Art meets activism at this year’s PHAHS event

 In Events, Visit Creemore
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Purple Hills Arts and Heritage Society (PHAHS) is bringing back the Creemore Festival of the Arts, Friday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 2.

“We’re excited about the inclusive programming we’ve organized,” said Nadine Melemis Walters, Festival Chair. “Art is reflective of our world. In light of all the activist movements we’ve been witnessing, absorbing, we knew we needed to broaden the scope of the festival to ensure its cultural relevance.”

And broaden they have, with loads of attendee- participation engagements. Creemore will be hosting its first Drag Show, with a runway and cabaret-style seating in the Legion hall. There will also be a Drag 101 workshop offering an opportunity for everyone to learn about the history, politics, etiquette and culture of this form of self expression while getting some awesome hair and makeup tips.

Everyone is invited to add their unique brush stroke to create a massive public masterpiece. The global sensation Choir!Choir!Choir! will provide the village an opportunity to sing-a-long with friends and family at two shows. Notorious Cree will perform an Indigenous hoop dance on the Village Green stage.

“Environmentalist Zwena Gray will be closing out the festival with her “Black on the Bruce” tales”, enthuses MK Lynde, who played a central role in diversifying the programming.

Of course, the core of the Festival remains the Artists on Location. As of print time, 50 established and emerging regional artists have registered to present new works in a great range of mediums from gouache to mixed media, photography, pottery, oil, acrylic, metal, wood, textiles.

“Through the isolation imposed by the pandemic, these artists have taken personal journeys inwards and processed our changing world – and their changing selves – by testing and experimenting with new mediums, styles, colours,” explains Martha Bull who, along with Carole Watson, spent countless hours reconnecting artists with the festival. “There’s now a tremendous amount of new artwork that is seeking public engagement, and feedback from fellow artists.”

“And big thanks to our community for responding so positively to our call for artist venues, and offering up store space, front porches, even living rooms” adds Melemis Walters.

A thoughtful inclusion to the festival will be the kids’ craft stations at the Creemore Log Cabin. Beth Harte has designed a wide variety of arts and heritage activities for infants to 12-year-olds. You’ll be able to drop in with your kids and stay as long as you like. PHAHS is expecting 2,000 attendees over the weekend.

The Station on the Green will serve as HQ and showcase art from each artist, and host the PHAHS members and artists’ reception on Saturday, Oct. 1.

“If you aren’t already a member, please consider becoming one so we can keep developing engaging programming. And please reach out to us if you’d like to showcase an artist on your property,” encourages Melemis Walters.

The festival is organized and hosted entirely by a group of volunteers that includes Nadine Melemis Walters, Sara Hershoff, MK Lynde, Jess Tamlin, Martha Bull, Carole Watson, Beth Harte, Liz Eakins, Kavi Karnaker, Pierre Marcoux and the PHAHS board.

“We all have a passion for making our community remarkable, supporting our businesses, and welcoming visitors and friends to the area.”

The Creemore Festival of the Arts is a proud partner of Clearview’s Small Halls Festival. For more information on times and tickets visit

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