Alchemy is an Ontario-based artist residency and collective committed to fostering community engagement through the exploration and sharing of art, food and conversation. Attracting artists from Canada and throughout the world, it is led by artists Claire Tallarico and Tonia Di Risio.
Photo: Gorge by Tonia Di Risio.
Since 2017, Claire Tallarico and Tonia Di Risio have led Alchemy, an artist’s residency in Hillier that fosters community engagement by sharing art, food, and conversation. Last year, in response to COVID 19, Alchemy’s programming shifted to Table Settings, a small group of volunteers and artists who made twice-weekly suppers for seasonal farm and vineyard workers during the harvest season. The project recognized the vital contribution of local labourers, most of whom come from outside of Canada. In 2021, Alchemy expanded Table Settings and its supper offerings to farm and vineyard workers. Following all COVID safety protocols, invited artists came to Hillier to both assist in the kitchen and create site-specific installations seven vineyards. Claire and Tonia will collect and share stories from PEC, while providing a window into their collaborative process. During the Ontario Culture Days Festival, Alchemy will share an online and self guided in person tour of this project’s community, culinary, and creative work. Culture Days Stories & More Blog:
In 2020, in response to the first wave of COVID 19, Alchemy’s program shifted to a small group of volunteers and artists who made twice weekly suppers for seasonal farm and vineyard workers. The project recognized the vital contribution of labourers, most of whom come from outside of Canada.
In 2021, Alchemy will continue to provide twice weekly meals to seasonal agricultural workers. We have invited individual artists to create site-specific installations in collaboration with local farms and vineyards. During the Culture Days Festival in the fall, Alchemy will develop a tour featuring these site-specific installations.
Our new COVID era programming has deep roots stemming through what we learned in offering six traditional artists residency and programming on the Toronto Islands and in rural Prince Edward County, Ontario between 2015 and 2019. Selected participating artists called upon a variety of mediums ranging from visual arts, sculpture, photography, craft, cooking, performance art, writing or video. Artists shared their work and practice, while also contributing to lively salon style communal dinners.
Readings and discussions probed the creative intersection of food and art. Guest talks from artists, chefs, winemakers and community members helped us better understand the magic and inspiration created by making and sharing art, food. and ideas.
Claire M. Tallarico and Tonia Di Risio.
To meet Claire and Tonia and the 80 plus artists from Canada and beyond who have contributed to our collaborative efforts to date, visit the next section.
Photo: Installation by Frida Foberg, Hillier 2017
Our Table Settings project, paired with our Culture Days work is expanding our impact.
Alchemy Artists Residency acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of
Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. These peoples
agreed to mutual sharing obligations and responsibilities as stewards of the
land and water. We recognize that these are now our shared obligations in
partnership, to continue to protect the land and water. As we talk about the
land, we honour the Indigenous ancestors who came before us and who
continue to be present in lands which we occupy. We acknowledge and
honour the First Nations who despite attempts of colonialism, continue to
hold and share their rich history, traditions, and cultures that are proud,
modern and vibrant. As we move forward, we hope that every time we get
together we acknowledge all those that have come before us.
Approved by Troy Maracle, Indigenous Education Lead for the HPEDSB
Dinner at Redtail Vineyards by Kirstyn Mayers summer 2020.
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All photos courtesy of Donna Greenstein, Peggy Taylor Reid, J. Pierre, Kirstyn Mayers and Tonia Di Risio