In the heart of Olde Walkerville lies Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance which is located in a building where it used to be a dairy farm.

Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance (also known as Shō) is a working studio that aids its artists to collaborate and produce a wide range of multi-disciplined projects. Shō started several years ago when it was known as Rawmeet Studio/Gallery. The principals of Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance are Dr. Barry Brodie, artist Lorraine Steele, and artist Phil McLeod all of whom are currently in their sixties.

“Our goal is to break down boundaries and introduce the art to new markets through richer experienced based shows,” said McLeod.

Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance encompasses not only visual arts but theatre, poetry, music, and many other forms of “artistic endeavour.”

The name Shō can be played off as the English word for “show” as in a performance but it actually has several meanings in Japanese. It can mean a proper name, an actual river in Japan, or a multi-reed Asian musical instrument that creates complex, harmonious sounds when played by breathing in and blowing out.

“We at Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance [sic] prefer to be likened [sic] with Ford Motor Company’s idea of “super high output” [sic] quality,” said McLeod.

photo4 (1)Above: (Left) Dr. Barry Brodie as Mark Rothko in Red

Even though Brodie originated from the United States, all the principals of Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance call Windsor their home. Brodie portrayed Mark Rothko in Shō’s 2013 production of Red. Steele and McLeod are known for their Wampam belt sculpture in the City of Windsor’s War of 1812 Legacy Project that sparked compliments and controversy.

Located at 628 Monmouth Rd. Unit 6 is Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance which is found in a nice niche near restaurants, theatres, and an abundant of other art establishments. Not only are those fantastic location perks but Shō is in the former Borden’s Dairy building. McLeod shares his personal experience of the property.

“…my father and brother worked in the very space we occupy when it was Borden’s Dairy [sic] back in the sixties. In fact [sic], I grew up just down the street at 859 Monmouth [sic] Road.”

The frequency of Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance’s events depends on its monthly fee schedule. Last year, the art studio held a major event or project every month but this year Shō also wants to have time to produce new works. Some events that are available this year are workshops and life drawing sessions but anyone interested can find more information at their Facebook page.

Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance welcomes everyone of talent but does admit that most of its patrons do have a strong appreciation for the arts and enjoys the different ways that Shō operates.

“The quality of our output [sic] and the type of projects we undertake [sic] usually attracts the type of artists [sic] whose works meet professional standards,” informs McLeod.

photo1Above: A huge crowd at a Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance event

Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance has showcased artists like master weaver Ted Hallman, poet and artist Dr. Kenneth Mills, watercolour painter Ed Roach, graffiti artist Meca Mason, Toronto illustrator Kagan McLeod, Wearable Art’s fashion designer and painter Ruth Germain, and more which can be found at their location’s walls.

McLeod expresses his future image of what Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance can become.

“I would like to see the Shō concept developed to a point where it can be replicated in other markets allowing further exposure and opportunities for our artist[s].”

He continues on to say that it’d be “very cool” to some day see a global network of artists working in shared environments who use their collective strengths to improve the quality of life in their societies through the advancement of their creative arts.

The underground art scene in Windsor, Ontario has steadily grown in the past few years that includes Broken City Lab’s popular Text In-Transit (2009) and its last year’s project Windsor is Forever that featured symbolic Windsor tattoos. Also last year, a fresh news outlet called The Urbanite appeared and according to their website delivers “dynamic local news” that has featured stunning interior designs in local homes and creative food reviews of local restaurants. Another well-known establishment is Phog Lounge that promotes local bands and this year won its 10th consecutive CJAM Jammy Award for “Best Windsor Venue.”

photo3Above: Photographer at Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance’s 2013 Wearable Art Fashion Show

Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance does consider itself as a fringe art establishment and can fit in the underground art scene but is not interested in labels.

“We just want to produce the best work we can and showcase it effectively,” said McLeod.

Like in any genre, there are people who like the work, some who don’t, and others who don’t feel welcome particularly in the underground art scene because the regulars may come off as elitists.

McLeod sees that this elitist attitude can be a sort of positive type of safety net or security blanket for the artists that are constantly trying new things and are having trouble reconciling their output with the market. But in the same regard, can lose new fans.

“Every newcomer holds the potential of new opportunity. If you shun someone that opportunity is lost,” said McLeod.

Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance is open most days from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.

Interested in getting involved with Shō?

The best way is to come see and meet the principals. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer on projects. Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance is a very open group of artists and business people all who are working at succeeding because they love what they do.

You can check out Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance’s other links below:

Shō Art, Spirit, & Performance

Shō’s upcoming events