Whether you call them resolutions, aspirations, or vows, most of us go into the new year intending to make this one better, do more of some things and less of others. We want to be inspired, reduce stress, learn something new, pursue our interests, meet people, and yes, share more quality time with friends and family members. Did you know that there are more than two hundred arts events — exhibitions, concerts, documentaries, and talks — here in the Annex area every month all year? Here are some ideas for starting your 2018 creatively.
Learn a New Skill
For everyone who wants to get hands-on, develop a skill, and get creative, there are beading classes at the Native Canadian Centre, Sketching in the Galleries at the Bata Shoe Museum on January 26, and drop-in clay classes at the Gardiner Museum.
No experience is required for beginner instrument lessons at The Royal Conservatory of Music, where they offer Learn to Play classes for piano, guitar, violin, or cello, and a community chorus. If the stage is calling to you, 918 Bathurst is hosting acting workshops with Joy Tanner.
If you want to learn a new language, you can learn French at Alliance Française, Italian at the Istituto Italiano, Japanese at the Japan Foundation, Mohawk or Oneida at the Native Canadian Centre, and Hebrew, Yiddish, and Sign Language classes at the Miles Nadal JCC.
Ideas and Inspirations
The Istituto Italiano di Cultura hosts two English-language lectures on “Rome through Italian Cinema” with Dr. Franco Gallippi. On January 26 at 10 a.m., discover “Rome in Italian Cinema: From La presa di Roma to La grande bellezza,” and on February 2 at 10 a.m., explore “Federico Fellini and the City of Rome.”
For everyone curious to learn more about music, The Royal Conservatory School offers Music Appreciation classes like “Comedy in Mozart,” “Beethoven Symphonies,” and “Double Agents: Musician Spies.” The Miles Nadal JCC offers talks on music, including “Hollywood’s Oscar-Winning Songs” with critic and musicologist Jordan Klapman on January 25, and “Exotic Operas from Around the World” in March. And Tafelmusik’s Listening Club delves into baroque music with radio host and musicologist Dr. Hannah French and violinist Christopher Verrette.
Wildlife photographer and National Geographic contributor Joel Sartore lectures at the Royal Ontario Museum on January 23, where the world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition runs until March. And on January 30, you can enjoy an evening with the Bata Shoe Museum’s Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, as she leads a tour of the museum’s newest exhibition The Gold Standard – Glittering Footwear from Around the Globe.
The popular Curious Minds Morning Speaker Series returns to the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema with three fascinating winter courses: “Starchitects: The Men Who Built America” starting January 15, “Shadow States: Politics on Film” starting January 16, and “Leonard Cohen: Words and Music” starting January 25.
In addition, EstDocs screens an encore of the documentary Naine pildil/The Woman in the Picture on January 21 at 4 p.m. at the Museum of Estonians Abroad.
High profile artists, thinkers, and experts are at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram & Bluma Appel Salon year-round.
The coming season includes Canadian favourites David Frum on his latest book Trumpocracy, Ken Dryden discussing Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey, as well as international superstars Andrew Morton and Martin Amis.
Try Something Different in 2018
Have you been to the Native Canadian Centre lately? The Thursday evening Big Drum Social events have been running for years. Everyone is welcome at the multi-generational drum, dance, and food-sharing events.
Art exhibitions are a great conversation-starter with young family members and adult friends. At the Japan Foundation you can see Variation and Autonomy: Prints by Contemporary Japanese Painters, and until January 21 you can enjoy Hello, Other Moon illustrations by Yaara Eshet after poems by Ronna Bloom at the Miles Nadal JCC, Steven Heinemann: Culture and Nature at the Gardiner Museum, and I Am Canada exhibition celebrates the work of Canadian illustrators at the Toronto Reference Library’s TD Gallery. On January 31, Black History Month celebrations at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre feature the Welcome to Blackhurst Exhibition. At the Gardiner Museum, Yoko Ono: The Riverbed invites visitors to collaborate and participate in the artwork through contemplation and actions like extending a string across the gallery space, creating a web that will grow and evolve over the course of the exhibition.
The University of Toronto Faculty of Music kicks off 2018 with its annual New Music Festival from January 21 to 28.
This year’s festival highlights Canadian composer, sound artist, and keyboardist Nicole Lizée. Tafelmusik has become famous for bringing baroque music to life, and their newest multimedia concert by Alison Mackay, “Safe Haven,” on stage January 18 to 21, explores the influence of refugees on the music and culture of baroque Europe and present-day Canada. Pre-concert chats and talks with the creator, musicians, and guest artists after the performance are an excellent opportunity to have your questions answered while they are fresh in mind.
May 2018 be an interesting, enriching, and inspired year!