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Arts community mourns death of Winnipeg's Cliff Eyland, known for transforming libraries with tiny paintings – CBC.ca

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A prominent artist from Winnipeg who transformed public spaces across Canada with thousands of pieces of tiny artwork has died.

Cliff Eyland’s family announced the 65-year-old teacher, husband, painter and writer had died on Saturday.

He may be best known for works of art containing hundreds of index card-sized paintings and drawings dotting the walls of Winnipeg’s downtown Millennium Library and the Halifax Central Library, which welcome visitors to common areas in those spaces.

Untitled, his work at the Millennium Library, was originally made up of 1,000 three inch by five inch paintings, but he continually added to the work, according to the Winnipeg Arts Council.

He spent nearly two years creating the 6,000 paintings for the Halifax library work.

While his artwork has been showcased across the country, from the National Gallery of Canada to the art galleries of Ontario and Nova Scotia, his wife said he was most proud of his work at the two Canadian libraries.

“He just really liked working with libraries,” Pam Perkins, 56, said in a phone interview on Saturday afternoon.

“He developed a love of libraries as a child, it’s a story he always told,” she said.

Cliff Eyland, 65, is being remembered for his tiny art, which filled the walls of the Halifax Central Library and Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, shown here. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Eyland grew up in Dartmouth, N.S., where he turned to libraries “for information, for reading, for pleasure,” she said, before he later moved to the Prairies.

In art school he became fascinated with library file cards — soon to be obsolete technology, she said, which he found inspiring.

“So he conceived of his paintings, which were all, you know, file card-sized, as sort of little disparate pieces of information, like you’d find in a library file card,” she said.

Lung transplant survivor

Eyland and Perkins would have celebrated 30 years together next year.

Perkins said her husband lived with sarcoidosis that “basically damaged and destroyed” his lungs. As a survivor of a lung transplant in 2016, he was spending increasing amounts of time in and out of the hospital due to infections that kept developing, especially over the last two years.

He had a long hospitalization from August until December 2019.

He had been home since then, said Perkins, and “not able to do much other than just be around at home and do a little drawing and keep in touch with friends. But he enjoyed being at home these last few months.”

On Wednesday morning, he was taken to Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre with severe shortness of breath. His health took a sudden turn on Friday, and he died early Saturday morning.

‘Not just the walls’

His death has left a huge hole in the arts community.

As an associate professor in the University of Manitoba’s school of art, Eyland was invested in the success of younger artists and those he felt “were getting enough attention,” Perkins said.

Winnipeg artist KC Adams wrote on Facebook that Eyland had recognized her talents and helped further her career, and the careers of others.

“For years he had a small gallery and a large studio that he rented, and he would use that space to host shows by developing artists, artists who were being overlooked [and] artists who were developing their careers, and this was at his own expense,” Perkins said.

“He’s generous with his support for others.”

Hundreds of posts, comments and reactions are being shared on social media, including from family, friends and colleagues who say they will pay tribute by visiting his library installations.

In a Facebook post, Winnipeg Art Gallery CEO Stephen Borys recognized the way Eyland’s work transformed how “we see and engage with art.”

“His approach has penetrated museums, libraries, and public spaces across the country — not just the walls but the spaces between the object and the viewer,” reads the post from the gallery director.

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Kids can make art to brighten Red Deer seniors’ lodges – Red Deer Advocate

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The Red Deer Public Library is calling on young artists to help brighten seniors’ lodges.

The library is calling for “mini-artists” to drop off their paper creations — whether it’s flowers, drawings, letters or cards — into bins outside two participating Red Deer seniors’ lodges this week.

They are Timberstone Mews (42 Timberstone Way) and Harmony Care (200 Inglewood Dr.).

Staff from the lodges will “proudly display the creations,” bringing joy to residents and staff.

They are also planning to make some social media posts featuring art that is on display at the lodges.

Red Deer Public Library

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A virtual Art in the Garden festival is happening on the North Shore this weekend – North Shore News

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The North Shore’s annual Art in the Garden event is gearing up to go digital this weekend.

The event has been re-imagined as a livestreamed art and music demonstration this Saturday and Sunday evening, while encouraging community members to share pictures of their own green spaces online.

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Last month, North Van Arts made the decision to suspend the 21st annual Art in the Garden festival due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of practising physical distancing during an event which melds visual arts with some of the North Shore’s most extraordinary gardens.

The decision was made to offer an online version of Art in the Garden in order to keep the spirt of the long-running festival intact, according to Nancy Cottingham Powell, executive director of North Van Arts.

“Art in the Garden is the longest running North Shore garden tour and we didn’t want to just cancel this event that inspires gardeners, artists and nature lovers,” stated Powell, in a press release.

As part of its new online event, for the month of May the arts and culture organization reached out to visual artists and musicians who had participated in past festivals and asked them to create short videos outlining their work, inspiration and methodology.

The six artist videos were released weekly on North Van Arts’ social media channels and website.

This weekend, local painters Nicola Morgan and Pierre Leichner are set to take over the organization’s Instagram account as they livestream the creation of original artwork over live music performed by North Shore musicians Ava Maria Safai and Paul Silveria.

Viewers can tune in on May 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. each night.

North Van Arts is also encouraging people on the North Shore to comment and share pictures of their gardens and green spaces this weekend, as well as their own nature-inspired art, by using the hashtag #ArtintheGarden.

“These extraordinary times have forced us to look at how we connect with our community. Art in the Garden Online is an opportunity for us to support our members and local artists in a unique way,” stated Powell.

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Art from isolation: the fourth instalment of with.draw.all – St. Albert TODAY

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While students continue to learn from home, art students from three of St. Albert’s high schools are contributing to with.draw.all, which will be posted to the Gazette’s website every second Thursday.

Artist: Eleanor Bordian
Grade 11
Medium: Chalk pastels
Artist statement: “Our challenge was drawing our favourite character in chalk pastels. Portraits can be drawn in so many mediums and I really enjoy drawing and painting them.”

 
Shannon Ruddy Fine Art PhotoArtist: Shannon Ruddy
Grade 12
Medium: Photography
Artist statement: “I decided to express a few things that I care about into a photo.”

 
Aislinn LibichArtist: Aislinn Libich
Grade 11
Medium: Collage
Artist statement: “The weekly challenge was to choose a household item and incorporate it into my artwork. I chose a binder clip and incorporated it into the body of a dragonfly. I then completed the rest of my drawing with four complimentary colours to complete my drawing.”

 
Jayda Gardner in my fridgeArtist: Jayda Gardner
Grade 11
Artist statement: “I’ve never thought to draw the insides of my fridge before. The different shapes and shadows the items in my fridge created piqued my interest and so I focused on a few items. I really enjoyed this challenge.”

 
Chantal LafraniereArtist: Chantal Lafraniere
Grade 11
Title: Starry High Tops
Medium: Coloured scrapbooking paper and magazines
Artist statement: “It was a lot of fun creating this collage by finding cool textures from magazines and piecing them together to create an image. I also tried to use some darker and lighter textures to add light and shadows to give the collage more dimensions. Art has been helping me during COVID time by encouraging creativity, and fun hobbies to pursue during this pandemic.”

 
Avery WitterArtist: Avery Witter
Grade 12
Title: COFFEE
Medium: Letters cut into squares from an old fashion magazine
Artist statement: “During this pandemic, art has helped me a lot. It helps me cure my boredom, which not even the television can do anymore. It also helps me to relieve stress and forget about what is happening in the world for just a few moments. I find myself being way less productive during this pandemic so art is one of those things that makes me feel productive and helps me start my day on a productive path. I aim to start my mornings by doing any type of art. It helps me get into the right mind space and also helps me set a bit of a routine.”

 
Cierra Santiago copyArtist: Cierra Santiago
Grade 12
Title: Dear COVID-19
Medium: Magazine cutouts
Artist statement: “The process of this piece was very simple yet revealed my creativity and true emotion. I decided to create my piece about COVID-19 because there is not a day that passes without thinking or even being reminded of this awful pandemic. Although my piece is very simple, the meaning varies and is understandable to many. “I miss the normal life” is clearly referring to my life before this pandemic. I often think about how my high school experience is not how I imagined and how our graduation, the day I have been waiting for almost all my life, is being taken away and replaced with something not even close to what I envisioned. This pandemic has been an unexpected journey full of emotion and has impacted my life drastically but also has helped me explore my abilities and skills. I am very thankful for all parents and teachers supporting their children and students during this time and trying their hardest to make sure our school experience is as best as it can be.
Personally creating art during this pandemic has been a complete escape for me and has helped my creativity develop even more. Quarantine has helped me create pieces that I didn’t even know I was capable of doing. When creating art my mind is placed somewhere else, where I forget all my problems and all the negatives of this pandemic. Although COVID-19 has ruined many opportunities for individuals there are still positives during this pandemic. Despite all the negatives of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has really helped me appreciate and enjoy my art skills to another level.

 
Lee AndersonArtist: Lee Anderson
Grade 11
Medium: Pencil and marker
Artist statement: “It has been a busy time for me but I always find time to explore my characters.”

 
Dax ZieselArtist: Dax Ziesel
Grade 11
Medium: Pencil
Artist statement: “This challenge was to draw a face pressed up against glass. The portrait became more about the shadow and light and less about getting a likeness.”

 

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