Graphic by Audrey Delgado
From North Carolina to Nova Scotia, one thing remains consistent ― the limited number of safe spaces for younger musicians and artists to share their work with the community. Simply put, Gee Stewart has the answer. At age eighteen, she’s creating a space for herself and others in her local art and music scene, and I got the chance to speak with her about her experience and her work.
Stewart, a skilled artist and entrepreneur from Sydney, Nova Scotia, created Guillozine in December of 2017 as a means for young local artists to display their work. “I’ve done art my whole life,” Stewart writes, “and I was just tired of there being no opportunities in my town.”
Guillozine is a beautiful, vibrant online landscape that takes the time to highlight themes like women in music, individualism, and “art-preneurs” with admiration and allure. Meandering through its pages leaves you with the urge to create. Guillozine embodies the exigence of art. It reminds you of the reasons we create art in the first place. You can view the most recent issue, themed around the future, here.
Stewart’s work and passion goes far beyond the page and straight into her community ― this June, Sydney locals will get the opportunity to attend Guillopalooza.
“Guillopalooza is a three-day arts and music festival in Sydney, Nova Scotia,” Stewart writes. This year, Guillopalooza (running the weekend of June 14th) features an open mic, three all-ages music shows, a pop-up museum regarding the history of the music scene in Cape Breton, a pop-up gallery and a pop-up artisan market. “It’s Cape Breton’s first art and music festival, so I feel super honored to be doing it and super proud I’m doing it all myself!” Stewart remarks.
Wondrously, she’s doing most of it herself. Stewart takes care of production and organization, which includes the creation and distribution of Guillozine and Guillopalooza merchandise ― buttons, shirts, bags, patches, stickers, embroidery hoops, and physical copies of the zine. She also has help from other artists in the area. “I’m super lucky that the all-ages music scene here is full of awesome people that will come to my rescue at the drop of a hat!”
Stewart is transforming the way artists and musicians can participate in their local scene, and Raleigh could take a note or two. There are a handful of places around town for high school musicians and artists to showcase their work and get involved, but none organized entirely by a representative they can relate to.
In short, the world needs more artists and entrepreneurs following in Gee Stewart’s footsteps.