Catch up on the centre’s programming, facilitators, and the history of Stringy Jack
On October 12, the Creative City Centre hosted a Halloween Drink and Draw at the Hampton Hub, facilitated by hosts Geanna Dunbar and Joel Hustak.
Dunbar is a freelance Cree and Métis artist who uses mixed mediums in addition to doing body piercings and tattoos. Dunbar’s portfolio includes notable collaborations with the Creative City Centre, one of which is Liquid Art where Dunbar was mentored by sculptor Lionel Peyachew and graffiti artist Josh Goff. She then worked with high school students in Regina to share the knowledge she had gained. Dunbar has also worked on projects such as the Frost Festival in 2022 and 2023, which included snow sculptures by Indigenous artists.
Joel Hustak is a Regina-based fantasy and science-fiction illustrator. In recent years, Hustak’s work has garnered notable acclaim for his artistic work on Star Wars games and an illustrated encyclopedia for droids in the Star Wars universe.
Spooky Halloween prompts were provided and an assortment of gothic animal skulls were staged for still life drawings. The first half of the evening consisted of happy laugh-filled chatter, still life portraiture, and gentle engagement. Artists and participants were encouraged to take a hand at skeletal portraiture or venture off in their own direction of a distinctly spooky drawing.
The Creative City Center hosted the event off-site at the Hampton Hub and a range of intriguingly named drinks were offered, such as the corpse reviver, the bitter motherfucker, and the hotel nacional. Corpse reviver in particular felt fitting for the Halloween themed evening. In addition to a comical and delicious drink menu, the hub served vegan nachos for the event.
During the latter half of the evening, facilitators Dunbar and Hustak prompted participants and artists to draw their version of a reaper, either seriously or comically. Reapers were then judged by the staff of the Hampton Hub.
What is it with some of the quintessential Halloween imagery? Where did it come from and why have we continued to draw things such as reapers and pumpkins year after year?
Well, pumpkins or squash have been described as a distinctly North American fruit. However, the jack-o’-lantern imagery that we have come to know and love is connected to a wave of settler immigration. The practices date back to a century old Irish folklore of “Stringy Jack.” In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of jack-o’-lanterns, by carving faces into turnips and placing them into windows to scare away the ominous spirit of Stringy Jack, a man thought to have shared a drink with the devil.
The Creative City Centre was incorporated in 2008 by founder Marian Donelly. The story begins with an empty leased space in Regina’s downtown and Donnelly’s vision to turn it into a community-based arts centre. On May 8, 2011 – some 3 years later – the Creative City Centre officially opened their doors with a media event and performance.
Since opening, there have been an average of 150-200 events hosted every year that include concerts, visual art exhibitions, spoken word, poetry slams, comedy nights, live drawing sessions, film screenings, and a range of community workshops. For those interested, the Creative City Centre will host only a few more events before shutting down for winter. Upcoming programming can be accessed via the Creative City Centre website at creativecitycentre.ca.