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In effort to grow, Springfield's St. Joseph Catholic Academy unveils fine arts emphasis

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Trying to attract new families, a private school that has deep roots in the Springfield community has unveiled a new fine arts emphasis.

St. Joseph Catholic Academy, open to students in preschool through eighth grade, is expanding its art, music and drama offerings during the 2018-19 school year. The school hopes the new focus will catch the eye of parents with young children.

Enrollment at the close-knit academy, which started as a one-room schoolhouse in the late 1800s, has hovered at 70 students in recent years.

The new school year starts Aug. 16.

Principal Bonnie Johnson acknowledged adding a fine arts focus — and hiring a full-time art teacher — may appear to be an unconventional decision for a school with a limited number of employees.

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“Oftentimes, small schools, where do they cut? They cut their fine arts,” said Johnson, who is starting her sixth year as principal. “We need fine arts. It helps with fine motor skills, gross motor skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving.”

The move was inspired in part by a visiting artist last fall. Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao, who was born in Nigeria, spent time at St. Joseph.

“The kids were inspired,” Johnson said. “They loved him.”

Johnson said she was moved by how the students reacted to Alao and the artwork they produced following his visit.

She said the school board supported expanding fine arts options so it becomes a school emphasis.

For example, choir was offered a couple of days a week after the end of the school day.

The academy, which charges tuition on a sliding scale based on family need, is starting a choral expression program for students in preschool through third grade with a full-blown choral program for students in grades 4-8.

“The little ones will aspire to be like the older ones,” she said. “This is going to be daily.”

More: Missouri State spending $1.6 million to buy 52 Steinway pianos

Johnson also backed hiring a full-time art teacher for the first time in recent memory. “I have been here 16 years, and we’ve never had an art teacher.”

The school, which has staged musicals in the past, will start putting on plays.

The “Exploration Stations” started on Friday will continue with an emphasis on fine arts. They allow students to explore various topics including cooking, photography, archery and writing books.

“We choose things that we love so that love will be passed on to the students,” she said.

St. Joseph, along with many Catholic schools across the country, has struggled with a decline in enrollment.

Johnson said the school’s enrollment has remained fairly flat with about 70 students in recent years, which has ensured small class sizes, but the school wants to increase its student count to 100 or 110.

She hopes the emphasis will help with recruitment. She said fine arts will enhance but not overshadow academics and spiritual development.

“I hope it draws in some of those students interested in fine arts,” she said. “Plus, I love my kids and I want it for them.”

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10 of the many trans artists you should be more than aware of any week of the year

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Queeries is a weekly column by CBC Arts producer Peter Knegt that queries LGBTQ art, culture and/or identity through a personal lens.

November is Transgender Awareness Month, with this specific week designated as Transgender Awareness Week. And frankly, in terms of support from cis folks in the Canadian queer art community, the week got off to a deeply discouraging start. Sky Gilbert — one of the founders of Toronto queer theatre company Buddies in Bad Times — decided to continue to devote space on his blog to attack trans author, filmmaker, musician and visual artist Vivek Shraya.

It's yet another reminder of the prejudices trans people face even within the LGBTQ community. I'll let these Twitter threads by Jake Pyne and Gwen Benaway articulate how remarkably problematic Gilbert's words are, and devote the rest of the space of this week's column to what we as true cisgender allies should be doing on Transgender Awareness Week, and every week for that matter: shutting up and letting trans people speak for themselves. So may I direct your attention to 10 artists who are among the wonderful trans voices we've had the privilege of featuring here at CBC Arts, including Ms. Shraya herself.

Enza Anderson (CBC Arts)

Part of CBC Arts' Queer (Self) Portraits series, Enza Anderson is a Toronto trailblazer whose column "The Hot Ticket by Enza Supermodel" ran in Metro Toronto, Canada's most widely circulated free newspaper from 2004-2010. Watch her talk openly about the barriers she's faced on this journey of both professional growth and self-discovery. She says: "If I'm going to live, I have to function daily like everyone else." Watch her Queer (Self) Portraits episode here.

Gwen Benaway. (Gwen Benaway)

Gwen Benaway is a trans Annishinabe/Mètis poet and writer who has written numerous wonderful essays and articles for CBC Arts, including this piece on the importance of finding trans joy just earlier this week. "The most dangerous part of living with transphobia is not just its potential to kill me — either from violent attack or less direct forms such as homelessness, unemployment or a lack of access to healthcare — but its ability to limit my joy," she writes in the piece. "I believe in joy as a fundamental part of what it means to be human. In our pleasures and happiness, we find freedom from the everyday oppressions of our lives." You can read more of Gwen's words here and here and here

Cassils. (Cassils)

In 2016, CBC Arts published a short documentary on Canadian performance artist, body builder and personal trainer Cassils, who underwent intense training and fight choreography to develop a graphic and disturbing show about socio-political issues. We follow them as they bring the show to The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, and you can learn more about what they're up to now here.

Chase Joynt. (David Hawe)

Filmmaker and writer Chase Joynt penned this essay for CBC Arts, reflecting on his journey to publish his first book, You Only Live Twice. "The project began as a private correspondence with my friend Mike Hoolboom, a prolific experimental filmmaker," he says. "For years, we exchanged stories about transitions: mine from female to male and Mike's from near-dead to alive. For us, the project was never a task of linear, exhaustive truth-telling but rather an aesthetic engagement with the limits and potentials of personal memory." Learn more about Joynt's work here.

Chanty Marostica. (Ryan Dillon)

In 2018, trans comedian Chanty Marostica's career has skyrocketed. They became the first trans comedian to have a solo show at Just For Laughs Toronto and won Sirius XM's Canada's Top Comic competition, all well in the midst of transitioning. All the more, this rise has happened in part because of how Marostica decided to take matters into their own hands and reinvent the LGBTQ comedy landscape in Toronto so that they and other queer and trans folks could get the opportunities they deserve. Read all about their remarkably inspiring story here.

Casey Plett. (James L/Zero Heat Photography)

Award-winning writer Casey Plett has blessed CBC Arts readers with her words a few times, including this essay about how to write a transgender character and this piece calling for more intimacy in works from marginalized writers. Both are must reads, as is this "artist's guide" to the city of Windsor, Ont. she wrote for us this past summer.  Learn about Casey and her latest book Little Fishhere

Heath V. Salazar in drag as Gay Jesus. (CBC Arts)

Dora Award-winning trans Latinx writer and performer Heath V. Salazar was fabulously the focus of an episode of the CBC Arts docuseries Canada's a Drag as their drag king alter ego Gay Jesus. "A lot of my pieces are very political," Salazar told us in that episode. "So what I really want to do with it is share with people that if this person, theoretically, lived and was able to do all this good and spread all this love, that we are each made of that same matter." That work extends well beyond Gay Jesus, including most recently performing in the "gloriously frank" Toronto staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Wolves. Watch their Canada's a Drag episode here.

Vivek Shraya. (Tanja-Tiziana/vivekshraya.com)

"Getting to take up space as a brown, bi, trans person feels like an amazing and wonderful gift," Vivek Shraya told us in this 2016 short documentary CBC Arts produced in honour of her being one of that year's Grand Marshals of Pride Toronto. And it was the first of many occasions we'd showcase Shraya's multi-faceted artistry, including this piece a year later in which Shraya talked about "I want to kill myself," a short film she released on her 36th birthday to shed a vital light on mental health. Learn all about the many, many ways to explore Shraya's work on her website.

Rowan Sky. (Courtesy)

Multidisciplinary artist, activist and educator Rowan Sky wrote a piece for CBC Arts last summer reflecting on how poetry about Indigenous connection to our land gave them strength through their gender transition. "Wherever I am in the world and on my gender journey, my connections to land, water and community give me strength and are a continual source of reflection," Sky writes. "I pour out these reflections in my writing." Read the whole piece here.

Syrus Marcus Ware. (Jalani Morgan/Black Lives Matter TO)

Also included in our Queer (Self) Portraits series was visual artist, activist and scholar Syrus Marcus Ware. "In addition to pulling down walls, we also have to be planting the seeds," Ware says in the video. "All of my work has been about watering the seeds." Learn all about that work by both watching that video, reading his essay on madness and Blackness and exploring his website, which details the extraordinary breath of his work across so many different platforms.

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North Shore arts, cultural and sports groups boosted by community gaming grants

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North Shore arts, cultural and sports groups once again received a boost in funding as community gaming grants were distributed to 47 groups, totalling $1.3 million.

Grants ranged in amounts from the biggest at $125,000 to small grants like $3,000 to the Blueridge Chamber Music Society.

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The largest grants went to two sports organizations – the North Shore Girls Soccer Club and the North Vancouver Football Club both received $125,000 grants.

Maggie Murch, manager of business operations with the girls soccer club, said the gaming grant all goes to league teams and not their academy teams, and she estimated it reduces fees by about $50 per player.

“(Without it) our league fees would increase substantially,” she said.

North Shore Girls Soccer Club is one of the largest soccer clubs in Western Canada and fields 167 teams, with a total of about 2,500 players.

The North Vancouver Minor Hockey Association received a gaming grant of $100,000.

Arts and cultural grants included $71,100 for the North Vancouver Community Arts Council, $60,500 for RNB Dance and Theatre Arts Society, $54,000 for British Columbia Photography and Media Arts Society, $33,600 for Latincouver Cultural & Business Society, and $35,700 for the Seymour Art Gallery Society.

The North Vancouver Community Arts Council provides arts programming on the North Shore and received a slightly larger grant this year, up from $62,000 last year. Nancy Cottingham Powell, the executive director, said the additional fund will go toward the capital purchase of computer equipment. The rest of the grant supports their arts exhibitions and engagement programs, rhythm and word music therapy programs, arts education programs and their Art in the Garden and North Shore Art Crawl events.

“We did apply for a large capital gaming grant over the past two years to support upgrades to CityScape Community ArtSpace and were turned down each year,” she said in an email.

On the North Shore, sports groups received about $900,000 in community gaming grants, while arts and cultural groups received about $400,000.

In total, the community gaming grants provide $140 million to 5,000 not-for-profits across the province every year. Of that, $27.5 million went to 850 sports organizations in 2018-19, and $18 million to more than 700 arts, heritage and cultural groups.

North Shore groups receiving gaming grants

BCO Volleyball Club    $12,000

Blueridge Chamber Music Society     $3,000

British Columbia Photography and Media Arts Society         $54,000

Cypress Ski Club          $20,000

Deep Cove Chamber Soloists Society$8,000

Deep Cove Rowing Club         $20,000

Flicka Gymnastics Club           $50,000

Gordon Sturtridge League Football Association         $30,000

Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club         $48,300

Highlands Little League Baseball Association            $22,000

Hollyburn Cross Country Ski Club       $41,000

Inter-River BMX Association   $8,000

Latincouver Cultural & Business Society        $33,600

Laudate Singers Society          $6,600

Lynn Valley Black Bear Band Association       $7,000

Lynn Valley Little League Association$28,600

Mount Seymour Little League Association     $15,000

Mountain United Football Club Society          $13,200

North Shore Baseball Association       $38,500

North Shore Celtic Ensemble  $15,000

North Shore Chorus Society    $5,000

North Shore Community Music Society          $9,700

North Shore Female Ice Hockey Association $25,000

North Shore Folkfest Society   $3,000

North Shore Girls Fastpitch Association         $23,500

North Shore Girls Soccer Club            $125,000

North Shore In-Line Hockey League Society   $56,000

North Shore Light Opera Society        $5,000

North Shore Minor Lacrosse Association       $23,000

North Shore Multicultural Society      $50,750

North Vancouver Community Arts Council    $71,100

North Vancouver Community Band    $6,000

North Vancouver Football Club          $125,000

North Vancouver Minor Hockey Association  $100,000

North West Vancouver Ringette Association$15,000

Presentation House Cultural Society  $40,000

R.N.B. Dance and Theatre Arts Society          $60,500

Redshift Music Society            $15,000

Sea to Sky Field Hockey Club  $10,000

Seymour Art Gallery Society   $35,700

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre   $3,300

Vancouver Chamber Players Society  $6,000

Vancouver Freestyle Ski Club$19,500

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival Society      $20,750

Vancouver Philharmonic Society        $11,500

Vancouver Skating Club          $42,000

Vancouver Water Ski Club      $10,000

 

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Art Movements

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Sondra Perry, “Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Workstation” (2016) (Courtesy the artist and Bridget Donahue)

Art Movements is a weekly index of developments centering the people of the arts and culture sphere. Listen to our weekly podcast of the same name on iTunes.

Accolades

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has announced their 2018-2019 workspace artist residencies. [via email announcement]

Sondra Perry received the 2018 Nam June Paik award for artists working with moving images and new technology. Perry will receive €25,000 (~$28,300). [ARTnews]

Alison Rossiter was awarded the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Rossiter will receive $40,000. [Israel Museum]

The winners of the 2018 Hyundai Blue Prize were announced. Wei Ying, curator, was awarded the creativity prize and Long Xingru, artist and curator, was awarded the sustainability prize. Both winners will receive 600,000 Chinese yuan (~$87,000) and paid travel to international art institutions to continue their research. [Art Asia Pacific]

Opportunities

The Black Portraiture(s) V: Memory and the Archive, 1619-2019 conference at New York University (Oct. 17-19, 2019) is seeking “abstracts summarizing a paper or panel related to the subject of the trans-Atlantic slavery and its profound contemporary resonances in artistic methods and archives that span visual and performing arts, architecture and structures of public memory.” Proposals must be submitted by December 15, 2018. [Black Portraitures]

The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in New York is seeking artist submissions from working artists throughout Africa and the Diaspora. Submissions will be digitally archived and referenced by curators while organizing upcoming exhibitions. [MoCADA]

The Shed, a New York City visual and performing arts center opening in 2019, is looking to fill 20 positions, including Digital Content Manager, Director of Public Programs, Graphic Designer, and Social Media Manager. [The Shed]

Transitions

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, “Home: As You See Me” (2017) (© Njideka Akunyili Crosby; Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner)

Njideka Akunyili Crosby is now represented by David Zwirner in collaboration with Victoria Miro. [via email announcement]

The Art Dealers Association of America Foundation will award its annual grants to the Knoxville Museum of Art (Knoxville, TN), Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College (Chicago, IL), Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (Hagerstown, MD), and Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (Santa Fe, NM) to receive support for upcoming exhibitions. [via email announcement]

Quentin Bajac was appointed the director of the Jeu de Paume in Paris. [Le Monde]

Andrea Bayer was elected deputy director for collections and administration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. [via email announcement]

The estate of Bernd & Hilla Becher will be represented by Paula Cooper Gallery. [via email announcement]

Mary Ceruti was named the director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. [via email announcement]

Stephanie Cristello was named the artistic director of the EXPO Chicago art fair. Kathleen Rapp was appointed managing director of VIP relations, and Jeff Rhodes was appointed managing director of operations and exhibitor relations. [ARTnews]

Chris Dercon will run the Grand Palais in Paris. [NYT]

Thomas Fougeirol and Jo-ey Tang are now represented by Lyles & King gallery in New York. [ARTnews]

Lauren Halsey is now represented by the David Kordansky Gallery. [CultureType]

Sandra Lagumina was appointed the non-executive president of Agence France-Muséums. [Le Journal des Arts]

Rebecca Matalon was named a curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. [Houston Chronicle]

Alice Quinn has stepped down from her role as executive director of the Poetry Society of America. [Poetry Society of America]

Wilmer Wilson IV is now represented by Susan Inglett Gallery in New York and Connersmith Gallery in Washington, DC. [ARTnews]

Obituaries

Stan Lee at Phoenix Comicon in 2014 (Courtesy and photographed by Gage Skidmore)

Gérald Bloncourt (1926–2018), photographer and activist who captured immigrant narratives after being expelled from his home country of Haiti for anti-government protests in 1946 [Hatian Times]

Louise DeSalvo (1942–2018), Virginia Woolf scholar and memoirist [Baristanet]

Barbara Jonas (1933–2018), art collector and philanthropist [NYT]

Juris Jurjevics (1943–2018), independent publisher who founded Soho Press [NYT]

Francis Lai (1932–2018), Oscar- and Academy Award-winning composer [Variety]

Stan Lee (1922–2018), comic book writer, editor, and publisher beloved for his leadership in crafting the Marvel Universe [BBC]

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (1934–2018), literary critic for The New York Times [NYT]

Jean Mohr (1925–2018), Swiss photographer and humanitarian. [NYT]

Oskar Rabin (1928–2018), painter who led a group of dissident artists in the 1960s and ’70s Soviet Union [NYT]

Douglas Rain (1928–2018), Shakespearean actor who voiced Hal 9000 in the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey [BBC]

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