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Brookhaven Art Café enters 'Phase One' – Daily Leader – Dailyleader



Brookhaven Art Café enters ‘Phase One’

Published 4:50 pm Monday, October 31, 2022

A new arts venue and park has entered “Phase One” on North Railroad Avenue in Brookhaven.

Demolition of the former Whistlestop Motorcycle Parts & Accessories building began recently as Rickey and Cecily LaRue Ethridge work to create The Whistle Stop Art Café in its place.

Ethridge Investments LLC purchased the property from the City of Brookhaven in January 2022.

The locally-owned business will be founded on Christian principles. The café is intended to create jobs for local artists and provide a creative and affordable outlet for the community. The Ethridges will work with local ministries to host faith-based events, as well as exhibits and galleries of local art.

Primary revenue is expected to come from hosting art parties and events, like children’s birthday parties, pottery and sculpture classes, and wine-and-paint parties for adults, Cecily Ethridge said.

Plans at the time of the purchase were to repair and remodel the existing building for the new venture.

“We didn’t want it to be as much demo as it is, but it’s falling down,” Ethridge said. “We’re trying to preserve as much of it as we can. We’re calling this Phase One because most of this is demolition and clearing out. We didn’t want it to continue to degrade, or fall in on someone, or be a location for crime.”

Though the Café will not be built until another project is finished — probably another year, Ethridge said — it was imperative to get the area clean and safe.

When it opens, the business will include an eclectic emporium named “A.V. Ethridge,” offering “only the most unique, lovely, handmade items in town. These are items you can’t buy on Amazon and are made right here in America — some right here in Brookhaven.”

Ethridge said she hopes creating a new space for art will increase the city’s culture and entertainment value, and that an adjoining Art Park will provide a boost, as well.

The Art Park will be an open-air space available to the community, free of charge. The space will display locally-created artwork, such as pottery and hand-crafted wind chimes, butterfly gardens and water fountains. Local health and mental health coaches will be encouraged to take advantage of the space.

The park will be 0.4 miles from the Mississippi School of the Arts — an approximate 8-minute walk or 3-minute bike ride. It will be located 0.2 miles from the Amtrak Station/Godbold Transportation Center — an approximate 4-minute walk or 1-minute bike ride.

“Art is a huge subject with its own language, history and authorities, and it might feel overwhelming,” said Ethridge. “But even without that knowledge, there can be something profound about our connection with an artwork. When looking at a painting, you may or may not feel a connection. You might be inspired or bored, appreciate or despise. This is why The Art Café is inclusive — everyone with or without a background in art is welcome.”

The 10-year plan for the building is to construct loft apartments on second and third levels above the café.

The community in Brookhaven includes a lot of artists, and many of them have non-art full-time jobs. They need an outlet for their creativity, and Ethridge said she wanted to give them one.

Until that can be accomplished, more immediate plans are simpler.

“We have some temporary plans to work on the park area, to do something to make it kind of like a picnic area for food trucks. We have to meet with the city and Chamber on it,” Ethridge said.

“We’re going to clean it up and make it pretty.”

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Diplo ‘Wins’ Art Basel Miami by Topping ATM’s Leaderboard



Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images for Ocean Drive

Diplo has about $3 mil in the bank, FYI. The celebrity DJ who once streamed Sophie Turner’s wedding to Joe Jonas (remember that?) claimed to have “won” Miami Art Basel this year. One of the most talked-about pieces at the annual art fair is an ATM that posts your picture and bank balance if you use it. The ATM has a leaderboard, which Diplo topped on December 2. At the time he posted his “high score” on social media, Diplo had $3,004,913.06 in his account. So we know his cash assets, but do we know if he’s in on the joke? This piece is from Brooklyn art collective MSCHF, who are known for their trolly stunt art. “ATM Leaderboard is an extremely literal distillation of wealth-flaunting impulses,” MSCHF co-founder Daniel Greenberg said on NPR. “From its conception, we had mentally earmarked this work for a location like Miami Basel, a place where there is a dense concentration of people renting Lamborghinis and wearing Rolexes.” The piece is goofing on ostentatious displays of wealth, Diplo. Having the most ostentatious display isn’t the flex you think it is. The ATM was a collab between MSCHF and the gallery Perrotin. They had the banana duct taped to the wall, to give some more context on where everyone involved stands on the art vs. prank spectrum.

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Free Press celebrates launch of art exhibit



The Winnipeg Art Gallery has opened its doors to an exhibition focusing on the Winnipeg Free Press and its 150th anniversary.

Headlines: The Art of the News Cycle, which includes works from seven artists from across North America as well as archival material from the Free Press and the gallery’s permanent collection, looks at the many changes that have taken place in how the Free Press and other news organizations let their readers know what’s going on in the world around them.

The exhibit runs through to May 21, 2023 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

— with files from Alan Small

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Inuk art scholar makes leap to National Gallery of Canada



The National Gallery of Canada is home to a rich contemporary Indigenous international art collection, as well as important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian and European Art from the 14th to 21st centuries. (Photo by Christine Mastroianni)

Jocelyn Piirainen, from Cambridge Bay, will help the gallery curate its Indigenous and Inuit art collection

Jocelyn Piirainen is bringing an Inuk voice to the way the National Gallery of Canada acquires and exhibits Inuit and Indigenous artwork.

The arts scholar and former Cambridge Bay resident was appointed in early November to the role of associate curator for the gallery.

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Piirainen brings experience from her previous role as associate curator of Inuit art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Qaumajuq museum, which she has held since March 2019. Qaumajuq is a collection of almost 14,000 contemporary Inuit art pieces, making up the largest collection of its kind in the world.

Curators organize and set up exhibits, said Piirainen in an interview from her home in Winnipeg.

Jocelyn Piirainen is an urban Inuk artist and curator originally from Cambridge Bay. She was recently appointed to the role of associate curator at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. (Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Piirainen)

“The curator is really there to allow artists to tell their stories,” she said.

“If there’s a specific carving that has a story or legend associated with it, you know, you want to tell the public about it.”

Piirainen joins the national gallery’s recently formed Indigenous Ways and Decolonization department. It has a mandate to amplify the voices of Indigenous artists, curators and scholars.

In an email, Michelle LaVallee, director of the department of Indigenous Ways and Decolonization, recognized Piirainen’s skill as a collaborator in her work with arts and culture professionals and Indigenous communities to highlight Inuit artistic and cultural practices.

“I am excited about her lived and professional experience as an Inuk curator which she brings to the national gallery,” she said.

Piirainen is joining the gallery as some controversial changes are taking place there. The Globe and Mail and other national media reported last month the departure of four curators from the gallery’s Indigenous Ways and Decolonization department. A former senior curator, Greg A. Hill, tweeted he was fired because he disagreed with the “colonial and anti-Indigenous ways” the department was being run, the Globe reported.

Piirainen said the Canadian art world needs more Inuit curators and art professionals. She credits a government-funding initiative, called Inuit Futures, for leading the way in that respect.

Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project supports Inuit and Inuvialuit by giving them access to the training, mentorship and professional opportunities necessary to find success in the arts industry.

Piirainen was invited to be a mentor in the Inuit Futures program in 2019, where she was paired with mixed-media artist Aghalingiak (Zoe Ohokannoak). Aghalingiak, who identifies as they/them, is in their fifth year of study of fine arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Aghalingiak said in an interview that being a participant in the Inuit Futures program as a research intern and mentee has been both challenging and a confidence boost, accelerating their development as an artist.

Multimedia artist Aghalingiak is grateful to the Inuit Futures Leadership in Arts initiative for boosting their confidence and helping to launch their career in the arts. (Photo by Jonas Henderson)

In April 2022, they curated their first exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Qaumajuq Museum under the mentorship of Piirainen. The exhibition is called Kakiniit Hivonighijotaa: Inuit Embodied Practices & Meanings.

“I didn’t think that I would ever be curating exhibitions at this point,” Aghalingiak said, reflecting on their recent solo exhibition and their experience with Inuit Futures.

As Piirainen prepares to move to Ottawa in January, she acknowledges that although this appointment provides an opportunity to be part of the national gallery’s efforts to ensure Inuit art and culture are appropriately represented, her hiring is not a solution in and of itself.

“There is also a lot of pressure that comes to that, to be kind of representing all Inuit, but I am aware that I can’t do that either,” she said.

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