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Awesome educators: Lo-Ellen teacher Vanesa Catto's COVID art challenge kept students inspired in isolation – Sudbury.com

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With the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering schools this spring, educators have been thrown into an unfamiliar role — trying to teach their students at a distance.

We wanted to throw a spotlight on Greater Sudbury educators who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their students in these unusual times, and perhaps shown a bit of creativity as they engage their students.

Sudbury.com asked readers for their nominations for local educators who fit this bill, and we received a nomination for Vanessa Catto, the visual arts teacher at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School.

She has been keeping her art students busy during the pandemic through her COVID Art Challenge.

Catto, who has been a teacher for 22 years, gives her students a theme which they can use as inspiration to create art pieces.

One of the themes was “COVID challenges,” asking students to create art depicting what life is like during the pandemic. Another was “art appropriation,” where students were asked to recreate their own versions of famous art or album covers.

Other challenges included the themes “blue” and “well, that’s unusual.”

Students were allowed to use whatever medium they wished for these challenges, including dressing themselves up and taking a picture, or utilizing whatever objects they could find. At times, she would have about 40 kids taking part in the challenges.

“Keeping the kids engaged with what they have was my biggest challenge,” said Catto, who would create a piece along each of these themes herself.

“I have a lot of strong art students who take art year after year because they want to. I felt like at the beginning my goal was to give them a little joy and a little bit of fun for extra marks.

“lt wasn’t like an assignment, per say. It was to give them a challenge they could do and they could share.”

Catto said it hasn’t been easy teaching art over the internet. She’s had to do things like arrange an online art show for her senior students after their show that was supposed to take place two days after March Break was cancelled.

“Teaching art virtually is very, very difficult, partially because part of my job is to help them get better, but I don’t see their day-to-day stuff, and I’m not there to help them and prompt them,” she said.

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'Gerryfest' to celebrate Gerry Atwell's music and art, but also his advocacy against systemic racism – CBC.ca

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A festival celebrating the life of the late Gerry Atwell is taking place in Winnipeg next month — but the night will be about more than just music and art.

Atwell, a Juno Award-winning musician known for playing the keyboard for the Winnipeg band Eagle and Hawk, died after suffering a heart attack in late November 2019.

Family and friends knew they would celebrate his life with a music festival this summer. But with people in North America demanding change once again, a key part of the daylong festival will be focused toward the fight against systemic racism — a cause Atwell long advocated for.

“We’re all missing his humanity when it comes to these types of issues,” said Judy Williams, Atwell’s sister.

“He always had a different message for the different audiences he might have been speaking with,” she said, and were he alive now, he would say “something profound, but something that would be inclusive, whether he was going to encourage someone to take some action, or think of other people.”

Atwell also would see the positive opportunities that will come through the conversations being had, added Louise May, executive director of the St. Norbert Arts Centre, where she worked with Atwell for about 25 years.

“Even though it’s coming from such negativity and such a negative event, there is so much hope through it, and so much burgeoning awareness, and ability to talk about it and ability for people to confront themselves with it,” said May.

On Black History Month, musician Joe Curtis celebrates the memory of Gerry Atwell and his mother Frances, who was one of the first black pharmacists in Manitoba. 2:25

“It’s a very, very hopeful time and I know Gerry would be pushing us to see that hope and to really manifest it.”

Gerryfest will take place on Aug. 14 — Atwell’s birthday — at the St. Norbert Arts Centre. Both Williams and May said they felt his presence during the process of organizing the event.

“Even the term ‘Gerryfest’ was Gerry’s idea,” said May. “It was something that we talked about many times, kind of in a joking way. But I knew he always wanted to really do it, which was to have a day when all of his bands played back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

“To which I always said, ‘Gerry, what, you’re going to play for seven, eight hours in one row?'” she said. “That was going to be the very best day that he could imagine for himself.”

Although Atwell won’t be there in person, his presence will be there through former bandmates and other lives he touched, May said.

The planning of Gerryfest started before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Manitoba. So the original plan of a weekend festival has been whittled down to an afternoon and evening of music and art dedicated to Atwell.

If he were still alive today, Atwell’s sister says he would be joining the fight against systemic racism, using words that are profound but also inclusive. (Submitted by Carla Williams)

“I really think we can just keep his work alive and keep building on it year after year with this,” said May, adding that this will be the first of an annual festival.

The festival will also raise funds for the Gerry Atwell Memorial Mentorship Fund, an endowment fund that will have musicians and artists mentoring young people, just like Atwell once did, said Williams.

An invitation is needed to attend the event at the St. Norbert Arts Centre, but people can tune in through livestreams online, said May.

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Window shopping: Whyte Avenue Art Walk shifts from sidewalks to storefronts for 25th anniversary – Edmonton Journal

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“More than ever, it’s important for people to continue supporting artists,” said Zhelisko, who also teaches art classes at The Paint Spot. “I’ve had to put more effort into social media and promoting my work online, but I think the pandemic has shown people what’s really important. I’ve had some commissions from people who want portraits of family members or friends as a way to recognize them.”

First-time Art Walk participant Shelly Banks also works at The Paint Spot and specializes in oil, producing vivid nature and wildlife images that will be featured in the shop’s storefront.

“I’ve always been into art, but working at The Paint Spot and spending so much time around artists encouraged me to give it a try,” said Banks, regarding her decision to take up painting five years ago, producing watercolour, acrylic and coloured pencil art before settling on oil as her preferred method.

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Penticton Art Gallery hosts first Bob Ross exhibit in Canada – Globalnews.ca

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It’s the first time Bob Ross’ happy little exhibit has crossed the border to Canada, and it’s nestled itself right in the South Okanagan at the Penticton Art Gallery.

“There is something magical when you see them in the flesh. There is a greater level of skill than maybe you would believe when see them on TV,” said Paul Crawford, Penticton Art Gallery curator, of the exhibit.

Bob Ross’ TV show, which taught viewers how to paint with soothing words of encouragement and first aired 37 years ago, is seeing a resurgence in popularity online.

Read more:
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During the lockdown, people have been making the most out of their downtime by picking up paintbrushes and are learning how to ’embrace happy little accidents.’

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The exhibit pulls back the curtain on a little TV magic by revealing that there were actually three versions of each Bob Ross painting.

Read more:
‘Grandmother of Canadian Indigenous Art’ honoured at Kelowna Art Gallery

“He’d have that first painting that no one would ever see, then there was the one he would do live half an hour on TV before your eyes,” said Crawford.

“Then he would do a third version which they would do if they missed a shot or for close-ups during the live taping.”

As Bob Ross said, “The secret to doing anything is believing you can do it.”

The exhibit will be open until Sept. 13.






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‘It’s given me dreams that come to life’: Penticton artist uses studio as creative community hub


‘It’s given me dreams that come to life’: Penticton artist uses studio as creative community hub

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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