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Culture Envy: Art Battle returns showcasing competitions between local painters – The Runner



Danica Noort participating in an art battle. (Submitted, Cameron Frazier)

For almost two years, Art Battle was postponed due to the pandemic. 

Like most in-person events, the series that brought local artists and the community together for an evening of friendly competition and entertainment had to go on hiatus as health regulations prohibited gatherings. But this year, Art Battle returned to The Red Room in Vancouver following the guidelines in British Columbia’s provincial health orders. 

Art Battle event producer and social media manager Lindsay Rae Meier said there were challenges preparing for the event. 

“The set-up for the event is much different than our normal style. Generally, walking around and mingling is encouraged,” Meier wrote in an email to The Runner

Restrictions included having the artists be on a stage at the front of the venue instead of in the middle of the floor, she said. 

Before the pandemic, the event was broken into three rounds of painting, with five painters in a circle constructing their best work in 20 minutes. The audience would walk around observing the artists, and at the end of each round, they would vote for their favourite artwork. The crowd also has the opportunity to bid on the work to take home, and $250 is awarded to the winner in the final round. 

With the restrictions, Meier said her favourite part about Art Battle is the atmosphere and community feeling. 

“It’s a safe space for artists and art lovers alike to come together, interact, and have fun. I also love seeing what the artists can create in just 20 minutes as well,” she wrote.

Jenna Cowie-Randle, a visual artist from Abbotsford, was excited to hear Art Battle was returning to Vancouver again. 

Cowie-Randle specializes in graphic and dark art, using mainly acrylic paints and illustration pens. Her inspiration comes from, but is not limited to, comic books and album covers. 

“I’m so excited to actually have the opportunity to participate again,” says Cowie-Randle. “It’s just a really fun, lively atmosphere … it’s a great way to meet other people that are doing the things you’re interested in, so I just wanted to get back into that.” 

“It’s so nice to know that there are a lot of other people and a community of people that like to do what you do as well. It’s like this team feeling.” 

Although she is under a time crunch, she says preparation is key in managing the 20-minute time frame. 

“Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with a plan or know what kind of ideas you might want to do in that moment. But I find if I have a blueprint or a template in my head of what I want to do, then it really helps the time management of 20 minutes.” 

Danica Noort, a visual artist in Maple Ridge and a participant since 2017, says being a part of the event helps artists promote their work. 

“Sometimes as artists, a lot of people can end up working from their studio or from home and you end up not being able to really see many people or really expose yourself to the public or get to see people in the community as well,” says Noort. 

“I was looking for an outlet to be able to participate in a more public realm.” 

Noort says from her times competing at Art Battle, one memory that resonates with her is when a spectator purchased her art from the show. 

“It actually sold for the highest price in the auction that night,” she says. “But afterwards, the person who bought it came up to me and wanted to take a picture, and they were really excited to have the artwork to be able to take home with them.” 

It’s important for artists to have these events to get them out of their comfort zone and have fun, Noort says.  

“It pushes people outside of their comfort zones a little bit, and I know that’s a rather stressful thing for some people,” says Noort. “But I think that it’s kind of nice for people to not take themselves too seriously sometimes.”

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More Galleries of Color Debut at Art Basel Miami – The New York Times



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More Galleries of Color Debut at Art Basel Miami  The New York Times

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Ladysmith Arts Council hopes a provincial grant can help get the art gallery back into its old venue – Ladysmith Chronicle – Ladysmith Chronicle



The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District has an opportunity to apply for a BC Arts Council grant, which could help the Waterfront Art Gallery return to its old venue at the Ladysmith Machine Shop. It requested a letter of support from the Town of Ladysmith, which was discussed at council’s Nov. 30 special meeting.

The grant could provide up to $250,000 for renovations of the old building. There is $4 million in the provincial fund to be distributed to arts organizations and the deadline to apply is Jan. 14. After discussing the letter, town council referred the issue back to staff to gather more information on the proposed project and grant application.

“We are disappointed of course because we feel uncertain about our future,” said Kathy Holmes, president of the arts council. “At this point, the arts council is going to be looking at all sort of avenues to find a home — wherever that is, permanently or temporarily.”

The grant application requires a detailed outline of the proposed project, with milestones and a timeline and it is required to have a completion date before the end of 2024.

Mayor Stone said the town would likely not hear back about the grant application within a year and it would take another year or two for design and construction work. “I am fully supportive of the concept of this — I just don’t see in my most optimistic viewpoint that we could find it as a reality between now and the end of 2024,” he said.

Coun. Duck Paterson said the town does not yet know when tenants will be able to return to the Machine Shop or where the funds to renovate it will come from — the grant, if successful, would only provide a portion. He questioned whether the town has the staff time and resources to help the arts council complete the application.

“We definitely have the staff to look after some of this. We do have a lot of this information we have compiled over the years through the Machine Shop project,” said Chris Barfoot, director of parks, recreation and culture. He added the town has cost estimates, but they are from 2018–19 and would have to be updated.

In order to find ways to plan a phased approach for the project, he said staff would have to go back and work with consultants. “We know that there is a price to complete the entire project. It would be a matter of how do we achieve a phased approach and what type of services and utilities need to be addressed to do that.”

Coun. Marsh Stevens supported sending the item back to staff to get more details to consider at the next council meeting. “I love that they are taking initiative as a community group to do this but I want them to be successful,” he said.

Paterson suggested the town give a letter of support for a separate part of the grant, which could provide $25,000 to assist with planning and consultation. “I know that’s not what they want, but I think it would be easier for us to accept,” he said.

The arts council will provide an annual presentation to council on Dec. 7 to update the town on its operations.

ALSO READ: Arts Council of Ladysmith leads Island-wide arts impact study



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Rare First Nations Artwork Uncovered at Yukon Friendship Centre –



Staff at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre were shocked to find 183 art pieces in their basement recently, many of them created by well-known artists.

“This recent discovery during this year of significant hardship has been a very welcome surprise,” said Bill Griffis, the centre’s executive director, in a news release.

The art was originally donated to the non-profit organization in Whitehorse back in 1997, but forgotten over the years as staff left.

Among the pieces found, 28 belonged to the well-known contemporary artist Carl Beam. The other 155 were created by Stephen Snake and other Indigenous artists.

Joe Migwans holds Beam’s piece titled ‘A poem for the unborn’ from the late 90s. The orange plexiglass has an unborn baby in a womb followed by the words ‘you can never believe the rational.’ (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Griffis said the next step is to determine the value of each piece.

“Each one [of Beam’s art pieces] has an appraisal certificate with them,” said Griffis. “Part of the process is to figure out what the value is now because we have a collection [and] there may be some historical value to it.”

Out of the other 155, about a third of them also had appraisals from the late 90s.

Significant impact on Canadian art sector

As one of Canada’s most ground-breaking Indigenous artists, the art from Beam is of particular interest.

He was from M’Chigeeng First Nation, located on Manitoulin Island, Ont. He was born in 1943 and passed away in 2005.

Beam had a significant impact on the Canadian art sector. His work, which ranged from Plexiglass to canva and other media, provoked conversations about the Indigenous experience of injustice in Canada.

Beam’s cousin, Joe Migwans, is a long-time Yukon resident and cultural mentor.

‘I know Carl would be really happy to have his gifts of artwork being shared in a way that will touch so many people’s lives at this time,’ said Joe Migwans. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

“He was my cousin by blood, but he’s more like my uncle because in our way, when we have a cousin like that, that age, he’s more like my uncle. I always listen to what he said to me because he’s my elder,” explained Migwans.

He said Beam’s work has a powerful message and is even more relevant today.

“He’s basically preserving those kind of snippets in this time and telling, and it kind of like how he perceives the world to be and what his take is on it. And then in the future, people will see kind of what was going on here from from his perspective,” he says.

Towards the end of his life, Beam started to talk more about what life could be or what life is all about, said Migwans.

“What it’s about is overcoming and then achieving something in your life and not having to go through what you did in the past. So your life can move forward. I mean, that’s the vision, right? And a lot of us back home that knew him and worked with him, we always believed that he was more well ahead of his time,” he said.

Migwans said art is used to tell a story and capture a moment in time. He added that most of Beam’s work came from his anger from residential schools and injustices towards Indigenous people.

“Some of the things he would like to really do was to take any stereotype around First Nations people. One of the things was saying our people were dirty Indians. Except there never was. We never were like that,” said Migwans.

5:06Art by Carl Beams and Stephen Snake discovered at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre in Whitehorse

Indigenous art discovered at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre in Whitehorse is set to be auctioned off on line to help the centre. The work is by artists including Stephen Snake and Carl Beam. Skookum Executive Director Bill Griffis and Beams’ cousin Joe Migwans spoke about the significance of the find. 5:06

Beam was the first Indigenous contemporary artist featured at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

“He did it on his own in his own way. Not as a First Nations artist, as the contemporary artist, which means he’s just like anybody else. He’s not under the guise of First Nations or the idea that he’s entitled to something because he’s First Nation.

“He didn’t have to use that as something to get him forward,” said Migwans.


Out of nearly 200 pieces, some will be sold to the public and some to private galleries across Canada.

The remaining pieces will be part of a silent auction on the Friendship Centre’s website from Dec. 4 to the 14th.

The auction is part of a fundraiser between the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and Sundog Veggies Training Farm.

Heather Finton, owner of Sundong Veggies, said the organization is grateful they can use the found art to raise some money.

The staff at Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and Sundog Veggies Training Farm going through Stephen Snake and Carl Beam’s artwork. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

“Not only is this artwork like amazing and so timely but the way that some of these gifts are going to be available to the community to support the work Skookum does is … it’s just a privilege to be part of these amazing story,” she said.

The two organizations have been collaborating since 2020 for the community lunch program which feeds several families in Whitehorse. They share a goal of building food security in the Yukon and creating opportunities to develop land-based skills.

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