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Art Gallery of Guelph adapts to changing and challenging times – GuelphToday



The Art Gallery of Guelph has launched a new season of exhibitions this month and people are making the visit, both in-person and virtually.

Since closing in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gallery reopened its doors in July.

“Visitation has been strong. For many, the gallery is a safe environment and an open space for learning where individuals and families can explore new art and ideas,” says Shauna McCabe, director at the Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG).

Today, visitors explore the gallery with additional social distancing and health and safety precautions in place.

Attendance numbers are limited, and visitors will find signage, spacing, directional markers and hand sanitizers throughout the facility.

“Prior to the pandemic, events at the gallery offered an opportunity for community members to engage directly with art, artists, curators and fellow art lovers in conversation and hands on learning,” McCabe said.

“Since restrictions on in-person gatherings were introduced, the gallery has found new ways to share exhibitions and educational content online via the website, e-newsletter and social media platforms.”

With the return of in-person visitors, virtual programming has also grown in popularity

“Virtual programming has been well received. In July and August, the gallery offered a new virtual summer camp program, Camp-To-Go, that combined online learning with kits full of art materials. Campers and parents alike enjoyed the combination of live instruction and hands-on artmaking,” McCabe said.

“Since March, the gallery has made documentation of current exhibitions available online for visitors around the world to enjoy from home. In a sense, exhibitions are now available globally, 24/7.”

Online virtual school programs will continue to be offered at the gallery.

“We are introducing a virtual program for kids on Saturdays and hosting upcoming talks related to exhibitions as well. To support at-home learning, the gallery launched several programs available on our website as part of our #MuseumAtHome initiative,” says McCabe.

“Schoolhouse Studio Sheets, for example, is a series of fun at-home activities inspired by artworks in the gallery’s collection. In addition, the gallery has developed curriculum-based materials for teachers based on current exhibitions.”

Established in 1978 as the former Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the AGG operates today with three sponsors – the University of Guelph, the City of Guelph and the Upper Grand District School Board.

“The new season of exhibitions speak to the possibilities for generative relationships with land and environment,” says McCabe.

“Featuring artists from across the Americas, the exhibitions on view offer a dialogue that connects decolonization with pressing issues of climate change, environmental sustainability and social justice.”

One of the new exhibitions, Sin Cielo / Skyless, depicts Clemencia Echeverri’s ongoing exploration of the social dynamics, cultural practice, and history of Colombia, specifically the after effects of mining in the county’s northwest.

Also, Carolina Caycedo’s A Landscape Is Never Natural, explores the interconnectedness of nature and social systems in the exhibition.

Grounding, curated by Maya Wilson-Sanchez, includes artwork made from the ground, work that uses as its material basis, the same valuable natural resources that drive world economies.

Visitors to the AGG can still catch Christi Belcourt’s exhibition, Uprising which continues until October 11.

Uprising is a mid-career retrospective of the work of Michif (Métis) visual artist Christi Belcourt. It brings together over 30 paintings, celebrating her creative achievements over 25 years of artmaking.

This exhibit is complemented by the work of knowledge holder, storyteller, and artist Isaac Murdoch, whose iconic images, such as Thunderbird Woman, are symbolic of the Indigenous resistance movement against resource extraction.

“The Art Gallery of Guelph offers compelling encounters with artists from around the world for visitors of all ages,” McCabe said.

And art isn’t only found inside the gallery.

“Extending the social space of the gallery beyond its walls, the AGG’s Sculpture Park is the most comprehensive contemporary outdoor art collection at the public gallery in Canada, with permanent installations by regional, national and international artists,” says McCabe.

Whether in person or on-line, education is at the heart of the all the gallery has to offer.

“As an educational organization, the gallery is always interested in exploring new tools that support online learning and research,” McCabe said.

The AGG continues to reflect issues that are important to the community.

“In the last few months, it has become clear that art institutions have a critical role to play in recognizing and challenging historic oppression, concerns reflected throughout our exhibitions, programs and collections,” McCabe said.

“The Art Gallery of Guelph aims to address issues that matter to our communities through our work with artists, with a vision focused on being an inclusive and participatory art museum at the heart of the community.”

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Pay Phones Turned Into Public Art, in “Titan” – The New Yorker



Photograph by Chris Maggio for The New Yorker

New York City’s pay phones are obsolete, and, by early next year, they will also be history—removed to make way for Wi-Fi kiosks. Through Jan. 3, a dozen artists (including Glenn Ligon, Patti Smith, and Jimmie Durham, whose contribution is pictured above) are making creative use of phone booths along Sixth Avenue, from Fifty-first to Fifty-sixth Streets. The project, called “Titan,” was co-curated by Damián Ortega and Bree Zucker, in collaboration with the Kurimanzutto gallery.

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Qaumajuq—new name of Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit art centre—an act of decolonization –



​The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre has a new name.

In a ceremony on Oct. 28, the gallery, known as WAG, announced the centre would be renamed Qaumajuq [HOW-ma-yourq], an Inuktitut word meaning “It is bright, it is lit”.

Qaumajuq is set to open in February 2021 after construction began in March 2018 on a new 40,000-square-foot-building designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture with Cibinel Architecture. It’s home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.

The WAG building itself was given a name in Anishinaabemowin—Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah [BEEN- deh-gen Bi-WAH-say-yah], meaning “Come on in, the dawn of light is here” or “the dawn of light is coming.”

The naming ceremony was hosted by Dr. Stephen Borys, director and CEO of WAG. The ceremony occurred with a small gathering of Borys and Julia Lafreniere, WAG manager of Indigenous Initiatives. A Qulliq lighting ceremony was conducted by Elder Martha Peet, with virtual appearances from Theresie Tungilik and Elder Dr. Mary Courchene. The latter two formally announced the new names in Inuktitut and Anishinaabemowin respectively.

Tungilik, an Inuk artist from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, said “Qaumajuq will be a place where all walks of life will experience, through the creation of Inuit art, our survival, hardships and resilience.”

Courchene, who comes from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, said the Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah name was created to “include all the Indigenous populations of Manitoba, the First Nations, the Métis, and the Inuit populations.”

“The language keepers and Elders came together in a powerful moment of cross-cultural reflection and relationship-building,” Borys said. “This initiative is an act of decolonization, supporting reconciliation and Indigenous knowledge transmission for generations to come in an effort to ensure WAG-Qaumajuq will be a home where Indigenous communities feel welcome. Where everyone feels welcome.”

In addition to the new name of Qaumajuq, which will serve as the primary name for the space, various areas within the WAG will also have new names in Inuvialuktun (Inuit), Nêhiyawêwin (Cree), Dakota, and Michif (Métis) that were given by Indigenous language keepers.

“Indigenous-focused and Indigenous-led initiatives will be at the heart of this new space and giving the spaces Indigenous names is just the start,” reads the WAG’s website where pronunciations and audio clips for the new names are available.

“We are thrilled to share the names of the spaces in the seven Indigenous languages of Manitoba and Inuit Nunangat,” said Dr. Heather Igloliorte and Dr. Julie Nagam, co-chairs of the Indigenous Advisory Circle for Winnipeg Art Gallery, in a joint statement.

“The Circle demonstrates the breadth of knowledge that represents the relationship to the collection and the buildings and it has been an incredible experience for all Circle members. We are so honoured to gift the institution with these new names that point to a new path forward for galleries and museums in this country,” the statement continued.

The WAG also states that the “historic naming responds to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 13 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 14i, both of which reference the importance of Indigenous languages.”

Article 13 reads:

Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.

TRC Call to Action 14i states:

Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.

A press release issued by WAG states that Qaumajuq “will innovate the art museum, taking art from object to full sensory experience with Inuit-led programming.” One of these features includes the three-storey tall column called the ‘visible vault’ that is filled with thousands of Inuit carvings and immediately viewable upon entry into Qaumajuq.



“This is a place that amplifies and uplifts Inuit stories, connecting Canada’s North and South. This is a site for reconciliation… We can’t wait to unveil this new cultural landmark in the heart of the country with these new names honouring Indigenous voices and languages,” Borys said.

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Art-loving couple helping Bayfield arts hub get off the ground – Toronto Star



A Bayfield-based arts non-profit is moving forward with plans for an arts centre in the Huron County community, thanks to a large donation from a local couple.

The Bayfield Centre for the Arts (BCA) has purchased a building on the village’s edge that will be transformed into a 1,115-square-metre visual arts hub.

“The concept of a Bayfield arts centre had been cooking for several years, but I wanted to formalize the vision . . . in terms of acquiring a building and bringing together a number of art organizations under one roof,” said centre president Leslee Squirrell.

Squirrell said the new facility will include an art gallery to showcase local artists and travelling exhibits, plus studio spaces and rooms for workshops.

A variety of arts will be featured, from new media and photography to painting, pottery and woodworking.

“We do have a big vision,” Squirrell said. “Even though the centre itself might be located in Bayfield, the purpose is to be a destination arts centre. It’s for the broader local community and those all over the county.”

Purchase of the building, at Highway 21 and Cameron Street, was made possible by a “significant financial donation” from Huron County residents Mac Voisin and Marcela Bahar.

“This state-of-the-art facility will benefit generations to come,” Voisin said. “(We are) delighted to be part of this project.”

Along with educational workshops and art showcases, Squirrell said they plan a mobile art truck that will let the centre take programming on the road across the region.

A film festival is also in the works, spurred on by the recent shooting of the movie Trigger Point in Bayfield.

The film’s director, Brad Turner, lives in the Lake Huron village seasonally and is a BCA adviser, Squirrell said.

The centre now uses a converted barn on Bayfield’s Main Street as a temporary home.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has been holding outdoor painting and photography workshops.

“We’re doing the best we can to continue to create our vision even though COVID has created obstacles,” Squirrell said.



She said the picturesque village is the perfect backdrop for a Southwestern Ontario arts hub, since it’s already a popular tourist destination with many local artists nearby.

“We’re an incredibly beautiful, ideal, creative type of community on Lake Huron,” Squirrell said.

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