Festive Fridays Opens the Doors At Sho Studios For The Holiday Season

(Poet Dr. Barry Brodie reading his poetry during Sho Studio’s first Festive Friday event on Nov. 2, 2018. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)

This month’s string of events at Walkerville’s Sho Art, Spirit and Performance, called Festive Fridays, is really rather an open doors with benefits. Every Friday evening in the month of November, the artists and artisans resident at 628 Monmouth Road, one of the city’s most novel artistic hubs, will be on site to show their work. In addition, the festive nature of the event will include a host of artistic type activities.

At the inaugural event, poet Dr. Barry Brodie, a University of Windsor drama professor, read from his recent work attracting a gathering of those who love the spoken word. Next door, in its Artists’ Alley visual artists were standing by to discuss their views of the world, which they present through their art, including Natural Origins, The Hook Pusher, Owen Swain, Fusion Fiber Arts, Floy Joy and Ring Weavers.

Swain is one of a group of artists recording life in Windsor as we know it and is gaining such a large following that working space in Sho Studios was a natural progression from a home studio.

Artist Owen Swain

Artist Owen Swain stands beside his painting of his mother Jo on the inaugural night of the Festive Fridays event series at Sho Studios in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Since setting up this summer, he credits Sho Studios not only for the interaction with other artists – one of the organization’s goals – but has also witnessed an increase in the demand for his work. Although, while he says it would not have happened without Sho, it may well be his moving into one of its studios enhanced his presence in the community. In turn this has accelerated a growing local thirst for his unique skills.

Unlike some, Swain always knew what he wanted to do with his life. At seven when other children talked of career dreams, he simply described himself as an artist. Once finished with schooling, he took to jobs in the art industry. But, life has a way of changing even the best laid plans. In his case, he soon found himself an ordained Pentecostal minister.

His role behind the pulpit brought him to Windsor and ultimately led to his decision, after some two decades of being a man of the cloth to being a full-time man of art.

It was a transition that came with some adjustments and, he says frankly, risks as well. With a supporting wife, he took to the task of setting up his easel and earning his place in Windsor’s art world. While his career is still a work in progress, he has quickly moved from aspiring artist to much appreciated sketcher. His book, “tourdesketch, Windsor,” a colouring book, brings local interactive art to a new level.

Visitors to Sho will see many works in progress. In the case of Swain, it is a painting he tentatively calls “Bike Flight.”

For some reason, he explains, naming your work, even tentative, is de rigueur in art circles.

Artist Owen Swain's current project named Bike Flight

Artist Owen Swain’s current project named Bike Flight shown at the inaugural night of the Festive Fridays event series at Sho Studios in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Bikes, it turns out, are another aspect of Sho. The building, which once housed the Walker Dairy, is also the new home of cycling advocate Bike Windsor Essex. The organization has its own work in progress, that of turning its space into its popular Bike Kitchen where bike owners can repair their rides or, as appropriate these days, winterize them.

Bicycles donated to Bike Windsor Essex

Bicycles donated to Bike Windsor Essex shown at its new location at Sho Studios in Windsor, Ontario. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Artist and set designer Phil McLeod works on a backdrop for an upcoming event in Sho Studio

Artist and set designer Phil McLeod works on a backdrop for an upcoming event in Sho Studio’s new 100 seat theatre. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Robert Tuomi
Article and photos by Robert Tuomi

For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.