The Estevan Art Gallery and Museum (EAGM) is known for bringing great art to the community through the exhibits it hosts each year in its two gallery spaces.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to rethink how they deliver exhibits, and they have partnered with four Saskatchewan artists and Woodlawn Regional Park for something different.
Belinda Harrow, Monique Martin, Zoe Schneider and Regan Lanning have come together to have their art at Woodlawn for the rest of the summer in an outdoor art installation named Inside Out. The exhibits were installed last week, and the exhibit opened on Monday.
EAGM curator-director Amber Andersen said each artist contributed something unique, and she was delighted with how it turned out.
“I’ve curated public exhibits that are outside, but never in this context,” said Andersen.
Martin contributed life-sized, standing paper dandelions near Fresh Air Fitness that are a commentary on how we shouldn’t judge everything on appearance. Harrow has a hand-sculpted beaver and a nearby stool, close to the campground gazebo that overlooks the Souris River. Her work studies how animals have had to adapt to human behaviour.
Schneider has a grotto with glow in the dark beads that are near the Fourth Avenue South access road. Lanning created a vase that continues her work on the human condition and the strength and fragility of it. It’s near a memorial for the North West Mounted Police.
“Everyone came together talking about nature, and talking about the human condition, and I thought that might be appropriate in COVID, but in a way that we can all do it in this beautiful space, with this land that is so gorgeous,” said Andersen.
Woodlawn was selected for Inside Out because the EAGM, the park and Southeast Newcomer Services were planning a big family festival for the fall, but the event had to be postponed. So the EAGM approached Woodlawn about doing something, and they were on board.
“I had already been in conversation with these artists. I was talking to them about this, and then everyone just happened to have a piece that was talking about nature in some capacity and some way, so I thought this was perfect.”
All four artists have been exhibited at the EAGM in the past.
Martin was in Estevan on Friday to help install her work, which is named Context is Everything. It includes life-sized dandelions made out of paper that she created through silk screening, linocut techniques and paper engineering.
“They look very real,” Martin said. “They’re very authentic, and it is a comment on how every time we make a decision, we have all that baggage that we have from before that leads us to that decision.”
The dandelions would have never have happened if not for an exhibit she had in Seoul, South Korea. Martin found a type of paper that was almost free, and she purchased it in a wide variety of colours.
When she was driving home one night, she had the inspiration to create something involving weeds.
“I started experimenting, and I had this really great paper from Korea. It stands up. It holds itself. Because if you use tissue paper (alone), it falls down.”
She cut little strips and every petal herself, silk screened a little yellow line on every petal, and cut out all the leaves and inked each one on both sides to make them look real.
People have called dandelions a weed, and Martin said that means they are dismissed and aren’t viewed as important. And so she uses the exhibit to talk about human interaction and how sometimes people are automatically dismissed.
“It’s very timely right now in the news. We decide who belongs and who doesn’t belong. Very often as humans we make that decision. So I wanted to do a body of work where I use the weed, and escalate it to a higher level than what it was.”
It’s also a commentary on how people judge others based on sexual orientation, race, religion and other factors.
During her research for Context is Everything, Martin found out that long ago, dandelions were regarded as a flower. They have regained some of their luster, as people can now buy dandelion seeds in a store.
“When they see my work, I want them to think about why would she make a weed into art?” Martin asked. “Why would she make so many to look real? Why would they be taken out of the context of a weed, so that people think … when they see a … dandelion, they think ‘Well maybe it’s not a weed.”
The dandelions are elevated and surrounded by Plexiglas.
Martin applauded the EAGM and Woodlawn Regional Park for creating an exhibit that brings art to the people, and allows them to feel comfortable.
“This is a major idea that’s being explored because of COVID. The context of COVID changed how we see galleries, which is interesting,” said Martin.
She described the exhibit as a sneak peak of one she will have at the EAGM in December with 2,000 paper dandelions lit with a spotlight.
Andersen noted that all of the museums and galleries around the world have been forced to reschedule shows, and it’s good to have something locally for the public to view.
Inside Out will remain on display until Sept. 8.
The exhibit is part of a larger artistic scavenger hunt in the community that also began Monday. People are asked to find works of art, such as murals, that are located in Estevan.
Calgary community ups its art game with powerful youth murals – CBC.ca
What does 2020 mean to you?
That was the seed planted in three young Calgary artists and it grew into huge, colourful, thought-provoking murals now on display in the northwest community of Sunnyside.
“This is the first mural I have ever done,” Daniel Volante told CBC News.
“I have never used spray paint before and I have never done anything this big before, so it’s been quite the process. I am learning a lot.”
The 17-year-old’s mural, Dreamer, is bookended by the art of two other teens on shipping containers at a Sunnyside park just southeast of the Kensington Safeway.
Volante says he’s spent several hours a day for three weeks putting together his contribution to containR, a pop up arts and culture hub organized by Springboard Performance.
“I wanted it to look dream like. A lot of the colours are vibrant. I used a blue to outline everything,” he explained.
“I found this piece in myself. It’s a pretty personal piece. I was inspired by how I felt during the last four months. I’ve been dreaming and thinking a lot. I want to do everything but in the last four months stuck at home, it’s just not coming out. That’s what this piece means to me.”
And that’s exactly what Springboard was looking for, the artistic director says.
“What does 2020 mean to you? That was the starting point,” Nicole Mion said.
“The best art comes with what is most meaningful to you. That’s a great place to always start.”
The containR program started in 2009, perhaps ironically, as a way to combat vandalism.
“While it started as a way of deterring tagging, it became a way of sharing incredible art,” Mion said.
Springboard had a call out for artists. A jury narrowed the applications to three.
Their canvas is a shipping container about nine feet by 40 feet (roughly three by 12 metres).
“The point of containR is to connect communities with art,” Mion said.
“You can see performances, you can play music, you can see family theatre, you can see a whole series of murals. Like any park, you go to play, you go to connect in the way you feel comfortable.”
Another artist, 15-year-old Kate MacLean, was uncomfortable with some of what she sees as media representation of people of colour.
“The Black woman on the left depicts the sun. The Asian woman on the right depicts the moon,” MacLean explained.
In an eclipse, they are together. So that’s what MacLean has named her piece.
“I wanted the opportunity to paint people of different ethnicities. Different kinds of people are equally beautiful.”
Jaxson Naugler wanted to make a point about interconnectivity in his art.
“A human and a tree. The person’s face turns into a tree. That’s the most important connection,” the 17-year-old said.
“I also added some trippy, colourful stuff on the other side to show that, yes, these two things are connected, but also everything in the universe is connected.”
Naugler says it’s reaction to his work that he most enjoys.
“My favourite part is just hearing what people think it means,” he said.
“Everybody thinks it means something else. It could mean a thousand different things. People’s interpretation is my favourite part.”
The murals will be on display for a few more weeks.
Art meets recreation – Smithers Interior News
The Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre has been splashed with some colour.
The outside wall facing the highway is now home to a new mural done by Raven-Tacuara Professional Arts Collective. It is now halfway complete.
Raven-Tucuara is a First Nations art group based in northwest B.C. They say their name is humble nod to the Eagle-Condor prophecy of a united First Nations peoples across the Americas.
Facility Manager Tamara Gillis said this mural project has been in the works for a number of years now and they have been seeking grant funding to make it happen.
“This year we supported an application of the BV Community Arts Council to Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation grant program for this project,” she said. “We are very pleased that the grant funding was awarded.”
The art piece does have First Nations influence and Gillis said the artists ensured that protocols for image design were followed.
“Public art has many benefits and is an excellent way to bring joy and pride to the community,” Gillis added. “We are pleased that our building will be showcased with this large scale mural and enhance the highway corridor through the Town of Smithers. This mural will benefit both locals and those travelling though. This is especially true during this strange time of COVID-19.”
One of the five artists working on the mural is Facundo Gastiazoro. He’s an Argentinian born with a Wichi/Lebanese background. Wichi are First Nations peoples of South America. He currently lives in Smithers.
He said the inspiration for the piece came from children playing.
“Water and the joy when you dive in,” he said. “That moment of being in the air and being super happy, that is the inspiration. I remember being a kid and knowing that I’m going to splash everyone and it is fun and lovely and everything is OK and beautiful.”
Stephanie Anderson is also part of the collective working on the mural and is from the Laksilyu (small frog) Clan. Her family is from Witset and she currently lives in Terrace. Her artwork has won regional and national awards and has been shown across B.C. including at the Vancouver (YVR) airport.
She said there is something special about working close to home.
“I find Smithers to be an awesome, colourful, friendly community,” she added. “I like having my artwork closer to home and also I like putting up some work in Wet’suwet’en territory. I find the community work to be a big draw.”
The one wall is done and the team is waiting for the stucco on the wall facing the arena to be fixed before adding more artwork there.
“It is really awesome, I like how our design has come to life. It is vibrant and really fun,” Anderson said. “We tried a new technique and overlaid the design over the base colours and are happy with the results.”
The other two artists in the collective working on the mural are Amanda Dionne Hugon and Travis Hebert. The collective also hired a student, Robyn Lough, to join them on this project.
There is currently no completion date at this time as the collective is waiting for the repairs to be done on the wall and their canvas first.
Raven-Tacuara are also commissioned to do a mural honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on the sides of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre building later this summer (See article Page A12).
Group giving out food, essentials, art supplies to Sudbury's homeless community – CBC.ca
Once a week, on Tuesdays, Memorial Park in downtown Sudbury is briefly transformed.
A table set up by Myths and Mirrors Community Arts staff welcomes the city’s homeless community, offering a hot meal, and an assortment of items — from first aid kits and water bottles, to hand decorated journals, candles and art supplies.
“People deserve nice things, and that’s what we really believe in,” said Abbey Jackson, one of the organizers.
The weekly redistribution, as the group calls it, is a reinvention of a Myths and Mirrors program Jackson co-founded in 2019, called Sudbury Street Arts. It offered a drop-in space for people living in poverty, to warm up, use Wi-Fi, and have a hot meal — and make art together.
People who are living outside … [were] denied a dignified experience of the pandemic.— Abbey Jackson, Sudbury Street Arts co-founder
Like many programs, it was put on hold because of the pandemic.
“We were kind of battling with that because we felt like we had already made the commitment to this community,” said Cora-Rae Silk, the artistic director with Myths and Mirrors.
So last month, Silk and Jackson decided to continue the program, in a new setting, hoping to meet people’s immediate needs, as well offer small comforts and opportunity for creativity.
Pandemic amplified challenges
The need for programs like Sudbury Street Arts is greater than ever, Jackson says. She herself was previously homeless in Toronto, and knows first hand how difficult it is to get by day-to-day. She says those challenges have been amplified as many services were scaled back, or simply not available, during the pandemic.
“People who are living outside and living in extreme poverty were in a lot of ways denied a dignified experience of the pandemic,” Jackson said.
“People are put in this position where they have to grovel, they have to beg. It’s humiliating just to use a bathroom, find a place to stay and eat a meal.”
With Sudbury Street Arts, Jackson says there are “no expectations, no conditions.”
Adam McMillan has been homeless for eight months. He agrees the pandemic has presented extra challenges.
“When the rich people feel the pinch and the normal people are really struggling, the homeless people really take the brunt of it,” McMillan said.
‘Beautiful things can happen’
On Tuesday afternoon, McMillan grabbed lunch — a bowl of chili and a muffin — along with some other items to put in his backpack, including pencils and a small green notebook. He says he plans to draw, and write songs.
Organizers hope many, like McMillan, will find moments for creativity.
“We want people to not only be safe and be as comfortable as they can out here, we also want them to be able to do things that they enjoy,” Jackson said.
Jackson says she knows many talented artists within Sudbury’s homeless community, but she says the opportunity to put those talents to use if often out of reach, as people focus on the “full time job” of survival.
“We know that if we can provide the support and the means, even the materials to make art to people who can’t afford them, then some beautiful things can happen.”
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