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Calgary's arts community 'cautiously optimistic' about public art program changes – LiveWire Calgary

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Balancing Act was first erected in 1989 by Calgary-based artist Roy Leadbeater. The 12-foot structure sits at the south end of the Calgary Municipal Building. THOMAS BOGDA / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The City of Calgary is officially transitioning their Public Art Program to a third-party organization, and artists are positive, if uncertain about what that means for the community.

Calgary Public Art Alliance – a group of artists and arts professionals – released an open letter on Feb. 10 criticizing the city’s decision to move the program to an external organization. Most notably, they called out the lack of consultation with the community ahead of the move.

“Probably more than anything, we’ve been a little frustrated that there are decisions that were made about public art in this city that don’t respond to actual people working in the field,” said Caitlind r.c. Brown.

Brown is one half of the local artistic duo that also includes Wayne Garrett. Both of them signed the February letter to council.

Starting this month, the City committed to an engagement and consultation process with citizens and arts professionals. It will go until mid-June before they begin looking at proposals from external organizations bidding on the program.

All of this is dependent on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bureaucracy slows Calgary public art program

Brown and Garrett say they’re “cautiously optimistic” about the changes. There’s potential to alleviate problems that plagued the current program. In particular, they said the City’s bureaucratic nature makes it difficult to engage with the public and give context to their artwork.

“What we’re talking about, specifically, is being able to communicate a public artwork, the concept, videos of it, photos of the work and writing about the work. That hasn’t always been possible when working through the City of Calgary’s channels for communication,” Brown said.

Wayne Garrett and Caitlind r.c. Brown.
CONTRIBUTED/ MIKE TAN PHOTO

“They have such a rigorous way of internally reviewing communications that you lose the dexterity of immediately being able to, say, tweet about something.”

Garrett said there are some positives moving forward.

“The biggest thing is some of the flexibility that comes with the autonomy, and so the potential for real, clear, transparent communication,” Garrett said.

Jennifer Thompson, the acting manager of arts and culture at the City, also hopes the new program will rid of the bureaucracy for artists as they interact with the program.  

Flexibility and limitation

One of the new changes the program includes is separating the program from its infrastructure mandate. That means future projects won’t be tied – in budget or location – to new infrastructure projects. Thompson said this change will help with accessibility of the artwork, which has been criticized in previous projects.

The “one per cent for art” funding that has been a staple of the Public Art Program will now be free of infrastructure budgets. It will be pooled into a capital program and granted to the external organization.

Inversely, artists are worried the separation from the municipality will threaten the potential for projects like the Chinatown Artists Residency.

That program allows artists to embed in and explore the culture of Chinatown for three months while they develop public artwork using what they’ve learned.


“Edmonton Arts Council (their arms-length organization for Public Art) has been trying unsuccessfully for two years to implement a similar project with their community in their own Chinatown, but cannot because they are not able to get to the table with the City stakeholders,” reads part of Calgary Public Art Alliance’s February letter.

Light in a time of trouble

Shauna Thompson, head curator at the Esker Foundation and a member of the Calgary Public Art Alliance, said the alliance’s meeting with the City on May 8 was positive.

“We’ll see what they come back with,” she said.

“We really put it back on them to say, what can you offer? How do you foresee this working? They’ve been receptive to that, and I think they want to see the program succeed and they’ve committed to working with us.

“The best-case scenario is that the program can become something that is more responsive, more nimble, closer to the community, and more in service of artists and citizens outside of the cage of bureaucracy,” she said.

“That’s definitely what we’re all hoping for.”

Thompson, Brown and Garrett are all excited about the future of the Alliance and what it means for the future of the arts community. Thompson said she’s never seen the arts community rally together the way it has now.

Brown said she’s observed how people are turning to art of all disciplines during this pandemic. She said she sees people gaining a new understanding of how art can fit in our lives.

“It’s something that you turn to when you have everything and something that you turn to when you have nothing,” she said.

“I think that’s so wonderful.”

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This Old Thing: Striking portrait by Canadian artist and art teacher – Waterloo Region Record

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Q. This painting has been in my family for the past 50 years. It was painted by Canadian artist Adam Sherriff Scott and the title on the canvas back is “Old Philosopher.” The dimensions of the painting are 61 by 46 centimetres (24 x 18 inches). Can you tell me more about the painting and its value?

Philosopher portrait

Bob, Rockland, Ont.

A. Adam Sherriff Scott (1887-1980) was born in Scotland. His initial studies included the Edinburgh School of Art and the Slade School of Art in London. With his arrival in Montreal in 1912, his career blossomed. He captured much of life in Canada with landscapes, genre scenes and portraits of all kinds. This often included winter scenes, Indigenous cultures, cityscapes, still lifes and interiors. Much of his portfolio was exhibited with the Art Association of Montreal and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He also made a great contribution, teaching art and opening up his own school in Montreal. This striking portrait was painted circa the late 1940s or early 1950s. It certainly invokes deep thought. It is worth $750 today.

Q. I inherited this pair of 29-cm-high (11.5 inches) vases from my great-grandmother. They were a wedding gift and she was married in 1890 in New Glasgow, N.S. They have no cracks or chips. There are some painted underside markings. I would be delighted if you consider these for your newspaper column.

Bohemian opal glass vases

Sharon, Ottawa

A. The 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. of Chicago advertised your vases as “made of Bohemian glass of a milky white colour and beautifully decorated. This makes a handsome ornament, and would be appreciated as a wedding or birthday gift. There is nothing nicer to give as a holiday present.” The vases were offered individually for 27 cents or the pair for 50 cents — a saving of four cents that, at the time would buy either a loaf of bread or a half-pound (225-gram) rib roast. Bohemia harboured some of the major glass-making centres of Europe. The markings on the base are those of the artist. Your vases are hand-blown opal glass. The hand-painted fruit, flowers and foliage might represent a member of the nightshade plant family, which includes plants used for ornament, food or even drugs. Your stately pair is worth $125.

Q. I have this blue glass lamp I found in the basement of an old house. It is 24 cm tall and 16.5 cm wide (9.5 by 6.5 inches). The house owner said it had been in her family since before hydro came in. I am wondering what you might know about the lamp and its value.

Princess Feather oil lamp

Ron, New Hamburg

A. You have a kerosene oil lamp in one of the most popular selling patterns of its time — “Princess Feather.” It was made primarily by the Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company in Coraopolis, Penn., from 1894 to 1900. The lamp is found in clear glass and several colours — sometimes just the founts (the oil reservoir) are in colour. But cobalt blue, as in your example was, by far the most popular colour sold. The proportions of your lamp are distinctive of the “sewing” size, which holds the largest amount of oil of any in the several sizes in which this pattern was produced. Originally, it was sold complete with a chimney for less than one dollar. It is one of the most elaborate patterns in glass stand lamps of this era. “Princess Feather” is still quite popular in this colour and it is very difficult to find examples that are free of chips since the foot edges are quite prone. It is worth $250 today.

John Sewell is an antiques and fine art appraiser. To submit an item to his column, go to the ‘Contact John’ page at www.johnsewellantiques.ca. Please measure your piece, say when and how you got it, what you paid and list any identifying marks. A high-resolution jpeg photo must also be included. (Only email submissions are accepted.) *Appraisal values are estimates only.*

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Your hand-me-down art can be loved again: Art Attic is back – CambridgeToday

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Is there something sitting in your closet collecting dust? The Cambridge Art Attic will take it.

The Cambridge Art Attic Silent Auction is back and looking for donations of art and home décor. As the Cambridge Art Guild’s largest annual fundraiser, the event supports the Cambridge Centre for the Arts (CCA). 

The 11th annual Art Attic Silent Auction will be held at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts on June 16, from 9 a.m.- 8 p.m., June 17, from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. and June 18 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Art Attic is accepting donations of art including prints, originals, and home décor, all priced to sell.

Visitors will have an opportunity to bid on and purchase art donated by local artists and the community.

The Cambridge Art Attic, an initiative of the Cambridge Arts Guild, is the primary fundraiser that supports the city’s art scene.

“We are so excited to see the silent auction return this year,” said Lori Bennett, chair of the Cambidge Art Attic.

“This is our major fundraiser that allows us to support our programs and events. Art Attic allows people to donate their previously loved art that they no longer use or have space for, and they know that someone else will love that piece of art again.”

Art can be dropped off at 60 Dickson St. For hours visit here

And for those doing some spring cleaning or decorating and have some art to donate, the Art Attic also accepts pieces year-round. 

“We get some items and we think, this doesn’t have much value, and then you find out it’s an antique piece. Someone will come in and get really excited about it,” Bennett said.

Proceeds from the Art Attic Silent Auction will support the Cambridge Arts Guild with local art initiatives including Cookies and Kids Theatre, Cambridge Studio Tour, the Juried Art Show, Artist in Residence, and Christmas in Cambridge. .

The Cambridge Centre for the Arts provides quality arts programming through classes, workshops, an art gallery, special events, and an artist in residence program.

The CCA is a municipally operated community arts centre that enriches and engages area residents, artists and organizations through quality artistic experiences and opportunities that stimulate, promote, and support the arts in Cambridge.

The CCA encourages participation and inspires an appreciation for the arts.

“Art speaks to people,” Bennett said.

“You see people’s faces light up at the auction when they see that special something that speaks to them. They can give it new life and enjoy it for years to come. It’s a win win for everyone.”

For more information, visit the Art Attic Facebook page.  The Arts Guild is also looking for new volunteers or to help with the silent auction. To volunteer, contact Wanda Schaefer at 519-623-1340 ext. 4491.

For more information, visit here.

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Goddesses, she-devils and a tangle with textiles – the week in art – The Guardian

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Goddesses, she-devils and a tangle with textiles – the week in art  The Guardian



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