Neighbourhood hip hop, classics for kids with autism top weekend arts list

When it comes to this weekend arts scene in Ottawa-Gatineau, there's more to see than just La Machine.

La Machine isn't the only game in town this weekend

'Music for everyone' is the mantra for the Cecilia String Quartet, who perform Saturday morning at Dominion-Chalmers United Church. (Cecilia String Quartet)

There's more to see than just La Machine this weekend, as Ottawa's Chamberfest continues with music for every audience.

There's also an urban arts festival at Britannia Woods and a monstrous sculpture revealing itself at Gallery 101.

Music for all

When a string quartet is performing, the audience is meant to sit still and listen quietly, right?

In most cases that may true, but it's not the situation during the Xenia concerts performed by Toronto's Cecilia Quartet.

They're designed so that children with autism spectrum disorders can enjoy the concert however they want — by moving around, dancing, clapping, and even talking to the musicians.

The Cecilia String Quartet's Xenia concerts offer a welcoming atmosphere for youth with autism and their families. (Cecilia String Quartet)

According to the quartet, it's their strong belief that music is for everyone. That belief inspired them to create the Xenia concert series, which the quartet says takes its name from "an ancient Greek concept of welcoming and generosity shown to travellers from afar."

"After every concert, parents come up to me, often in tears," said Vanessa Goymour, director of community engagement  with Ottawa Chamberfest. 

"Because they don't often have the opportunity to go out with their children and their entire family together."

When:  Saturday, 10 a.m.

Where: Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper St.

Cost: Free, but space is limited. You must register in advance here.

Hop in the Hood

Calling all b-boys and girls: there's an urban arts festival taking place in and around Britannia Woods Community House on Saturday.  

Expect breakdancing demonstrations, how-to workshops from local DJs, and other activities that encourage all community members — but especially youth — to express their creativity.  

House of Paint brings breakdancing and another examples of hip-hop culture to Britannia Woods on Saturday. (House of Paint)

Jamaal Jackson Rogers, aka Just Jamaal The Poet, will lead a spoken word poetry workshop.

"For youth, spoken word is a way to express themselves." said Rogers, the city's English-language poet laureate. "I think for a lot them, they realize their potential and tap into a place where they didn't know they had power." 

As Ottawa's poet laureate, Jamaal Jackson Rogers — aka Just Jamaal, The Poet — believes in encouraging the art and expression of poetry among young people. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Throughout the day local artist Mique Michelle — helped by people young and old — will also be painting a huge mural depicting the spirit and the people of the Britannia Woods neighbourhood. 

Hop in the Hood is organized by Ottawa's House of Paint festival and the OAE Arts Council.

When: Saturday from noon until 7 p.m.

Where: Britannia Woods Community House, 9-115 Ritchie St. 

Cost: Free.

A monster work of art

It doesn't rival La Machine for size or special effects, but Lindsey Wilson's new sculpture Intimate Entanglements is certainly intriguing.

Intimate Entanglements is the creation of artist Lindsey Wilson, part of her master's thesis at the University of Ottawa. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

The ghostly, amorphous creature is an assemblage of wool, cotton and other organic fabrics. And like a living thing, it's constantly evolving.

The materials are attached to pails of handmade dyes derived from an assortment of flowers, and as the dyes slowly creep up the sculpture, it changes colour.

When: Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

Where: Gallery 101,  51 Young St. Suite B.

Cost: Free.