"I petition that artists in Canada deserve proper compensation for the work they present in our public art institutions. The rights that artists are demanding are basic human rights. As culture becomes more central to our social and economic well-being, artists have a right to fair compensation for the work they do and the right to decent living and working conditions."

"I support CARFAC and RAAV in their efforts to improve the livelihood of artists through the new 2005 fee schedule and fee policy, and in their efforts to negotiate a fair deal with National Gallery of Canada and other public presenters across Canada and Québec.”


Mike MacDonald, National Spokesperson CARFAC and Yves Louis-Seize, Président du RAAV

Please - add your voice to the call! Sign this petition:



The Board of Directors of The Kingston Arts Council

...regrets to announce that artsBUZZ will be temporarily on hiatus due to operational challenges. There will be not be a May edition. We cannot at this time determine when artsBUZZ will resume publication, and we ask for your patience and understanding.

Please accept our heartfelt apologies for this disappointment.