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Curators Scour Capitol for Damage to the Building or Its Art – The New York Times



Initial reports indicate that despite multiple incidents of vandalism, smashed windows and broken doors, major damage to the building itself or its artworks was avoided.

Barbara A. Wolanin did not leave her TV much on Wednesday afternoon, watching terrified, she said, as hundreds of Trump rioters rushed into the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building where eight large, framed historical paintings hang.

She once was curator for the Architect of the Capitol, the office that preserves and maintains the building’s art and architecture. She knew much better than most the horrific possibilities that were presenting themselves.

What if rioters slashed John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence,” one of the large paintings from the early 1800s that depict the American fight for freedom? Or smashed the bronze bust of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Bill Clark/Roll Call, via Getty Images

“All the art in the Capitol is basically on view,” said Dr. Wolanin, 77, who served as Curator for the Architect of the Capitol from 1985 until she retired in 2015. “There aren’t a lot of things hidden away.”

For nearly four hours, the collection she had spent more than 30 years caring for was at the mercy of a mob that broke into rooms on the south side of the Capitol (including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office), smashed windows and then marched through the National Statuary Hall, waving American, Confederate and “Trump Is My President” flags.

Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Their time in the building is now represented by the damage they left behind. A 19th-century marble bust of former President Zachary Taylor was flecked with what appeared to be blood. A picture frame was left lying on the floor, the image gone.

The photos and videos, some of them taken inside by the rioters themselves, were startling. One man crammed a framed photo of the Dalai Lama into his backpack, while another smoked marijuana in a room with maps of Oregon on the wall. A man in a leather jacket ripped up a scroll with Chinese characters.

“Yeah look at all this fancy furniture they have!” one man in a winter parka and red hat said.

Jason Andrew for The New York Times
Alex Wong/Getty Images

By the time the Capitol Police had secured the building around 6 p.m., windows and doors at the historic building had been broken, offices had been ransacked and some furniture had been damaged, overturned or looted.

Detailed damage assessments from the Architect of the Capitol or the U.S. Capitol Police have yet to be released. But the singular works of art that curators consider the treasures of the building did not appear to have suffered any major damage.

It could have been much worse, Dr. Wolanin said.

Her greatest concern was the large-scale, 18-foot paintings by Trumbull and other artists that depict scenes from the republic’s founding in the Rotunda, and the dozens of statues that fill the National Statuary Hall to the south.

Safely inaccessible was “The Apotheosis of Washington,” a fresco on the Rotunda ceiling that shows the nation’s first president flanked by Liberty, Victory, Science, War and other allegorical figures.

Particularly vulnerable was the National Statuary Hall to the south of the Rotunda, which contains 35 statues of prominent Americans, part of a collection of 100 statues at the Capitol — two from each of the 50 states — that memorialize such notable figures as Samuel Adams, Rosa Parks and Thomas Edison.

Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Capitol’s collection of paintings also includes work by artists such as Thomas Crawford and Constantino Brumidi, with a mix of portraits and landscapes. Original paintings of George Washington, such as one in the Old Senate Chamber, are some of the most treasured.

The building itself is a work of art, a paragon of Neoclassical architecture designed by Dr. William Thornton in the late 1700s and completed by the Boston architect Charles Bulfinch in 1826. But at the height of the riot, people were scaling its exterior using ropes, while others used poles as battering rams to break open an entrance. Inside, a pro-Trump loyalist posed on the Senate dais while another hung from the balcony in the chamber.

The history of the Capitol as a place is captured in the Hall of Capitols corridor of the House wing, in a series of murals by Allyn Cox. Eight milestone events from the building’s first 65 years and portraits of the nine men who were appointed Architect of the Capitol between 1793 and 1995 adorn the ceilings.

Dr. Wolanin said this was the first time the Capitol’s collection had been threatened on this scale. Though individual pieces had suffered “a tiny bit” of damage in the past, as when a gunman broke into the building in 1998 and killed two police officers and injured a female tourist before being captured, the last breach by a large, violent group of people was during the War of 1812 more than 200 years ago, when invading British troops burned down the building.

“They had no respect for any of these things,” Dr. Wolanin said of the mob that ransacked the building on Wednesday. “That’s what’s really scary.”

On Thursday, some historical preservationists discussed the damage, including the question of whether some of it should be left as a historical marker of the day. 

Anthony Veerkamp, a former director of policy development for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said some of the physical damage should be preserved “as a reminder that our monuments, our institutions, and our values are all vulnerable, and must be constantly cared for.”

But he noted that it was important to do in a way that did not grant the rioters hero status.

“It’s important to not inadvertently create a shrine that appears to commemorate the insurrectionists,” he said.

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Open Your Art launches Take-Out Art Kits – Brunswickan



Amidst lockdowns and lowering temperatures, it is gratifying to learn that quality recreation is still available and affordable in Fredericton. Open Your Art Fredericton has just launched a product that facilitates access to art materials, even for the greenest of novices. Handcrafted in-studio by talented ceramic instructors, Open Your Art promises you won’t be bored anymore in quarantine.

Take-out art kits have been around for a while, but now they are being produced and marketed for and by locals. Angela Black, Arts Educator and owner of Open Your Art, explains that the product is facilitating access to art expression for, “folks unable to come out to a studio for whatever reason.” She adds that the barriers imposed by Coronavirus protocols are easily overcome by creating the art takeout kits.

“We have learnt, working with many ‘vulnerable’ sectors, that attendance and access to transportation for example can be a real barrier to taking part in extracurricular activities,” said Black.

The kits come in various sizes and options for individuals, families, and teams. Open Your Art accords special privileges for “team” and “family” kits by providing live tutorials over Zoom with an instructor who will guide and inspire your first steps. 

“The kit itself is a reusable container that gets returned to the studio once your piece is finished. Everything is washed and reused as much as possible. The kit contains a range of underglazes for decorating your tumblers in line with individual or group taste as well as brushes and a manual,” Black explained. 

“This product is literally flying off the shelves,” Angela Black said. “People are buying them five at a time sometimes. We have started selling them for birthday parties as well. The kits are very popular at $25 (plus tax), so we have decided that our next few options will be a bowl, wine cup, and wait for it – dog bowls.”

If you’re wondering what to do to liven things up at your next family get together, (virtual) office retreat, or even just one random Sunday afternoon, Open your Art kits may be a good option. The instructors have become quite proficient at hosting team building events. The prospect of teaching work enhancement skills in a positive, low-key environment sounds decidedly tempting. 

Black expects the art kits to become even more popular as new options are constantly being developed to accommodate everyone. According to her, the company is all for inclusion.

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The Art of Clanny Mugabe | The Journal – Queen's Journal




Clanny Mugabe is a second-year student in the faculty of Arts and Sciences. She’s currently majoring in English and would describe herself as heavily inspired by world mythology, speculative fiction, and character design. She primarily draws digitally, and each digital painting often has a spiritual/mythological element to it.


“This is a digital painting with the simple goal of portraying an ambiguous black person with a regal air, to contradict the normative stereotypes of black people that portray them in a less than dignified light. The gold is used because its associated with riches and royalty. The word Ulysses is the latinized form of the name Odysseus, who is a figure of Greek/roman mythology that was known for his nobility and intelligence.”

Celebrities as Greek Gods

Adut Akech

“Greek mythology is something that has inspired me a lot throughout my life, and the legacy of Greek/Roman mythology and ancient Greek/Roman civilization is still celebrated today. So, I felt like inserting black people into that mythology because history is very whitewashed; we are not educated on non-European civilizations often, and ancient Greece and Rome is very whitewashed in the public consciousness even though they were diverse empires whose art history and mythology have roots in the Middle East and Africa.”

Decolonized fashion

“I had always imagined what the world would look like if European colonization never happened, and I specifically wondered about what aspect of culture would be changed, specifically culture we take for granted, like fashion. This line of speculation was encouraged by Black Panther, and the costume design of the movie inspired this series and was referenced. So last year I designed several pieces of fashion mostly inspired by African fabrics, African fashion, futuristic aesthetics and film costume design.”

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Kootenay sculptor Lou Lynn wins $25,000 national art award –



Lou Lynn, artist and sculptor based in the Slocan Valley of B.C.’s West Kootenay region, has won the Saidye Bronfman Award, as part of this year’s Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

The $25,000 Saidye Bronfman Award was created in 1977 by Canada’s Bronfman Family and became a Governor General’s award in 2007.

Lynn lives and runs a studio in Winlaw, a small community of 400 residents about a 40-minute drive northwest of Nelson, B.C.  

Educated in the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, the Kootenay-based artist enjoys combining glass and metals in her artwork. In 2016, she held a two-month exhibition at Nelson’s Touchstones Museum of Art and History, showcasing artworks made of bronze and glass inspired by buttons and kitchen utensils.

Using glass and bronze, Lynn also casts kitchen and home utensils that, once found in all homes, are now obscure. (Lou Lynn)

“It makes us think about our histories as makers and about the hand, mind and body working in concert to create beautiful and functional objects that enrich our world,” say Craft Council of British Columbia’s executive director Raine Mckay and artist Amy Gogarty — who jointly nominated Lynn for the award —  in a written statement Tuesday.

Lynn says the COVID-19 pandemic has posed tremendous challenges to artists.

“I slowly saw myself and then a number of my peers’ opportunities started drying up,” she said Wednesday to Chris Walker, the host of CBC’s Daybreak South. “It was a difficult time to be productive [as an artist] because this pandemic is all consuming.”

Lynn previously taught professional practices in the art industry with the Kootenay School of Arts in Nelson for 14 years.  She has delivered over 80 workshops across Canada teaching artists how to sell their works.

“Artists actually can do business and they need to do business,” she said.

Lou Lynn said she enjoys combining glass and metals in her artwork. In 2016, she held a two-month exhibition at Nelson’s Touchstones Museum of Art and History, showcasing artworks of bronze and glass inspired by buttons and kitchen utensils. (Lou Lynn)

Lynn says she hopes artists could receive more support from local communities during the pandemic.

“People are going out of the way to try and support the small businesses, and I would hope that it’s the case with artists as well,” she said.

Besides the Saidye Bronfman Award, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts include six Artistic Achievement Awards and an Outstanding Contribution Award.

Tahltan-Tlingit master carver Dempsey Bob, based in Terrace, is one of the two B.C. recipients of the Governor General’s awards. He won the Artistic Achievement Award.

The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts were created in 1999 by then governor general Adrienne Clarkson and the Canada Council for the Arts. Each winner will receive a $25,000 prize.

Tap the link below to hear Lou Lynn’s interview on Daybreak South:

Daybreak South6:01Winlaw artist Lou Lynn is this year’s recipient of the Saidye Bronfman Award from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Winlaw artist Lou Lynn is this year’s recipient of the Saidye Bronfman Award from the Canada Council for the Arts. 6:01

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