Monday was moving day for Richard Woslyng and his friend Lou, who took possession of their own apartments after spending months at the Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter.
“It feels good to have keys again, that open a door,” said Woslyng, who had been staying at the emergency shelter since the end of January after previously living in a tent in the river valley.
“I showed up at the shelter when it turned 30-below. It was just too cold.”
Woslyng wasn’t sure how — or if — he would ever be able to leave the shelter, since he never had enough money to pay for a damage deposit and cover the first month’s rent, something that’s required by most landlords.
But things started looking up after Woslyng joined an art program at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, called Resilient Art YQL.
Founder Tannis Chartier began the program as a way to establish a positive environment for people who find themselves in a negative situation, like Woslyng and Lou, who asked that his last name not be used.
“It gives a sense of hope. It’s somewhere to hang out and get your mind off being on the street,” said Chartier.
Woslyng will tell you he’s not an artist, but some of his doodles were featured in a colouring book, along with Lou’s drawings.
Chartier arranged to have 400 copies of the book printed, and all but a handful have been sold.
The men used the income to pay the damage deposit for small bachelor suites and cover their rent until February.
Chartier said it was more than she ever dreamed would happen.
“It’s crazy that something that was just a tiny little idea to maybe get some extra money, to get these guys some winter clothes, turned into housing,” he said.
Lou said he had been “trapped” at the emergency shelter since August. He said finally having his own space is a big relief.
“It was tough being there, especially for somebody like me who doesn’t have an addiction,” said Lou.
The men say having an apartment means they no longer have to carry their belongings around in a backpack, and that they can come home anytime they want, without waiting to get inside, or being searched.
Woslyng says it means he can go to bed without being told where to lie down.
For Lou, it means he won’t have to sleep on top of his boots, which he often did at the shelter so they wouldn’t be stolen during the night.
“I was sitting there dwelling on what do I do? Where do I go? How am I going to get off the street? Now, here I am,” he said.
Chartier says this wouldn’t have happened without the support of many people, including volunteers from the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, who’ve helped with the art program and the hundreds of people who bought them.
Her parents have also been a big help, by delivering the colouring books, and the Mission Thrift Store in Lethbridge donated furniture for the apartments.
“It feels a little bit like a Christmas miracle,” said Chartier.
Italian art gallery becomes a COVID-19 vaccine centre – The Globe and Mail
The Castello di Rivoli, near Turin, has been a marvel of reinvention over its thousand-year history. It has been a castle – castello in Italian – royal palace, military barracks, refugee centre and, lately, a UNESCO World Heritage site and art gallery.
In March or April, it will assume another role, COVID-19 vaccination centre, when the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, the site’s main tenant, opens its galleries to visitors who fancy combining a bit of culture with their inoculations.
The idea of turning one of Europe’s best-known contemporary art museums into a temporary health clinic was conceived by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 63, the museum’s American-Italian director. “Art has always helped and healed,” she said. “It provides an experience that includes and involves others and can be a form of therapy to treat trauma.”
While vaccinations are normally not considered traumatic experiences, getting one in an airy gallery might take the edge off any lingering jab anxiety. Polls suggest there is vaccine hesitancy among significant minorities of Europeans.
The vaccines will be administered in the third-floor gallery of the museum, where the walls are lined with the creations of Claudia Comte, a Swiss artist whose work, according to museum literature, comprises “large scale environmental installations … of a form of consciousness primarily shaped through the digital experience.”
While Ms. Comte’s art may not be to everyone’s taste, the gallery no doubt beats a sterile, windowless hospital room as a vaccination centre. Ms. Comte is also working on what Ms. Christov-Bakargiev called a “soothing, calming” soundtrack that will be played while medics administer the vaccines.
After they get their jabs, the newly inoculated will be allowed to wander the lower galleries (assuming Italian pandemic restrictions allow them to open), where one of the new installations will include Sex, by German visual artist Anne Imhof. Works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Amadeo Modigliani are also on display.
The vaccinations will be done by the local health authority, which will have to ensure that the proper safety protocols are in place. Ms. Christov-Bakargiev said the museum should be ideal for the inoculation effort, since it is already equipped with thermal scanners and a climate-control system and has ample space for physical distancing, waiting rooms and vaccination booths. The third floor covers 10,000 square feet.
She said the idea of turning the museum into a vaccination centre came to her months ago but took on new urgency on Dec. 13, when museum chairman Fiorenzo Alfieri died of COVID-19 after a month-long illness. He was 77.
“The day after he died, I thought that I needed to do something more than close the museum during the pandemic and wait,” she said. “We had to do something more.”
Many museums and art galleries in Europe began as hospitals, including Les Invalides in Paris and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, home of Picasso’s Guernica. Castello di Rivoli is just doing it in reverse order – a museum that is becoming, in effect, a hospital.
According to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, Italy, which has seen 83,000 pandemic deaths, had administered more than 1.2 million vaccine does by Jan. 19. Ranked by doses per 100 people, the tally puts it well ahead of the European Union average.
Italian health authorities are planning to open vaccination sites in public spaces across the country, including city squares. Cultura Italiae, a group of cultural leaders, has proposed that other museums and cultural centres copy the Castello di Rivoli vaccination model. After all, “public museums are committed to creating an accessible, pluralistic space to serve our community,” Ms. Christov-Bakargiev said.
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Chatham gallery creating art 'quilt' for Black History Month – CBC.ca
An arts organization in Chatham-Kent is looking for contributions for a unique community project to mark Black History Month.
The theme of the project is “celebrating Black lives” and the Thames Art Gallery and ARTspace are seeking submissions from the public for original works of art on the theme. The art can be any media, including painting, drawing and writing.
The public submissions will be combined and set up in a pandemic-friendly public display.
“What we’re having people do is produce a piece of work and then photograph it and then send it to us and we will print it out and then assemble it in the form of a quilt,” Phil Vanderwall, curator of the Thames Art Gallery, said on CBC Radio’s Windsor Morning on Friday.
The completed work will be displayed in the window of the ARTspace gallery on King Street in downtown Chatham.
“So it’s a nice public space,” he said.
The ‘quilt’ format of the project allows for community participation while preventing close contact. Both ARTspace and the Thames Art Gallery are closed due to COVID-19.
Vanderwall said quilt-making is currently undergoing a bit of a revival.
“This seemed like a good opportunity to explore that,” he said.
Submissions are already coming in and the deadline is Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m.
The quilt will be unveiled Feb. 5 and will remain on display until Feb 26.
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Two arts and culture groups in Nanaimo have received more than $100,000 from the provincial government to help improve their spaces and support arts programming.
On Jan. 22 the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport announced in a press release that nine arts and culture groups on Vancouver Island and its adjacent islands received more than $440,000 as part of the B.C. Arts Council’s new arts infrastructure program. Among the local recipients are the Nanaimo Art Gallery, which got $75,000, and the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, which got $31,933.
NAG executive director Carolyn Holmes was thankful for the grant and said the funds will be spent on expanding the ArtLab studio.
“These renovations will make it possible to increase the capacity of our programs and involve more members of our community in art-making experiences,” she said in the press release. “This recent year has showed us just how important these creative outlets and learning opportunities are for our well-being.”
Other recipients on the Island include the Belfry Theatre, CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers and Victoria Baroque Music Society, all located in Victoria, as well as the Cumberland Museum and Archives. The Hornby Island Arts Council, Alert Bay’s U’mista Cultural Centre and the Sointula Museum and Historical Society also received funding. In all, 49 group from across the province received nearly $2 million in grants.
“Art and creative expression are so important for people to maintain healthy lifestyles, especially right now,” Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson said in the release. “We are supporting arts and culture spaces across the province and here in Nanaimo, assisting them through the pandemic and helping to make them better for the future.”
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