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Significant Themes come out of MayWorks Windsor Festival programming

Susan Gold Smith

01 May 2016 in Politics

MayWorks Windsor 2016 celebrates art, labour and community with its 7th Annual Festival. This year artists and workers have come forward again with their creative energy. Stories to the Streets will be a month long opportunity for DIY posters to poster the town with stories! Look for them all during May. They may pop up in your neighbourhood. Or you could be inspired to post.

Two original scripts have been prepared and will be presented as theatrical readings, A Worker’s Story and Big Green Sky. Both will be followed by discussions on the issues brought out by the performances. A Worker’s Story coming from the Literacy Class of St. Michael’s Adult High School will be followed by a critical discussion on the issue of Contract Labour. This is the second year that Mireille Coral’s students from the Literacy Class have contributed their evocative stories to MayWorks programming. In 2015 their readings were memorable to all who attended the evening of Windsoria Windstoria at Artcite Inc.

The Windsor Feminist Theatre presents Big Green Sky a play written by Joey Ouellette that was based on Muriel Stanley Venne's presentation to the Rapporteur of the United Nations. This dramatic reading and discussion will bring the realities of the murdered and missing aboriginal women directly to our region with the tragic death of Cindy Gladue. Members of her family, MP Cheryl Hardcastle, Melanie Garant (from CAN AM Centre), Paul Chislett, and Larry Fortier will be present at the performance and discussion taking place in Mackenzie Hall Court Room

A locally created multimedia project supported by WWEC, After Work, will have its premiere in two downtown locations, WWEC and one ten park: a working space followed by a concert by Len Wallace. There will be several workshops for the community at AGW and at Ten Thousand Villages, plus, art exhibits, displays, and the annual presentation of the MayWorks Quilt. Artcite Inc., Windsor’s Centre for the Contemporary arts, the heart of the artist run community, is again our MayWorks Festival anchor exhibition, presenting a solo exhibit by Windsor born Colin Lyons.

Of course we will celebrate MAY DAY and International Workers Solidarity! Starting at noon on May 1st with a union song fest in the Capitol Theatre and continuing as a Round Table on Our Strengths and Challenges and a light lunch at the OSSTF District 9 Union Hall.

We are pleased that Glengarry Neighbourhood Beautification Planning Project has joined our group. Artists will be helping artists with important projects in the city that can play an active role in supporting neighbourhoods beyond the month of May.

Artists of Colour organization has moved their lively annual exhibition to May this year and has joined in MayWorks Festival programming. This puts more eyes on the importance and context of their creative work.

MayWorks Windsor is an unaffiliated group of volunteers with a great deal of energy and heart for the MayWorks activist project and what it can mean to young artists and workers in our city. Many have continued to create activist art and have had success and recognition. The Labour Arts Festival created by the former University of Windsor Labour Studies programme organized six years of successful February festivals, moved to May and became MayWorks around the time when the programme was lost. Several of us were among the members of the University of Windsor Labour Arts organizing. Quite a legacy which can be seen on

MayWorks has been supported this year by Windsor District Labour Council, Canadian Labour Congress, Artcite Inc, Cupe 1393, Cupe 543, OSSTF District 9, Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA), Lindo Tool and Die Ltd, and Museum Windsor / City of Windsor; Unifor 200 supported the juried High School Art Exhibit, Working with the Environment.

See the complete MayWorks Schedule