Day After the Parade (Doan Castle) (2024) [detail] by David Trotter, cowhide, leather, acrylic paint, and plywood, 20 x 16 in

Early Bird Gets the Worm

Featuring Phuong Nguyen, Carrie Perreault, Joejene C. Santos, Jonah Strub, and David Trotter  

Curated by Samantha Jones 

Aurora Town Hall, 2nd Floor
May 16 – August 10, 2024
Online: May 23 – August 30

Please note that this exhibition is in our temporary gallery at Aurora Town Hall (second floor), 100 John West Way, Aurora. To plan your visit to the gallery, please review our gallery info page. 

Early Bird Gets the Worm focuses on the annual re-awakening of yard-sale season through a curation of kitschy, curious, and questionable works by artists of varying practices, cultures, and identities.  

Throughout the Spring-Summer season, homes across the region open their doors for an annual purge of personal goods. Driving through the town of Aurora on a crisp, Saturday morning, one may find streets and boulevards painted with neon Bristol board signs, scribbled with arrows and addresses in permanent marker – directions to nearby sales. Beneath the sun at first light, neighbours that may be friends, acquaintances, or strangers spill contents of their interior life out the front of their home in hopes for a quick profit from passersby or seasoned bargain hunters.  

Early Bird Gets the Worm meditates on the sentimental relationship that humans have with the objects that they choose to collect, keep, and/or discard throughout the timeline of their life. Pulling together a collection of object-orientated works by five artists, this exhibition is a deep-dive into what compels us to our inanimate counterparts. Featured artworks span across a diverse range of media, and include paintings, a 240+ piece drystone installation, ceramics, and leatherwork amongst other explorations.  

Please join us on Thursday. May 16 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm for the public reception, with opening remarks at 7:00 pm. Light refreshments are provided, and all are welcome. Please note that entrance to the reception is through Upper/North parking lot of Aurora Town Hall only. For further clarification, click here for gallery entrance and instructions to fully plan your visit. 

Exhibition Activations 

  • Build Your Alter-Ego with Jonah Strub 
    • Saturday June 1, 11:00 am | All Ages + Family Friendly 
    • Bring your fabulous alter ego to life with exhibition-featured sculptor and ceramicist, Jonah Strub! With plasticine, glitter, feathers, and a sprinkle of creativity, this workshop will help you bring your inner Queen/King/Anything in-between into this world. 
    • Free with Registration (click here!) 


  • Artist Talk + Leatherwork Demo with David Trotter 
    • Wednesday July 10, 6:00 pm | All Ages + Family Friendly 
    • Orono-based leather artist David Trotter discusses his research of Aurora’s agricultural history, and how it has influenced the artworks he has exhibited in Early Bird Gets the Worm. Participants will have the opportunity to try their own hand at leatherwork by making their own leather key chain charm to take home.  
    • Free with Registration (click here!) 

Virtual Gallery

May 22, 2024 – August 31, 2024

  • Click or tap to explore and/or drag to look around
  • Click on the blue circles for the label information for each artwork and click “View More” for the link to purchase
  • If you are on a PC or Laptop, the virtual gallery is best viewed in full screen and using the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browsers
  • If you are on a cellphone, the virtual gallery is best viewed in landscape mode

About the Artists 

Phuong Nguyen (she/her) 

Born and raised in Tkaronto (Toronto), Phuong Nguyen is a Tkaronto-based visual artist working in representational oil painting and experimental weaving.  Nguyen uses these mediums to explore themes of self discovery through self-tokenism and fantasy by referencing the aesthetics and the history of Chinoiserie.  Nguyen holds a BFA from OCAD University (2014). 

Carrie Perreault (she/her) 

Carrie Perreault is a multimedia artist whose practice spans sculpture, collaborative book projects, installation, printmaking and painting. Her recent exhibitions and projects include ‘It’s a Thin Line’, Gallery Stratford (2021), ‘Pacing the House’, University of Waterloo Art Gallery (2021), and ‘period of adjustment’, Niagara Artists Centre, St. Catharines (2019). In 2021 Carrie was the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair ‘Best of Art Fair’ awardee, and in 2019 she published a poster/ pamphlet with essays by Sky Goodden and Lucy R. Lippard.   

Joejene C. Santos (he/him) 

Self-discovery is one true purpose and joy in life, has always been the subject of Joejene’s works. Discovering the beauty and wonder of life and nature fuels his creative process. His medium acrylic and mixed media on canvas translates these artistic ideas into abstract paintings with his unique style. Born in the Philippines where he earned a degree in Fine Arts, Joejene has expanded his mark as a contemporary abstract artist since moving to Canada with his family in 2006 and held numerous exhibitions in Ottawa, Toronto and internationally in Monaco. Represented by Orange Art Gallery, Ottawa and Le Salon Art Club Galerie, Montreal. 

Jonah Strub (he/him) 

Jonah Strub is a Toronto-based gay, Jewish ceramicist. Jonah’s artwork is a visual love letter to the aesthetics of camp, kitsch, musical theatre, Yiddish humour, and drag. By using humour, bright colours, animal prints, and bushels of body hair, Jonah highlights the joys of Matzo ball-flavoured femininity, effervescent queerness, the beauty of bric-a-brac, and the opulence of outrageous up-dos.  

Jonah graduated with a BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph in 2019. He has participated in the 2023 Winter Emerging Artist in Residence at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, and was awarded an UNTAPPED Emerging Artist exhibition space at The Artist Project 2023 in Toronto. He has exhibited at institutions across Canada and internationally such as The Canadian Clay and Glass Museum in Waterloo, ON, The Banff Centre in Banff, AB, The Plumb in Toronto, ON, Black Book Gallery in Denver, Colorado, and Kunstpunkt in Berlin, Germany. 

David Trotter (he/him) 

David Trotter has been working with leather since 1969, starting his career as an apprentice for Daphne Lingwood, a pioneer of contemporary leather design, from 1969-1972. He is a graduate from the Sheridan College Oakville art fundamentals program and has participated in numerous craft shows and art exhibitions in Canada and the United States, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York. He has received several awards in design and craftsmanship from the Ontario Craft Council and Canada Arts Council, and his work is included in various permanent collections, including the Art Gallery Hamilton, Arts Council of Canada, Museum of Civilization, and Massey Foundation. He has 25 years working in the industry as a leather designer and has been awarded two US patents.    

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