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Expressing emotions through art – Vancouver Island University News

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Michaela Medina has always loved art.

However, it wasn’t until last year that she found her medium – ceramics. She was introduced to the “ancient simplicity” of the art form during a course with VIU Visual Art Professor Scott Leaf.

“Ceramics has, to a certain extent, allowed me to let go of my fear of failure and rigid perfectionism so I could truly explore and discover my artistic style,” she says.

The third-year student is completing a Bachelor of Education degree with a minor in history. She hopes to become a high school teacher and help young learners explore different concepts through art literacy. 

Michaela is one of three artists displaying their work during RockVIU’s interactive art exhibit. RockVIU is the University’s series of new student orientation events, taking place August 23 to September 3, 2021. The exhibit runs September 3 from 11 am to 5:30 pm at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre, Building 310. It features visual art displays and dance performances that reflect on what it means to “Matter Here” at VIU. 

We caught up with Michaela to learn about her art, inspiration and future aspirations.

What’s the story behind your creations and how do you feel you’ve expressed this?

I strive to express my message to students by using familiar imagery, which is intrinsic in nature, combining these with the application of light, in colours often associated with various emotions, on white ceramic. An ugly toad identifies the passing worries and anxieties that come with embarking on a new adventure. When I began university, I valued my independence and feigned confidence even though I felt overwhelmed about leaving my home and friends behind. The “frog-in-throat” feeling was soon replaced with excitement and hope. A small butterfly contains a light to spark hope and dispel thoughts and feelings that might hinder a student’s journey. This hope, brought on by breakthroughs in my relationship with God as my understanding of Him increased, was the anchor that motivated me to do well where I was regardless of my circumstances. A graceful bird represents the first healthy reflection a student might have after being welcomed to VIU, hopefully expressing a sense of peace and excitement. Feeling welcomed into my university community is what gave me the confidence I needed to explore and grow in my passions and chosen areas of study. Overall, my art reflects my journey as a first-year student that I hope others can identify with and learn from.

What reaction are you hoping to evoke from your audience when they see the exhibit?

Through my art, I hope to evoke a sense of assuredness that students have come to the right place as they insightfully reflect upon their transition from high school to VIU. This confidence will in turn allow them the freedom to explore and integrate with our community as they courageously take on the challenges of university and sculpt their personal and professional identities. My goal is to guide them through these emotions as they reflect on their lives and experiences with a focus on growth, to give them hope and inspiration to reach their full potential here.

What attracted you to your artistic medium? 

I had dabbled in clay throughout my education in art, but never understood many of the nuances involved in the molding, drying and firing processes until recently. The history, creation process and the wonderful ability for what I have made to be used in daily life have all contributed to this medium being one of my favourites.

What drew you to VIU and this program in particular?

I have always loved art and picked up on its technical skills fairly quickly and easily. My intention in VIU’s art program was to use the skills I had built up to expand creatively, something I had never felt free to do in high school. 

What are your future artistic aspirations? 

As my creative outlet, art has helped expand my ability to express concepts differently than in a strictly academic sense. Therefore, my goal is to become an art and history teacher to develop the artistic literacy of high school artists, inspiring them to be explorers, innovators and critical thinkers.

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New App Aims to Promote Province's Thriving Art Community – VOCM

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A new app aims to get people outside and appreciating art in public places all over the province.

The Explore Art NL app leads users to more than 100 existing works of art in communities from St. John’s to Makkovik, inviting people to spend more time in those locations, while possibly meeting others with mutual appreciation.

The works thus far include everything from sculptures to memorials and murals, but anyone can upload their own creations to the growing list.

Business and Arts NL executive director Amy Henderson says they modelled their app on a smaller version in Manitoba.

She says they were inspired by the app used by the Winnipeg Arts Council, but needed to expand it on a larger scale for the entire province.

Vanessa Iddon came up with the design for their so-called ‘Art Car’, a Genesis GV80 which will be touring the region to promote the new app.

The overall initiative is also supported by the federal government, City of St. John’s and Tract Consulting.

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Art Crawl bounces back for 2021 – Coast Reporter

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The 2021 Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, from Oct. 20 to 24, will feature more venues, more artists, and fewer pandemic-related changes than were in place in 2020, unless new health orders are issued before then by the provincial government.

“Because there are so many individual venues, there’s no way we can do any kind of [COVID-related] recommendations overall, other than that the venues follow the provincial guidelines,” Coast Cultural Alliance (CCA) board member and spokesperson Linda Williams told Coast Reporter.

In 2020, the Art Crawl dropped to 97 venues, down by nearly half from the record high of 186 locations in those heady pre-COVID days of October 2019.

This year, the number of venues has jumped back up, to 164, with more than 250 artists participating.

The 2020 version also tried to accommodate health concerns by offering vendors some options, as on online-only venue, or taking in visitors only by appointment. Those choices aren’t on the table for 2021, but the overarching guideline is still safety-first.

“We are following all the health regulations, period,” Williams said.

At press time, the only restriction on indoor events where participants are not seated is that masks be worn at all times by those over the age of 12. Requiring proof of vaccination is optional for venues where the number of visitors is kept under 50. Some smaller Art Crawl venues might ask for vaccination cards, but for now that’s at their discretion.

“We were just going to have to take responsibility as individuals, as artists and as visitors,” said Williams.

Sign-in sheets will be required for all venues, not for pandemic contact purposes, but in order that the CCA can collect a few statistics.

Art crawlers can also answer a quick online survey to be eligible for prizes of a two-night stay at Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina, or ferry travel vouchers. Winners will be named in a draw to be held on Oct. 31.

Williams noted there are 46 new venues this year. Also, there are more in the Pender Harbour area than ever – 15. And for some reason, there’s been a blossoming of new Art Crawl locations at the west end of Beach Avenue in Roberts Creek.

“There are eight of them that are on Beach Avenue close to Henderson (Road) this year,” she said. “And I think seven of them are new.”

The Art Crawl is also welcoming a new major sponsor this year, Longman Developments.

“They’ve come in because their core values are similar to ours, in community-building,” said Williams. Sunshine Coast Credit Union is also back as a major sponsor, Williams noted, as it has been since 2010.

Art Crawl does receive modest grant support from local governments but is not eligible for provincial or federal funding, so is otherwise dependent on local business sponsorships and $135 venue fees to make the event possible.

The Art Crawl generated close to $600,000 in sales and commissions in 2019.

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Art Beat: Coast artist heads to show in New York City – Coast Reporter

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Roberts Creek artist Kandice Keith is on the U.S. East Coast this week to show her nature-inspired paintings at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City, Thursday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Sept. 26. “It’s a really amazing opportunity,” Keith said in an interview. “I’m very fortunate.” Keith was set to go to the twice-yearly fair in March 2020, but the outbreak of COVID-19 put an end to that plan. “This is a make-up for that show,” Keith said. She’s also slated to return to the NYC fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion next March. You can see some of Keith’s vivid and luminous work currently on display at the Gumboot Café.

Oktoberfest

Anna Lumiere, Grant Olsen, and Coast String Fiddlers are among the performers featured at Oktoberfest, which has been on all week in downtown Sechelt until Friday, Sept. 24. A full rundown of acts and events can be found at secheltdowntown.com. Celebrations move to Rockwood Lodge on from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, where more live music is planned. Prizes for best lederhosen and beer stein.

Raincheck

FibreWorks Studio & Gallery in Madeira Park had planned an opening reception last Saturday for its new, juried exhibition, A Beautiful Mess: the joyful & random discovery of the artistic process. The reception has been rescheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 25, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Scent and Soul

You can meet Rohanna Goodwin Smith, author of Scent and Soul: The Extraordinary Power of the Sense of Smell, at One Flower One Leaf Gallery on Marine Drive in Gibsons, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Live Music

Peter Van plays a solo show on piano at the Clubhouse Restaurant in Pender Harbour on Friday Sept. 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. Then, for a $5 cover on Sunday, Sept. 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. you can hear the Steve Hinton Band.

The Howesounders host a Friday night jam session at Roberts Creek Legion on Sept. 24, starting at 7 p.m. Sign up at the door to book some solo- or group stage-time. On Saturday, Sept. 25, there’s a Jeevious/Jaggs Jambouree, where members of the Jeevious family and a few players from Vancouver’s Staggers and Jaggs will shake things up for a few hours, starting at 7 p.m. Jim Foster is at the Backeddy Resort and Marina in Egmont, weather permitting, on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Banditry Cider on Pratt Road in Gibsons is staging its first Apple Festival on Sunday Sept. 26, with a lot of family-friendly frivolity starting at 11 a.m. The band The Burying Ground plays from 4 to 6 p.m.

Let us know about your event by email at arts@coastreporter.net.

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