“That Would Look Great Over The Couch” Yikes! But It Is The Truth.

Practical art. (5′ x7′ handmade 100% wool rugs $1500 and accent pillows $200 by Caryn Ladovsky.) TWG GALLERY

I admit that I have never been a supporter of art for art’s sake. As a playwright when I begin a new project I always imagine the audience laughing or applauding. They are the end users of the months, sometimes years, of work I create alone at my desk.  And I have finally come to accept, as it applies in the performing arts, the same goes for the visual arts.

A painter can sit and spend days, weeks or months on a piece  and think that it is completed. However, until someone possesses it, either as a gift or purchase, is the process of creating art complete? I totally recognize the fact that art and its creation is good for the soul. But I’m talking about those who do it to feed oneself.  In other words, a professional.

Now since I opened the TWG Gallery, I have come to appreciate, like a play that it is written well and waiting to be produced, a work of art hangs in the gallery waiting to be purchased.  And not until a producer or theatre comes around and has the money or space to produce a play, a painting waits for someone with the funds and a place to display their purchase.

More and more each day I hear the words “That would look great…” either over, above or between a piece of furniture or architectural detail.  And as the theatre is a playwright’s final venue, the living room or den belongs to the visual artist.  Lucky is the playwright who receives sponsorship or the painter whose work is purchased by a public gallery or corporate collection.

"Would look good in the den." 25" x 29" by Johanna Van Kempen
“Would look good in the den.”
25″ x 29″ by Johanna Van Kempen

So, the art that is hanging in any gallery is somewhere between being a commodity and an accent piece.

And here I thought I was in the business of promoting culture. I am in fact selling household interior objects. Perhaps I should be offering terms of “Don’t pay a cent until…” .  Ay caramba!

til the week ends







The Death of Cottage Life as We Knew It!

I’ve  invented a new  term. It is cottage life as it was meant to be…ImageIn fact, I’ve created a new TV series around it and will be shooting the pilot episode in a few weeks.  The series will focus on individuals, events, locations and activity that reflects the raison d’être behind coming to the cottage…TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL AND HAVE FUN!

Cottage country is out of control, and no where is there a better example of the insanity than right here in Muskoka. There’s a cottage going up down the road on Lake Rosseau. I use the word “cottage” very loosely. The building under construction  looks like a stone mansion that belongs on Old Forest Hill Road in Toronto. In fact, it reminds me of Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands or Hearst Castle in California. The architects should be excommunicated from whatever architects belong to! There is absolutely nothing in the design of this place that reflects  Muskoka, Northern Ontario, trees or lake.

The lot itself has no depth. It can’t be more than one-hundred and fifty feet deep and is on an angle of at least 45 degrees.  The back of the structure is about fifty feet from the road.  The piece de resistance are the three, not one, but three infinity pools being completed so one does not have to swim in the lake. Uggggh! Rumour has it the price tag so far is near $20,000,000.

I recently told this story when I was speaking at the Muskoka Lake Association AGM. Afterwards a woman came up to me to tell me about her neighbour who is blasting three levels down through the granite and installing an elevator for his cars. Who are these people and why are they here?

This year more than ever traffic on the lake is way down. Someone commented to me the other day that it used to be on a Saturday night the shoreline on the lake was dotted with lights from the various cottages across the lake. Now, they said, the shoreline is almost completely dark.

There are two schools of thought at play here. The first is those who still believe in the Cottage Simple lifestyle are finding it increasingly more difficult to fight the traffic or afford to come to the cottage every single weekend, not to mention fill the boat with gas.

The second one is that these “megalacottages”, of which there are more and more each year, are only one of several in a portfolio of properties and are used for a few weeks each summer.

I’m not envious of these people. In fact I am embarrassed for them. They just don’t get it. Cottage life is supposed to be one step above camping. When I was a kid our cottage on Lake Muskoka was called “Chateau For Now”. The reason being that if my father saw someone throwing out a perfectly good door in the city it would end up at the cottage because it was “good enough for now”. Somehow memories about the imported Italian tiles lining the bottom of the infinity pools aren’t exactly the same as recalling the the full-length glass door dad found and installed on the outhouse.

It’s just sad.

’til the week ends….Vince

A Day in the Life of Rosseau…They came, they painted…now what?

The First Annual “Paint the Town – Rosseau”,  was a great success. However, as with everything in life one has to remain flexible, and so at the end of the day I had to change things up.

The artists all arrived early in the day, received their official packages and set out-a-painting wearing their smart “CreaCtivity” T-Shirts that I had made.


(The Group of Seven for the first annual Paint the Town – Rosseau . Back Row (Left) Mahtab Abudollahi, Barb TenEycke, Nola McConnan, Caryn Ladovsky, Stefan Galvanek. Front Row Linda Woolven and Vince Grittani.  Unfortunately, Sue Slocum was away when this photo was taken.) 

Being a novice at this event, I quickly learned that I should have had them draw for locations for  the theme was “A Day in The Life of Rosseau!”.  Six of the seven artist ended up down at the waterfront where the Classic Car and Boat Show was happening. In the end the results were amazing. Most artists did more than one painting or drawing.  At 5:00 PM  we all gathered back at the TWG Gallery for the big auction.  The reason for the auction was held was to raise funds to buy a tent for the Muskoka Theatre Project.  Unfortunately, even though a ton of people said they were coming, few bidders showed up.

My instinct clicked in and I decided to quickly put a new spin on the event.  I didn’t want everyone’s hard work to go to waste so I cancelled the auction and instead we have decided to assemble “A Day In the Life of Rosseau”, as a special show here at the TWG Gallery.  In addition, we are going to create a limited edition 2014 calendar as a fundraiser for “In-Tent To Build” Campaign.

All in all the event did what it was supposed to do.  It brought attention to the TWG Gallery and further fulfilled the mission set out by The Rosseau Culture and Arts Project, which is to produce an environment of integrated and diverse cultural, “creaCtivity” that will see the Village of Rosseau become a sustainable performing and visual arts destination.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the pieces.

’til the week ends

Vince Grittani, Executive Director, Rosseau Culture and Arts Project

Galvanek Waterfront

Caryn Boathouse

Nola General Store

Slocum Beach

Mahtab Red Truck

Barb Rossea Rocks

Woolven Red Rosseau


This Saturday, Aug 3 ,  seven very talented professional artists emerge on a small village in Muskoka to  capture a “DAY IN THE LIFE OF ROSSEAU”.


RAIN OR SHINE from 10:00 AM until late afternoon , visual artists from both the Muskoka and Toronto area  will stake their claim and record  a scene of activity in Rosseau. It’s going to be a busy day in the village as there is the Classic Boat and Car show happening down at the waterfront. The Anglican church is having a country fair and then there’s the usual buzz that happens on a Saturday.  By 5:30 the artists return to the TWG Gallery in Rosseau for a gathering and the auction.  Everyone is invited to attend, even just to look at the art and to witness the auction.

Proceeds from the auction will be split between the artist and the “IN-TENT TO BUILD CAMPAIGN”


It should be an interesting display at the end of the day for the participating artists vary in style and medium. The Group of 7 for 2013 are Stephan Galvanek , Caryn Ladovsky, Sue Slocum, Linda Woolven, Nola McConnan, Barb TenEycke and Mahtab Abdollahi.  Artists will be wearing “Paint the Town” T-shirts and members of the public are encouraged to ask questions while they are working.

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