A professor and his 16 students have spent countless hours, both in class and on their own time, collaborating on a bold new mural in the heart of downtown Kelowna, B.C.
The 240-square-metre piece features a large “psychedelic” salmon, in bright shades of blue, orange and yellow, and can be seen on the side of the CTQ Engineering building on St. Paul Street.
It’s part of the first mural-making course at University of British Columbia Okanagan, which teaches students how to not only paint a large work of art on a wall, but also what kind of paints to use, project proposals, budgeting and more.
The course features two components, one being the actual painting of the mural, and the second based on assignments and research into developing murals.
“We’re trying to give the students an opportunity to explore what’s going on in the wider context of muralling,” instructor David Doody said.
Amelia Ford, a third-year fine arts student, said painting a mural is vastly different from working in a studio because you’re out in the community, talking to passersby who are curious about the work.
“They ask a lot of really interesting questions and it broadens your perspective on what people’s assumptions are about art,” she said.
“When people see it, it makes them want to support the arts.”
Coming from Nelson, B.C., home of an international mural festival, she hopes to take what she’s learned about murals back with her and help out with the event in the future.
Second-year student Katie Chamberlain said she’s always wanted to work on murals, and she also hopes to put her newfound skills to use in the future.
“I’m so glad that I took this class,” she said. “It’s a hoot.”
Doody said the first semester of the course has been a “full success.”
“We’re actually getting better success than I ever dreamed.”
The official unveiling of the mural is scheduled for Aug. 18.
New art gives Downtown Guelph walkway a new look (8 photos) – GuelphToday
A project to revitalize The Walkway in Guelph’s downtown core offers passersby an opportunity to take in local art in a unique space.
The Walkway Project allowed members of the Necessary Arts Collective (NAC) to beautify the space by painting the pillars throughout the sunroof-lit walway that connects St. George’s Square with the Baker Street Parking lot.
The City of Guelph funded the project through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund which is a $30 million province-wide fund dedicated to stimulating the tourism economy and safely bringing visitors back into local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was kind of cool because all of the artists were already committed free of charge,” said Chanel DesRoches, local artist and owner of the NAC studio. “But the city paid us for our time and the Downtown Guelph Business Association pitched in for materials so it was really this last-minute huge community engagement opportunity.”
Artist Amber Ozols said her succulent-inspired series is about death and loss, but Ozols uses colour to try to bring happiness to the observers of her technicolour pieces.
“You can still tell that it looks like a plant or a flower but they’re all just succulents that I have digitally altered or I do sketches of them on-sight and bring them out here,” said Ozols.
Robert John Paterson, a freelance illustrator, based his design off the dimensions of his pillar before starting to paint his Canadian landscape-inspired tower just outside of the downtown post office.
“Coming up with a design that was really tall and skinny is pretty challenging,” Paterson said. “Most times when you compose an image it’s rectangle or square but this is like colouring on the side of a cigarette.”
On Sunday, the final pieces were unveiled and members of the public were able to walk through the footpath and enjoy the artists’ creations. Members of the public were also able to take a tour of the newly renovated Necessary Arts building.
“The fact that people know about us based on what they see online, or based on a short conversation based on what they see here (the walkway) and sparking potential interest … That is everything,” DesRoches said. “The thing about art is that it’s a side hobby now until you’re think you’re ready to make a jump and we can be that small or big jump.”
Moostletoe Tour cancelled but MJMAG offering plenty of art opportunities this fall – moosejawtoday.com
The artists and committee of the Moosetletoe Studio Tours have decided to cancel this year’s annual tour of local artists’ studios due to COVID-19 concerns, but that doesn’t mean Moose Jaw will be without chances to get involved with art throughout the fall.
The Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery has a number of programs and projects coming up that will help the community continue to stay connected to both their own creative side and the artists of Moose Jaw.
Education program coordinator Christy Schweiger from the MJMAG shared a few of the upcoming items of interest on the art gallery’s calendar, beginning with the ongoing work happening to put the gift shop online.
No set timeline has been established for the launch of the online shop, as the curator and tech team are still in discussion and the process will take some time, but MJMAG hopes to have the online option available for the Christmas season.
“We have someone in the community who is very tech-oriented that is working with the curator to come up with a concept of how to do that,” said Schweiger. “So that’s a little ways off but we will be working on that, and it’s a great idea to have it up for Christmas. We want to highlight local artists and work with local artists in not only our community but in Saskatchewan to provide them that option.”
The Norma Lang Gallery is also under construction as MJMAG staff prepare for the fall exhibition titled Marsha Kennedy: Embodied Ecologies, which will open on Oct. 9.
The Women’s Cape Project showcase in the gallery lobby, facilitated by cultural educator and traditional Cree artist Barb Frazer and featuring the beadwork of local Indigenous women, will also be expanding with an addition to the exhibition — another beadwork medallion project featuring 30 more artists.
For those looking for a more hands-on art experience, the MJMAG has also planned several art classes coming up, with something for all ages.
Adult classes will be taking place in-person, with a limit of six participants per class to ensure proper safety protocols. Materials will be provided for all participants, and masks will be required while in the building.
“It’s hard to wear a mask for the whole time but it is required, [and] we will be taking breaks,” said Schweiger. “We’re just trying to test the waters and make people feel comfortable and safe, while we’re offering classes.”
Kids classes are also available, with small, in-person classes available as well as online versions for those nervous about public spaces. Schweiger is also working on providing the art gallery’s school art program to educators in an online capacity this fall, which will also be available to students who are homeschooling.
The MJMAG is planning for the Creatabilities art class to return in November in the afternoons, which is aimed towards individuals with special needs and learning difficulties. The class takes place online, from a distance, with material kits provided to participants with everything they need to take part.
A new art class for seniors aged 55 and up is also underway, in partnership with Senior Centres Without Walls, where participants are given the materials and step-by-step instructions from Schweiger over the phone.
“Everything is over the phone, and so that is for seniors and particularly it will be good for people who are not technologically inclined, with the Internet,” said Schweiger, adding that the first session went very well.
MJMAG is also adapting the pop-up clay sessions that became popular last year with the upcoming launch of Clay At Home, a do-it-yourself craft kit that contains all the materials needed to create a clay ornament. The first clay kit is Halloween-themed and available for preorder right now, with pickup set for Oct. 25-27.
Schweiger encourages people to check out the upcoming calendar of classes, as the MJMAG has been working very hard to adapt programming to the unusual circumstances of this year and there is a little something for everyone.
“I’ve always wanted to work with vulnerable groups such as seniors and individuals with learning disabilities, and so this has really given me a chance to spend time with them online,” said Schweiger. “I feel really good that we have been able to include more community members in our programming, that we’ve never had time to do in the past.”
All of the MJMAG’s upcoming programs are open for registration online only, as the gallery is reducing physical contact where possible.
More information on classes and what’s coming up can be found on the MJMAG’s website at mjmag.ca.
‘Gratitude’ art exhibit celebrates essential workers – MassLive.com
Ashfield artist Robert Masla is grateful for essential workers who are often overlooked but are no less essential to a whole, functioning, prosperous human society.
So he has put together a solo exhibit of recent oil and watercolor paintings, “Gratitude: The Unrecognized Essential Workers Series,” that will be on view online beginning Oct. 1 or at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton.
“Most of us are acutely aware of the essential workers who are obvious to us during these challenging pandemic times — health care workers, doctors, nurses, etc.,” he said. “Hopefully this time has also brought a heightened awareness and appreciation to those that though providing these essential services, they remain unrecognized in their value to society at large.”
He listed teachers, service persons, postal workers, immigrant farmers, artists, musicians, writers, EMT’s, custodians, poets, social workers, dancers, repair persons, ” etc. etc.,” adding that “perhaps the most impassioned of these, (and unpaid), are the ‘Defenders of a Real Democracy’ who are formed by all of the diverse members and occupations of society, depicted in the paintings ‘Take a Knee: Rural Communities in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter’ (oil 22”x72″) and ‘The 30th of May: Persecution of the Defenders of Real Democracy’ (oil 48″x72″) that are on display in this exhibition at the R. Michelson Galleries.”
A full-time professional artist whose exhibition history extends over 40 years, Masla’s canvases, murals and portraits can be found in the United States and in Mexico in numerous public and private collections. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in both countries and in various books and publications.
Throughout his more than 40-year career, his work has moved from visionary and symbolic paintings, to landscapes, particularly from, but not limited to the areas around his homes and studios in western Massachusetts and Mexico. His work has moved from trompe-l’oeil still lifes to abstract collages to portraits to murals. These are executed in a variety of methods and a variety of media — oil paint, alkyd, watercolor, gouache, acrylic, digital collage, charcoal, water soluble graphite, sumi-e ink.
“I do not call myself a watercolorist or ‘oilist’ or ‘portraitist or ‘landscapeist’ or either impressionist, surrealist, realist or abstractionist,” he said.
Sometimes he has been asked what is his favorite medium, and he replies, “Paint.”
Although Masla makes a living as an artist, art to him is more than a product:
“It is a process as well, it is also a way of life, of seeing, being and doing – of connecting with myself and with the universe around me.”
Art, like life, is not easily defined, he said; it is “a reflection and part of the great mystery we call the universe, (some would call God). Back in the ’70s, when I was constantly grappling with such existential questions, I coined the term SpiritRealism, to refer to artwork and a lifestyle that reflected these concerns, and had no ‘stylistic boundaries.’”
As an artist, Masla’s intention always has been to use his work as a spiritual practice, a form of ritual and meditation, a practice that ultimately helps him transcend his limited ego and reach a place of non-judgmental awareness and openness. “It grounds me in the present moment so I can connect with the creative flow of nature that surrounds me and is me. We are all a part of creation unfolding, and I see my role as an artist to play my part as co-creator, and hopefully help others make that connection through my work,” he said. “We all go about our work and our lives, hopefully trying to be present, aware and compassionate. In my case, a lot of that time is spent making art, and if I am still enough, present enough, I am able to connect – to be in the place of my essence — open awareness — that is where spirit is, and you catch it on the in breath, aha, the in-spiration.”
Masla graduated from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University with a bachelor of fine arts degree and diploma in painting in 1979 and received a master’s in fine arts in painting and art history from The City College of New York in 1986.
His exhibit, “Gratitude: The Unrecognized Essential Workers Series,” will be available online beginning Oct. 1 or at the gallery (masks and social distancing required). Masla will be at the gallery Oct. 3, from 3 to 8 p.m. and Oct. 4 from 1 to 8 p.m. and by appointment.
The gallery is at 132 Main St., Northampton.
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