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From art supplies to diapering, daycares took time over the details in planning to reopen –



Before the YMCA  reopened some of its Edmonton daycares this week, young clipboard-toting patrons were taken on facility tours so they could carefully note the things that had changed in their three months away.

Like the face masks that would be worn when grown-ups changed diapers or helped kids with their sunscreen. And the markings on benches and tables showing where kids could sit or play. Even individualized art bags, containing scissors and crayons that kids couldn’t share with any of their friends.

“I think we’ve done a lot of work to make sure that we’re in a good place,” said Annalise Yuzda, vice-president in charge of child care for the YMCA of Northern Alberta.

And by all accounts, Monday’s reopening of six of the 36 daycare centres operated by the YMCA in Edmonton was a resounding success, she told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM on Tuesday.

“We had parents commenting that their kids were up at two o’clock in the morning because they were so excited to come back,” she said.

Alberta allowed daycares to reopen, with restrictions, on May 14. But the YMCA was among the operators that opted to hold off and take time to build a strong plan to keep staff, children and families safe, said Yuzda.

“We wanted to make sure that we do everything to mitigate the risk of COVID-19,” she said. “So we took our time and we did our due diligence — consulted with centres that had already reopened, other YMCAs across the country who never closed, with health, with child-care licensing. We felt we were ready.”

Daycare demand grows with relaunch

Toys that couldn’t be cleaned were removed. Ditto for carpets. Parents drop off their children to staff at the front door, rather than come into the facility, she said.

In addition to developing safety and operational plans, the YMCA took time to introduce parents and children to the new operations, a process Yuzda said was similar to orientation for new families.

They’re also bringing staff in from other sites, to orient them to new protocols and routines, she said.

Reopening anxiety was present among both staff and parents, but the tours, training and protocols have helped reduce that, she said.

Back in May, when daycares were first given the green light to reopen, there wasn’t a huge demand for services, Yuzda said. But as Alberta continues the gradual reopening of the economy, demand is increasing as well.

She hopes that the extended closure of many daycares won’t become permanent.

“I think it might,” she said. “It was a huge financial impact for a lot of centres not operating for three months — or more, if they’re not open yet. I believe there’ll be some centres that just won’t make it. Just like other businesses.”

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Preserving The Future: Art And Artistry Of Sergey Konstantinov – Forbes



What is essential? The coronavirus-related lockdowns forced everyone to reconsider priorities and look within. Amid the uncertainty, the primary role of culture has proved to be the maintenance of social cohesion and individual well-being. While some critics lamented loss of access to cultural institutions and public events, others focused on renewed appreciation for the arts online. What would quarantine be like without television, literature, music, or other art forms? The options are too dire to consider! Creative communities in Germany demanded emergency relief funding and the artists in Spain went on digital strike. Yet, a survey in Singapore found that 71% of respondents considered “artist” the most non-essential occupation during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Getty Museum Challenge went viral with people recreating famous artworks in fun ways. This highlighted new opportunities for engagement with cultural heritage. Recently another Baroque masterpiece got destroyed during a botched restoration effort and people have called for renewal of our collective vows to protect the art for future generations. This is a moment to reflect on the push and pull between tech-driven art consumption and interest in art preservation. How do we balance our evolutionary desire for the new with the need for the security of the familiar? I sat down with Sergey Konstantinov, a Ukrainian-American artist based in San Francisco. He is an expert in restoration and conservation of paintings, murals and decorative arts; and a painter and sculptor with many original exhibited works. A unique perspective for the unprecedented times in the arts. 

How do you see the art world changing during and after the pandemic?

That is quite a philosophical question. Why?! Do you think it would change the human being? I consider this an interesting time to be alive. The difference between now and then is actually about having more time to look deeper. A wall or canvas are both just surfaces. What is important is your message and energy, the purpose of a coming piece. For artists, I believe you are ahead as long as you are honing your skills. Once you’ve decided to move no further, only then you lose. 

What do you make of the recent tidal wave of art appreciation online?

These viral campaigns are a successful way to elevate art education. It is no easy task to connect with the work of art, to capture its essence, to express it in your own way. The Dutch museums did their “challenge”, the Russians too. All countries have unique cultural heritage worth preserving. The process of the creative search itself is meaningful. In this case it does not matter if it is on canvas or on TikTok. 

How has your creative path prepared you for these turbulent times?

I lived through the end of the Soviet Union. That was turbulent, too. I am from Ukraine, a small warm-memories town called Zhmerinka. It made my cultural DNA: friends, school, sports, the very beginning of my interest in art. Exploring Ukrainian folk art helped me to understand the true wealth of a nation. After studies, I moved to Baku but in the 1990’s there was armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. I had to ask for refugee status in America. Now, for almost 30 years, my family, studio, and the work of my life is here. My life is a creative process itself. It is where I get my inspiration, awareness of good or bad, too much or too little, alive or dead. When you go through such moments in history, you learn to never take anything for granted. 

What’s your first art memory and how did it impact you?

Well, there was not one thing. Maybe the beautiful icons at my grandmother’s house. They were illegal back then. The art class in my hometown where I tried to copy some famous artists. The first time I heard Swan Lake by Peter Tchaikovsky. I also cannot deny the impact of nature we are surrounded by. It has inimitable shades, color contrasts, mysteries of the universe. We breathe it all in deeply trying to find answers. I have always been confident of my own path.

What is the difference between conservation and restoration?

“First, do no harm” is a great principle in medicine and restoration of cultural heritage. I have been restoring art for a long time. I studied art history and art technologies from different eras. When it comes to restoration you need to fully understand the creators, their state of mind and intentions. The collectors like to say art is forever, we are just art’s temporary guardians. Conservation is also a technical challenge with its own long difficult history. Certain chemical solutions that were used in the past are banned now. 

What inspired you to pursue original works?

You cannot force yourself into art, it begins within you. I leave a piece of myself on the canvas which is the only way to work. In life we are searching for explanations, finding nuances, changing our perspectives. That is the source of creation. There are no failures in the artistic path. Even an unsatisfactory result is your experience. I could not help the overwhelming desire in such moments. It was a painting giving me the reason to create and not vice versa.

Any advice for emerging artists trying to succeed within or outside the gallery system?

In my last year at the Lviv Academy of Art a professor told me: “Move to your own purpose, the money comes anyway.” If you want to be someone, just start now. Otherwise, you will have no time to make it right.

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Eastward, Ho! Even Art Is Leaving for the Hamptons – The New York Times



EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — The art collectors were finally coming out of hiding here recently, albeit quietly and tentatively. The artists were, too.

The lure? All of a sudden, they have a lot more gallery options lining the immaculate streets of this famously upscale summer town, a seemingly unexpected development in the middle of a pandemic.

Since the beginning of June, five major art galleries have opened here: Pace, Skarstedt, Van de Weghe, Michael Werner and Sotheby’s, all arms of New York art powerhouses.

And more are on the way soon, in Montauk (Amalia Dayan and Adam Lindemann’s new venture, South Etna Montauk) and Southampton (Hauser & Wirth).

“Selfishly, I’m totally into it,” the artist Rashid Johnson, a Bridgehampton resident, said of the new spaces. “I miss seeing good art.” Mr. Johnson, like every civic-minded person I met, was wearing a mask.

New York’s top dealers, artists and collectors have long vacationed here. But now that they have been living here during the pandemic, some gallerists are for the first time seeing the Hamptons as “something more than a playground,” the artist Clifford Ross, a longtime area denizen, said.

I drove out for the day to check out the newly burgeoning scene. When I stopped by Rental Gallery, on Newtown Lane, which has been open for three years, I ran into Mr. Johnson, a close friend of Rental’s owner, Joel Mesler, his neighbor in Bridgehampton. In the front of the gallery, part of a July group show called “Friend of Ours,” hangs an untitled, blood-red drawing of Mr. Johnson’s born of pandemic anxiety.

Credit…The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Eric Fischl/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Mr. Johnson wasn’t thrilled with the framing (too thick, he said), and as we were talking, he was recognized by two collectors, Erica Seidel and Tom Deighton, who are engaged.

“We own one of your pieces,” Mr. Deighton, a real estate developer, said to Mr. Johnson, referring to a mixed media work.

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Mr. Deighton seemed energized to run into an artist whose work he collects. “A big part of what we do is not investing in art, but getting to know the artists and riding the wave with them,” he said. A wave seemed like a good seaside metaphor for the sudden cresting of galleries here.

Mr. Deighton and Ms. Seidel had just been to Pace’s new branch, which had opened that very day, to see the current show, of works by Yoshitomo Nara, another artist they admire.

To them, more gallery options were an unalloyed good, though Mr. Deighton added that he hoped they would give a spotlight to emerging artists and not just famous names.

Traffic was getting bad as the Fourth of July approached, but I braved Montauk Highway to visit veteran collector Leonard Riggio, the founder of Barnes & Noble, who keeps a museum-worthy trove of outdoor sculptures at his estate, starting with a massive Richard Serra work on his front lawn.

Given that outdoor chats are preferred these days, we went out to his back patio and sat under an umbrella as it started to drizzle. He noted that though his collecting has slowed a bit, he was still buying, and he had unsuccessfully bid on a Donald Judd work the week before in a Sotheby’s sale.

“You could say they’re following one another,” said Mr. Riggio of the eastward gallery movement. “But perhaps better to say they have common wisdom.”

The development is a “big benefit” for him and his fellow collectors, said Mr. Riggio, a longtime friend and client of the Glimcher family, the owners of Pace. (He said he planned to check out the new branch soon.)

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

I stopped by Pace — where only 10 people are allowed in the gallery at a time and masks are required — to talk to Marc Glimcher, who was seated in the V.I.P. area at the back of his new space, which used to be Vered Gallery. Behind him was an Agnes Martin painting, and in front of him was a glowing James Turrell work. There was a small Alexander Calder sculpture in a crate, too.

Mr. Glimcher had Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in March and has since recovered. “This gallery came out of our being sick,” Mr. Glimcher said, noting that his wife, Fairfax Dorn, who also had Covid-19, told him, “When we get better, we should open out here.” East Hampton is now the seventh city in which Pace has a branch.

Online exhibitions don’t quite cut it, Mr. Glimcher said, and being surrounded by affluent collectors in the Hamptons is helpful for a gallery in that it nurtures relationships.

“Our fuel comes from people being in front of art,” he said.

Mr. Glimcher’s father, the Pace founder Arne Glimcher, has been coming to the area since the 1970s. “The big change is that the spaces out here weren’t run by the big New York galleries,” he said. “It was more local.” And that closer-to-home focus included the artists that were shown. He added: “Coming to East Hampton was not about doing business. It was to get away from the gallery. It’s ironic that we have a gallery now.”

He chuckled, adding, “But the collectors are here, and the work has to be seen.’

Another veteran, Helen A. Harrison, the director of Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center here, said the international vibe of the new entries was “unusual” for the area; the only comparison she could think of was before her time, the legendary 1957-60 Signa Gallery, a pioneering showcase for modern art, founded by the collector and artist Alfonso Ossorio with John Little and Elizabeth Parker, two other artists who had settled in East Hampton. It featured Abstract Expressionist masters like Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock but faded with the coming of Pop Art.

And incursions from Manhattan have not always gelled. Ms. Harrison recalled that in 1981, a high-profile collaboration from dealers Leo Castelli, Marian Goodman and Holly Solomon was launched in East Hampton to great fanfare.

“It failed,” Ms. Harrison said. “People didn’t open their wallets. They were showing the same people as in Manhattan, but people went back there to do the buying.”

Credit…via South Etna Montauk

Failure is relative, of course — at the high-flying level of Castelli, the Glimchers and others, an extra gallery can be a pleasant experiment that doesn’t make or break their business.

Pace’s lease is only until October, but other dealers in the new crowd have been more ready to commit for the long haul.

Both Christophe Van de Weghe and Per Skarstedt — whose galleries, along with a Sotheby’s space offering art, jewelry and watches, are all lined up near each other along Newtown Lane — have signed three-year leases.

Mr. Skarstedt, who has been living nearby for four months, said opening a branch was “definitely a pandemic decision.”

He added: “A lot of our clients moved out here too. And most people will stay till Labor Day or longer.”

I checked out the blue-chip art he had on display, which now includes a Willem de Kooning painting and works by Eric Fischl, Jeff Koons, Sue Williams and Christopher Wool.

Mr. Skarstedt noted that locals were just becoming aware of the gallery’s presence. “We’re averaging 20 people a day, more on the weekend,” he said.

He said the visitors had mostly complied with pandemic safety, too, with a notable exception. “Only one guy came in without a mask,” Mr. Skarstedt said. “And he was 85.”

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

None of the dealers seemed fazed by a lack of crowds.

Eric Firestone — who has had a prime corner location in East Hampton for 10 years — said: “If it’s a great beach day, people aren’t coming in. And the newcomers will figure that out.”

Mr. Firestone also has gallery in Manhattan, and said he specializes in “postwar American artists, with strong emphasis on people who were missed or slighted, like Joe Overstreet and Mimi Gross.” He currently is showing work in East Hampton by the African-American painter Varnett Patricia Honeywood (1950-2010), whose works celebrating Black life were included in the set decoration for “The Cosby Show.”

What of the new competition for collector eyes and pocketbooks? Mr. Mesler of Rental Gallery said he welcomed the big gallery branches, given that all the dealers have different specialties. “The water’s warm,” he said, by way of invitation, adding, “I’m shocked it took a pandemic to get them to do this.”

Restlessness was the driver for Gordon VeneKlasen, the co-owner of Michael Werner Gallery, who has a house in Springs.

Credit…Francis Picabia/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; via Michael Werner Gallery, New York

“I can’t take it anymore,” Mr. VeneKlasen said. “I need to see art. There was a space available and I said, ‘Great’ and I got the key.” The first show, “Sigmar Polke, Francis Picabia and Friends,” opened on Friday.

When I drove to Southampton to see Hauser & Wirth’s new space, slated to open at the end of July, I was met by Marc Payot, the gallery’s president. At two floors and 5,000 square feet, it’s among the largest of the new galleries.

“This was a no-brainer,” Mr. Payot said of the gallery’s yearlong lease, in a space sandwiched between home décor and cheese shops.

Mr. Payot, who has a home locally, was thinking about what to hang in the front window, and he was considering an LED piece. “I’m thinking of hanging a Jenny Holzer so you can see it at night,” he said.

Given the spate of galleries arriving, it could serve as an “open for business” sign for the Hamptons at large.

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Langley artist Lalita Hamill launches new website to showcase art and share instructional videos – Aldergrove Star



Lalita Hamill’s childhood exposure to visual art was limited. That was until a massive snowstorm left her unexpectedly stranded at her friend’s house for three days.

Until then, Hamill’s background was mainly music, academics, and competitive swimming – plus a degree in Philosophy earned at the University of Victoria.

“Though I was taught the skills needed to appreciate music and writing, I did not learn those same skills for visual art,” Hamill explained. “My parents would drag my sister and me to galleries when we travelled, but visual art didn’t really become part of my life until I was 24.”

With nothing to do during the snowstorm, Hamill pulled a book of black and white photos off of her shelf and drew for hours.

“I thought ‘that was fun, why haven’t I done this before’?”

Hamill began taking drawing lessons, eventually moving to Walnut Grove in in 2002.

A car accident in 2005 left her husband unable to work for four years, forcing her to become the sole breadwinner of the family.

“Within a year of the car accident, I realized that if I didn’t give my art and teaching a real shot, I would likely regret it. In short, I couldn’t not do it… I was compelled,” Hamill said. “Had the accident not happened, I doubt I would be a professional artist today.”

After taking on any art-related job she could get hands on in Langley-area and beyond, Hamill eventually facilitated art critiques for artists while teaching, painting, and exhibiting her work – all while raising three children.

Now, she has launched a new website to showcase current projects, provide insight into the artistic process, and showcase videos that will provide tips for art buyers, sellers, and artists of different stages.

“Many will be free, some art instruction videos will be for sale,” she said.

Having cultivated a broader and deeper understanding of art from the perspective of an artist, Hamill said her perspective and presentation differs from the standard approach.

“Art appreciation involves a balance between trusting our subjective, personal opinion, with an enhanced ability to identify quality work,” she said.

READ MORE: Fort Langley Artists Group showcases art virtually to help hospice

Anyone can join in for a Zoom session on July 18, which will act as a free art assessment and critique at 10 a.m.

Spots are limited to 15 for artists submitting work and 10 for art appreciators from the general public.

“At the start I will provide a painting – historical, my own, or a students – to demonstrate the assessment process,” Hamill said.

The session will be recorded and portions will be posted on YouTube as examples for others to see. Those participants who do not wish their face to be seen can turn off their video.

Artists will be given information about how to send Hamill two images 72 hours in advance.

Registrations close 48 hours ahead.

“I hope people will come away from my videos and projects feeling inspired to learn more about visual art,” Hamill noted. “I want to help people become comfortable, capable, and empowered to speak about visual art, to choose artwork to purchase, to paint quality work, and to appreciate art for ourselves.”

Hamill advised followers to keep an eye out for new classes, videos, and projects in the coming weeks.

People can visit to find out more.


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