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Art Gallery wants major expansion, asking for cash, professional input – SooToday

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Art lovers are familiar with what is described as ‘postmodern art.’

Now, the Art Gallery of Algoma (AGA) is envisioning a renovated and expanded post-COVID art gallery. 

“There are issues with this current building. We are limited in what we can do and how we can serve the community, whether it’s the arts community or the tourism sector. Now, in the time of COVID, everything is different, but this will not last forever, so we have to look beyond this and look at how we want to see the gallery re-emerge,” said Jasmina Jovanovic, AGA executive director and chief curator, speaking to SooToday.

The AGA board, staff and a special renovation/expansion committee, on Oct. 16, put out an invitation to experts with experience in developing proposals for art galleries to submit requests for proposals (RFPs) and present their ideas for the Sault waterfront attraction.

“We should feature permanently, one way or another, on a rotating basis, something that reflects The Group of Seven, also another space that reflects our Indigenous culture, also Dr. Roberta Bondar’s photographs…if you think of it from the tourism perspective, it would be nice to feature what is telling the story of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma,” Jovanovic said.

That wouldn’t be all.

The AGA would also like to have space to showcase work by Sault and area artists.

“We would also like to enable local artists to have more space on a permanent (but rotating) basis, but to have a dedicated space where they can feature their art, and also, of course, bring in travelling exhibitions from outside that a lot of people, especially these days, cannot see (due to COVID-19 transmission fears linked to travel),” Jovanovic said.

The AGA is also looking at adding a space for food and beverages to be enjoyed by visitors.

“The AGA would like to explore the potential of some form of food services within the facility. This facility could include a seasonal exterior patio, with access to the surrounding sculpture garden park allowing the AGA to offer refreshments and confections to not only visitors within the facility but also those using the external spaces,” an AGA document outlining the gallery’s vision states.

“We decided to put all our dreams out there (in calling for RFPs),” Jovanovic said.

“We have storage issues for art, and office space. Everything is tight. We outgrew this building.”

“The gallery did an amazing job over the last 45 years in growing this much but it is time now to look forward to the next 45 years.”

The AGA is currently 10,000 square feet in size, but Jovanovic said she does not have a specific new size in mind when it comes to the desired renovation and expansion. 

“I’m going to rely on the experts (in answering that question),” she said.

The AGA is anticipating the cost of the project to not exceed $200,000. 

“The funding is going to be grants, federal and possibly some provincial (local funding also a possibility),” Jovanovic said.

The gallery is asking for all RFPs to be sent in a sealed envelope to the AGA at 10 East Street in Sault Ste. Marie by 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

The writer(s) of the chosen RFP will be notified Jan 8, 2021 (or sooner), with the project to hopefully begin Jan. 22, 2021 (or sooner).

“It will be a lengthy process but we don’t have enough space to function properly and there are building issues, just like any old house that’s showing signs of its age and we have to address that. We don’t really have a choice,” Jovanovic said.

“In a month or so we would know who our chosen candidate is but we will hopefully have some grant applications, then we will have to wait to get the funding. This is our wish list and is this list going to be feasible, that is the question.”

The need for work to be done on the gallery was identified five years ago, that need becoming more pronounced over the past two years, Jovanovic said.

Flooding problems at the gallery in recent years have been repaired as best as possible for now, Jovanovic said.

However, she added “the water is coming in, in different spots in the building, through the floor. According to the architect, there is pressure building underneath, the foundation. We’ve repaired the wall, we’ve repaired the roof and that enabled us to function, to still present some very good exhibitions and programming and engage with the community, but it isn’t a permanent solution.”

None of the AGA’s collection of 5,000 paintings, drawings, photographs and three-dimensional works of art such as sculptures and pottery have been damaged by flooding, Jovanovic said.

The special AGA renovation/expansion committee, which exists apart from the gallery’s board, consists of Dr. Roberta Bondar (honorary chair), Susan Myers (Algoma District School Board trustee), City Councillor Matthew Shoemaker, Sault architect David Ellis, lawyer Mark Lepore and The Algoma Art Society’s Nora Ann Harrison.

The gallery was closed due to the provincial COVID-19 shutdown in March, reopened since then with reduced hours of operation, open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. 

The AGA was launched as a non-profit public art gallery by a group of art enthusiasts and volunteers, incorporated July 7, 1975. The AGA moved to its present location in 1980 and includes four exhibition spaces, the Ken Danby Education Studio, the Gallery Café and the AGA Gallery Shop. The AGA is the only public art gallery in Algoma and also serves Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and five bordering states. 

The AGA’s operational/programming requirements are primarily funded by the City of Sault Ste. Marie (approximately $280,000 annually) and various other grants and funds support projects and on-going activities.

Details of the AGA’s invitation for RFPs may be found on the gallery’s website.

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Visit the city's tiniest art gallery: Five things to do in Saskatoon this weekend – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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In an effort to help Saskatoon residents share art with one another, Suzy Schwanke has created the Free Little Art Gallery YXE outside her home at 332 Hilliard St. E.

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Whether you’re interested in art, a virtual party, some outdoor activities or cleaning up around the house, there’s a little bit of something for everyone this weekend in Saskatoon.

1. Visit the Free Little Art Gallery

In an effort to help Saskatoon residents share art with one another, Suzy Schwanke has created the Free Little Art Gallery YXE outside her home at 332 Hilliard St. E. Designed in the style of community libraries and kitchen boxes, visitors to the gallery can take a piece of art, leave a piece of art, or do both. You can check out some of the artwork on Instagram @Freelittleartgalleryyxe.

Art teacher Suzy Schwanke is hoping to bring “a little joy to the community” by installing a tiny art gallery on her front lawn in Saskatoon’s Queen Elizabeth neighbourhood.
Art teacher Suzy Schwanke is hoping to bring “a little joy to the community” by installing a tiny art gallery on her front lawn in Saskatoon’s Queen Elizabeth neighbourhood. Photo by Matt Smith /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

2. Hit up The Bassment’s virtual party

Featuring the music and talents of eight Saskatoon bands, The Bassment presents InTune 2021 — a free online party playing from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The shows will be streamed live through the Bassment’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

3. Check out local performers

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Watch as some of Saskatoon’s performing artists share their work in Episode 1 of Persephone Theatre’s Open Stage, which was published earlier this month. The episode is available to watch whenever you want at persephonetheatre.org and features Peace Akintade, Kathie Cram, Amanda Trapp, Sketchy Bandits, Carla Orosz and Ellen Froese.

4. Have some family fun

The Fuddruckers Family Fun Centre (2910 8th St. E) is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday, weather permitting. Families can practice their skills on the 18-hole Putt N’ Bounce miniature golf course, reach new heights on The Rock climbing wall or take a swing at the Grand Slam batting cages. More information is available at fudds.ca or by calling 306-477-0808.

5. Drop off your hazardous waste

The City of Saskatoon is holding its first Hazardous Household Waste Drop Off of the year on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Civic Operations Centre (57 Valley Rd.). The drop off is open to Saskatoon residents from residential properties only. Products eligible for drop off include aerosols, automotive fluids, batteries, cleaners, light bulbs, yard chemicals and more. Learn more at saskatoon.ca/hazardouswaste.

  1. Art teacher Suzy Schwanke is hoping to bring

    Little art gallery brings colour, connection to Queen Elizabeth neighbourhood

  2. Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon

    Persephone Theatre brings in community co-leads for new Artists’ Working Group

The news seems to be flying at us faster all the time. From COVID-19 updates to politics and crime and everything in between, it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has created an Afternoon Headlines newsletter that can be delivered daily to your inbox to help make sure you are up to date with the most vital news of the day. Click here to subscribe.

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YK ARCC celebrates 10 years by pushing for NWT art gallery – Cabin Radio

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Its trailer doubles as one of the NWT’s only art galleries. Now, the Yellowknife Artist-Run Community Centre is turning 10 years old.

The group, YK ARCC for short, formed in 2011 in a downtown Yellowknife church scheduled for demolition. “There was always something going on,” recalled Métis artist Rosalind Mercredi, owner of the city’s Down to Earth Gallery, who was YK ARCC’s first president.

“I think it was so good to be able to have a space where people wanted to work on stuff and, if they had bigger projects they wanted to do, there was a space to do it. It was pretty vibrant times, I would say, for art.”

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Though the organization stayed in the church for less than a year, it has brought art and shows to Yellowknife since. Temporary homes have included an apartment above a Vietnamese restaurant and empty spaces in the Centre Square Mall.

Casey Koyczan, a Tłı̨chǫ artist from Yellowknife pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Manitoba, held some of his first shows with YK ARCC’s help.

“It really helped to be able to show work within an environment that was conducive to more of a fine arts aesthetic as opposed to … a coffee shop, or a pub, or something like that,” said Koyczan, who was on YK ARCC’s board.

“YK ARCC felt like it was getting to more of a formal-exhibit kind of feel.”

‘We need a territorial gallery’

The group made headlines shortly after opening a mobile art gallery in a trailer. At the beginning of the pandemic, the team took art to residents by accepting reservations through Facebook then driving the gallery to make house calls in different neighbourhoods.

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“Because it’s so small, we might be the only gallery in Canada that didn’t have to close,” said longtime board member Sarah Swan. “It has a limited capacity. We knew we could still operate it safely.”

YK ARCC’s first home is pictured in 2011. Photo: Submitted
Casey Koyczan stands in front of a painting at a YK ARCC show in 2014. Photo: Submitted

Yet the trailer’s success simultaneously illuminated what YK ARCC’s members believe is a glaring deficiency in the NWT: the absence of a territorial gallery.

The cost of rent makes it difficult for the non-profit to hold on to one space for any length of time. Many of the spaces that are available in Yellowknife don’t work well for art shows.

“We need a territorial gallery,” former board member Dan Korver said.

That doesn’t mean a commercial gallery geared toward profit, he clarified. Instead, Korver wants a space where artists can show their work and engage with an audience “for art’s sake.”

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is the only large-scale, non-commercial, gallery fitting that bill in the NWT. It hosts two fine art exhibits a year.

“It’s just simply not enough,” said Swan. “There are so many more artists and so much more work out there to show, so many more ideas.”

“We created the mobile gallery in the first place to feel that exhibition gap, but also, we created it to be a piece of agitation in itself. That’s why we called it the Art Gallery of the Northwest Territories.

“It’s really pathetic that our territorial gallery is a trailer. We all joke that if there ever is a real gallery of the Northwest Territories that’s not in a trailer, we’ll happily give the name back.”

YK ARCC debuted its mobile gallery in the summer of 2019. Pictured are board member Brian McCutcheon and artist Terry Pamplin. Photo: Submitted
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Art by Shelley Vanderbyl is displayed in Yellowknife’s mobile gallery in May 2020. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
A YK ARCC show in 2018, called Social Fabric, was held inside a former bank in the Centre Square Mall. Thirty-two artists were featured and 800 people attended. Photo: Submitted

Koyczan described obstacles in establishing his career that stemmed directly from the lack of a territorial art gallery.

“Back when I was showing at YK ARCC, it wasn’t recognized by the Canada Arts Council,” he said. “Therefore, when you go to apply for grants and funding … and you provide your CV saying that you showed work at YK ARCC, they check their records and say the show basically didn’t exist because they don’t recognize it as a legitimate gallery.

“I’ve had to work really hard on exporting myself and making artwork that is impactful so that, regardless of where I was located, it would be recognized by people in the south, or around North America, or internationally.

“The NWT needs a contemporary gallery. It’s just holding us back, not having that space.”

‘No GNWT mandate’ for a gallery

In a written statement to Cabin Radio, the territorial Department of Education, Culture, and Employment said it has no plan to create a territorial gallery.

The department said it “does not have a mandate to create physical infrastructure for the arts.”

“However,” the response continued, “the GNWT would be happy to work with regional organizations to see how the GNWT can support their plans.”

Korver believes government involvement in creating an artist-run centre or non-commercial gallery should be limited to provision of funding, so any gallery can remain community-driven and independent.

“We need that physical space, but how do you run it?” he wondered. “Is it better to just provide a grassroots organization – or organizations, maybe there shouldn’t just be one – with stable funding so they can provide those spaces and run those spaces?”

More spaces that can host art are on the way.

Makerspace YK moved into the old After 8 pub this January and is planning workshops and exhibits. The City of Yellowknife expects to open a visitor centre in the Centre Square Mall that would include art displays.

Meanwhile, the territorial government is set to release its updated NWT Arts Strategy this June. The previous territorial arts strategy, released in 2004, had identified a need for more arts spaces.

As a gallery owner, Mercredi said she is curious to see how the strategy is implemented.

YK ARCC staged an outdoor installation in 2017. Photo: Submitted
Rosalind Mercredi, first president of YK ARCC, at the mobile gallery. Photo: Submitted

“You can make a strategy but if the plan doesn’t have an implementation idea behind it, then really just sits,” she said. “How do you implement it when most of the arts organizations don’t have enough infrastructure or people to put those things together?”

Swan said YK ARCC will continue to run its mobile gallery while celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Members have applied for funding to run a series of “emerging curator workshops.”

“Art is our passion,” Swan said. “I think there’s just this drive to share.

“Because we know how good art can be, or how amazing and fully developed it can be, we want to fight for that. We want to try to grow the art community in Yellowknife.”

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

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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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