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Coronavirus: Saskatoon playwright says empty theatres a chance to reflect on art’s future – Global News

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Saskatoon playwright Joel Bernbaum is reflecting on how the novel coronavirus pandemic will impact his own research and the way theatre is done in the future.

He said this is an opportunity to open up to new ways of thinking about the performing arts when things are back to normal.


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“It’s also an opportunity for us in the arts to rethink the way we make our art and the reason we make our art. COVID-19 can be a portal to reimagining a whole new future for the arts. This is an incredible moment in history. Every theatre in the world is dark,” Bernbaum said.

“When the lights go back on, we have a choice. Do we go back to doing the same thing the way we’ve always done it, or do we reimagine the way that we connect with our communities, our audience members, in a way that creates stronger, more relevant and more engaged art?”

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He added it’s not just about moving performances online but instead to re-imagine how theatres can be connected with their communities.

Joel Bernbaum is the first University of Saskatchewan student to be awarded the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarship.

Joel Bernbaum is the first University of Saskatchewan student to be awarded the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarship.


Brady Ratzlaff / Global News

Bernbaum is a PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), where he is studying how theatre companies have the potential to strengthen cities by creating connected and engaged citizens.

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He’s drawing on his previous works, including the co-creation of the 2020 documentary play Reasonable Doubt, which focused on the 2018 murder trial in the death of Colten Boushie.

Over 200 interviews conducted by Bernbaum were used in the play to present dialogues about relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Saskatchewan.






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Heartfelt moments in Saskatchewan during the novel coronavirus pandemic


Heartfelt moments in Saskatchewan during the novel coronavirus pandemic

When completed, Bernbaum hopes his research will be used by arts organizations and cities to engage communities while uncovering new ways for theatre arts to build trust among citizens and promote responsible citizenship.

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“Especially in the times we’re in right now, we’re seeing that community is more important than ever. And community is all about connection,” Bernbaum said.

“Whether it’s a hyper-local community like we have with our theatre company here in Saskatoon or a national community … what we gain from connecting with other people is exponentially valuable.”

“I’m looking forward to making connections with like-minded people who care about social justice and care about a better future for all people in this country.”


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Bernbaum was recently awarded the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarship, which goes to outstanding students undertaking social sciences or humanities research.

“It’s a great honour to be the first recipient of this award from [USask]. In moments like these, I always look back and I’m so grateful to all my mentors and teachers along the way who have made me who I am,” Bernbaum said.

“It’s inspiring for me to have my work recognized in this way because my work is all about using the theatre to strengthen cities. … It tells me that the work that we’re doing with theatre arts right here in Saskatoon can be applicable all over the country and all over the world.”


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He is one of 16 Canadian students awarded the $40,000/year, three-year scholarship as well as a travel allowance of up to $20,000 annually.

“[The foundation’s] trying to create a community of people across Canada who they feel will be the future leaders of the country. And so it’s an honour to be among that community and it will be extremely enjoyable and stimulating to connect with these other 15 individuals from across the country to help learn and grow together,” Bernbaum said.

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“Right now, because we are in the times we are, it’s all been virtual but we will gather together. I hope sooner than later.

“This is a very challenging time for many people and a huge shout out to all the medical professionals and frontline workers that are helping us get through COVID-19.”

Bernbaum also co-founded Saskatoon’s Sum Theatre, which offers free Theatre in the Park productions each summer.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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

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Go Figure: We sketch a picture of BC's private fine art world – BCBusiness

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Van

Credit: Vancouver Art Gallery

At 1.1%, B.C. has the highest concentration of artists per capita in Canada

$24,304 – Median annual salary for a B.C. painter, sculptor or visual artist in 2016

337 – B.C. galleries, studios and cooperatives listed in the Galleries West database

Metro Vancouver/Whistler corridor: 178

Victoria, Island and Sunshine Coast: 89

Interior: 59

North: 11

Share that are public: 65%

400,000 sq. ft. – Estimated loss of artist studio space in Vancouver over the past decade due to residential and commercial conversion or redevelopment

$22.80/sq. ft. – Median reported annual rent for artist studio space in the City of Vancouver, not including taxes or triple-net lease

$17.65/sq. ft. – Average rent for industrial space

US$67.4 billion – Value of the global art market in 2018

Leading countries by market share:

U.S.: 44%

U.K.: 21%

China: 19%

In 2019, British Columbians imported $29,328,878 worth of original paintings, drawings and pastels from 47 countries

Exports: $23,663,131

83% of exports by value went to the U.S.

4 Canadians made the 2019 ArtNews Top 200 global art collectors list:

3 work in real estate

1 (Bob Rennie) is from B.C.

The Rennie Collection includes about 2,100 works by 370 artists

Purchase price of the first piece of artwork Bob Rennie bought (a Norman Rockwell print, in 1974): US$375

Purchase price of Untitled (Red, Black, Green) by Kerry James Marshall, which Rennie bought in 2011-12: US$26 million

B.C.’s highest-grossing art auction, which took place in Vancouver in 2007, totalled $23,033,925 in sales

Highest-priced painting by a B.C. artist sold by Vancouver-founded Heffel Fine Art Auction House: The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase) by Emily Carr, selling for $3,393,000 in 2016

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Mysterious ancient rock art may have been made with beeswax – Science Magazine

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L. M. Brady

This 500-year-old rock art is among the rarest in the world. Found at a site called Yilbilinji near northern Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria—and depicting a humanlike figure holding a boomerang (right), surrounded by more boomerangs—it’s a type of stenciling that involved creating miniature outlines of humans, tools, and other shapes. Similar, much older mini-stencils have been found elsewhere in Australia and around the world. Now, scientists think they know how ancient people made them.

Australia’s Aboriginal populations have been creating rock art for at least 44,000 years. Typically when stenciling, the artist held their hand or other object up to the rock and sprayed pigmented liquid onto it, leaving behind a life-size negative on the wall.

But the red-rock overhang at Yilbilinji features much smaller figures: 17 minihumans, boomerangs, and geometric patterns—all too tiny to have been modeled after a painter’s hand or a real object. One of the new study’s co-authors remembered seeing Aboriginal people using beeswax as a kind of clay for making children’s toys resembling cattle and horses. Might the ancient rock artists have used beeswax to form stencils?

Working with representatives of the local Indigenous Marra people, the researchers attempted to replicate the ancient art using only materials native to the region. By heating and molding beeswax, sticking it to the rock, and spraying it with a white-pigment paint, they managed to produce rock art exceptionally similar to the originals found at Yilbilinji, they report today in Antiquity.

The miniature art may have served a spiritual or ritualistic purpose, the researchers note. Or, they suggest, because many of these stencils are positioned relatively low on the rocky overhang, it may have just been child’s play, the ancient equivalent to children scribbling on the walls.

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Art for art's sake – Patrick Weiss, Canmore mail carrier – The Crag and Canyon

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Patrick Weiss delivers the mail to a community mail box on a rain day in Canmore. photo by Pam Doyle/www.pamdoylephoto.com

jpg, BA

Patrick Weiss is a front line worker in Canmore.

Weiss is a Rural and Suburban Mail Carrier with Canada Post and he has been working since the Covid-19 virus was first detected.

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stops the mail from being delivered,” Weiss said.

You could also add ‘virus’ to his statement.

Weiss delivers to the communities of the Peaks of Grassi, Mineside, Homesteads and Prospect Point. People depend on their mail even more than before the virus disrupted normal routines.

“I’ve definitely been much busier during the pandemic,” Weiss said. “My parcel delivery is up almost 40 percent for this time of year increasing the workload to Christmas-like volume. This is probably due to all the online ordering of goods during the lockdown.”

Working through the -30 C cold snaps of the last few winters has been challenging though, he said.

The thought of taking a break from work now because of the coronavirus hasn’t crossed his mind.

“I’m not worried about the virus or getting sick due to the low numbers in the Bow Valley,” Weiss said. “And being equipped with the proper PPE and taking all necessary precautions.”

He is outside for most of his workday and happy to be there, he said.

“I love this job as it lets me be outside getting exercise and interacting with the community,” Weiss said. “I’ve been doing it for almost two years.”

The community has been appreciative that he is still on the job.

“People have been awesome to me during this time,” Weiss said. “Very thankful and supportive that we are still delivering their letter mail and packages during a time when they have limited access to the town and its services.”

The community mailboxes can fit a wide variety of parcels, he said.

“What does not fit I gladly hand deliver to customers’ doors to ensure they receive their goods,” Weiss said.

It’s been business as usual with not much downtime at the job. And the typical stereotype of dogs versus mail carriers does not apply, he said.

“I love cats and dogs and I am always happy to have interaction with them while working,” Weiss said. “Never had any bad experiences with them.”

When he isn’t working, he skateboards, snowboards, mountain bikes and tries to keep up with his cross fit workouts, despite the gym being closed for the time being, Weiss said.

“I started skateboarding in the early 70’s skateboard boom and rode my board to school in Calgary at elementary, junior high, and high school,” Weiss said. “I recall getting chased by teachers down the hallways while riding it back in my younger years. Carving and grinding the bowls in Canmore and Banff is a passion of mine that will never die. Both parks are killer and open now and I hit them whenever I have the time and weather permits. I’ve made countless friends skating at them over the years.”

Weiss carries the nickname Snaketrick, because of the boa constrictor cowboy boots he wore in high school. But he doesn’t mind if you call him that.

“I feel very fortunate to live and work in Canmore as it lets me pursue all the outdoor sports that I love,” Weiss said.

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