You might have noticed the beautiful artwork on display inside Griffin Coffee at 5224 West 25th Avenue in Edgewater. Here’s our conversation with the artist behind the artwork, Max Fowler.
What inspired your artwork on display in Griffin Coffee?
I started the series this summer in the depths of the pandemic we are still navigating. It started with some quick character study paintings on black construction paper. I was intrigued by the results and wanted to explore what was possible so I kept going.
The paintings quickly evolved to tell a story of an art district, the Coventry neighborhood, in Cleveland/Cleveland Heights Ohio. I’d lived there before I got married and moved to Colorado and my band had a residency at the local venue. For decades the scene was vibrant and home to musicians, artists, college students, scenesters, and the like. But the pandemic was killing the neighborhood as it has some many things. Venues, night clubs, cafes and art galleries have hard hit as they rely on crowds and a social experience to work.
I wanted to document the feel of the neighborhood, the art scene, before it was lost forever. It was really one of the formative wombs of my adult being.
So the series tells the story of a day in the life of a neighborhood. From waking up hungover, adrift, and existentially alone through the rhythm of the day, morning brunch and writing at a cafe, to afternoon soccer amongst the bohemians, to the glories of the night, and finishing with the final contemplative cigarette of the night.
How long have you been painting? How did you get started?
I’ve gotten this question a lot recently. To be very precise, I’ve been painting for a grand total of 8 months now. Yep, this series represents my first crack at it.
I got started because I was painting some model figures as a hobby, which I’d only started two months prior. I needed an outlet for what I was feeling in the absolutely crazy 2020.
To be honest I was semi close to entering college as an art major as I’d taken every art class I could in high school but never really had the confidence and I was focused on my sporting career at the time. But I hadn’t picked up a paint brush in 26 years.
We noticed some soccer paintings in the collection. Why is that?
Soccer is just an intimate part of my life. It’s been my profession in one way or another my entire life and I really can’t separate myself from that sport. Funny enough I started out almost with the express intent to not do any soccer paintings, as something about them just don’t spark my interest. Now the atmosphere around the sport, or the humanity just on the fringes of the actual action, those are the stories I like to tell. It’s the same with stage actors, the play itself is the artistic format that it should be viewed, but backstage, or the personal struggles and triumphs, that’s interesting.
So the two in the show are telling those stories along the fringes of the main action.
Also, right next to the art district of Coventry was a refurbished football stadium turned into the local high school’s soccer stadium. In Ohio, all varsity sports are played at 7:30 pm under the lights. So the matches were actually attended to by the artists and musicians of the neighborhood. It made for wonderful cheep entertainment.
Plus there was a pick up game most Sundays and we were allowed use of the locker rooms and everything. Both those feelings are represented in the series.
What drew you to start a soccer club in the Edgewater area?
I started a soccer club in Edgewater for two reasons really. The first was a reaction to the political environment and discourse that really started to crest in 2016. I wanted to start a club that not only represented the community it called home, but also looked like it in all of its diversity. It’s really a statement that the community is actually stronger BECAUSE of the diversity we enjoy.
It’s a reflection of what I was taught that America was. It is an idea, a shared set of principles and ideals, and it is a meritocracy. The only question that matters is can you do the job.
The other reason was I wanted to give Edgewater something their own that could unite people whether or not they are interested in sport. The clubs exists to help give back to the community. And our greatest achievements and proudest moments will always be when we help our community. Whether it’s donating new Joma training jumpers to both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams at Jefferson High School, or selling our cup jerseys to raise money to help feed Edgewater residents with meals from Edgewater businesses, or working to raise money so the city can have better sporting venues for the community, that will always be our reason for existing.
What do you love about the Edgewater area?
I love that Edgewater is an actual community, a small town tucked into a large city. It isn’t some suburban dystopia, a sea of identical beige houses where people never talk to their neighbors. It’s vibrant, accepting, and supportive. People walk places, talk to each other and share communal moments. The go to local establishments rather than Chili’s. And it has both working and middle classes, and a multitude of backgrounds and cultures and problem solving that makes the whole much stronger then the sum of its parts.
Visit the city's tiniest art gallery: Five things to do in Saskatoon this weekend – Saskatoon StarPhoenix
In an effort to help Saskatoon residents share art with one another, Suzy Schwanke has created the Free Little Art Gallery YXE outside her home at 332 Hilliard St. E.
Whether you’re interested in art, a virtual party, some outdoor activities or cleaning up around the house, there’s a little bit of something for everyone this weekend in Saskatoon.
1. Visit the Free Little Art Gallery
In an effort to help Saskatoon residents share art with one another, Suzy Schwanke has created the Free Little Art Gallery YXE outside her home at 332 Hilliard St. E. Designed in the style of community libraries and kitchen boxes, visitors to the gallery can take a piece of art, leave a piece of art, or do both. You can check out some of the artwork on Instagram @Freelittleartgalleryyxe.
2. Hit up The Bassment’s virtual party
Featuring the music and talents of eight Saskatoon bands, The Bassment presents InTune 2021 — a free online party playing from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The shows will be streamed live through the Bassment’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
3. Check out local performers
Watch as some of Saskatoon’s performing artists share their work in Episode 1 of Persephone Theatre’s Open Stage, which was published earlier this month. The episode is available to watch whenever you want at persephonetheatre.org and features Peace Akintade, Kathie Cram, Amanda Trapp, Sketchy Bandits, Carla Orosz and Ellen Froese.
4. Have some family fun
The Fuddruckers Family Fun Centre (2910 8th St. E) is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday, weather permitting. Families can practice their skills on the 18-hole Putt N’ Bounce miniature golf course, reach new heights on The Rock climbing wall or take a swing at the Grand Slam batting cages. More information is available at fudds.ca or by calling 306-477-0808.
5. Drop off your hazardous waste
The City of Saskatoon is holding its first Hazardous Household Waste Drop Off of the year on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Civic Operations Centre (57 Valley Rd.). The drop off is open to Saskatoon residents from residential properties only. Products eligible for drop off include aerosols, automotive fluids, batteries, cleaners, light bulbs, yard chemicals and more. Learn more at saskatoon.ca/hazardouswaste.
The news seems to be flying at us faster all the time. From COVID-19 updates to politics and crime and everything in between, it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has created an Afternoon Headlines newsletter that can be delivered daily to your inbox to help make sure you are up to date with the most vital news of the day. Click here to subscribe.
YK ARCC celebrates 10 years by pushing for NWT art gallery – Cabin Radio
Its trailer doubles as one of the NWT’s only art galleries. Now, the Yellowknife Artist-Run Community Centre is turning 10 years old.
The group, YK ARCC for short, formed in 2011 in a downtown Yellowknife church scheduled for demolition. “There was always something going on,” recalled Métis artist Rosalind Mercredi, owner of the city’s Down to Earth Gallery, who was YK ARCC’s first president.
“I think it was so good to be able to have a space where people wanted to work on stuff and, if they had bigger projects they wanted to do, there was a space to do it. It was pretty vibrant times, I would say, for art.”
Though the organization stayed in the church for less than a year, it has brought art and shows to Yellowknife since. Temporary homes have included an apartment above a Vietnamese restaurant and empty spaces in the Centre Square Mall.
Casey Koyczan, a Tłı̨chǫ artist from Yellowknife pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Manitoba, held some of his first shows with YK ARCC’s help.
“It really helped to be able to show work within an environment that was conducive to more of a fine arts aesthetic as opposed to … a coffee shop, or a pub, or something like that,” said Koyczan, who was on YK ARCC’s board.
“YK ARCC felt like it was getting to more of a formal-exhibit kind of feel.”
‘We need a territorial gallery’
The group made headlines shortly after opening a mobile art gallery in a trailer. At the beginning of the pandemic, the team took art to residents by accepting reservations through Facebook then driving the gallery to make house calls in different neighbourhoods.
“Because it’s so small, we might be the only gallery in Canada that didn’t have to close,” said longtime board member Sarah Swan. “It has a limited capacity. We knew we could still operate it safely.”
Yet the trailer’s success simultaneously illuminated what YK ARCC’s members believe is a glaring deficiency in the NWT: the absence of a territorial gallery.
The cost of rent makes it difficult for the non-profit to hold on to one space for any length of time. Many of the spaces that are available in Yellowknife don’t work well for art shows.
“We need a territorial gallery,” former board member Dan Korver said.
That doesn’t mean a commercial gallery geared toward profit, he clarified. Instead, Korver wants a space where artists can show their work and engage with an audience “for art’s sake.”
The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is the only large-scale, non-commercial, gallery fitting that bill in the NWT. It hosts two fine art exhibits a year.
“It’s just simply not enough,” said Swan. “There are so many more artists and so much more work out there to show, so many more ideas.”
“We created the mobile gallery in the first place to feel that exhibition gap, but also, we created it to be a piece of agitation in itself. That’s why we called it the Art Gallery of the Northwest Territories.
“It’s really pathetic that our territorial gallery is a trailer. We all joke that if there ever is a real gallery of the Northwest Territories that’s not in a trailer, we’ll happily give the name back.”
Koyczan described obstacles in establishing his career that stemmed directly from the lack of a territorial art gallery.
“Back when I was showing at YK ARCC, it wasn’t recognized by the Canada Arts Council,” he said. “Therefore, when you go to apply for grants and funding … and you provide your CV saying that you showed work at YK ARCC, they check their records and say the show basically didn’t exist because they don’t recognize it as a legitimate gallery.
“I’ve had to work really hard on exporting myself and making artwork that is impactful so that, regardless of where I was located, it would be recognized by people in the south, or around North America, or internationally.
“The NWT needs a contemporary gallery. It’s just holding us back, not having that space.”
‘No GNWT mandate’ for a gallery
In a written statement to Cabin Radio, the territorial Department of Education, Culture, and Employment said it has no plan to create a territorial gallery.
The department said it “does not have a mandate to create physical infrastructure for the arts.”
“However,” the response continued, “the GNWT would be happy to work with regional organizations to see how the GNWT can support their plans.”
Korver believes government involvement in creating an artist-run centre or non-commercial gallery should be limited to provision of funding, so any gallery can remain community-driven and independent.
“We need that physical space, but how do you run it?” he wondered. “Is it better to just provide a grassroots organization – or organizations, maybe there shouldn’t just be one – with stable funding so they can provide those spaces and run those spaces?”
More spaces that can host art are on the way.
Makerspace YK moved into the old After 8 pub this January and is planning workshops and exhibits. The City of Yellowknife expects to open a visitor centre in the Centre Square Mall that would include art displays.
Meanwhile, the territorial government is set to release its updated NWT Arts Strategy this June. The previous territorial arts strategy, released in 2004, had identified a need for more arts spaces.
As a gallery owner, Mercredi said she is curious to see how the strategy is implemented.
“You can make a strategy but if the plan doesn’t have an implementation idea behind it, then really just sits,” she said. “How do you implement it when most of the arts organizations don’t have enough infrastructure or people to put those things together?”
Swan said YK ARCC will continue to run its mobile gallery while celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Members have applied for funding to run a series of “emerging curator workshops.”
“Art is our passion,” Swan said. “I think there’s just this drive to share.
“Because we know how good art can be, or how amazing and fully developed it can be, we want to fight for that. We want to try to grow the art community in Yellowknife.”
Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat
Creative, imaginative artwork of students from Mountview Elementary School will be on public display at the gallery of Cariboo Art Beat until April 9.
“The students of Mountview elementary were all invited to participate in an art contest,” Tiffany Jorgensen said, an artist at Cariboo Art Beat.
Each class was separately judged by three professional artists at Cariboo Art Beat, Jorgensen said, based on the students’ creativity, techniques, use of space and originality.
“It was extremely difficult to select pieces from the abundance of beautiful art presented,” she said. “There is so much talent and fantastic imaginations.”
The artist of each selected piece was given formal invitations to their art show to distribute to whomever they choose, and Jorgensen said anyone is free to view the beautiful artwork throughout until April 9.
Honoured at the show were works from local artists Ryker Hagen, Annika Nilsson, Rylie Trampleasure, Angus Shoults, Izabella Telford, Isabella Buchner, Kai Pare and more.
“Come view their wonderful pieces to get a glimpse into the minds of our creative youth,” Jorgensen said.
“It’s been so fun. The kids have come in and seen their work on display with their grandparents, parents, and they’re all so excited.”
Following up on the success of the Mountview art show, Jorgensen said more elementary schools have been invited to participate.
April will feature the works of Nesika and Big Lake, followed by Marie Sharpe and Chilcotin Road next month.
Cariboo Art Beat is located at 19 First Ave., under Caribou Ski Source for Sports’ entrance on Oliver Street.
Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune
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