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"The Future of Things Passed" celebrates contemporary Armenian art – Armenian Weekly

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Collectors Preview of The Future of Things Passed (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

NEW YORK, NY—The future of the Armenian community was on display at the opening reception of “The Future of Things Passed” exhibition in Manhattan on May 19th.

The exhibition features celebrated women artists of Armenian descent Eozen Agopian, Melissa Dadourian, Linda Ganjian and Judith Simonian. It is the first developed by the Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice, co-founded by Christopher Atamian and Tamar Hovsepian. Part of the proceeds from art sales at the exhibition will be donated to the New York Armenian Students’ Association Scholarship Fund.

Eozen Agopian, Christopher Atamian, Judith Simonian and Tamar Hovsepian (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

Atamian and Hovsepian launched the practice to promote representation of contemporary artists from marginalized backgrounds.

“We identified that we want to show marginalized groups—Armenian, women, LGBTQ+, people of color,” Hovsepian told the Armenian Weekly.

Hovsepian has previously worked with all of the artists featured in “The Future of Things Passed” in former galleries she has curated. She laments that while artists like Simonian, who gained renown within the downtown Los Angeles art scene of the 1980s, are internationally acclaimed, they are not as well known among Armenians. Through her joint curatorship with Atamian, she hopes to educate and cultivate a new generation of Armenian art collectors. 

“Larry Gagosian is one of the wealthiest, most famous art dealers, and he doesn’t have a single Armenian artist that he represents,” she offered as an example of the absence of support for contemporary Armenian art. “Why is there not a single art gallery in Chelsea that shows Armenian artists?”

Contemporary Armenian artists lack visibility both within the Armenian community and the broader contemporary art world, according to Hovsepian. She recalled the “Armenia!” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which displayed the artistic achievements of Armenian people up until the 17th century. 

“You can’t title an exhibition ‘Armenia!’ and stop and then not talk about what’s happening now. Where is the contemporary Armenian art?” Hovsepian asked. “Outside of Arshile Gorky, who do we have at the Museum of Modern Art?”

“The Future of Things Passed” explores how art can “deconstruct and uncover elements of the past through sense memory and found objects, while making lasting statements through these interpretations,” as stated in an essay presented to visitors at the gallery door. The orientation of the gallery toward the future is inspired by Armenian Futurism, defined by Sylvia Alajaji as “a realm in which re-imaginings and re-claimings of queer and otherwise marginalized Armenian pasts give way to futures of possibility and wonder.”

Atamian says that Armenian Futurism, theorized by artists like Kamee Abrahamian, Mashinka Firunts Hakopian and Hrag Vartanian, can inspire creativity and visionary thinking beyond pain and hardship. 

“How do we create an inclusive vibrant forward-thinking Armenian community that thinks about its future and being progressive and being at the cutting edge?” Atamian posed. 

Atamian, a celebrated writer, editor and translator, noted how the artwork on display repurposes memories and found objects from the past. For instance, Ganjian’s series “Map of Her Prayers, No. 1-6,” incorporates inscriptions from a prayer book her grandmother carried with her through Der Zor during the Armenian Genocide. 

Map of Her Prayers #5 by Linda Ganjian (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

“How do you take something from the past and make something beautiful that’s forward thinking and that people want to collect?” Atamian said of the impact of Ganjian’s artwork.

Atamian believes that Armenians should support contemporary Armenian artwork, not only because it is beautiful, but also because it can promote Armenian political causes, such as Armenian Genocide recognition and the peaceful resolution of the Artsakh conflict, by generating an emotional investment in these issues. 

“People need to know who Armenians are,” Atamian said. “Americans and people in Europe don’t have a gut reaction to it, because they don’t know about it. If you have a piece of art or a book that is Armenian, you have an emotional connection rather than just a policy paper.”

K Sherbetdjian attended the opening reception and was struck by the emotional intensity of Ganjian’s artwork. 

“I’m looking at each individual component, and I’m wondering what the story is behind it and what the significance is for the artist, and then also what the significance is for me. The text that’s incorporated is in Armenian. I don’t speak Armenian. I just wonder what the passages are. It looks like there’s doorbells. I’m wondering if that is a signal to God or a signal for help. I like pieces where there’s a lot to think about,” Sherbetdjian reflected on “Map of Her Prayers.” 

As an artist, Caroline Gates recognized her own art studio within Studio Ballou, a painting of an art studio by Simonian. Gates wandered into “The Future of Things Passed” after a painting by Simonian near the door caught her eye. 

“Even in the abstraction you can hold onto something concrete. It does a really good job of taking us back through spaces that are familiar, but we could see it through every lens of the different times that we were there,” Gates said while studying Studio Ballou. “I feel very placed. I could stare at this forever.”

Studio Ballou by Judith Simonian (Photo: Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice Facebook page)

Atamian and Hovsepian plan to continue curating exhibitions to place artwork by artists from marginalized backgrounds within institutions like museums and galleries. They hope Armenians will support their fellow artists by collecting contemporary art. 

“This is as beautiful as the art you find in any museum and community, so why not represent it?” Atamian posed. 

“The Future of Things Passed” will be on display until May 29, 2022 from 11 A.M.-7 P.M. on the ground floor of 138 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian’s first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.

Lillian Avedian

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Celebration Marks 2022 Windsor Mayor's Arts Awards and Windsor Endowment for the Arts Awards & Grants – City Of Windsor

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$31,500 in Funding and 8 Awards of Merit Bestowed

The City of Windsor and the Windsor Endowment for the Arts (WEA) celebrated over twenty artists, arts organizations and supporters with an in-person ceremony honouring the 2022 recipients of the Windsor Mayor’s Arts Awards (WMAAs) and the WEAs awards and grants last Friday.

Mayor Drew Dilkens and WEA President Stephanie Barnhard co-hosted the celebration on an outdoor stage in the Vision Corridor, alongside the Chimczuk Museum and Art Windsor-Essex, with the Detroit River as a backdrop. Building on the format of 2020’s virtual celebration, each award recipient, and all presenters, had an opportunity to discuss their careers and successes, the projects that brought them this recognition, and upcoming initiatives. The full list of 2022 recipients is included with this release.

Another first for the event was the inclusion of a special In Memoriam presentation honouring some of those members of the arts community who passed away over the last two years and acknowledging the role the arts play in helping us process grief. Christopher Lawrence Menard read from his new poetry collection, at the end, beginnings: A Memoir in Poems, before Amy Ley, principal harpist of Windsor Symphony Orchestra, performed Jean-Michel Damase’s ‘Adagietto’ to accompany the reading of the names. The full list of names is included with this release.

The evening also included musical performances from Florine Ndimubandi, and Kathleen Hughes. The following artists and arts organizations, and past WEA recipients, attended as presenters: Artcite Inc., Literary Arts Windsor, Windsor Symphony Orchestra, ACT Arts Collective Theatre, Art Windsor-Essex, Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF), University of Windsor Alumni Association, Gertrude’s Writing Room, Windsor Dance eXperience, Show Studios, Katherine Roth, Nuha Elalem, Emmanuelle Richez, Arts Society of Kingsville, Kingsville Music Society, Arts Council Windsor & Region, and Abridged Opera Co.

Quotes:

“Congratulations to all of the recipients and nominees for the 2022 Windsor Mayor’s Arts Awards and the WEAs Awards and Grants. It was great to spend an evening honouring and supporting the artists, arts organizations, volunteers and teams of people working every day as part of the creative community across Windsor and Essex County. The arts make our community come alive. They also helped us stay connected through some extraordinarily difficult days these last two years. I was proud to share the stage with WEA, and to represent a city that proudly invests in the arts while understanding how vital they are to our quality of life, and to developing and strengthening our community.”
– Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens

“As the organizer of this year’s WEAs and WMAA’s Celebration, my intention behind every planning decision was to create opportunities for my fellow artists and arts leaders to be seen and heard after two years of being silenced. Those fortunate enough to be gathered last Friday around the Vision Corridor stage witnessed the triumphant return of Windsor-Essex’s arts community and were introduced to the new faces and voices of those who must carry the torch forward in a new post-pandemic world. It is an honour for WEA to use our awards and grants program to promote and support our region’s creatives as they work to revitalize arts and cultural experiences for the benefit of all in our community. We heartily congratulate each of this year’s awards and grants recipients.”
– Stephanie Barnhard, WEA President

2022 Windsor Mayor’s Arts Awards Recipients

Individual Artist ($1,000) – Kaitlyn Karns; www.acwr.net, www.fordcity.ca. The award for Individual Artist is presented to an artist engaged in a broad spectrum of activities having to do with creating, practicing or demonstrating art in the City of Windsor. Karns’ most notable and recent contributions to the arts community have been through her work as Administrative and Outreach Coordinator for the Arts Council Windsor & Region… and as Executive Director of the Ford City BIA. Through these roles, she makes every effort to put the artist first by creating comprehensive resources including grant documents. She organizes free information sessions and one-on-one grant consultations to help artists succeed, and has also served as an ACHF juror for the City. As an artist, Kaitlyn’s group, The Broadway Bunch provides professional work for Windsor-based musicians and singers, while supporting local venues. To date, the group has employed 30 performers and musicians. Before shifting her focus to arts administration work, Kaitlyn could be seen in theatrical productions across the region. She has refocused and redefined her work to help enhance the local arts community for all artists of all disciplines.

Arts Organization ($1,000) – Waawiiyaatanong Feminist Theatre (WFT)www.windsorfeministtheatre.ca. The award for Arts Organization is presented to a group that demonstrates a clear commitment to creating, practicing and demonstrating art within the community. Waawiiyaatanong Feminist Theatre (formerly Windsor Feminist Theatre) has written, created, developed, produced, and presented hundreds of socially relevant and ground-breaking productions for thousands of audience members since 1980. WFT focuses on inclusion and reconciliation, invites community participation, and employs professional artists through workshops, master classes, residencies, and original productions. They have received many awards and grants from many reputable funding bodies. The testimonials in support of their nomination included representatives from the arts, education and small business sectors, the political realm, and those in tourism and hospitality. They are endorsed by actors, writers, musicians, singers, dancers, entrepreneurs, educators, lawyers and more.

Arts Volunteer ($500) – Pam Rodzikwww.agw.ca. The award for Arts Volunteer is presented to an individual that supports the arts by providing their own time and services without receiving payment for their work or asking anything in return. Rodzik’s nominators called her a “volunteer, community catalyst, and fundraising superstar.” Her selfless dedication to the Art Gallery of Windsor – now Art Windsor-Essex – has spanned decades. Since 2002, she’s led most fundraising events and initiatives. She served as founder and chair of the signature Artrageous Gala, has raised millions in support of the gallery, and made significant donations of her own. She provides over 100 hours of volunteer service to the gallery each year, and was instrumental to the recent Strategic Plan. Pam believes that art is critical to the quality of life in our community, and that culture enhances well-being.

2022 WEA Arts Leadership Award Recipients

Community Arts Leadership Award – Dr. Clara Howitt, Superintendent of Education, Greater Essex County District School Board.

Literary Arts Leadership Award – Sarah Jarvis, President of Literary Arts Windsor, Organizer of BookFest Windsor, podcaster on All Write in Sin City.

Performing Arts Leadership in Music Award – Phog Lounge, Bar and Live Music Venue owned by Tom Lucier.

Performing Arts Leadership in Theatre Award – Michael K. Potter, Managing Director, Post Productions, and Co-Owner of The Shadowbox Theatre.

Visual Arts Leadership Award – Carl Lavoy, Retired director & curator of the Thames Art Gallery, educator, and mentor.

2022 WEA Emerging Artist Grant Recipients

Emerging Artist in Film Arts Grant ($3,000) – Michael J. Krym – writer, playwright, producer, and film director. This grant will help cover the production and talent costs for his film The Thousand Colours of the Morning written by Barry T. Brodie and featuring an all-Windsor-based production team, cast, and crew. This grant is sponsored by the University of Windsor Alumni Association.

Emerging Artist in Literary Arts Grant ($3,000) – Jade Wallace – writer, editor, and co-founder of the collaborative writing entity MA|DE. This grant will help complete the drafting and editing of Wallace’s solo sophomore, book-length poetry manuscript The Work is Done When We Are Dead.

Emerging Artist in Performing Arts Grant ($3,000) – Austin Di Pietro – musician, composer, and researcher. The grant will aid his research and study on transborder, transnational and border issues, and support the development of original compositions of the same theme in the contemporary jazz style. He plans to release a full-length album titled BORDERS.

Lois Smedick Emerging Artist in Visual Arts Grant ($3,000) – Tina Rouhandeh – calligrapher and textile artist. The grant will help her complete her project Inquiry about Forgotten Birds. The outcome of three years of experiments with fabric and hand stitches, calligraphy, and hand weaving to connect a traditional art form to contemporary art that tells the story of the persecuted people in her homeland Iran. This grant is sponsored by Katherine Roth.

2022 WEA Arts Infrastructure Grant Recipients 

Carolyne Rourke Visual Arts Infrastructure Grant ($3,000) – Paul and Katie-Jane Murray. The grant will help to pay a fair wage to the local performers and stagehands at their first annual Music ‘n Arts AID Live! The Ultimate BEATLES Tribute. This multi-disciplinary arts event will showcase the talent of visual artist Paul Murray and Canada’s most awarded musicians and singers with a BEATLES tribute all night long. 100% of the ticket and art sales will go to support musicians and visual artists in Windsor-Essex.

The Performing Arts Infrastructure Grant ($3,000) – 4th Wall Music. The grant will help cover the costs of artist fees for the program It’s You I Like – The Music of Mr. Rogers celebrating the music of the late Fred Rogers. This family-focused program will feature guest host Kate Reynolds, the “Lavender Librarian,” who will explore Mr. Roger’s contributions to music, education, inclusivity, and autism awareness. They hope to make a recording to release as a children’s album. The 4th Wall musicians will be joined on stage by the Clifford/Andrews Studio children’s choir and students from WCCA Scenic Design class will be tasked with the set design.

The Community Arts Infrastructure Grant ($3,000) – Leamington Arts Centre (LAC). The grant will help fund the Bright Spots community arts project that will feature works of art from the LAC Collection, and the Municipality of Leamington’s Henry Collection. Selected artwork will be digitally reproduced and printed on outdoor displays in six public locations around Leamington.

The Literary Arts Infrastructure Grant ($3,000) – Vanguard Youth Arts Collective. The grant will cover the printing expenses of Vanguard’s Spot On! Magazine, a new artist interview series that offers a spotlight for emerging and established local artists who work in various media to discuss and promote their past and current art projects. The magazine will launch in the fall of 2022.

The Elizabeth Havelock Grant in the Arts ($2,000) – Dr. Russ Macklem – jazz trumpet player, composer and educator, and member of the Windsor Federation of Musicians, Local 566. The grant will help pay a fair wage for all the performers at his UNITED concert series that will be performed monthly at Meteor Lounge in downtown Windsor and feature world-class jazz musicians from Windsor and Detroit.

2022 WEA Youth Grant Recipients

Eric Jackman Youth Grant in the Arts ($1,000) – Raida Farzat. Raida will be graduating from Riverside Secondary School this June. She is a visual artist born in the city of Homs, Syria. She will receive this grant after completing a summer internship at a local arts organization. She is currently a member of Windsor’s Teen Arts Council at Arts Windsor-Essex.

Morris & Beverly Baker Foundation Youth Grant ($2,000) – Kasey Scoboria. Kasey will be graduating from Walkerville Collegiate Institute this June. She is a violinist with the Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestra. She will use the grant funds to pursue the study of music at the University of Toronto. Her long-term goals focus on securing a chair in a well-respected orchestra and teaching music to youth.

2020-2022 In Memoriam

  • Elizabeth Ann Stefani – painter

  • Daniel Boles – sculptor and professor at University of Windsor

  • Paulette DeAngelis – potter

  • Dawn Duncan – painter.

  • Robert Ferraro – painter and professor at University of Windsor.

  • Jason Gale – playwright and actor.

  • Vicky Giroux – visual artist, member of the Walkerville Artists’ Co-Op.

  • Evelyn Grey McLean – glass mosaic artist, lecturer and Dean of Women University of Windsor, the first Heritage Planner for the City of Windsor; a founder of The Friends of the Court (Mackenzie Hall), and a founder of Les Amis Duff-Bâby; Champion of Windsor’s built heritage, and the author of several papers and booklets about Windsor’s oldest heritage buildings.

  • Mina Grossman-Ianni – former CBC and Radio-Canada broadcast journalist and director, former Executive Director of Windsor Symphony Orchestra; 2005 Windsor Woman of the Year; Advisory Board member of 4th Wall Music; mentor; and patron of the arts.

  • John Haynes – visual artist, retired art teacher, long time member, supporter and volunteer at Leamington Arts Centre.

  • Dick Langs – volunteer at The Capitol Theatre, literary arts supporter.

  • Bob Makaskell – visual artist, art historian, and professor at University of Windsor.

  • Dorothy Kathleen McClellan – musician and arts volunteer.

  • Karen Mertsky – visual artist and fabric artist.

  • Rosalie Trombley – music director of “The Big 8” CKLW, and famously known as ‘the Girl with the Golden Ear’.

  • Helen Turner Brown – painter, muralist, founding member of the Artists of Colour, and the first secretary on the board of the North American Black Historical Museum (now the Amherstburg Freedom Museum).

  • Charlotte Watkins – performing artist and music educator.

  • Betty Wilkinson – Registrar at the Art Gallery of Windsor.

Please visit www.wea-arts.com and www.CityWindsor.ca for the latest information on these biennial awards and grants, and other arts, culture and heritage programming and initiatives.

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Art pieces stolen from Campbell River charity – Campbell River Mirror

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Two pieces of art were taken from a Campbell River charity over the Victoria Day long weekend, and the Campbell River RCMP is looking for the public’s health to get them back.

A drum hand-painted by Greg Henderson was stolen, as was a framed print of a family of grizzly bears painted by Brent J. Smith.

At this point in time, said Const. Maury Tyre, we’re hoping that the thieves can redirect their moral compass, as the charity is really just trying to get its art back. The art can be returned no questions asked at this time, but if it comes down to the police completing the investigation and finding someone in possession of the missing pieces of art, charges could end up being sought for possession of property obtained by crime.

The art pieces can be returned to the Campbell River RCMP at their office at 275 S Dogwood Street, Campbell River.

If you have any information regarding the theft of the art pieces or their possible location, please contact the Campbell River RCMP at 250-286-6221.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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