An exhibit at the Art Gallery of Windsor is shining a light on the experiences of Windsor’s LGBTQ community.
“For me, it’s a really important moment in my life,” explained Meaghan Sweeney, one of the artists on display, who identifies as queer, on the asexual spectrum.
The Pride and Joy Community Art Exhibition, sponsored through an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, features about 46 artists of all ages, with more than 70 pieces of art featured so far.
Sweeney explained that for a long time, they had a hard time feeling like they belonged or that they were “queer enough.”
“Being able to give myself the space to exist is one of the biggest kindnesses that I can do for myself, and also, one of the best things that people can do for themselves within the community,” they said.
“So that’s also why it was really important for me to be involved with this exhibition.”
Sweeney’s art used playing cards to create representation for the asexual, or ace, community.
Janet MacIsaac, a queer non-binary woman, submitted two pieces of artwork for the exhibit, one of which, The Art of the Flight, represents the the journey of finding love and joy after being a survivor of sexual violence.
“The piece really captures the journey from kind of that place of trauma to a place of kind of reclaiming a sense of love, happiness and pride in who I am and in my body,” they said.
“That journey is something a lot of people go through, and it’s a struggle … to get to that point of loving yourself again is radical and revolutionary. And I’m happy that I was able to kind of channel a lot of the stuff I’ve learned over my years in education and feminism into this piece. So really proud of it.”
The special initiatives co-ordinator with the art gallery, Derrick Carl Biso, who also happens to be MacIsaac’s spouse, has been working on programming for the LGBTQ community for the past year.
They explained that this exhibit is the “capstone project” of everything they’ve been working on.
“Listening to some of the artists speak, I was getting teary-eyed,” Biso said.
“I realize how important this show was and how meaningful it was to me personally. And getting to be in this room and look at all the art on the walls, and I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now, I feel so good. I feel so grounded and held by a community.”
Biso added that they feel so much pride and joy with how it’s all turned out, along with being able to include two pieces of their own in the exhibit as well.
The exhibit includes art work on the walls, digital displays — plus an evening gown created by a teenager getting involved in drag.
“I hope it inspires dialogue and conversation about how we can make Windsor a better place for trans and non-binary people and just generally the communities and people here who face marginalization and exclusion,” MacIsaac said.
“But also dialogue about the joy and happiness and pride that we have happening in this community and just the amount of talent, creative talent that we have in the queer and trans community in Windsor.”
Sweeney hopes the work generates excitement among those who identify the same as they do.
“There’s very few opportunities for ace representation,” they said.
“So, I hope that they enjoy that and I hope that people are curious and open and that they do feel like they’re celebrated through what’s going on here today.”
The exhibit is already open to the public, and continues until the end of October.
Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery is currently hosting exhibits by Belinda Harrow & David Milne – moosejawtoday.com
Two different styles from two different eras of Saskatchewan landscape art are currently on display at the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. Belinda Harrow’s work occupies the front of the gallery with sculptures, drawings, and paintings representing animal and human interactions and overlaps in and around Regina. It is titled Unsettled.
“I think people will really enjoy them,” Jennifer McRorie, Director/Curator at MJMAG says, “they have a lot of whimsy and humor, but they also have deeply layered meanings, political themes, themes surrounding land and animals, and indigenous themes around indigenous use of the land and colonialism.”
Harrow is a highly-educated Saskatchewan artist who has taught at the Design and Art College of New Zealand and been a guest lecturer in Beijing, China and Ahmedabad, India. Working across a wide variety of art mediums, she has had exhibits across Canada, and in New Zealand, the UK, China, and Thailand. Some of her work is part of the permanent collection of the Yukon Government. She lives and works in Regina.
At the back of the gallery is an extensive display of David Milne’s art on loan from the Art Gallery of Windsor. Its curator Chris Finn will be participating in an Artist’s Talk hosted by MJMAG this Wednesday at 7:00pm. The link to the virtual talk can be found on the Gallery’s current exhibitions page.
Milne’s art was, “Pretty ahead of its time, approaching landscape in abstract ways,” McRorie comments. “He was involved during his time with making work with the Group of Seven, whom most people have heard of. But he also studied in New York and was heavily influenced by the abstract experimentation taking place there just prior to WWI.”
Milne continues to have a heavy influence on Saskatchewan landscape painting. The exhibit, titled ‘Blazes Along the Trail’: Exploring David Milne’s Imaginative Vision, also explores his history, legacy, and current influence.
The current lobby exhibit is from MJMAG’s permanent collection, and is called Shibui: Rob Froese, Shoji Hamada, Jack Sures, Randy Woolsey. It showcases ceramics by Canadian and Japanese artists. Those wishing to see Shibui should go soon, as it will leave the lobby on Sep. 26th.
The Heritage Gallery has a deeply moving new exhibit called Lost Children of the Residential School System, incorporating community-contributed objects from the display at St. Andrew’s United Church, which was in response to the recent revelations surrounding residential school system abuses.
Finally, MJMAG is looking forward to once again hosting the Moose Jaw Art Guild’s annual exhibition. Titled Looking Out My Window, it will run from Nov. 12 to January 9.
Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery’s hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00pm. They also have special hours on Wednesdays from 10:00am to noon specifically for seniors and immunocompromised individuals.
Concert In Support Of Orillia Museum Of Art And History Coming Up On October 30 – muskoka411.com
Tickets are selling fast for Music for the Museum, a special concert of classical and popular works that aims to raise funds for the Orillia Museum of Art and History.
The October 30 concert, featuring pianist Jacquie Dancyger Arnold and clarinetist Hugh Coleman, will take place at the St. Paul’s Centre at 62 Peter Street North, Orillia, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 each.
Orillia concert performer and music educator Blair Bailey will be MC for the performances, which will also feature appearances by percussionist Ross Arnold, mezzo-soprano Laura Aylan-Parker and flutist Gail Spencer. Among the show’s musical selections will be “Fantasie-Impromptu” by Chopin, Bizet’s “Carmen Rhapsody” and “Swinging Shepherd Blues” by Moe Koffman.
“We are so thrilled that these wonderful local performers have come together to support OMAH,” says Executive Director Ninette Gyorody. “It’s a sign of Orillia’s incredible community spirit and desire to return to normal. Aligning arts, heritage and culture through this collaborative event is just what we need to rejuvenate ourselves.”
Apart from Music for the Museum, OMAH has a variety of events planned for the coming weeks and months. They include new exhibitions opening in November and again in January, as well as complementary programming for families and the community.
For more information on the concert and the Orillia Museum of Art and History, visit orilliamuseum.org or contact Monica Szegvary via email at email@example.com or by telephone at 705-326-2159. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The art of making art: Visibility Arts – Evanston RoundTable
“I like to come and make art before I go to my job at the grocery store. It calms me down.”
“I like to work on one piece at a time so that I don’t get confused.”
“I need variety, so I work on several pieces at once so that I feel better.”
Visibility Arts is part of the nonprofit organization Search Inc. For 20 years, Visibility Arts has provided classes focused on art history and creating art. The Evanston branch of the program is at 824 Dempster St.
All artists in the program have some type of developmental challenge or disability. A group of six individuals – John, Katy, Eric, Becky, Pam, and Henry – were kind enough to share with me how they create time and focus for their artistic work. They have been working individually with Visibility Arts from four to as many as 20 years.
Art is regularly offered in 1- to 2-hour time slots. Attendees get exposure to art history, learn about artists, are introduced to new materials, and use studio time to create their personal art. The six artists I interviewed create their works using a variety of mediums, including acrylics, prints and virtual graphics.
A work is sometimes utilized on products sold by Visibility Arts. such as graphic images on drinking glasses or labels on candle packaging. One such image was of a raccoon. Pam explained that she sees raccoons much like humans: They both need love and food. The final graphic was a result of creating several variants before settling on one that was then printed on drinking glasses. Becky created an image of a musk ox. After creating the image in pencil, it was sent to a printer to print on drinking glasses. She also selected the color and finish for the product.
Visibility Arts was awarded a grant from the Evanston Arts Council to publicize the ability of those with disabilities to participate and contribute equally to the Evanston art community. One of the activities supported by the grant was to create a logo that could be used on buttons, stickers, business cards and lapel pins that would be distributed throughout Evanston. The activity was part of an awareness campaign called NeurodiVERSED.
The final logo is reflective of the multiple ways that people process using their brains. It is the shape of the brain with five different colors representing different regions of the brain. The logo was developed by Henry and John. Because of the pandemic restrictions, they had to collaborate remotely. One would gather photos; the other would create a sample. They talked to each other remotely and completed the image.
As with most artists, sharing their finished creations is important to Visibility Arts artists in order to receive recognition. The artists at Visibility Arts have the opportunity to participate in as many as 12 shows each year. Some are in gallery space like the recent show at Three Crowns gallery. Another example is the Evanston Made market on the first Saturday of each month during the summer. Most recently, works by the artists were shown at the Evanston Art Center as part of the Evanston Made show, and theirs were some of the first works sold at that show. Completed art is in the windows every day at their Dempster office. All the art pieces are for sale, and the funds go to the artists.
As members of the Main-Dempster Mile (MDM) community organization, the Visibility Arts artists created and contributed the drawings for a coloring book that is being sold as a fundraiser for the MDM Festival Fund by some of the merchants. It is Halloween-themed and can be purchased locally. To see it and learn where to purchase it, visit MDM’s website.
Another instance of their artistic accomplishments: John and Katy collaborated to offer a class in portraiture at the Evanston Public Library.
Visibility Arts creates the opportunity for the artists to have control, which for some disabled people is often lacking in other parts of their lives. They use their artistic voice to present a component of their lives that often is not seen or is dismissed. When asked why they do art, the answers sounded very similar to all the artists I am fortunate enough to interview.
“I feel like I created something great.”
“I enjoy being an artist and grateful for this opportunity.”
“I like seeing people look at our work through the window.”
I asked: “And how do you know when a piece is done?”
“I walk away and then come back with fresh eyes another day. But sometimes it is tough to make that decision.“
The response to this question that has stayed with me relates to the subjective aspect of art that is one of the most defining and alluring features of creative work.
“When I think it looks good, then it is done.”
Just like our brains are different, so are our tastes in art. And none of them are wrong.
If you would like to learn more visit www.search-inc.org . If you would like to purchase an item, visit the office at 824 Dempster St. or planet-access-co.shoplightspeed.com/home-goods/visibility-arts/.
This story appeared earlier on the Evanston Made website.
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