It has been 31 years now since Norma Akkelian transitioned from a career as a jewelry designer to decorative painting, then to visual arts. Yet she has waited this long to present her first solo exhibition. It will take place Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 at Galerie Erga (6394 Boulevard St. Laurent) in Little Italy, with some of the proceeds going towards Shield of Athena Family Services and Armenian Family Support Services. A vernissage will be held at Thursday evening, Sep. 1.

“I consider myself a contemporary impressionist,” says Akkelian, a TMR resident who has an impressive 46,000 followers on Instagram. “I seek to capture a moment in time through the essence of my surroundings. Every canvas is a journey; each painting is a reflection of my present time experiences and state of mind. Remnants of my past in jewelry design is sometimes visible in my paintings through ornate patterns and opulent gold leaf application. Art can be a powerful tool and a means of personal transformation.”

Married to Pierre Akkelian, president of Gemme Canadian, Canada’s largest pearl distributers, the couple have three grown children: Bedros is best known for his stage name of “Spidey,” a well-known mentalist and magician who has performed around the world and seen on Netflix; and Arka and Alique, who are the co-founders of Nishi pearls. Arka is also an artist and he plans to showcase some of his paintings at the exhibit as well.

For more information go to See my video chat with Norma and Spidey on our website.

MELINA BRINGS HER MUSIC TO FLORIDA: The multi-talented Melina Soochan loves embracing new adventures and new beginnings. A Montreal West Island native from DDO, this singer-songwriter and pianist has recently decided to make the trek down to the sandy beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she’ll be living with her new fiancé, Elijah Gee. A match made in heaven, this COVID couple met during Melina’s gallivanting adventures back in early 2021, when she was escaping the Montreal lockdowns during the COVID peak. She had stationed herself for close to six months in a Club Med resort in Port St Lucie, Florida, acting as a guest artist making music in the sun, while the rest of us waited for winter to melt and for COVID to get under control. Melina will be releasing her latest single “Drowning” on Sept. 9, on all platforms. The third single off her upcoming album “Dark Fairytales” was written in a darker time of her life. “It’s about finding yourself in an impossible situation where you feel like you are drowning and in over your head,” she said. See her video on YouTube and our website.

COHEN CHATTER: Please see my video interview on our website with the father and son team of Cedric and Tychon-Carter Newman. The Montrealers were eliminated last week from The Amazing Race Canada… The French language film Arlette, starring Maripier Morin as a culture writer who becomes Quebec’s Minister of Culture, has now exceeded $500,000 in box office receipts…Did you know about that NHL players and prospects, divided into four teams, have been playing games at Hockey Etcetera on Cote de Liesse. For $5 admission, folks got to see the likes of Habs Josh Anderson, Nick Suzuki, Juraj Slafkovsky and others like DDO’S Devon Levi (Sabres prospect) play exciting three on three games. Proceeds went to charity. The Anderson-Suzuki squad won the championship….Kayla Elman is the new director of marketing and communications at the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA….Gilda Shahin Abdulezer is the new executive director for Jewish National Fund in Montreal…Lee Haberkorn of Virgin Radio has now added another post to his career path as a real estate broker for M Immobilier.

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