Making Change … One Project at a Time

Making Change … One Project at a Time

By Ryan Ringer

Last summer, via Methinks, I lead 5 friends on a month-long art and music expedition across Eastern Canada, to produce 17 events from Toronto to Halifax. The project was called We Made a Deal with the Devil, inspired by the French-Canadian tale La Chasse-galerie, and comprised a portable zine library, an international drawing exhibition, installation, performance art and live music. One of the main purposes of the project was outreach, to partner-up with other indie groups and individuals.

In my hometown, Cornwall, Ontario, where we collaborated with my old-school friend and super-enthusiastic punk rock diehard, Chad Coleman, and his fellow indie rock comrades.  Cornwall? you ask. I know. It’s an unlikely choice for a show of this kind. I mean, the indie art and music scene there is almost non-existent, so the odds of drawing a sizable audience were slim to none. Back in the early 90s, however, when I was a Cornwall highschooler, there was a prominent indie community with lots of great people making zines, music and events. But that’s not so much the case today, and hasn’t been for many years (save for a few people life Chad). But this was exactly why we chose Cornwall as one of our tour stops. We wanted to shake things up, to inspire people to rethink the ways in which indie culture is made and consumed.

And we accomplished this mission. Months later, my friend Chad emailed me to say that he and his crew were hugely inspired by our tour, that they had already tried their hands at producing a multiplatform show (à la WMADWTD) – and they were planning another one. They were excited by the energy created by mixing art and music and other forms in a single event – (something we take for granted in the big city) – and they wanted us to return to Cornwall to join them in the fun. So we did.

Staged in an abandoned office above a bar downtown, it was a great little scrappy show. It featured novice art nailed to the wall, a zine table (displayed next to beauty products?), some great acoustic jams mixed with a little Garbageface sonic boom, and little easter egg surprises stashed here and there. This felt like the beginning of little indie art renaissance in a town that desperately needs a little boost in the art department. I’m glad we could be a part of it. And I look forward to seeing how things unfold in Cornwall.



April 6, 2010