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Assisting the Indigenous youth community through art (11 photos) –



Neechee Studio is a studio led by emerging Indigenous artists that provides free art workshops for young Indigenous people. These workshops are made available for youth aged 14 – 30.
Savanna Boucher is the co-program coordinator alongside Lucille Atlookan, a founding member with Matilda Suganaqueb. When Boucher started in 2015, she was a youth committee member and she noticed a common theme: everyone attending was a young Indigenous student coming from all over Ontario.
“For me,” Boucher said, “Neechee studio stood out because I felt as though I could express myself and as a broke student…it was all free: the food, the art supplies and [the opportunity to] mingle with talented Indigenous artists.”
The workshops and supplies are always free. If students are unable to get transport, Neechee supplies free bus passes.
Through Definitely Superior Art Gallery, Neechee Studio is a collective created by Die Active. With these resources, Neechee is able to supply workshops to youth and allowing them to connect to others from different communities and create roots in Thunder Bay otherwise untouched.

Historical importance

Neechee studio began as a place for community. Being Indigenous in an unfamiliar town is already an added confusion when discovering yourself as a young person. At Neechee, they’ve created a space free of marginalized stigma.
It’s no secret that Indigenous youth face underlying, racial discrimination throughout Thunder Bay and, as Boucher said, it’s also blunt acts being experienced. Neechee is a space that allows young people to partake in activities free of any worry of preconceived, racial judgement.
By allowing young people to create in a safe space, Neechee challenges the stereotypical, racial setbacks these youth would otherwise face. By potentially dismissing preconceived images of the Indigenous culture, Neechee Studio gives the availability and opportunity to explore traditions and culture through creative expression.

Creative Workshops

The workshops offered are a plethora of culturally relevant material for Indigenous youth. Mitt making with Marnie Greenwald and Beau Boucher; Sketch book binding with Cynthia Edwards; and Birch Bark Etching with Darren Lentz are just some of the workshops that were offered in 2019 and 2020.
When planning for these workshops, Boucher added they find artists of every level. Whether they are professional or emerging, old or young, it doesn’t matter. They like to promote emerging, Indigenous artists to provide a more personal story giving youth a culturally relevant experience.
Boucher said the workshops have received nothing but support from the Thunder Bay community and, because of this, are always full with youth excited to embark on an artistic adventure they can personally relate to. Having a relationship with Definitely Superior Art Gallery has allowed Neechee to use their space.

Staying beautifully balanced

Like any business doing good for the community, Neechee experiences setbacks when trying to walk in the colonial world as an Indigenous collective.
“There are certain expectations Neechee Studio is expected to meet,” Boucher said. She’s happy that Neechee can balance between these two worlds to create a space for youth to connect to a support system.
With COVID-19 being an underlying setback for everyone, Neechee immediately stopped all planned workshops. It’s detrimental to every community, but especially the Indigenous community and elders.
“We did not want to contribute to any risk of losing a generation of wealth and knowledge,” Boucher said.

Always evolving, never settling

Going forward, the studio is planning the upcoming season for when restrictions are lifted but always being cautious and putting the safety of the community first.
Neechee is a foothold for the artistic and Indigenous community. By supplying youth with the tools and space for creation, they are breaking systemic racism throughout the city and creating a community that revolves around free expression and togetherness.
With classic traditions such as beading, leatherwork and quillwork, the teachings of culture and patience are being taught. As youth come into what is a mysterious and scary time; being away from their land and community and having to navigate a new place, Neechee studio welcomes, embraces and creatively allows them to discover their culture and future.

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Art will suffer if online displays are the norm – Asia Times



Almost 15 years ago, a group of artists, filmmakers, curators and critics came together at the Oberhausen Film Festival in western Germany to discuss the introduction of a new technological medium: YouTube.

How would watching film and video online differ from regular venues such as cinemas or the Oberhausen festival itself, which played an important role in European art-house cinema?

Would films be meaningful in the same way – watched alone, in poor resolution, on a computer – rather than on the big screen by a community that had come together to see them?

“They’re like photocopies,” said the curator, Stuart Comer. Comer, now chief curator for media and performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, argued that while watching videos on YouTube was not the same as watching 35mm film on the big screen, home viewing served a different function, and there was room for both.

It’s interesting to think back to that debate now. Many of the early qualms around online viewership have since been ironed out. The quality of streaming has gotten better. Museums and artists run dedicated channels, instead of the free-for-all of early YouTube days when historical films were often altered – edited, overlaid, given new soundtracks – and passed off as original.

We now know that audiences will watch a film from start to finish. This had been another fear, that without the social contract of buying a ticket and sitting in a cinema space, spectators would dip in and out, catching glimpses rather than following a story.

In 2020, with the Covid-19 lockdown, we are lucky to have YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo and other streaming and sharing platforms, but we should also be grateful that the platforms have been around long enough to generate material made for online consumption.

In most cases, we are now not watching “photocopies” of films transferred to the small screen, but works made for the small screen in the first instance.

It is unclear whether the traditional art world – the one of paintings, installations and sculpture – is now in a transition similar to that of the film industry a decade ago.

Museums are digitizing whole rooms of paintings; commercial galleries and art fairs are hastily constructing online selling platforms; and Google Arts & Culture, a digitization project reaching back to 2011, is being recommended by schools as a lockdown activity.

Will these be seen as photocopies, a temporary fix until the era of social distancing subsides? Or will art organizations, some of which have been buoyed by a stratospheric rise in online audience figures, continue these platforms once lockdowns end?

The answer won’t be driven by fidelity to the experience of seeing work “in the flesh,” but by economics. Museums and galleries will face significant budget shortfalls when they begin to open up, whether because of a curtailment in public funding, reductions in private donations or months of loss of revenue.

Exhibition commitments will come stacked upon one another as postponed shows are folded in among future programing, while works meant to be lent out to one place might be needed elsewhere or back home (or might just be too expensive to ship).

Online exhibitions will most likely persist for some time to fulfill these logistical needs – and they might well continue afterwards as an inexpensive strand of quantifiable audience engagement.

But we shouldn’t be lured into thinking that online engagement is a consequence-free decision. Like most instances of outsourcing to technology, online exhibitions mean job losses: the technicians, the restorers, the authenticators, the shippers, the insurers, the guides and the guards who enable the public showing of precious objects.

These roles support others: the technician might be an emerging artist, the guide a student, while conservators and guards might support families at home. Artworks might be digitizable for those who simply want at look at them, but not for the people who make their living in the trade. The art world hinges on the buying, selling, preserving and showing of material goods.

The economic impact goes beyond the art world. For years the trump card of the arts, when it was making its case for public support, has been its economic multiplier effect. For every £1 spent on the arts by Arts Council England, the government recoups £5 in taxes, the Arts Council found in 2015.

The “Bilbao effect,” pertaining to the economic transformation wrought on the northern Spanish city of Bilbao after Guggenheim Bilbao was established there, has dominated numerous city development strategies in the decades since – including, arguably, that of Abu Dhabi. And the argument continues to be made by international consultants, who show how visitors head to F&B outlets, gift shops and hotels after viewing museum exhibitions –benefits likewise not likely to be recouped digitally.

What the crowd in Oberhausen was concerned about all those years ago was YouTube’s effect on its community of filmmakers, curators and critics. As museums and galleries move to online exhibitions, they need to understand that they are risking much more than the loss of authenticity of experience.

This article was provided by Syndication Bureau, which holds copyright.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world’s first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

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Art school in Penticton forced to vacate historic home during pandemic –



A 60-year-old arts school in B.C.’s Okanagan is scrambling to find a new home after the Penticton school district opted not to renew the lease.

The Okanagan School of the Arts says it’s being booted from the historic Shatford Centre in Penticton, B.C., where it’s rented space for community groups and hosted art, music and theatre classes for the past 10 years.

The school has leased the building from Okanagan Skaha School District 67 for the past decade. 

The district has asked the school to clear out by June 30 when the lease ends. Kim Palmer, the school’s executive director, says it faces the “enormous task” of emptying the building within weeks.

The school, she said, is filled with valuable and specialized equipment, including pianos, commercial kitchen appliances and art supplies. 

“At the moment, we don’t know where it will go,” she said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of the school in March, eliminating its rental and programming revenue.

The school leased the century-old building for a dollar a year but was responsible for maintenance, utilities and insurance. When discussing the June lease renewal, the arts school asked the district to cover $80,000 in operating costs and keep the site running for the community.

Palmer said, in response, the district told her the lease would not be renewed and to vacate the building by the end of the month. 

She said the province’s  emergency order protecting small-business tenants from eviction during the pandemic does not apply to the school, given its yearly $1 lease.

Priority is spending on students, district says

School District 67 chair James Palanio said the district can’t afford to keep the school afloat.

The arts school has spent about $2 million on maintenance over the past 10 years but more is needed and the district can’t afford it, he said.

“We just can’t spend anywhere other than on the kids,” Palanio said on CBC’s Daybreak South.

Palanio said the district is not evicting the arts school. He said it failed to provide insurance information in January when the lease renewal came up. The school only submitted its proposal in late May, he said.

“We have our own deadlines to meet as well,” he said. 

The district has no plans to sell the building, Palanio said, and will be eyeing future plans for the site in late fall.

Palmer said the arts school is also looking at other locations.

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Inuit artist's works featured in Warsaw's Museum of Modern Art – Nunatsiaq News



This untitled drawing by Kinngait artist Qavavau Manumie is one of eight works by him included in an exhibition that opens today at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. The exhibit, “The Penumbral Age: Art in the Time of Planetary Change,” runs until Sept. 13. You can view the exhibition online. (Photo courtesy of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative)

By Nunatsiaq News

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