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Art Fix: Register and begin 2021 with a blank canvas – BayToday.ca

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Art Fix, a program designed to teach art skills to those who have lived experience with mental health or substance abuse, and are 18 years of age or older, is nearing the debut of its winter edition.

This time, the initiative has the advantage of having weathered the pandemic process before.

Of the challenges related to offering programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, Art Training Program Coordinator Lindsay Sullivan has said, “Our creative collective has been dedicated to offering a wide array of fun and meaningful art-making opportunities. The amazing artist facilitators have really adapted to online methods of teaching that keep our program moving, and folks engaged in art-making and creativity.” 

These will be the last Art Fix sessions funded by this particular Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. The funds go to the local arts industry facilitators and their expertise is then shared with the participants. She says the turnout remained steady through the fall and with the switch to an online setting.

A sampling of the winter programming includes a watercolour workshop; scriptwriting for short film; introduction to photo editing; and, beading techniques. Filmmaker Morningstar Derosier, artist Kayla Liberty, and documentary photgrapher and videographer Vanessa Tignanelli are among the talented cast of Art Fix facilitators.

Although registration does not officially open until Jan. 5, 2021, Sullivan says the “Winter 2021 Art Fix Art Training workshop calendar,” is now available. Those interested in receiving a copy of the calendar and for more information about the registration process may email art.fix.training@gmail.com.

Out of necessity, Sullivan observes, the fall Art Fix made the switch to online programming, “instead of our usual in-person courses and open studio at the White Water Gallery in downtown North Bay. It also meant artist facilitators switched to online platforms of art training.”

For the winter Art Fix, programming will be delivered via Zoom workshops and pre-recorded art videos from a variety of facilitators. And, while supplies last, art kits will be delivered to participants’ doors.

“Winters can be difficult for some… we are still here, and there will be dancing, and poetry, and photography workshops, just to name a few,” says Sullivan.

Art Fix is administered by the White Water Gallery and is part of the Workman Arts Scaling Project, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. It is billed as an “arts for social change collective run by and for artists who self-identify as having lived experience of mental health and/or substance use,” and who “believe that art is a powerful tool that contributes to the wellbeing of individuals and our communities.” 

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How art reflects children's struggles during pandemic – CBC.ca

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A collection of children’s drawings made during the pandemic illustrates the mental toll the pandemic is taking on Canadian youth, says the researcher behind a project analyzing their artwork.

Many of the submissions by kids and teenagers on childart.ca depict people alone, haunted by shadowy spectres, or worse, their own thoughts.

Collectively, the images paint a stark picture of how the trials of young life under lockdown could shape the next generation, says Nikki Martyn, program head of early childhood studies at University of Guelph-Humber.

While the study is still underway, Martyn said initial observations suggest that coming of age during the COVID-19 crisis can create an emotional maelstrom during a critical period of adolescent development.

Being a teenager is tough enough at the best of times, she said, but finding your place in the world while stuck at home has left many young people feeling like they have no future to look forward to.

“The saddest part for me … is that kind of loss of not being able to see through to the other side,” she said.

“There’s so much pain and so much struggle right now that I think needs to be shared and seen, so that we can support our youth and make sure they become healthy adults.”

Since September, Martyn’s team has received more than 120 pieces from Canadians aged two to 18, submitted anonymously with parental permission, along with some background information and written responses.

Martyn marvelled at the breadth of creative talent the project has attracted, with submissions ranging from doodles, sketches, digital drawings, paintings, pastels, photos and even one musical composition.

Researchers circulated the call for young artists at schools and on social media. While the collection includes a few tot-scribbled masterpieces, Martyn said the majority of contributors are between the ages of 14 and 17.

As the submissions trickled in, she was struck by the potent and sometimes graphic depictions of adolescent anxiety, despair and isolation.

Recurring themes include confined figures, screaming faces, phantasmic presences, gory imagery and infringing darkness.

Some images contain allusions to self-harm, which Martyn sees as a physical representation of the pain afflicting so many of the study’s participants.

The researcher behind the childart.ca project says the virtual gallery of illustrations by Canadian kids and teenagers showcases a wide variety of visions of the pandemic. (The Canadian Press/childart.ca)

Just as unsettling are the words that accompany the images. Some artists transcribed the relentless patter of pandemic-related concerns that pervade daily life, while others expressed sentiments like “I’m broken,” “this is too much” and “what’s the point?”

Martyn said many participants wrote of struggling to keep up in school, while some were dealing with family problems such as job loss, illness and even death.

Many of these feelings and challenges are common across age groups, Martyn noted. However, while adults are more accustomed to the ups and downs that life can bring, young people are less likely to have fostered the coping skills to help them weather a global crisis.

Art as a tool to communicate

A coalition of Canadian children’s hospitals has warned that the pandemic is fomenting a youth mental-health crisis with potentially “catastrophic” short- and long-term consequences for children’s wellbeing and growth.

This would be consistent with research from previous outbreaks suggesting that young people are more vulnerable to the negative psychological impacts of quarantine, including increased risk of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and behavioural problems, according to an August report by Children’s Mental Health Ontario.

An online survey of 1,300 Ontario children and young adults last spring found that nearly two-thirds of respondents felt that their mental health had deteriorated since COVID-19 hit, with many citing the abrupt end of school, disconnection from friends and uncertainty about the future as significant stressors.

Lydia Muyingo, a PhD student in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University, said when she looks through the images in the childart.ca gallery, she can see how these concerns are confounding the typical turmoil of being a teenager.

Adolescence is a time for young people to figure out who they are through new experiences, interests and social interactions, said Muyingo.

This transition tends to bring about intense emotions, she said, and the pandemic has exacerbated this upheaval by replacing familiar anxieties about fitting in with fears about mortality.

Muyingo said she’s encouraged to see that the childart.ca project is giving young people an outlet for these difficult feelings they may not even be able to put words to.

She encouraged adults to keep an eye out for children’s silent struggles, perhaps setting an example by sharing their own vulnerabilities.

“I think parents are sometimes scared of talking about dark themes, but the reality is that kids know a lot more than we think,” she said. “I think art like this can be used as a tool to communicate that it’s OK to feel this way.”

Martyn said the study has given her hope for what a future led by the quarantined generation could look like, because while pain pervades many of the illustrations, there are also symbols of resilience, connection and compassion.

“One of my visions from the very beginning of this was to have this as an art exhibit in a gallery, and to be able to go and be enveloped by it, have it around us and fully experience that lived idea of what children in Canada experienced.”


Where to get help:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (Phone) | 45645 (Text, 4 p.m. to midnight ET only) | crisisservicescanada.ca 

In Quebec (French): Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553).

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (phone), www.kidshelpphone.ca (live chat counselling).

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Banned art project depicting Winnipeg as a queer paradise revived 23 years later – CBC.ca

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Lorri Millan and Shawna Dempsey set out more than two decades ago to depict Winnipeg as a safe haven for the LGBTQ community — a Winnipeg that didn’t exist  — through a mock advertising campaign.

It never saw the light of day then. But now, after more than 23 years, their art work is finally being displayed where it was always intended.

Posters heralding Winnipeg as “One Gay City” have been plastered on three bus shelters in the downtown, as part of a new art project from the University of Manitoba School of Art Gallery.

“I think it’s pretty fantastic,” Millan said.

“It’s great to see work that, for a whole lot of reasons, has never been seen before in the setting it’s meant to be seen in.” 

Imagining city as ‘mecca for queerness’

It was 1997 when the two collaborators sought to riff on Winnipeg’s “One Great City” slogan by promoting the city as a “mecca for queerness,” as Millan put it. 

One print was to show a man pouting while dressed as the Golden Boy. “Where everyone is light in their loafers!” the headline proclaimed, above a revised take on the city’s slogan, “Winnipeg: One Gay City.”

In another, a smiling woman would be seen carrying fish she caught. “Where the fishing is great!” the caption declares. 

Lorri Millan and Shawna Dempsey’s mock advertisements were inspired, in part, by Winnipeg’s then-mayor refusing to recognize what was then called Gay Pride Day. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

The duo was inspired by then-mayor Susan Thompson, who refused to acknowledge Gay Pride Day. 

People they knew had suffered violence from strangers, or verbal abuse, based on their presumed sexual orientation. Winnipeg was hardly a mecca for them.

“In many ways, Winnipeg is a dystopia for gay people,” Dempsey told the Winnipeg Free Press at the time. “Violence committed against gays has resulted in murder.”

The bus shelter ads, however, were never installed. Some Winnipeggers caught wind of the advertising campaign and an outcry ensued. 

The advertising agency objected to the queer content, backed by the Canadian Advertising Standards Council, and barred the posters from running.

The duo filed a human rights complaint. They reached a settlement with the ad agency in 1999.

By then, Winnipeg had elected Glen Murray, the first openly gay mayor of a large North American city.

It didn’t feel right to recreate their exhibition, Millan said.

Lorri Millan, left, and Shawna Dempsey have received international accolades for their performance art, which is largely presented through a feminist and lesbian lens — with a sense of humour. (Submitted by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan )

“We felt that if we put [the posters] up, it somehow would be seen as a response to having a gay mayor rather than the larger cultural issues, which were still in play,” Millan said. 

The idea was cast aside, until the University of Manitoba School of Art Gallery approached the two artists — among Canada’s most renowned performance art duos — about staging an exhibition of some kind.

They settled on a show where Millan and Dempsey’s art would reclaim their home on bus shelters.

“We’re thrilled that this work is finally being seen,” Dempsey said.

“But more than that, we’re thrilled that the world has changed. And now Winnipeg is a much, much, much more inclusive place than it was 23 years ago for LGBTQ, two-spirited, asterisk folks.”

Two of the duo’s art pieces can be found at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Donald Street in Winnipeg. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Alongside their prints, the exhibition commissioned other bus shelter ads from a crop of Winnipeg queer artists: Jean Borbridge, Mahlet Cuff, Dayna Danger, Ally Gonzalo and Larry Glawson.

Dempsey said the intergenerational collaboration is gratifying. 

“We’re in this context of community with other artists who are out there, visible and queer and celebrating all of our diversities in public space — and it’s supported now,” she said.

“Lorri and I, we’re really glad we’re here, and we’re really glad we’re not alone.”

The One Queer City exhibition, curated by Blair Fornwald, will run on eight Winnipeg bus shelters until Feb. 14. A map of the locations is available here.

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‘There’s so much pain’: Art shows mental toll COVID-19 taking on youth, expert says – Global News

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A collection of children’s drawings made during the pandemic illustrates the mental toll it’s taking on Canadian youth, says the researcher behind a project analyzing their artwork.

Many of the submissions by kids and teenagers on childart.ca depict people alone, haunted by shadowy spectres, or worse, their own thoughts.

READ MORE: Ontario parents, children dealing with stress of virtual learning

Collectively, the images paint a stark picture of how the trials of young life under lockdown could shape the next generation, says Nikki Martyn, program head of early childhood studies at University of Guelph-Humber.

While the study is still underway, Martyn said initial observations suggest that coming of age during the COVID-19 crisis can create an emotional maelstrom during a critical period of adolescent development.

Being a teenager is tough enough at the best of times, she said, but finding your place in the world while stuck at home has left many young people feeling like they have no future to look forward to.

Story continues below advertisement

“The saddest part for me … is that kind of loss of not being able to see through to the other side,” she said.






2:13
Coronavirus: Mental health impact of virtual learning


Coronavirus: Mental health impact of virtual learning

“There’s so much pain and so much struggle right now that I think needs to be shared and seen, so that we can support our youth and make sure they become healthy adults.”

Since September, Martyn’s team has received more than 120 pieces from Canadians aged two to 18, submitted anonymously with parental permission, along with some background information and written responses.

Martyn marvelled at the breadth of creative talent the project has attracted, with submissions ranging from doodles, sketches, digital drawings, paintings, pastels, photos and even one musical composition.

Researchers circulated the call for young artists at schools and on social media. While the collection includes a few tot-scribbled masterpieces, Martyn said the majority of contributors are between the ages of 14 and 17.

Story continues below advertisement

As the submissions trickled in, she was struck by the potent and sometimes graphic depictions of adolescent anxiety, despair and isolation.

Recurring themes include confined figures, screaming faces, phantasmic presences, gory imagery and infringing darkness.


An example of a child’s artwork during the COVID-19 pandemic is shown in a handout. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-childart.ca.

Some images contain allusions to self-harm, which Martyn sees as a physical representation of the pain afflicting so many of the study’s participants.

Just as unsettling are the words that accompany the images. Some artists transcribed the relentless patter of pandemic-related concerns that pervade daily life, while others expressed sentiments like “I’m broken,” “this is too much” and “what’s the point?”

Martyn said many participants wrote of struggling to keep up in school, while some were dealing with family problems such as job loss, illness and even death.

Story continues below advertisement

Many of these feelings and challenges are common across age groups, Martyn noted. However, while adults are more accustomed to the ups and downs that life can bring, young people are less likely to have fostered the coping skills to help them weather a global crisis.

A coalition of Canadian children’s hospitals has warned that the pandemic is fomenting a youth mental-health crisis with potentially “catastrophic” short- and long-term consequences for children’s wellbeing and growth.

READ MORE: Coronavirus pandemic taking its toll on children’s overall safety and health, report says

This would be consistent with research from previous outbreaks suggesting that young people are more vulnerable to the negative psychological impacts of quarantine, including increased risk of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and behavioural problems, according to an August report by Children’s Mental Health Ontario.

An online survey of 1,300 Ontario children and young adults last spring found that nearly two-thirds of respondents felt that their mental health had deteriorated since COVID-19 hit, with many citing the abrupt end of school, disconnection from friends and uncertainty about the future as significant stressors.

Lydia Muyingo, a PhD student in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University, said when she looks through the images in the childart.ca gallery, she can see how these concerns are confounding the typical turmoil of being a teenager.

Adolescence is a time for young people to figure out who they are through new experiences, interests and social interactions, said Muyingo.

Story continues below advertisement

This transition tends to bring about intense emotions, she said, and the pandemic has exacerbated this upheaval by replacing familiar anxieties about fitting in with fears about mortality.

Muyingo said she’s encouraged to see that the childart.ca project is giving young people an outlet for these difficult feelings they may not even be able to put words to.


Click to play video 'Doctors weigh in on extended coronavirus-related school closure in southern Ontario'



2:13
Doctors weigh in on extended coronavirus-related school closure in southern Ontario


Doctors weigh in on extended coronavirus-related school closure in southern Ontario

She encouraged adults to keep an eye out for children’s silent struggles, perhaps setting an example by sharing their own vulnerabilities.

“I think parents are sometimes scared of talking about dark themes, but the reality is that kids know a lot more than we think,” she said. “I think art like this can be used as a tool to communicate that it’s OK to feel this way.”

Martyn said the study has given her hope for what a future led by the quarantined generation could look like, because while pain pervades many of the illustrations, there are also symbols of resilience, connection and compassion.

Story continues below advertisement

“One of my visions from the very beginning of this was to have this as an art exhibit in a gallery, and to be able to go and be enveloped by it, have it around us and fully experience that lived idea of what children in Canada experienced.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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