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Council to consider possible revisions to City's public art policy – rdnewsnow.com

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“How they (council) choose the project that must have a public art component is based on the value of the project itself,” explains Gagnon. “Back in 2010, council set the threshold of the value of the project at $250,000. That is one of the items that they’re examining, as to whether the threshold needs to be higher.”

Currently, city administration is recommending the threshold for capital projects requiring a public art component, increase to $500,000.

In terms of the art projects themselves, Gagnon says council only approves them in principle through the passing of a capital budget, while a Public Art Commission adjudicates and reviews all acquisitions and donations of public art for the City of Red Deer.

“The Commission works to identity the theme and the project charter for that piece,” says Gagnon. “Then the Commission itself shortlists and selects the final piece. After council approves the capital budget, they’re not involved in the process anymore, they have delegated that authority to a commission that has an arms-length adjudication process and there is no council member on the Commission.”

Gagnon says that council, however, will soon have the chance to sever pieces of a revised public art policy they might wish to debate.

“Yesterday (Monday), they didn’t make any decisions about the policy itself,” she points out. “It does appear that there will be pieces of the policy that they want to debate, and depending on the debate and where the vote lands, it will depend on whether or not it (the policy) will change.”

With over 100 public art pieces throughout the City, Gagnon says the public art policy is an important one for the community.

“Public art has social value, it has cultural value, it creates economic sustainability in our community, it generates tourism, employment in the cultural section and certainly adds value to our public spaces,” adds Gagnon. “When you think of public art in Red Deer, you probably think of our ghosts throughout the downtown and when you think of other major municipalities around the country, you probably will go right away to pieces of public art that you go and you visit. I believe that council also values public art, and so it’s just a matter of tweaking various pieces of the policy.”

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High end art stolen In Silver Lady Lane break-in – BayToday.ca

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Not many details yet, but City Police are investigating the theft of several high-end pieces of art from a Silver Lady Lane home this morning.

Items include a 2’x3′ Jan Van Kessel painting, Limoges casket, 6″ blue/gold plate, and 6″ aventurine brush washer.

Silver Lady Lane runs off Trout Lake Road and a number of expensive and exclusive houses sit on the shores of Trout Lake.

Police are asking for the public’s help.

Jan van Kessel was a Flemish painter active in Antwerp in the mid 17th century.

Wikipedia says he was a versatile artist and he practiced in many genres including studies of insects, floral still lifes, marines, river landscapes, paradise landscapes, allegorical compositions, and scenes with animals.

Van Kessel’s works were highly prized by his contemporaries and were collected by skilled artisans, wealthy merchants, nobles, and foreign luminaries throughout Europe.

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Toronto's outdoor museum for street art is a perfect activity for these pandemic times – blogTO

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Dundas West Open Air Museum, a collection of murals clustered in a Toronto neighbourhood, opened about a year ago, but they’ve been very busy during that time.

Around 20 murals have been painted around the Dundas West area from Shaw to Lansdowne by local artists such as Jieun June Kim, Jose Ortega and Pablo Gomez.

All murals can be explored virtually on the museum’s website, which includes info about the works and artists.

The initiative was spearheaded by the artists along with Little Portugal and Dundas West BIAs, Lula Lounge, Toronto Arts Council and Creativo Arts.

It was inspired by similar public space projects in places like The Bronx and Berlin.

One of the new initiatives from the museum is an app that you can download to your phone and use to make your way among the murals, finding out information about each piece and the artists that created it as you go.

As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, finding safe, outdoor activities in Toronto is on many people’s to-do list and this outdoor museum might just be one that’s perfectly suited to the times.

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Art as reconciliation: Ymir artist hosting BC Culture Days event – Nelson Star

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It took Damian John decades to realize words weren’t always the best way to connect with people.

When John was in his 20s he became woke to the problems of the world and hoped to make a change. In his 30s, having failed to make that change, he struggled with depression and anxiety.

But four years ago the now 43 year old quit his career as a massage therapist to focus on his art. That choice led to an epiphany.

“I think the dialogue that we have with words is limited. You have this understanding of words, I have an understanding of words. Sometimes they don’t match up,” he says.

“We’re really bad at telling each other what we’re feeling and we’re really bad at understanding what the other person is saying to us in general, even with people we know well. So I thought, but what about having art do that for us and being creative with how we speak to each other.”

John, a Ymir-based artist, hopes to meld words and art into a new type of conversation when he hosts a workshop for BC Culture Days on Sept. 26. Jones was the only West Kootenay artist named ambassador to the annual event, which will run Sept. 25 to Oct. 25.

His livestream is titled Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity, in which John plans to tell the story of how colonization affected his family and people before having participants create art based on the discussion.

A member of Tl’azt’en First Nation near Prince George, John grew up with a family traumatized by the residential school system. His father attended nearby Lejac Residential School, a Catholic-run facility that operated from 1922 to 1976.

The school is partly remembered now for being the place four boys froze to death while trying to escape from in 1937.

“All of my family on that side is directly impacted by colonization, by residential school,” said John, “and that impacts us as his children, that affects nephews and generations that are coming after us. There’s a heavy, heavy impact mentally, health wise, relationally, all of these various components which would take a long time to talk to or speak to in a real strong way.”

First Nations art has always been a part of John’s life. His father brought pieces home, and John was later influenced by artists Robert Sebastian and Roy Henry Vickers.

John’s own art is vibrant, colourful and distinctly modern. In his work he’s found a place to explore his culture and voice concerns while also being in control of the outcome in a way he never felt he could in conversation.

“If I want to have a life that has any feelings of quality to it, I need to shift things,” he says. “So making things that I think are beautiful, and allowing people to engage in that space as well, felt useful.”

That’s how he hopes the people who take his workshop feel after creating their own work. John wants to inspire new ways of discourse about difficult topics despite personal differences, and he thinks art is the key.

“How do we bridge those spaces to come to a place of community and goodwill and conflict resolution?” he says. “In spite of being devastated by all the information out there I still have hope we can do things differently.”

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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Damian John holds a painting he recently completed of his grandmother. John will be exploring reconciliation through art during an event for BC Culture Days. Photo: Tyler Harper

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