Saturday, June 30, 2012

We are Artists

but the time has come to try out another of the arts, namely writing.

We need to get a letter-writing campaign going to save the gallery, or at the very least, get another location up and running as soon as possible. I am cross-posting this to my blog and encourage everyone else with a blog or a Facebook page or a Twitter account or whatever other means out there to spread the word that the hamstringing of Patrick John Mills Gallery is a travesty.

Here are some of the people who need to hear from us:

Hintonburg Community Association Inc
1064 Wellington Street
Ottawa Ontario K1Y 2Y3

It is ironic that Hintonburg's website refers to the area as "Our arts-friendly, historic neighbourhood"

Questions, comments or concerns?

  • Voice mail: (613) 798-7987
  • E-mail: (please call the Community Centre at the number below for inquiries about renting the centre. We are unable to help with questions about pricing, reservations, bookings or availability).
  • Join our email list: subscribe here
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Media, please call Jeff Leiper at (613) 868-237

Katherine Hobbs, City Councilor Ward 15 Kitchissippi
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1


Mayor Jim Watson

110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

 Yasir Naqvi, MPP

Office of Yasir Naqvi, MPP 411 Roosevelt Avenue, Suite 204
Ottawa, ON K2A 3X9
Tel: 613-722-6414 Fax: 613-722-6703

Queen's Park Office 7 Queen's Park Circle, 7th Floor
Toronto , ON M7A 1Y7
Tel: 416-325-3581 Fax: 416-325-3453
Email: -----------

Paul Dewar, MP for Centretown (No postage needed if mailed to House of Commons address)

Hill Office

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone: 613-996-5322
Fax: 613-996-5323

Kitchissippi Times

Constituency Office(s)

1306 Wellington Street, Suite 304 (Main Office)
Ottawa, Ontario
K1Y 3B2

Telephone: 613-946-8682
Fax: 613-946-8680

Managing Editor
Mark Sutcliffe

Associate Publisher
Donna Neil

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Paul Dewar - NDP - Support the Arts

This morning I woke up at 4:53 am.  and wrote this letter to Paul Dewar (MP). NDP.  He is a good man. He has visited my gallery many times and has been very supportive. So I wrote the below letter.

Dear Paul Dewar

A few days ago The City of Ottawa ByLaw closed my gallery. So I lost my source of income and my business is closed. I need help. I am getting hammered. The City of Ottawa ByLaw has forced me to close my business – Zoning Issues. I have not not had a job in over 15 years. I have worked and lived off my painting / art sales ... and now my gallery is closed. And I have no way to pay my mortgage / bills. I am fucked. Sure I can go start doing bathroom, kitchens, renovations... to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. But this is wrong. My life, my soul , my time is a gift that would be wasted ... and it would be a crime to flush such passion.

I have never applied for a grant, no funding, nothing. I did everything with out hand outs. With the help of a dear friend (Terrilee and one year Tony Martins) and myself we organized, hosted, promoted the Hintonburg Arts Festival for three years (Stage, 12 bands, 50 art tents, youth art competition... ). The first year we raised and donated a lot of money for homeless children in Lanark. The third year I (me, myself, individual) lost thousands. And the last year an unknown individual called everyone (Police, ByLaw, LCBO head office in Toronto, liquor inspectors, electrical safety authority, food and healthy inspectors... ). So they crushed me. I stopped. I do not care about money. I love community. I love art. I love artists. Money is paper. It comes and goes. Life and Art shine. But I am not a fool.

Again I did not apply for funding. I remortgaged one of my properties and paid to do the 103 ton Sculpture Garden. It was an insane among of work. I put on 17 pounds of muscle mass as a result of doing this project. It was (past tense now) the first and only Sculpture Garden in the National Capital City of our great Ottawa. Artists from all over the region show cased their work here. I even had a sculptor fly out from Vancouver three times. Yesterday he had to box over 50 works to ship back to Vancouver. I cried. It was brutal. This is a crime.

Every year for the entire month of December (The Art of Giving). I would invite 25 or so artists to show their work. I would take ZERO, nothing. Each artists would get 100% of sales. I asked each artist to donate a painting. I would then take all the 30 or so works and donate them for permanent display to a local charity. I would not accept a tax receipt. A gift is a pure gift. Each year this was a massive success. 56, 63, 74 and 59 art works sold. 252 art works Sold. Normally a gallery commission would be 50%. The charities that now have original art are: Grace Manor (Salvation Army), Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, Elizabeth Fry Society, and Bruce House. The value of the art work donated is over 150 thousand dollars. Pure gift. This was a hard sacrifice. Christmas is retail month of the year. But it is so important to give real gifts.

Every charitable organization that approached me in the past years to use the gallery for their events... I hosted it for free. I asked two of the charities to give me $50 to help pay for water and toilet paper. But I hosted many events in my home / gallery to help. The Urban Youth Arts Festival... free. Celebrate Her... free for a week... many others.

When my 17 year relationship with my wife ended. I had 15 keys cut to my front door. I put a calender up on the wall. Artists, dancers, musicians, photographers, theatre company, bands, everyone with a heart of passion that needed a free space to be creative had a place to express themselves. I have had bands touring across Canada use my home as a B&B for free. Just last week I had 15 sleep in my home. They all had breakfast for free, my shower had a 2 hour line up. Bands would give me a free Cd. I have a nice Cd collection.

I could go on, on, on, on and on telling you all the things I have done to help promote art. But I will end with this one last thing... I personally put up over 30,000 posters and with the help of other artists over 40,000 posters over the past 2 years. That is two winters. Putting up posters at very cold temperatures. I remember Adam Davidson and Shannon Lee Mannion helping me (among others) put up posters on many cold winter nights (-12, -15, -25, -35 Degrees Celsius). Insane. Yes. We are Artists.

Quit Your Job, I Killed the Group of Seven, Naked Naked Naked, Pretty Ugly Art, My Kid Could Paint that @!#$%, I HAVE ISSUES... these show titles were provocative and many found them offensive. I had many complaints. And sure everyone loves I LOVE YOU all over the City. But not all Art is a pretty picture. We need to encourage brave, creative souls. Ironically we have Vincent van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada.

For five years I developed the gallery and it grew to be very successful. I organized shows / events / even put the Hintonburg Arts Festival together for three years, communicated with many artists, spoke to public about the art work and the artists, website, press, media, sales, and interns work for me... I worked my ass off. To be honest and blunt. But due to the success of the turn outs. Small turn outs being 200, average opening 350 - 400, good turn out 500 plus. The City of Ottawa Bylaw forced me to close due to a Zoning Issue.

I now am only allowed one person to visit my home at a time to look at my paintings. No openings, No events... No way can I realistically think that I am going to be able to afford to live in my home. So I have already called a dear friend who works for Remax. I accept that it will be impossible to afford to live in my home. This saddens me. Why.... Isabelle (my daughter almost 9 years old) will be deeply effected. This is bullshit.

Just because a person complains. Does not mean that they are correct. My grandmother is a bitter bitch who complains about everything. But if she calls 311 to voice her poison. The City of Ottawa job is to do their job. I have never had to pay a fine. I had to go to court over some sandwich board at the end of my street. But with the help of CBC and the media. ByLaw dropped the charges. What a waste of time to try to promote the HAF. Just because someone complains does not mean that they are right. We all have rights. I can understand if I was selling crack, if I had the police shutting me down every week due to illegal activities. I can understand if the music was playing until 3 am. But the noise, music ended at 11 pm sharp (art event once a month, not every weekend. Once a month). We were celebrating art, community, creativity, culture in a healthy positive beautiful way.

It is time to move on... there is no appeal system to the City of Ottawa. And to be honest I was pushing the limits of an at home business.

Time to find another location. Time to figure out how to grow and celebrate Art. I would like to sell my home, and investment property and get a proper space. I have never applied for funding. But with the massive impact of current events my view has changed. Any and all help is greatly welcomed.

I would like to make an Arts Centre.

I would like to purchase a church, a building, a proper space. I greatly welcome some advice, talks, knowledge, insight, guidance, resources, assistance in helping me in my life. I promise your time, your help, your love for the Arts will be great appreciated.

With respect

Live Love Art

Patrick John Mills

PS. I read you NDP (In this issue) Conservative Budget fall out. July 2012. You can add that 20 sculptures, 30 painters, and many other artists have lost a venue and are currently displaced.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What To Do

Here it is, Wednesday, and what are we doing about this craziness, the gallery being hobbled, hamstrung, silenced?

We need to develop a strategy.

I believe that since the City seems intent on taking away not only Patrick's livelihood but also that of the scores of people who are involved in the gallery, then it might be an idea to provide an alternative space. there are empty schools, churches, stores, maybe the odd community centre, buildings that once stored equipment, all sorts of buildings begging to be filled.

One of my favourite ones is the school board building at Bronson and Chamberlain, beside Hodges' Service Centre. There is tons of parking and multiple floors. It overlooks the Queensway, which is neat because the cars rushing by give a sense of motion, never-stopping. This building used to house NFB films on the top floor and had offices on another. It is absolutely non-residential and for awhile, part of the building housed a City of Ottawa equipment repair depot

The building has been abandoned for years. I think it would make a perfect art gallery with studio space and storage space, along with practice areas for actors, musicians and poets.

I wonder who we might ask about taking out a hundred year lease for a dollar. Non-profit housing orgs get properties this way and whereas we would not be non-profit, there is so little profit given how under-appreciated the arts are in Canada, it amounts to the same thing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Should Patrick John Mills Gallery be Shut Down?

Some neighbours complained about the noise or perhaps it was about too many cars parked in front of their houses or maybe it was that they didn't like the posters around town informing people of upcoming events.

How short-sighted of them.

They may feel proud that they've "got to" Patrick John Mills, and they have. He is crushed. Not only has he lost his business and livelihood but he's losing his home as well as he will have to sell it because he won't be able to afford to stay there.

And I wonder if the complainers considered the scores of artists, performers and art aficionados who are affected by this turn of events? A piece of Ottawa's art and cultural scene is being decimated.

There is additional information posted on the gallery's Facebook page and there was an article in Metro June 21/12.

If you want to help then asking questions of  the city councilor for Hintonburg and the area, Katherine Hobbs, may be in order.

Katherine Hobbs
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

You might also want to query Hintonburg area MPP, Yasir Naqvi about what he thinks can be done.

411 Roosevelt Avenue, Suite 204
Ottawa, ON K2A 3X9
Tel: 613-722-6414 Fax: 613-722-6703  

It is time to stand up for art, culture and a person's right to conduct a legitimate business that just happens to be off the commercial beaten path.