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Art Hounds: An audio play about understanding people who disagree politically – Minnesota Public Radio News



Actor, singer and director Ben Lohrberg is looking forward to hearing the show “Understood” from Trademark Theater. The theater has adapted its 2018 stage play into an audio production, and Lohrberg looks forward to hearing how the COVID-accessible format changes the show. The play takes on the timely topic of how we connect with people with whom we disagree. It follows a young, separated couple who each start relationships with individuals who share very different political views. Written by Tyler Mills and directed by Tyler Michaels King, it’s a show about navigating relationships and finding common ground. The audio play streams from Thursday through Nov. 4. Pricing for digital tickets is pay-what-you-choose.

Photographer Jacinda Davis is planning to visit the Hutchinson Center for the Arts to see the new exhibit “Malaise” by fiber artist Liz Miller and beadwork artist Chris Allen. The title of the show reflects the uncertainty of the times, but Davis says she finds the bright colors of their work energizing. Liz Miller uses knotted ropes to make large sculptures, while Chris Allen’s fine beadwork creates textures on a smaller scale. The show runs through Nov. 13.

Theater artist Ariel Johnson of Burnsville, Minn., loves the work of St Paul singer/songwriter Hannah Bakke, who writes folk and comedy music for mandolin and acoustic guitar. Bakke describes herself as “three shots of espresso with a dash of nutmeg; energetic, sweet and will remain fresh for up to nine months if stored properly.” During the pandemic, Bakke has been performing “little free concerts” outside of people’s homes in the Twin Cities area, which will continue as long as weather permits this fall.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.

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Creative Ideas Flourish As Windsor's Art & Craft Stores Pivot During Pandemic – windsoriteDOTca News



With most people spending a lot of extra time at home these past months, Windsor’s art and craft establishments have helped to keep locals interested in fresh, new arts and crafts, all while pivoting their businesses for changing times.

There are many quality shops in town to nurture your crafting and creating needs, or to help start something new whether it is your first or hundredth project.

From drawing to knitting, your crafting cravings can be satisfied in just a short drive around town while supporting local.

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Looking to have your imagination brought to life? Come see what’s going on at Beatnik Art Supplies…

Beatnik Art Supplies is an art store “by artists for artists,” as described by owner Katrina Rutter. The shop is run by her and her son, Julian Pawlaczyk, who are both well versed with many of the items they offer in-store.

A painter at heart, Rutter reflects on how everything has changed since the pandemic changed the world we are in. She closed Beatnik’s physical location in March as a lot of other businesses did, but “we started doing deliveries and curb-side pick up,” she explains. “So we never actually closed… just the store front.”

“We delivered as far as Cottam,” Rutter says.

Before they reopened the physical store, the set up had to be changed a bit to be able to follow guidelines and keep everyone safe.

“Everything was all open before…but not we have to be behind the [Plexiglas] barrier,” Rutter says.

The store sells a variety of paints, including watercolour, gouache, and oil, as well as charcoal, graphite, pen and ink, block printing, and much more.

With a lot more people staying home, Rutter noticed some new clientele popping by.

“We’ve noticed people who want to try art because they have the extra time to do it right now,” she says. “There have been a lot of beginners looking to try something new.”

“We both have a good art background and give good suggestions of what would be good for anyone who comes in of any skill-level,” Rutter says. “We don’t want people to waste their money.”

The shop stocks higher-end paints and products as well as items more suited for beginners and those wanting to try a craft out. “We try and supply stuff that is popular in the local area,” she explains.

“It was a bit difficult to get supplies at the start of the pandemic,” Rutter mentions. “There was a good five months where there was no art paper, due to a pulp shortage. We just started to receive paper again.”

The pandemic also halted classes that would have taken place at the store.

“There was also the issue that some supplying factories had just completely shut down,” Rutter says, mentioning that she noticed a shortage of paints, mediums, and various other items.

Like many local business, however, the team at Beatnik Art Supplies has persevered and has enjoyed welcoming back artists in to their storefront.

“We used to have the Beatnik Café in California,” Rutter says. “It was a really fun time. We had all sorts of musicians come, and fabulous open-mic nights. Beatnik is all about music and art — we did the music, so now we’re doing the art.”

Rutter says since opening two-and-a-half years ago, the neighbourhood has been incredibly welcoming and friendly. She says many locals wave hello when walking by.

“We get a lot of questions from continuing artists that come in,” Rutter says. “Which is great because we are helpful as we are artists as well. Some customers even call us on the phone with questions, varying from the paint application to mediums.”

“Everyone comes in here with a common interest; we all have art in common,” she says. “We’re all friends because of art.”

The pair hopes to eventually host demonstrations on their social media accounts, including their Facebook which you can find here.

Bring your imagination to life and visit Beatnik Art Supplies at 224 Erie Street West.

Gearing up for the colder weather and thinking about becoming a maker? Little Sheep Boutique might just be up your alley…

Little Sheep Yarn Boutique aims to create an environment where everyone feels they can be comfortable in creativity.

Store owners Kate Rosser-Davies (left) and Susan Garrett stand in their store.

“Everybody has the capacity for creativity,” says co-owner Kate Rosser-Davies. “So we are focused very much so on helping people with whatever type of creativity they have and helping them figure out what they want to do.”

The yarn store offers a huge selection of yarns in both natural and synthetic varieties, as well as the tools a maker would be seeking. There is also finished goods on the floor for sale, as well as accents for projects like buttons and pom-poms. Items for both knitting and crocheting can be found at Little Sheep Yarn Boutique, as well as a small amount of sewing notions.

“The store is for all skill-levels and all price-ranges,” Rosser-Davies says. “We would typically have classes. We love teaching people.”

“We try and feature local artists and makers wherever possible,” she says. “We carry several yarns that come from indie dyers in Ontario. We have featured yarns from Windsor to Muskoka to St. Thomas and beyond.”

“The first little while of the pandemic, right after the schools closed, we had a rush of people trying to stock up,” Rosser-Davies says. “We had to make sure we managed it to not have too many people in the store.”

Rosser-Davies says at times people were lining up to get yarn.

“People didn’t want to be bored at home with nothing to do,” she says. “Then in April, we shut down. We had to completely, from the ground up, change our website to allow for online sales. In late April, once the website was up, we started doing yarn deliveries. I delivered by bike, and we also had car-driven deliveries. We also shipped to a certain extent.”

“I probably biked over 500 kilometres doing deliveries,” Rosser-Davies recalls cheerily. She mentions her parents were also a great help to her and co-owner Susan Garrett when they were doing deliveries.

“Our customers stuck by us, too,” Rosser-Davies says. “That’s the part that gave us a lot of comfort. Our customers didn’t abandon us to get cheaper yarn — they know we are far and have a superior product.

“The small business community just completely depends on people in the area who care for us,” she says. “There’s no small business that will make it through this without customers who care, and we are so lucky to have that.”

The shop started offering kits early on in the summer to help keep people busy. The kits came with yarn and a pattern

“When customers bought our kits, they would send us well-wishes, saying how they missed us and missed our social knitting nights,” Rosser-Davies says.

Once able to, in the early summer, Little Sheep Yarn Boutique opened their doors — but only for a short time at their previous location to host a moving sale. The new location is larger and can hold more customers while safely following the guidelines. “We wanted to grow,” Rosser-Davies says. “The old location was small, meaning we couldn’t add more yarns and couldn’t host larger classes.”

“Our Wednesday night socials were always super popular,” she says. “When everything was shut down, we were sad and missed everyone. So we thought to try a Zoom call.”

Although it was a slow start, Rosser-Davies says they now have regulars who attend weekly, and new people popping in here and there.

“It’s been sort of nice, as we have been able to host people who weren’t able to come to the in-person socials previously,” she says.

Small, in-person classes are beginning to spring up once again, but in adjusted fashions and with all safety rules being followed; masks are mandatory.

Rosser-Davies welcomed new customers who found the shop during the pandemic and says they build a trust relationship with people at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

“A lot of makers were calling us who were in the habit of shopping for their yarn in big box stores,” she says, mentioning how customers were more comfortable to come to the much less crowded environment at Little Sheep.

“I like to think being a maker gives you a certain amount of community,” Rosser-Davies says. “Doing something with your hands, it feels good.”

“When the world outside is chaotic — and it is — the fact that you can sit with something and work on it, and have control over it, and suddenly, an evening has gone by and you’ve produced something beautiful,” she says. “I find it a great way to ease my anxiety; it’s an anxious time right now. It’s a privilege to be able to step away from that and put your hands to work and silence everything else. That’s the only way to keep your energy up for some people. It is very easy to feel the burden from the outside world, and for me anyway, this is how I recharge.”

Little Sheep Yarn Boutique welcomes yarn-loving customers of any skill-level, and of any specialty whether it be for knitting or crocheting or both (bi-stitchual, as they call it.) Rosser-Davies and Garrett love to help customers who visit in search of their next project, or who need help troubleshooting a current one.

Visit Little Sheep Yarn Boutique and get your stitch on at 521 Erie Street East, or visit them virtually on their website here, and their Facebook here.

Looking to start a unique new venture, or find the best gift ever? Lets check out Simply Stained Glass….

Simply Stained Glass does not simply give a local the ability to purchase amazing works of art — they also stocks supplies to allow the customer to become the artist if they so please.

Denise Presland, owner, describes Simply Stained Class as a place for artists and beginners adventuring in to the world of glass. “It’s a place for art-seekers,” she says.

The store stocks glass, various supplies for stained glass work as well as finished pieces for purchase. Presland had been introduced to the art about 18 years ago by her sister, and started off doing glass art and fusing glass.

She stepped out of the craft for a short time, and got back in to it full-throttle. “I was doing a lot of work out of my house and it made me realize I’m not the only one with an interest in this,” she explains.

Denise Presland (owner, right) stands with design assistant Elise Drouillard (left), who she runs the shop as well as with the manager (not photographed) Lori Foster.

Presland is able to offer repairs as well as custom orders in addition to her supplies that can be found in-store and online.

The shop also offers classes for the art, however, the pandemic had put that on hold for a bit. The first class since March took place in late September with a much smaller capacity.

“Normally we have classes from September through to April, during the cooler months,” Presland explains, as this year had to be cut short.

“Our website really picked up since April, while people had the time to get back to their projects,” she says. The store was shipping near and far for those seeking supplies.

“We closed in March, and opened back up once we were allowed to in-store,” Presland explains. “But our online shop never closed.”

“Shipments of supplies to the shop have been a bit slower since the pandemic, and some glass supplies are a bit more difficult to get, but it’s getting better,” she says.

The store sells traditional glass — imported from Mexico and Europe — which Presland says is the same as what’s used in churches. They receive large sheets of glass, and cut them in to the sizes that customers need. This glass is strictly flat panels.

Fusing glass, specifically “96 COE”, is also offered at Simply Stained Glass, which is used as an “art glass.” This can be used to make things such as bowls and platters, or also just kept flat, with the use of a kiln.

Both types of glass come in “all colours that you can think of,” Presland notes.

Odds and ends to be added in to glass projects, such as dichroic glass and bevels as well as powdered glass, are available to purchase.

Presland recommends taking a class before jumping into the glass arts, and carries items for those who have already tinkered in the craft to help continue their work.

“In my classes, everything is included…you just have to buy your own glass,” Presland says. “We also typically offer workshops which would be one-shots. Afterwards, we just put the piece in the kiln, and the participants can come by to pick it up later on. By the time you finish a beginners class, you’ll have enough knowledge to continue on your own.”

Although, with fusing projects, a larger kiln would be needed if at-home projects were being sought; only a small kiln is available for sale at the store.

In addition to supplies, the store sells jewelry, magnets, night lights, garden sticks, bowls, jewelry boxes and many already-finished projects. Custom orders are always welcome and Presland can accommodate people’s ideas and needs. She says kitchen cabinet doors have become quite popular lately.

Supplies for sale at Simply Stained Glass also include different coloured foils, brushes, smoke absorbers, specialized grinders, scissors, and scrap glass.

Presland points out how diverse glass work can be, including making stepping stone with glass mosaics, sun catchers, and so much more.

“I always tell people if they have never been in a stained glass store before to come and check it out to see what inspires you,” she says. “People don’t realize there’s such a variety of colours and textures. It’s not just a window: it’s art.”

Check out Simply Stained Glass for yourself at 3919 Seminole Street, or find out more on their website here.

Looking to keep the kid’s hands busy, or need some inspiration for some at-home art class? Art Lab has got you covered…

The Art Lab was typically a place for kids to gather and get a little messy while being able to express their creativity.

“Pretty much everything has change for us…in every way,” Samantha Walker, co-owner, explains, who has her own two children at home to think about.

Samantha Walker sits with one of her brand new art subscription boxes.

Walker, alongside her husband Matt Bolton, had to take a step back when the pandemic shut down everything in March.

The two had just obtained a larger space to be able to accommodate more people.

“We couldn’t have people in the studio anymore,” Walker says. “So we had to find a way to do what we do and bring it to people’s houses — and thankfully, we can do that.”

The establishment previously relied heavily on events such as field trips and parties, but the Art Lab team pivoted quickly in a direction that would still allow for local youth to get creative while stuck at home.

“We totally closed for the first two weeks, and then came out with our art kits,” Walker explains.

The first art kits that Walker and the Art Lab team put together were dollhouse creating kits, donut making kits, and slime kits.

“The community was amazing when I first started the art kits; they were all over it,” says Walker. “I was selling out fast. Autism Ontario were buying a lot of kits for their families, which we are so thankful for…it really helped.”

Once they could re-open their storefront, the Art Lab slowly started taking small private bookings for things such as family birthday celebrations, private home school art sessions, slime making sessions, and splatter room bookings.

“We’re not rushing anything,” Walker says. “We’re not trying to put the community or kids at risk when we don’t have to.”

With kids missing out on art classes at school, the Art Lab is also hoping to fill the gap.

Now, with the future unpredictable, Walker has brought to fruition an Art Lab subscription box to fill that artistic void some children may be feeling, allowing them to lift their creative reach to be near and far.

“The subscription box was the perfect solution to keep the Art Lab alive,” Walker explains. “It allows us to connect with customers, and also lets me be present as a mom myself.”

“Subscription boxes come with four activities, which is designed for one activity per week,” she says.

Activities include dying items, measuring, mixing, has kids use fine motor skills, aids creativity and are self-esteem building.

“They’re all process-based activities,” Walker explains. “It’s more about the process than the final product. It’s for fun and we focus on how fun it is. The end result is still awesome.”

“We are trying to make it a learning through art sort of thing,” she says. “So not only is it fun, they get something valuable out of it.”

Each activity from the subscription box comes with a video “class” where Walker unboxes the project and teaches people how create the project as she would have during a regular in-person class.

“Art Lab is a place to get creative,” Walker says. “We believe art is a feeling and an experience.”

Get creative and find something fun for the whole family at the Art Lab located at 894 Ottawa Street, or visit them online on their website here and Facebook page here.

Crafting not your thing? Check out other hobby shops we took you shopping through here.

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



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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Stony Plain: 'Punching above [its] weight when it comes to public art' –



Judy Bennett gazes fondly at her favourite mural in her hometown of Stony Plain, Alta. 

“To me it’s just downright grass roots. This is the way things happened. Around a kitchen table, talked about things that needed to be done and how they could do it together,” said the town councillor. 

The mural by James Mackay was commissioned in 2012 by cooperatives like banks, grocery stores and insurance companies in the community to mark the 100th anniversary of co-ops. 

The mural is one of nearly 40 dotting the town 40 kilometres west of Edmonton. The works not only draw tourists but are also a point of civic pride. 

Take a tour of some of the murals dotting the community of Stony Plain, Alta. 2:05

You can see more from the town of Stony Plain on Our Edmonton on Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday at noon and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV and CBC GEM.

Bennett says since the first mural was unveiled around 30 years ago, they have come to adorn dry cleaning shops, hair salons, the post office and the arena. 

The murals depict the town’s past and colourful characters like local NHL goalie great Glenn Hall, long-serving country physician Dr. Richard Oatway, and teenage translator and telephone operator Ottilia Zucht, who could speak five languages.  

In a normal year, tourists can hop aboard a horse-drawn wagon with long-time tour guide Greg Hanna. In a pandemic year, Bennett encourages people to walk or drive the mural route using a map available on the town’s website

A mural called Goods in Kind by Stony Plain artist Windi Scott-Hanson shows the town’s first lawyer F.W. Lundy who often accepted goods rather than money for his services. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

“We wanted these murals to be outside, so they were always accessible and what a great idea that was, especially during the pandemic,” Bennett said. 

Mayor William Choy stands in front of the newest mural in the pedestrian tunnel below the CN rail line just off the skateboard park at 4401 49th Avenue. 

The bright colours, messages of hope and pineapples wearing sunglasses make the mural “awesome,” Choy says.

“That’s a living, breathing wall, allowing residents to express themselves in a productive and friendly manner,” he says. 

This summer, the town partnered with artists Daphne Côté and AJA Louden, short for Adrian Joseph Alexander, to host a public art project featuring an introduction to graffiti-style art. 

Artists Daphne Côté and AJA Louden offered a spray paint mural workshop in Stony Plain this summer. (Supplied by AJA Louden)

“The murals allow us to showcase the history and past of Stony Plain but also allows us to move forward such as the projects here,” Choy says. “A new generation of art and thinking.” 

Louden, an Edmonton-based contemporary urban muralist, worked with about a dozen skateboard and scooter kids and other residents who showed up to learn.

“I think we brought about 50 or 60 cans of spray paint,” Louden recalls. 

“My favourite part was watching that eureka moment, when people finally figure out a new trick with the spray can or realize that they could,” he says.

“They maybe didn’t see themselves as an artist before this and they’ve started to find a medium that felt fun and felt new. That’s really exciting.” 

Louden hopes to return next summer for more sessions at the skateboard park.

“I’ve always been impressed with communities like Stony Plain for punching above their weight when it comes to public art, lots of cool murals that celebrate the heritage of the town.”

The Book by James Mackay, completed in 2012, is featured outside the town’s public library. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

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