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A 10-year-old gave 1,500 art kits to kids in shelters and foster care during the pandemic – The Washington Post



After seeing the kids’ happy faces, she wanted to do more. Chelsea pooled her allowance and tooth fairy money, and asked friends and relatives to check out her Amazon wish list. Donations started pouring in.

Between August and March, the Phaires made nearly 900 art kits for shelters and homes in various states. They drove from Danbury, Conn., where they live, to hand deliver the packages. As part of the in-person deliveries, Chelsea gave an art lesson to the recipients of her kits, including a small presentation on why art is important to her.

“Whether I’m happy or sad, art is always there for me,” said Chelsea, who is in the fifth grade.

When the pandemic hit, her family decided it was more important than ever to provide as many art kits as possible to children in need. They made around 1,500 kits, which have been sent to kids in 12 states, her mother said. At first, the Phaire family was paying for all the shipping costs, but they eventually started a PayPal account to help with the mounting postage fees.

With the help of her parents, she now runs Chelsea’s Charity, an organization aimed at providing art supplies to children, particularly those who have endured hardship and trauma in their young lives.

For Chelsea, art is communication. She knows that a simple sketch, a carefully crafted painting or a glitter-covered canvas serves a powerful purpose in the life of a child.

The idea behind the initiative came to Chelsea after she was gifted an art kit from a family friend two years ago. Her mother told her to take good care of it, since many children don’t have any art supplies.

“This made me so sad,” said Chelsea, who then decided she wanted all kids to have access to basic art supplies.

“Chelsea always had a strong desire to start a charity and asked us about it from the time she was only 5 years old,” said Candace Phaire. “When she got a little older, my husband and I said yes.”

The materials from her Amazon wish list ship directly to their home, and with the help of her younger brother Corey, 9, Chelsea organizes the products and divides them into separate containers to send to children in homeless shelters, foster care homes, and schools in need of additional support.

“It quickly became a family project,” Candace Phaire said. “Everybody has a role.”

The shelters and foster care services that have received the art kits have been grateful.

“The kids were just so excited, and it was a huge weight off the parents’ shoulders,” said Shana Carignan, development director at Families Moving Forward, the largest shelter for children and families experiencing homelessness in Durham, N.C.

The shelter, which regularly uses art therapy to help children cope with trauma, is no longer able to facilitate these programs due to coronavirus concerns. They used to share art supplies among the children.

“The kids were really missing this,” she said. “So, having their own art kits has been very helpful.”

Stacy Dewitt, the executive director of James Storehouse, which provides resources for youth in Los Angeles entering the foster care system, received 50 kits from Chelsea’s Charity last week.

“Children who enter the foster care system typically have no belongings, which is traumatic for them,” she said. “It is so nice to be able to give them something extra, especially because art is very therapeutic for processing emotions.”

Foster parents, too, said the kits are particularly useful for occupying the kids, and allowing them to channel their energy in a positive way.

“These art kits have helped caregivers, particularly those with new foster placements, engage in conversation with the kids in a safe way that builds trust,” Dewitt said.

Chelsea’s Charity communicates directly with shelters and organizations to offer supplies, but recently, families in need have also started reaching out to the Phaires.

“I had a foster mom contact us personally today,” Candance Phaire said this week. “We are sending her some kits tomorrow.”

Candace Phaire, who is a professor of early-childhood education at Central Connecticut State University, believes art plays an important role in the emotional development in children.

Recently, Chelsea’s class had plans for a field trip, and she was counting down the days with excitement. But when the students were told the trip was canceled due to the coronavirus, Chelsea grabbed her own art kit to cope with her disappointment.

“Art helps me communicate when I can’t express myself,” she said. “Art is my voice.”

With more free time lately, she has also started a “Chat with Chelsea” initiative, facilitating weekly interviews on Instagram Live with different artists.

She’s already chatted with Nikkolas Smith — children’s book author and illustrator at Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as Kathy Cano-Murillo, the chief executive of The Crafty Chica, and Najee Dorsey, the founder of Black Art In America, among others.

Beyond providing art supplies to children across the nation, Chelsea has high hopes to expand her charity around the world.

“I think if every child had access to art supplies, it would make the world a much better place,” she said.

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Go Figure: We sketch a picture of BC's private fine art world – BCBusiness




Credit: Vancouver Art Gallery

At 1.1%, B.C. has the highest concentration of artists per capita in Canada

$24,304 – Median annual salary for a B.C. painter, sculptor or visual artist in 2016

337 – B.C. galleries, studios and cooperatives listed in the Galleries West database

Metro Vancouver/Whistler corridor: 178

Victoria, Island and Sunshine Coast: 89

Interior: 59

North: 11

Share that are public: 65%

400,000 sq. ft. – Estimated loss of artist studio space in Vancouver over the past decade due to residential and commercial conversion or redevelopment

$22.80/sq. ft. – Median reported annual rent for artist studio space in the City of Vancouver, not including taxes or triple-net lease

$17.65/sq. ft. – Average rent for industrial space

US$67.4 billion – Value of the global art market in 2018

Leading countries by market share:

U.S.: 44%

U.K.: 21%

China: 19%

In 2019, British Columbians imported $29,328,878 worth of original paintings, drawings and pastels from 47 countries

Exports: $23,663,131

83% of exports by value went to the U.S.

4 Canadians made the 2019 ArtNews Top 200 global art collectors list:

3 work in real estate

1 (Bob Rennie) is from B.C.

The Rennie Collection includes about 2,100 works by 370 artists

Purchase price of the first piece of artwork Bob Rennie bought (a Norman Rockwell print, in 1974): US$375

Purchase price of Untitled (Red, Black, Green) by Kerry James Marshall, which Rennie bought in 2011-12: US$26 million

B.C.’s highest-grossing art auction, which took place in Vancouver in 2007, totalled $23,033,925 in sales

Highest-priced painting by a B.C. artist sold by Vancouver-founded Heffel Fine Art Auction House: The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase) by Emily Carr, selling for $3,393,000 in 2016

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Mysterious ancient rock art may have been made with beeswax – Science Magazine





L. M. Brady

This 500-year-old rock art is among the rarest in the world. Found at a site called Yilbilinji near northern Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria—and depicting a humanlike figure holding a boomerang (right), surrounded by more boomerangs—it’s a type of stenciling that involved creating miniature outlines of humans, tools, and other shapes. Similar, much older mini-stencils have been found elsewhere in Australia and around the world. Now, scientists think they know how ancient people made them.

Australia’s Aboriginal populations have been creating rock art for at least 44,000 years. Typically when stenciling, the artist held their hand or other object up to the rock and sprayed pigmented liquid onto it, leaving behind a life-size negative on the wall.

But the red-rock overhang at Yilbilinji features much smaller figures: 17 minihumans, boomerangs, and geometric patterns—all too tiny to have been modeled after a painter’s hand or a real object. One of the new study’s co-authors remembered seeing Aboriginal people using beeswax as a kind of clay for making children’s toys resembling cattle and horses. Might the ancient rock artists have used beeswax to form stencils?

Working with representatives of the local Indigenous Marra people, the researchers attempted to replicate the ancient art using only materials native to the region. By heating and molding beeswax, sticking it to the rock, and spraying it with a white-pigment paint, they managed to produce rock art exceptionally similar to the originals found at Yilbilinji, they report today in Antiquity.

The miniature art may have served a spiritual or ritualistic purpose, the researchers note. Or, they suggest, because many of these stencils are positioned relatively low on the rocky overhang, it may have just been child’s play, the ancient equivalent to children scribbling on the walls.

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Art for art's sake – Patrick Weiss, Canmore mail carrier – The Crag and Canyon



Patrick Weiss delivers the mail to a community mail box on a rain day in Canmore. photo by Pam Doyle/

jpg, BA

Patrick Weiss is a front line worker in Canmore.

Weiss is a Rural and Suburban Mail Carrier with Canada Post and he has been working since the Covid-19 virus was first detected.

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stops the mail from being delivered,” Weiss said.

You could also add ‘virus’ to his statement.

Weiss delivers to the communities of the Peaks of Grassi, Mineside, Homesteads and Prospect Point. People depend on their mail even more than before the virus disrupted normal routines.

“I’ve definitely been much busier during the pandemic,” Weiss said. “My parcel delivery is up almost 40 percent for this time of year increasing the workload to Christmas-like volume. This is probably due to all the online ordering of goods during the lockdown.”

Working through the -30 C cold snaps of the last few winters has been challenging though, he said.

The thought of taking a break from work now because of the coronavirus hasn’t crossed his mind.

“I’m not worried about the virus or getting sick due to the low numbers in the Bow Valley,” Weiss said. “And being equipped with the proper PPE and taking all necessary precautions.”

He is outside for most of his workday and happy to be there, he said.

“I love this job as it lets me be outside getting exercise and interacting with the community,” Weiss said. “I’ve been doing it for almost two years.”

The community has been appreciative that he is still on the job.

“People have been awesome to me during this time,” Weiss said. “Very thankful and supportive that we are still delivering their letter mail and packages during a time when they have limited access to the town and its services.”

The community mailboxes can fit a wide variety of parcels, he said.

“What does not fit I gladly hand deliver to customers’ doors to ensure they receive their goods,” Weiss said.

It’s been business as usual with not much downtime at the job. And the typical stereotype of dogs versus mail carriers does not apply, he said.

“I love cats and dogs and I am always happy to have interaction with them while working,” Weiss said. “Never had any bad experiences with them.”

When he isn’t working, he skateboards, snowboards, mountain bikes and tries to keep up with his cross fit workouts, despite the gym being closed for the time being, Weiss said.

“I started skateboarding in the early 70’s skateboard boom and rode my board to school in Calgary at elementary, junior high, and high school,” Weiss said. “I recall getting chased by teachers down the hallways while riding it back in my younger years. Carving and grinding the bowls in Canmore and Banff is a passion of mine that will never die. Both parks are killer and open now and I hit them whenever I have the time and weather permits. I’ve made countless friends skating at them over the years.”

Weiss carries the nickname Snaketrick, because of the boa constrictor cowboy boots he wore in high school. But he doesn’t mind if you call him that.

“I feel very fortunate to live and work in Canmore as it lets me pursue all the outdoor sports that I love,” Weiss said.

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