Cool new program at River Run

River Run launches its first artist residency program

The Guelph Shebang offers a multi-disciplinary approach to creative practice

March 26, 2013, Guelph, ON – River Run Centre has teamed up with Ed Video Media Arts Centre, Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, Guelph Dance, Guelph Jazz Festival and Hillside Festival to launch The Guelph Shebang, an artist residency program that focuses on a collaborative approach to creative practices.

The Guelph Shebang is a multi-disciplinary project led by celebrated Toronto-based dance artist Andrea Nann, artistic director of Dreamwalker Dance Company. Andrea specializes in facilitating movement-based creative strategies to cultivate a group-based artistic creation practice.

Over a six-day residency program, six Guelph artists, selected by the program partners, will work together to explore their own voices within the context of disciplines beyond their own. The participants are: dancers Ishra Blanco and Megan O’Donnell; musicians Bry Webb and Amadeo Ventura; writer Claire Tacon and videographer Jenn Norton. Dance artist Janet Johnson and River Run’s dance outreach coordinator Dorothy Fisher are providing assistance to the residency along with Ed Video’s co-op student Alex Gobbi.  

“The Guelph Shebang unifies local artists working in different disciplines,” says Ella Pauls, Manager of Cultural Development. “It’s an exciting new step forward in supporting the development of our local artists and enhancing the creative capacity in our community. The assistance of our program partners has made it possible to launch an initiative that we hope will grow into a multi-year community development program.” 

The artists have already spent two full days in residence at River Run and will return for a four-day intensive mid April. Plans are currently underway for an evening community workshop led by Andrea Nann and a final presentation by the group later in April. Both events will be free and open to the public, with further details to come. 

In preparation for the four-day intensive, the artists are launching a creative initiative called “Feedback”. Over the next few weeks they will be engaging the community by asking people to tell them about the best and worst advice they have ever received. People are invited to respond by leaving a message on the Guelph Shebang phone line at 519-837-5619. The responses will be woven into their public presentation in April. 

The Guelph Shebang is funded by Ontario Arts Council through its Ontario Dances program, which supports initiatives to enhance appreciation of dance in local communities and increase public awareness of the expanding spectrum of dance-based projects being developed by Ontario artists.


Andrea Nann (Toronto) is a contemporary dance choreographer, performer, teacher and artistic director of Dreamwalker Dance Company. She was a full-time member of the Danny Grossman Dance Company for fifteen years. As an independent choreographer, performer and producer Andrea has collaborated with such celebrated artists as Michael Ondaatje, Gordon Downie, Janet Morton, The Skydiggers and Veronica Tennant. Ms. Nann’s work has been presented dozens of performing arts centre across Canada.

She also produces The Whole Shebang, a critically acclaimed live multi-arts program which brings together and features diverse artists for performances and workshops in celebration of cultural and artistic diversity in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

Ishra Blanco (Guelph) is a performer and instructor who began belly dance training in 1994. She has performed with dance companies across Canada, including the internationally acclaimed Arabesque Dance Company and with musical groups such as, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and Guelph Jazz Festival. She is artistic director of Invoketress Dance, a company that celebrates individual diversity and beauty in all ages and body types.

Megan O’Donnell (Guelph) discovered modern dance at age 15, after six years of ballet training in New Jersey. After graduating from Ryerson University dance program she moved to New York City to pursue a career in performing arts. While there she had the pleasure of working with Chen Dance Center and pushing:progress. Since her return to Guelph she has worked with Dancetheatre David Earle, IMAGEO art works, and Project:Humanity. 


Bry Webb (Guelph) is best known as the lead singer and guitarist (until 2010) of one of Canada’s best rock and roll bands, The Constantines. Shifting to more quiet songs, Bry released his first solo album, Provider, in 2011, recorded with his band The Providers. He describes the album is eerie, minimal, and organic. Bry was also a featured songwriter on The National Parks 100th anniversary film project.

Amadeo Ventura (Guelph) is a pianist and percussionist known for his rhythmic drive. His musical career spans over 18 years as a leader of innovative Latin-fusion bands and community development collaborator. He has recorded and performed with jazz giants such as Jerry Gonzalez, John Stubblefield, Poncho Sanchez and Sierra Maestra. His current band, Rebel Rhythm, thrives on genre-defying innovation, in the recording studio and on stage.

Claire Tacon (Guelph) is the winner of the 2010 Metcalf-Rooke award for her first novel, In the Field. Her work appears in the 2012 editions of coming Attractions and Best Canadian Short Stories, both published by Oberon Press. Her fiction has been short-listed for the Bronwen Wallace Award and the CBC Literary Awards. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and lectures at St. Jerome’s University.

Jenn E Norton (Guelph) works with interdisciplinary media including video, installation, sound and kinetic sculpture to produce performative, critically engaged work. Her award-winning works have been shown nationally and internationally, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rooftop Films Summer Series in Brooklyn, NY, and The Canadian Film Centre’s World Wide Short Film Festival in Toronto.


About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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