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Art for heart’s sake: Dunville helps others find healing through creative expression –



“I’ve got a car with a back seat filled with art supplies, welcome to my life,” grins Evie Dunville outside of Tantallon’s Bike & Bean Cafe.

Based in St. Margarets Bay, the well-travelled art therapist keeps her paper, paints, clay and collage materials at the ready; there’s always another workshop or session coming up on her calendar.

She began with a combined background of a bachelor degree from Mount Saint Vincent University’s psychology program and a BFA in metalworking and jewellry design at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Starting in 2012, Dunville began helping people work through personal obstacles using artistic expression during her studies for art therapy certification, which she earned in 2016, beginning her Evie Dunville Art Therapy practice, found online at

It’s a growing field that’s at once accessible to a wide group of people of all ages and from all backgrounds, with little or no previous creative experience required. It offers Dunville a number of different options when it comes to establishing a rapport with clients and helping them find the best combination of expression and healing.

Art therapist Evie Dunville says her practice helps people reconnect with the world around them through creative expression. – Stephen Cooke

Expression beyond words

“Using art to express can go beyond words,” explains Dunville, after settling in at a corner table in the former train station turned cafe and bike shop. “Even for someone who maybe doesn’t have the language to form around it. Maybe their trauma happened pre-verbal, so maybe they don’t have language because there wasn’t any in their development at the time that it happened.

“Or maybe there are no the words to express it because they didn’t understand what was happening to them. Sometimes emotions are really hard to talk about, so when you’re actually able to put something down on paper, there’s a sense of removal. You’re not necessarily talking about yourself, you’re talking about the art, and that can be a little bit easier.”

Dunville’s next trip outside of Halifax will take her to Cumberland County, and the shore of the Minas Basin, where Parrsboro Creative is hosting her workshop on art therapy at the Fundy Geological Museum on Saturday, April 10 from 1 to 3 p.m.

A need for accessible care

Jocelyn Li is the executive director of the non-profit arts advocacy group, which has had an overwhelming interest in the introductory workshop, billed as a means of “fostering resiliency to create balance during times of stress and crisis.”

“Clearly, there’s a need for mental health care to be accessible,” says Li from the office of Parrsboro Creative, whose programs include the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival painting competition.

“The demographic I’m seeing is quite diverse. We have families who are interested, and people who just arrived from Ontario and have been quarantining and are interested in participating because of isolation, not really knowing what to do with themselves.”

Li — whose own artistic background is in metallurgy and blacksmithing — sees the COVID-19 pandemic as just one of many factors increasing interest in the combination of art and therapy as a way to work through mental health issues, after a year that involved a number of trauma-inducing and anxiety-causing events.

“The focus is more on the process than it is on the product. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t get some amazing product coming out of it, but emotions are not always pretty.” – Evie Dunville, registered art therapist

As a means of treatment, art therapy is adaptable to the individual, and can be kept very simple so the act of creating and expressing is more meaningful and important than whatever the end creation turns out to be.

“The focus is more on the process than it is on the product,” says Dunville, who prefers to work with easy-to-use watercolours or pastels, or reshapable clay, with her clients. “That’s not to say that you wouldn’t get some amazing product coming out of it, but emotions are not always pretty.

“Sometimes, part of the process involves destroying it, in some way. Because that act can actually help with the emotional release. When you’re more focused on the process and less on the product, you’re not as worried about the materials that you’re putting into it.”

The adaptability of art therapy

Dunville’s practice ranges from what she calls “art-as-therapy” — which can be therapeutic and cathartic as participants learn to become more in touch with themselves — to something more focused and involved like art psychotherapy for individuals who have more complex diagnoses or are in the mental health system.

Besides having her training and a carful of art supplies, she also has to be mentally prepared for what a session can bring when she’s working with individuals in a practice that frequently takes her beyond Halifax to the Annapolis Valley, the South Shore. Or Parrsboro, where she’ll also meet with high school students and seniors who’ve been coping with isolation over the past year.

“They can get pretty heavy, when people are talking about what’s going on for them, once they get to a level of comfort where that’s what’s happening,” says Dunville. “So there have been sessions that have been really fun and light, because that’s what the client needs at that time, but sometimes they can be more emotional and need that kind of support.

“Even in group settings sometimes, there’s that emotional support of being witnessed and seen by a group of people who are in some way connected … you’re there for a similar reason so that ‘You’re not alone’ situation can come out of that as well.”

Raising the profile

Since she began her practice five years ago, Dunville has helped raise the profile of an approach to mental health treatment that she says is still relatively unknown on the East Coast and needs to be understood as a valuable tool in achieving breakthroughs and processing emotions in ways that are both rigourous and rewarding.

And rewarding for the therapist as well. When asked what she’s learned over the past several years of pursuing and practicing her chosen field, she is most emphatic.

“Everything,” says Dunville with a smile. “It keeps me humble. I am definitely trained, but I don’t think I’ll ever come to that point where I feel like an expert. I have an understanding of what things mean, but I’ve learned from years of working with clients never to assume where someone’s coming from.

“Just because one thing is going on, it doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole lot of other things happening for them. It’s definitely made me a more empathetic human being, and I feel like I’m constantly learning and growing.”

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Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat



Creative, imaginative artwork of students from Mountview Elementary School will be on public display at the gallery of Cariboo Art Beat until April 9.

“The students of Mountview elementary were all invited to participate in an art contest,” Tiffany Jorgensen said, an artist at Cariboo Art Beat.

Each class was separately judged by three professional artists at Cariboo Art Beat, Jorgensen said, based on the students’ creativity, techniques, use of space and originality.

“It was extremely difficult to select pieces from the abundance of beautiful art presented,” she said. “There is so much talent and fantastic imaginations.”

The artist of each selected piece was given formal invitations to their art show to distribute to whomever they choose, and Jorgensen said anyone is free to view the beautiful artwork throughout until April 9.

Honoured at the show were works from local artists Ryker Hagen, Annika Nilsson, Rylie Trampleasure, Angus Shoults, Izabella Telford, Isabella Buchner, Kai Pare and more.

“Come view their wonderful pieces to get a glimpse into the minds of our creative youth,” Jorgensen said.

“It’s been so fun. The kids have come in and seen their work on display with their grandparents, parents, and they’re all so excited.”

Following up on the success of the Mountview art show, Jorgensen said more elementary schools have been invited to participate.

April will feature the works of Nesika and Big Lake, followed by Marie Sharpe and Chilcotin Road next month.

Cariboo Art Beat is located at 19 First Ave., under Caribou Ski Source for Sports’ entrance on Oliver Street.

Rylie Trampleasure, Grade 2, has her work on display at Cariboo Art Beat. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Isabella Buchner

Isabella Buchner

Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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Launching the conversation on Newfoundland and Labrador art history



ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is a book that has been a long time coming, Mireille Eagan says.

While working at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Eagan curated an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador joining Confederation with Canada.

“As I was researching, I noticed that there was very little that existed in terms of the art history of this province,” she said. “There wasn’t even a Wikipedia article.”

Noticing this large gap, “Future Possible” was a book that needed to exist, she said.

As the 70th anniversary approached in 2019, Eagan, now living in St. John’s and working as curator of contemporary art at The Rooms, envisioned filling that gap.

Over two summers, The Rooms held a two-part exhibition. The first looked at the visual culture and visual narratives before the province joined Confederation and the second focused on 1949 onward, Eagan said.

“At its core, it was asking, what are the stories we tell ourselves as a province? It was looking at iconic artworks, it was looking at texts that have been written about this place, and it put these works in conversation with contemporary artworks,” Eagan said.

In the foreword to the book, chief executive officer of The Rooms Anne Chafe described it as a complement to the exhibition and a project that “does not seek to be the final say. It seeks, instead, to launch the conversation.”

History and identity

One example of that conversation between the past and the present mentioned by Eagan is the work of artist Bushra Junaid, who moved to St. John’s from Montreal as a baby. The daughter of a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father, Junaid said her experience growing up in the province in the 1970s, where she always the only Black child in the room, was not like most.

“All of my formative years, my schooling and everything, took place in St. John’s,” she said. “It’s very much shaped my current preoccupation.”

Her interest in history, identity and representation led her to making “Two Pretty Girls…,” which used an archival photograph of Caribbean sugarcane workers from 1903 with text from advertisements for sugar, molasses and rum from archived copies of The Evening Telegram collaged over the women’s clothing.

In her essay “Of Saltfish and Molasses” published in “Future Possible,” she described the work as “(allowing) me to place these women and their labour within the broader historical context of the international trade in commodities that underpinned Caribbean slavery and its afterlife.”

It’s a direct connection between Newfoundland and people in the Caribbean, a historical line not often drawn through the context of the transatlantic slave trade, but one she knows personally through the stories told by her mother, Adassa, about their ancestor, Sisa, who “as a teenager, survived the horrors of the Middle Passage, enduring the voyage from West Africa to Jamaica in the hold of a slave ship (Junaid).”

A book like “Future Possible” allows people to interpret themselves and their past, present and future, Junaid says.

“I appreciate the ways in which they really worked to make it as broad and diverse as possible,” she said. “It’s also striving to tell the Indigenous history of the place, the European settler history … and then also looking for … non-Western backgrounds such as myself. It’s enriching.”

What shapes us

St. John’s writer Lisa Moore contributed an essay called “Five Specimens from Another Time” that weaves together moments from her own life, the province’s history and current realities and the art that has inspired her over the years.

“It’s really interesting to me to see all this work of people that I’ve written about in the past and whose work influenced me, even in my writing of fiction, and then newer artists,” Moore said. “I just think that the book is a total gift.”

With such a rich cultural history ready to be written, she imagines “Future Possible” is just the first of what could be many books about art in the province now that the “ice is cracked.”

“The writers that (Eagan) has chosen to write here are also really exciting critics from all over the province, talking about all kind of different periods in art history,” she said.

As time passes, the meaning of the works in the book becomes richer, she said.

Mary Pratt’s 1974 “Cod Fillets on Tin Foil” and Scott Goudie’s 1991 “Muskrat Falls,” for instance, are two images with seemingly straightforward and simple subject matter. But any viewer looking now, who is aware of the cod moratorium and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, would find it difficult to see and interpret these images outside of those contexts.

“Artists, writers, filmmakers … they’re keen observers of culture and the moment that we live in,” Moore said. “They present things that are intangible like the feeling of a moment, or the culmination of social, political and esthetic powers that come together at a given time and shape us.”

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is available online and in stores.

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.
[email protected]
Twitter: @andrewlwaterman



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Parrott Art Gallery goes virtual to help flatten the curve – The Kingston Whig-Standard



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Feeling stir crazy because of COVID and the latest lock-down? Take a virtual trip to Morocco!

On Wednesday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m., the Parrott Gallery will host Lola Reid Allin’s Armchair Traveler online presentation: “Morocco: Sea, Sand and Summit”. Allin is an accomplished photographer, pilot, writer and speaker. Travel with her through the land of dramatic contrast and hidden jewels, busy markets and medieval cities, and enjoy some virtual sun.

For more information and to register for this free online event, please visit The Armchair Traveller Morocco photography exhibit is also available to view through the Parrott Gallery website until mid-May.

Even though our gallery is currently closed to the public, our exhibitions are all available to view online. Sam Sakr’s show “The Housing Project” is certain to bring a smile to your face. His collection of mixed media artwork will take you to a playful land of fantastical creatures that inhabit imaginary, stylized cityscapes. If your spirit needs uplifting, you need to see to see this show. I hope that everyone will be able to view Sakr’s work both online and then in our gallery after the lock-down ends in May. Without a doubt, it will be worth the wait to see it again in-person when we re-open.

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Another exhibition that you can currently visit on the Parrott Gallery website is the group show “Spring Sentiments: a Reflection of Art in Isolation”. This was a collaborative effort by the 39 artists who submitted their work, our staff who put the show together in the gallery and online, and our guest curator Jessica Turner. We are thrilled that Jessica was able to transcribe her experience with this show into a final paper for her Curatorial Studies BFA degree at OCADU.

The fact that we have had to close our doors just as this show was opening is a sad reflection of the theme as the audience must now reflect on this artwork at home, in isolation. The up-side to viewing this exhibition online is that one can read the artist statements that accompany the work and get a more in depth view of the artists’ perspectives. We encourage viewers to support our artists by sending in their comments and to vote for their favourites in the show by following the appropriate link on the webpage.

When you can’t come in to our building, the Parrott Gallery will bring the artwork to you. And then when the sun and flowers come out in May, and when it is safe to return to our gallery on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, we hope to see you all again.

For questions about our online talk, our shows, or to purchase any of the artwork please call us at 613-968-6731 x 2040 or email us at

Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

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