Kingston residents may have seen beautiful large-scale chalk drawings on windows in the area. Local artist Marney McDiarmid has been creating public art installations of tropical flora and fauna related to her research of endemic plants in Hawaii, which was cut short by the pandemic.
Her Hawaiian trip, funded by an Ontario Arts Council grant, was part of her long-term work looking at ecology and changing ecosystems. “The purpose of my Ontario Arts Grant was to learn more about Hawaii’s endemic plants and use the experience as inspiration for my artwork,” McDiarmid shared with Kingstonist. “Although I am still continuing on with the ceramic element of the proposal, doing large scale drawings of these plants as a public art project seemed like a good way to respond to the pandemic.”
“The plants I am drawing are precious elements of the earth’s biodiversity and yet have not been well protected. Many of them are on the endangered list,” she continuted. “I started to see the plants as a metaphor for the residents of long-term care facilities – valuable members of our society that should be well cared for and celebrated.”
According to a media release, McDiarmid is best known for depicting vivid and extravagant plant life on her ceramic art. But as the weeks of shut-down dragged on she began to use chalk markers to decorate, first, the windows in her own home, and then, at their request, those of neighbours. Her own grandmother is in a long-term care facility in British Columbia, separated from her husband of 75 years, which has given McDiarmid a heightened awareness of the monotony that accompanies lockdown for many people.
“I wanted to bring beauty to people whose own opportunity to experience the natural world has been so sharply curtailed,” she said. “I wanted them to have the opportunity to see an artist working, but also to leave them with the drawings to enjoy.”
Recently, McDiarmid and her collaborator Grace McDonald used their artistry to create a garden scene on the windows of the Alzheimer’s floor at Rideaucrest.
Installing the drawings was a very rewarding experience, McDiarmid shared. “My collaborator Grace and I were able to communicate with residents who came to the windows to watch. We were able to lip read and also write backwards on the windows as a way of chatting. One of the women was particularly engaged and at one point she said that she felt like we were ‘drawing her into a garden.’”
McDiarmid hopes to connect with other facilities that might wish to host one of her installations. “It’s brought light and whimsy to the days of our residents in a way we all need right now,” said Laura Beavers, the Supervisor of Resident Programs and Services of Rideaucrest.
By creating art on the outside of windows, there is no health risk to residents, and using chalk means the environmental impact is negligible, McDiarmid said. “The hope is that the drawings bring beauty to residents in the facilities, but also that they are enjoyed by people passing on the outside, as well.”
“I’m also hoping that other people will read about this and start thinking of ways that they can enliven the areas outside of these facilities. I like imagining, for example, kids building snow people on the lawns outside of LTCs in the winter or a dancer doing a performance outside of a window. Anything that helps bring some joy and connection to the residents and the staff makes a difference.”
McDiarmid is doing these installations free of charge, and she is hopeful that, as others learn of this project, there will be interest in having drawings installed on windows of other long-term care homes or local businesses. Although it wasn’t planned, she said she sees this as a worthwhile outcome of her Ontario Arts Council grant.
“Grace and I started doing the drawings back in the spring. We started a Flora & Fauna project that featured mainly local plants and animals. We did ‘Foxes of Kingston’ on the windows of NorthSide when the restaurant was closed and then installed drawings reflecting the neighbourhood of Skeleton Park as part of the Next Door art exhibition. The drawings at Rideaucrest were next and we are hoping to do more on other LTCs.”
Interested in having McDiarmid create art for your location? Contact her at [email protected]
A gallery of their works:
Vernon Community Art Centre holding annual Christmas art sale – Vernon News – Castanet.net
You will not find any of these gift ideas in a big box store.
The Vernon Community Art Centre is hosting its 15th annual Artsolutely artisan sale full of Christmas gifts.
Sheri Kunzli, with the Arts Council of the North Okanagan, said all of the works are made by local artists and are a one-of-a-kind creation.
The art centre sells art year round, but in December they shut down their programs and dedicate the entire Polson Park building to the art sale that is open seven days a week through Dec. 24.
Works from more than 35 artists are on sale.
Every piece is carefully handcrafted and locally made, and each artisan is selected through a jurying process to ensure the highest quality throughout.
“Everything is hand made, unique quality and all of the artists go through a jurying process to participate which keeps the quality up,” said Kunzli.
“The Arts Centre is one of Vernon’s gems. It’s more than a place to shop, and it is more than an arts education facility. It’s a community space that offers a place for people of all ages and abilities to create, play, laugh, gain skills, release stress, heal and develop friendships. Having to shut down the Arts Centre in the Spring was devastating on many levels.
“As a non-profit, the closure set us back significantly, but it also impacted the hundreds of people that utilize the Centre. We are working hard to keep the doors open because our community needs us. This place tells the stories of why the arts matter to individuals and our community at large. It’s a place that has been a haven for creatives and allowed people to thrive.”
For more information on Artsolutely, click here.
North Vancouver's Anonymous Art Show identifies safe way to hold exhibition this year – Vancouver Is Awesome
A well-known annual event where anonymous local artists are encouraged to sell their original works will now feature a buying public who will remain largely unseen as well.
North Van Arts’ 16th annual Anonymous Art Show has moved online this year in order to follow new provincial health orders.
Following a week-long preview, the sales begin tonight (Nov. 26) at 7 p.m. and will continue until Dec. 19 at 5 p.m.
Unlike live performance venues, arts retail spaces and galleries – such as CityScape Community ArtSpace where the show is usually held – are technically allowed to remain open under new COVID-19 restrictions put in place on Nov. 19, as long as no formal community events are held.
While the exhibition is being installed and will remain at CityScape, North Van Arts has opted to essentially suspend its in-person exhibition this year and is instead encouraging the public to check out and purchase the pieces online, according to Nancy Cottingham Powell, executive director at North Van Arts.
“Normally on opening night we would have 300 people going through this gallery. Obviously that’s not going to happen right now,” said Powell. “Viewing it online is really the way to go.”
Original artwork from 250 emerging and established artists from North and West Vancouver will be up for grabs for $100 apiece. Proceeds from the art show are split between the local artists and North Van Arts, who will use the funds to supports ongoing programming.
The artist behind each painting will remain anonymous until their work is sold and their name is revealed, according to Powell.
“It’s a great test-place for people,” said Powell. “I think it’s an important show because we’ve got the whole community at the table.”
More than 125 would-be art buyers have already registered for the opening night of sales, added Powell.
Click here for more information about this year’s Anonymous Art Show.
Read more from the North Shore News
Quebec fights to give Jean-Paul Riopelle's art a proper home – The Globe and Mail
Jean-Paul Riopelle had returned from Europe 12 years before his death in 2002, but Quebec is still fighting to give its modernist art star a proper home. It’s a battle, made tougher by the pandemic, to preserve a precarious cultural legacy, but the artist’s supporters are digging in on two separate fronts.
One is a major exhibition arguing that Riopelle, a painter best remembered for the aggressive abstraction he produced in the 1950s in Paris, was influenced both by the northern landscape and the Indigenous presence in Canada. That ground-breaking show was supposed to be opening this month at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), but COVID-19 closures have delayed it until January at the earliest.
The other front is the recently formed Riopelle Foundation, dedicated to creating a permanent gallery and research centre in time for the artist’s centenary in 2023. With only three years to go, the foundation is still looking for a building after the MMFA announced last week that it is canceling plans to house the project because of the pandemic’s impact on finances.
“I believe the work of Riopelle deserves to be better understood and presented. … His critical stature has shrunk from being an international star to a provincial legend,” Stéphane Aquin, the new MMFA director, said in an interview. Aquin believes restoring Riopelle’s lustre is probably best achieved by the foundation presenting itself as a stand-alone destination in Montreal. At any rate, he is not going to expose his institution to the rapidly rising construction costs of adding a new floor to the museum’s Desmarais Pavilion on the south side of Sherbrooke Street.
“Our attitude is very definitely to move ahead and seek other alternatives, whether to acquire an existing building or build a new one,” said Michael Audain, the Vancouver developer and collector who co-founded the foundation. He was planning to donate his 36 Riopelles to the MMFA’s cancelled project.
The rupture between the foundation and the MMFA is not irreparable, as the museum unveils its new Riopelle exhibition, albeit online only. The artist’s daughter, Yseult Riopelle, who also established the foundation, was present for the show’s media launch Wednesday.
Author of her father’s catalogue raisonné, she began researching his interest in Indigenous art after his death. “We imbibed that atmosphere,” she said in French, describing the Inuit and Northwest Coast art that surrounded the family during the artist’s Paris years. In 2016, she joined forces with MMFA curators already working on the thesis that Riopelle, who began returning to Canada for hunting trips in the 1970s, was influenced by the idea of the North. And so, Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures came together, originally intended as a run-up to the new Riopelle wing.
That space was the latest of many ambitious expansions – probably too many – undertaken by former MMFA director Nathalie Bondil before she was controversially fired last summer. At Wednesday’s media conference nobody mentioned her name, but the exhibition that includes both historic and contemporary Indigenous art alongside 110 works by Riopelle seems typical of the multidisciplinary and cross-cultural directions she was championing.
The public can see the show online between Dec. 1 and Jan. 11, at which point the MMFA hopes to reopen. A full analysis of the exhibition’s thesis and art is going to have to wait for that physical tour: Riopelle’s best-known work is famous for a sculptural impasto applied with the palette knife rather than the brush.
Yet one goal of both the exhibition and the foundation is to broaden that popular image of wild-man modernism to include Riopelle’s delicate drawings and complex sculptures as well as the later landscapes and iceberg paintings. Audain, an impassioned fan, often speaks about the need to introduce the work to a younger generation across Canada. The show will tour to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, B.C., and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, but so far not to any international venues. Still, in an era when mid-century modernism is trendy and Indigenous art is highly prized, the exhibition might yet fuel a Riopelle revival.
Meanwhile, the foundation pushes ahead. The Quebec government has promised that the $10-million grant attached to the MMFA’s wing will now follow the foundation to wherever it lands. “Riopelle lived in France for 40 years and returned in the end for the last 12 years,” said foundation director Manon Gauthier. “It’s about bringing a great Canadian hero home to Montreal.”
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