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From cod to contemporary art: How the Bonavista Peninsula is finding a future – CBC.ca

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Project Bonavista: The post-cod culture boom on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula

8 hours ago

Duration 26:46

A rural part of Newfoundland has found a way forward after the cod fishery. But as contemporary art brings in tourists and business, it also questions uncomfortable aspects of the past.

Thirty years ago, cod was king in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Bonavista Peninsula was no exception.

But in the wake of the cod moratorium in 1992, the rural communities began a years-long shift to find a way forward without the fishery. Over the years, the peninsula has managed to pivot and build up its arts, culture and history — bringing in new life, new ideas and crowds of tourists.

In a far cry from fishing culture, contemporary art has found a home on the Bonavista Peninsula, with the Bonavista Biennale leading the way. The biennale installs dozens of artworks every other summer, free for public viewing, bringing in award-winning artists from across Canada and around the world.

“People think it’s one of probably the premier festivals in the country now, just because how novel it is, its approach to community interaction and the buy-in from community,” said Gerald Beaulieu, an artist from Prince Edward Island.

In 2021, for the biennale’s third edition, Beaulieu installed a life-size Albertosaurus skeleton that had taken him six months to make for a statement about climate change, as well as two giant crows built out of used car tires.

Gerald Beaulieu’s work Extinction, in Upper Amherst Cove, was one of the many open-air art exhibits at the 2021 biennale. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

But other works in 2021 confronted aspects of the area’s past that hit a nerve.

Logan MacDonald, an artist from Newfoundland and member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation who now lives in Ontario, wanted to mount a installation involving Bonavista’s John Cabot statue — a request the Town of Bonavista denied.

“I was really disappointed that I couldn’t do the Cabot intervention,” MacDonald said.

Cabot is much celebrated on the Bonavista Peninsula as the presumed first European contact in the area: his statue overlooks the Town of Bonavista, a replica of his ship is open to tourists downtown, and the region’s highway is called the Discovery Trail.

Logan MacDonald’s work Bodies on the Beach was featured at the 2021 Bonavista Biennale art festival. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

MacDonald switched focus and erected Bodies On The Beach, words and phrases placed on a fence lining a Bonavista shoreline, with the text drawn from Cabot’s sailings around Newfoundland that suggested a human presence in the area — the Indigenous people who once lived in the area, the Beothuk.

MacDonald said he wanted people to consider pre-colonial human history, and how that is represented — or not — in the present.

“I think the more that we understand about all aspects of culture and history, the better we are as people,” he said.

As the Bonavista Biennale got underway, the town pledged to find ways to better represent the area.

“I think the the piece that I think maybe Bonavista will have to do a better job at, is how we celebrate the history of exploration, and not colonialism,” said Bonavista Mayor John Norman.

The Town of Bonavista’s waterfront is pictured in August 2021. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

While tensions can arise, the questioning of accepted histories and narratives is an essential part of art, and is welcome fresh air to the area, according to one local arts supporter.

“The whole idea is to get the mind engaged in perhaps another way of thinking, or seeing something. And contemporary art particularly does that,” said John Fisher, a longtime tourism operator on the peninsula who also helped sponsor the first edition of the Bonavista Biennale.

“I think people sometimes are a bit disappointed and say, ‘Well, it’s not cute or lovely to look at.’ It’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to get you to thinking.”

Watch the documentary, The Bonavista Project, in the player above and take a tour through the 2021 biennale, as it asks big questions about climate change and colonialism.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Woodstock Art Gallery to Host Last Summer Drop-In Today – 104.7 Heart FM

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Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 6:13am

Families will be able to stop by the Woodstock Art Gallery from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. today for the last studio drop-in of the summer.

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock Art Gallery is back with its last studio drop-in of the summer.

From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. today you can check out the new free, self-guided interactive art experience for all ages where you can explore, build and keep your art. Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult in order to participate.

Adults and kids are welcome to stop by and have fun, with your memento tied in with current exhibits at the art gallery.

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Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk 2022 opens Aug. 12 and will feature 30 artists at 30 businesses – Williams Lake Tribune

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The Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk 2022 will kick off with some live art action on Friday, August 12.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the grand opening event will include kids activities, door prizes, handing out guidebooks and a live paint battle.

The “Battle of the Brushes” will involve five or six artists battling it out for painting supremacy from noon to 1 p.m. The artists will be given a subject ahead of time but will also be thrown a curve ball part way through to create an element of improvisation as well.

Patrons will be able to watch as the artists create pieces at the event and can even vote on their favourite painting and one selected by the organizers will also be used in the marketing for the 2023 art walk.

“We’re hoping that their end results are fun and interesting and that people are entertained as they paint,” said Sherry Yonkman, Downtown Williams Lake executive director.

The paintings will also be auctioned off.

Downtown Art Walk is an event showcasing artists’ artworks in local downtown businesses, the event is free for patrons, and guides can be picked up at the Downtown Williams lake office, participating businesses, at the Stationhouse Gallery and at the Tourism Discovery Centre or at the Thursday Performance in the Park on Aug. 11.

The artworks will be on display from Aug. 12 to Sept. 7 and patrons can use the map in the guidebook to plan their walks and learn more about the artists.

On the back page of the guidebook is a passport which every hosting business can stamp and then patrons can use their stamped passports to enter to win $500 towards their favourite artist’s work or a number of $50 gift certificates as well.

Participating businesses include: United Floors; Williams Lake Boys and Girls Club; Interior Properties Real Estate; Kornak & Hamm’s Pharmacy Ltd.; Williams Lake First Nation; RE/MAX Williams Lake Realty; All-Ways Travel; City of Williams Lake ; Western Financial Group; Williams Lake Optometry; The Bean Counter Bistro;Williams Lake & District Credit Union; Sta-Well Health Foods; NEXT GENeral Mercantile + Refillery; The Open Book; The Realm of Toys & The Nerd Room; Woodland Jewellers Ltd.; Walk Rite Shoes; Do-More Promotional; Kit and Kaboodle; D&D Passports Xcetera ; Williams Lake Lavender Lingerie; Sandtronic Business Systems Ltd.; Crosina Realty Ltd.; The Heeler; Laketown Furnishings Ltd.; End of the Roll; Bob’s Footwear & Apparel Inc.; Lo’s Florist; and WorkBC Williams Lake.

Read more: Williams Lake Art Walk to feature 32 artists at 31 locations



ruth.lloyd@wltribune.com

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The chaotic joy of Art Fight – The Verge

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In the summer of 2017, I was stuck between high school and college and stuck between two versions of myself. There was the high school version of me, someone with a laser focus on traditional academic success, and the college version of myself, a mystery that burst with the potential to do and create outside of the box that I had formed around myself.

It started with a simple DM — something along the lines of “this seems fun; you should join it also!” When I clicked the link, I saw a dizzying array of character designs laid out in tidy rows, filling the homepage of the site. It was overwhelming, not just because so many people had joined this site but also because they had shared so many stories and characters. The characters were technicolor and sparkling, with lengthy backstories included with their pictures. There was so much passion, and I was being invited to join them.

Art Fight is a fairly simple concept. For the month of July, artists register on the site and are divided into teams. Once registered and sorted, they upload examples of their art along with personal characters and stories of their own that they would be interested in other people drawing. Then, the games begin.

You score points in Art Fight by drawing another team’s requests, called an “attack” in the lingo of the game. The more complex the request, the higher the score, and at the end of the month, the team with the most points gets a special badge on the site showing they’ve won. There’s no reward beyond the badge, and nobody is too strict about the teams. Individuals can change teams multiple times over the course of the month. The real incentive isn’t winning but, rather, drawing for others and being drawn in turn.

I was an amateur artist at the time and had spent very little time creating a social media profile and promoting my art. But even then, it was exciting to know I could draw for others and know they would be excited to draw back. Something about this space was welcoming to people of all skill levels and meant that I wasn’t lost in the digital noise.

In the following years, the time that I spent on Art Fight waxed and waned based on the business of my own summers. But each year, I made sure to draw at least one piece for it, taking the lovingly rendered illustration that another artist had made of their character and granting it life in my own art style. It remained a constant, this act of creating for someone else that I likely did not know.

The other constant was the range of other artists that used the platform. Some were students or hobby artists, drawing in the free time that they had on weekends or after work. Others were professional artists, pulling together attacks as breaks from their own work. What remained true was the range of people that Art Fight encompassed, with individuals from almost any walk of life with an interest in character design and storytelling coming together to share their creations.

Back in the summer of 2017, I hadn’t realized quite how special that was. Wedged in among my career aspirations and life goals, my art often feels pushed to the background, something that can’t be properly pursued unless it has a “purpose” (usually involving money). Having a space where that creation is encouraged and given a community, for any skill level and with few caveats, still feels exhilarating.

For the artists I know, sharing online can be a mixed blessing. Platforms offer reach but they can feel actively hostile, putting artists at the whims of algorithms and mainstream attention. There are few platforms actively devoted to art and even fewer constructed to make artists feel more comfortable. The result can feel alienating, forcing creators to post constantly to stay relevant rather than follow their own inspiration.

Art Fight, for me, is a balm to that. Even for a hobbyist artist like me, there is something exciting about individuals making art for each other without the caveats of platforms or the frantic scramble to be seen. It is a challenge that asks only for what you want to give to it rather than what the platform wants. For that reason, the month of July is a sanctuary — a place to create on my terms with the knowledge that it will still be seen by others and maybe be special to some of them.

Camille Butera is a Master of Science student at Oxford University and a recent graduate of Smith College. Outside of that, you can find her drawing and catching up on TV shows about five years after everyone else.

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