Circle Mound at the Art Gallery of Guelph

Don Russell: Circle Mound

Public Reception & Sculpture Unveiling:
Thursday, September 15 at 7 pm | Free

Don Russell (Qalipu Mi’kmaq/Acadian French)
Circle Mound, 2016
Earth, plant materials, and reclaimed locally-quarried limestone
Commissioned with funds raised by the AGG Volunteer Association with support from
the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, 2016
Art Gallery of Guelph Collection

The Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG) has commissioned an outdoor sculpture, Circle Mound, by Aboriginal artist Don RussellCircle Mound is the 39th permanent installation in the Donald Forster Sculpture Park.

Circle Mound is a gathering site or meeting place that encourages visitors to enter and interact with its various elements: earth, stone, plant matter, and open air. The sculpture reflects a First Nations’ worldview focused on the importance of the circle in concepts of time and spirituality. It is also a step toward meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the community of Guelph, an acknowledgement of the history and presence of Indigenous peoples on this land: above all else, Circle Mound represents unity, cooperation, and gathering. The mounds that extend from the circle, which reference the two rivers that flow through Guelph, are intended to encourage discovery and play; while the circle itself offers serenity and contemplation. The sculpture also uses reclaimed limestone from Guelph’s historic Petrie Building (1882): an act of repurposing and returning the stones to the lands from which they came.

2017 Arboretum Mycological Foray

DATE: Tuesday October 17, 2017.

LOCATION: 2: 45 – 5:15 pm Nature Reserve, Arboretum – University of Guelph.

Foray will be led by Diane Borsato (Studio Arts/FYS) and Alan Gan (Senior member of the Mycogical Society of Toronto).

 We will be meeting at 2:40 at the entrance to the Nature Reserve, which is just west of Victoria Rd. on the south side of Stone Rd. Look for my white Honda CRV parked at the side of the road. Avoid bringing a car if possible. Use bikes/walk – there is not a lot of space to park. Bring a basket!!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Never eat wild mushrooms unless you are certain of their identity as a safe species, and have a great deal of experience collecting and identifying mushrooms. There are no easy ways to determine the edibility of a specimen, except by knowing its identity. There are many toxic and deadly look-a-likes to edible species. Our foray will be for research purposes only, we will not be collecting “for the pot.”

Adapted from the Mycological Society of Toronto website:


 We recommend that you prepare for a foray with the following items.

  1. Basket (plastic bags cause fungi to sweat and deteriorate)
  2. Sharp Knife (by breaking the stem you may lose important identification features             below ground)
  3. Paper Bags or Wax Paper (this will keep your fungi separated and preserved until you are able to identify them later)
  4. Whistle (in case you get separated from your group or need assistance, as a safeguard walk in groups of three and not alone)
  5. Compass (another safeguard, learn to use one)
  6. Hand Magnifying Glass (for better identification in the field)
  7. Insect Repellent (There are unlikely to be insects during our foray in October)
  8. Clothing (appropriate for the weather, with good coverage to avoid scratches and insect bites)
  9. Hiking Boots (as opposed to running shoes, these will protect you from insects, poison ivy, sharp protuberances and other injuries; i.e., twisting your ankle)
  10. Rubber Boots and Rain Wear (particularly if it is wet)
  11. Field Guide (to help identify your fungi; if you do not have one, leaders can usually recommend one)


And for examples of mushrooms in contemporary art see:

A little about John Cage and mushrooms too:


ALL THE NAMES FOR EVERYTHING was a walk on Mount Nemo with diverse outdoor education leaders bringing various scientific and cultural perspectives on naming flora and fauna along the trail.

The popular nature educator Richard Aaron spoke of scientific botanical and common English naming, while Melanie Gray of wolf clan from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory discussed spiritual and medicinal connections to plants in addition to some of their names in Mohawk, and Jon Jonson, a community-based Indigenous scholar discussed place names and the history and ongoing presence of Indigenous peoples in the Toronto region.

Together we considered the origins and meanings of botanical names, numerous common names, and names in different languages of many of the places, plants and animals encountered along our walk.

We discussed names that give evocative descriptions, that tell of our many relationships to plants and other creatures, to languages and names that were absent and lost to Indigenous peoples, and to racist names – that speak to our often difficult relationships with each other.