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Behind The Business with Marion Meyers

by | Oct 21, 2022

Scugog Council for the Arts President Marion Meyers leads the organization to awaken, inspire, and connect the community to the arts with fresh ideas and exciting programs.

For Artists by Artists

Scugog Council for the Arts (Scugog Arts) is our community’s creative hub. It’s a space that provides development opportunities for arts practitioners and encourages community participation in the arts. Scugog Arts Space features a wide variety of artists, writers, and musicians. It’s a multifunctional retail space, art gallery, event venue, and classroom for workshops. Marion has made Scugog Arts a space for creatives from Scugog and beyond to feature their work in an eclectic environment that has fostered new audiences.  

Scugog Arts also connects the community to unique public art displays seen around Downtown Port Perry. Out front and behind the space visitors and locals can discover 10 Muskoka chairs painted by different local artists. On your way down the laneway is a large mural celebrating Indigenous culture that was painted by over 50 people as part of a fundraiser. Right now, the arts organization is working towards bringing a sculpture honoring Bill Lishman to the waterfront.

Marion an artist herself started with the organization as a volunteer helping with curation and the gala for a number of years. Marion wanted to take the organization to another level and stepped up to join the board to provide strategic planning and leadership. This move undoubtedly revitalized the programs offered by the arts council.

She also combines a marketing and retail background to transform the space with each monthly exhibition. Between Marion, part-time staff, and volunteers artworks are always showcased with other pieces that complement them and allow visitors to see how they could look in their homes. It’s a unique outlet for all types of artists from painters, sculptors, and photographers to musicians, authors, and actors.

Arts & Culture
Scugog Arts also acts as a second home and storefront for the Biidaaban Gallery, an all Indigenous gallery showcasing authentic Indigenous works and organized by the business arm of the Mississauga’s of Scugog Island First Nation. Being able to showcase this work brings the community closer to the artists and culture of the land we reside on in Scugog and across Canada.

Scugog Arts puts a focal point on the monthly shows and the artists showcased. Marion also supports these artists by providing advice on what to show and how to price their work, so they can continue to develop their arts business.

That’s why at Scugog Arts they pay all the artists they work with fairly. Because it only makes sense. This includes giving back to the artists with artist talks and opportunities to get in front of the community and share their work.

Find Your Voice

A huge challenge in the art world is funding. Like many arts organizations and even artists, Scugog Arts relies on grants to pay staff and keep the lights on. Fundraisers also help but don’t always provide the funds needed. Scugog Arts is also funded by various individual donors. Money must be brought in continuously to allow for program sustainability and provide a consistent platform for artists.

Marion spends a lot of time writing grant proposals, and because of this dedication, the space has been staffed for the past four summers through the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Previously the space was completely run by volunteers and still is outside the summer season. All this effort has paid off with more grant approvals allowing Scugog Arts to build on current programs and create new opportunities that encourage the community to participate in the arts.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is a huge supporter funding rent, staff and our fabulous Art Waves Podcast series with an Operating Grant in 2021/2022 and now with a Resilient Communities Grant for 2022/2023 for our Symposium & Workshops for Creatives, digital support for creatives, HR management organization, and fundraising development. The other major supporter in Central Counties Tourism, helping Scugog Arts to bring Lake Scugog Studio Tour, small town BIG festival, and Culture Days to our community.

That said, some people still don’t know that Scugog Arts exists, but being in the Downtown Port Perry core has helped broaden awareness of the arts space. The retailers within the downtown also help each other and work together creating nurturing possibilities.  

Proximity to the GTA can be a curse and a blessing because you’re competing with great art galleries and cultural experiences; but on the other hand, there is a lovely rural aspect to visiting Scugog. The drive is relatively short, so you can experience small-town Ontario without spending too long in a vehicle. The sweet spot of this location makes it a great day trip.  

Take Your Work Seriously

Beyond the obvious, the arts space also offers workshops and symposia for arts practitioners that teach artists how to write artist statements, name their work, and develop their craft to sell their work to a wider audience.

Marion also lends her voice to Tourism Scugog. She was once the Director of Advertising at Shoppers Drug Mart and later Director of Marketing Works at Coca Cola, before launching her own brand development and strategic planning company. Marion is also an encaustic painter and fiber artist. Marion’s brand work can be seen all around Durham Region and her artwork in the Scugog Arts Space.

Throughout her career, Marion has been fortunate to have many female peers that acted as mentors for herself and each other. She even credits some clients that were able to teach her skills like finance as mentors.

“Take your work seriously, and don’t take yourself too seriously.” — Marion Meyers

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