Saskatchewan’s human rights commissioner says a complaint about alleged gender-based discrimination at Saskatoon’s premier art gallery should not be dismissed and has “sufficient merit” to be referred to a public court hearing.
“A proper determination of the complaint on the merits requires a hearing in the Court of Queen’s Bench,” David Arnot, chief commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, wrote in an April 3 letter.
Arnot stopped short of actually referring the case to court. First, he said, the gallery and the complainant should try to come to a settlement.
“It is my hope that the parties will reach a mutually acceptable resolution,” he wrote.
A female former employee of the city-owned Mendel Art Gallery, now called Remai Modern Art Museum, filed a discrimination complaint against the gallery in October 2015. She shared Arnot’s letter with CBC News last week.
In her complaint, the woman alleged that the gallery’s former CEO and executive director, Gregory Burke, repeatedly undermined and bullied her on the basis of her gender from March 2013 to October 2014.
Burke has denied the allegations.
A commission investigation got underway in May 2017 and was concluded earlier this year after interviews with more than 20 witnesses.
Citing the prolonged length of the investigation, Burke successfully petitioned the Court of Queen’s Bench to have himself removed as a respondent to the complaint. The commission has appealed that decision, however, and a Court of Appeal hearing has yet to take place.
“Mr. Burke may become a respondent to the complaint again,” Arnot wrote.
Jay Watson, Burke’s lawyer, declined to provide comment on Arnot’s determination.
Kevin Wilson, the gallery’s lawyer, also declined to comment.
‘A last-chance attempt at resolution’
Arnot concluded his letter by directing the complainant and the gallery to try mediation one more time before he potentially referred the complaint to a public hearing. The commission’s latest annual report describes this step as “a last-chance attempt at resolution prior to involving the court.”
“The mediator, who is independent from the commission, works with the parties to the complaint in an attempt to arrive at a mutually agreeable resolution,” according to the report. “Settlement discussions in directed mediation are confidential.”
Arnot could still ultimately dismiss the complaint if the complainant rejected a “fair and reasonable” settlement offer, according to his letter.
According to the commission’s website, settlement terms could include anything from a letter of apology to compensation for lost wages.
CBC News has reached out to the commission for an update on the status of the complaint.
‘3 potential narratives’ laid out
In his letter, Arnot said “there appear to be at least three potential narratives arising from the evidence.”
The first is the narrative laid out by the complainant, as described by Arnot.
“She asserts that Mr. Burke bullied and undermined her in the workplace,” Arnot wrote. “She … asserts that Mr. Burke treated some of her female colleagues similarly. A number of witnesses have provided evidence that they either saw Mr. Burke carry out this behaviour, or were subjected to similar behaviour by Mr. Burke.”
In the second narrative, according to Arnot, “Burke asserts that he was attempting to implement changes during the transition from the closing of the Mendel to the opening of the Remai Modern. Mr. Burke says that he was dealing with a number of challenges in this transition, including inadequate human resources support. According to Mr. Burke, a handful of employees, including [the complainant], resisted this change and his direction.
“In the case of [the complainant], Mr. Burke asserts that she overstepped her authority on occasion. This prompted Mr. Burke to pursue potential discipline of [the complainant] before she resigned her employment. There is evidence supporting Mr. Burke’s version of events.”
The third possible narrative, Arnot continued, is that Burke had difficulty communicating with both female and male staff and that the conflicts were not attributable to gender.
Arnot noted that the commission’s ability to determine liability was made difficult by the conflicting witness statements, the lack of sworn testimony and the inability to cross-examine witnesses during the investigation.
“While I am entitled to consider the probative value of the evidence, there is nothing in the evidence that would compel me to favour the evidence supporting Mr. Burke’s version of events over [the complainant’s],” Arnot wrote.
Fort Langley Artists Group showcases art virtually to help hospice – Aldergrove Star
Fort Langley Artists Group (FLAG) is going ahead with their annual charity gallery, but in a virtual setting.
People can purchase 10 X 10 paintings; half of the proceeds goes to the artists while the other half of sales will support Langley Hospice Society.
Gabrielle Strauss, FLAG’s organizer, said Langley Hospice received $650 from FLAG’s charity gallery last year.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing, the Langley Heritage Society has made the difficult decision to keep the CNR Station closed for the season,” Strauss said.
Virtual viewing will be people’s only chance to experience FLAG’s new creative works, since the Flagstop Gallery will be closed.
FLAG artist’s work typically hangs in CNR Station and has been an anonymous gallery in the past with artists name’s written on the back of the peice so buyers don’t know until after purchase.
“Instead of mounting a theme-based show, the members of the Fort Langley Artists Group [FLAG] have chosen to showcase some of their favorite new creations online in a virtual, visual feast,” Strauss explained.
Alison Philptt, Annie Segelkin, Beverly Lawrence, Caroline Ashley, Daphne Scaman, Diane Zepeski, Ela Cholewa, Gabrielle Strauss, Kim Bucholtz, Margo Harrison, Marguerite Whelton, Patricia Falck, Robin Bandenieks, and Ursula Bolivar all contributed a variety of different pieces of artwork for the cause.
Call Robin at 604-856-1984 to purchase a painting.
“You may discuss payment and delivery or pick-up of your purchase with the artist,” Strauss added.
Is there more to this story?
Ottawa Art Gallery reopens this week, with reserved time slots for visitors – CTV News
The Ottawa Art Gallery is set to reopen to the public this week, 117 days after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of the popular downtown gallery.
Measures are being put in place to keep visitors and staff healthy and safe during the pandemic, including reserved time slots to visit the gallery.
On Wednesday, the Ottawa Art Gallery will open for a special day reserved for all frontline workers. On Thursday, the gallery at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge will open for the public. The new temporary hours will be Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission to the Ottawa Art Gallery will continue to be free, but visitors are asked to pre-book a time either by phone or through Eventbrite. The first two hours of every day will be set aside for seniors and immunocompromised visitors.
Visitors are asked to “consider wearing your mask at all times while in the Gallery”, and complimentary masks will be provided if you don’t have one. The gallery will be cleaned on a 30 minute rotation during visiting hours, and hand sanitizing stations will be available on every floor.
“The last few weeks have been dedicated to ensuring safety and cleaning measures are in place, and we are ready to welcome you back to the art,” said Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Art Gallery.
Remember the pandemic? Canadian museums and art historians are working on how to do that – Toronto Star
When the Museum of Vancouver closed in March, the acquisitions team was already thinking deep into the future, strategizing how they’d preserve this pandemic moment in time.
Museum people tend to see the world a little differently. Take last year, when the city of Vancouver approved a ban on plastic straws. The museum’s acquisitions team made sure to snag a couple for the permanent collection, so the citizens of the future can see what they looked like in person.
During the pandemic, they have had to be nimble to save items from the dumpster of history.
As the lockdown in British Columbia eased and businesses started to reopen, many of the murals that had been painted on the boarded-up storefronts were being tossed away, said museum spokesperson Lorenzo Schober. The museum worked with a local business improvement association to help curate an outdoor art show, and it plans to keep a few of the murals for its permanent collection.
It also acquired a pair of John Fluevog shoes made in honour of B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. They plan to collect COVID-19 signage when it is no longer needed.
Across the country, museums and arts professionals are collecting materials and planning for future acquisitions that reflect people’s experiences with COVID-19.
Months of lockdowns have made people across the country “desperate to reconnect,” and the possibility of using art to create conversations can be healing, said Ulrike Al-Khamis, director of collections and public programs at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
“People have been turning to art to overcome isolation, to stay sane and healthy,” said Al-Khamis, who also teaches in the department of art history at University of Toronto.
The museum management knew the importance of “reacting in the moment” so it reached out to the public for submissions of art depicting things that have provided a sense of comfort, stability and hope. The museum will add these submissions to their pre-existing “Sanctuary” exhibition and plans to work with a renowned Pakistani artist to create a special project with these items in the future.
Guelph Museums sent out a similar call for artwork and objects that would help tell the story of Guelph during COVID-19.
Usually, they collect items years after an event occurs, so this was a new approach, manager Tammy Adkin said in an email. More than 50 people have submitted artwork, items and suggestions, including locally created masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, photographs of through-the-window visits at long-term-care homes, photographs of signs supporting front-line workers, written reflections from students, and painted rocks planted in front of a local hospital with messages of love and support.
“I’ve been so touched by the very personal stories people have shared about how their lives have been impacted — separation from elderly parents, struggles with home-schooling, and inspiration to rally as a community,” Adkin wrote. “What is essential is that we recognize this pandemic is affecting different people in different ways, and we need to ensure that we are representing the entire story of the impacts.”
Irina Mihalache, the director of the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto’s faculty of information, agrees that future exhibits on the pandemic should reflect the social inequalities revealed by the virus, because the pandemic and the protest movement surrounding anti-Black racism are intertwined, she said. From what she has seen, museums seem to be taking that direction.
“Hopefully, 10 years from now,” she said, an exhibit will show “how things have changed based on those realizations. That’s my hope that I have for museums.”
In the early days of lockdown, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary asked people to send letters and emails about their lives in this moment. They launched “Dear Glenbow” with a few prompts — What brings you joy right now? What is your daily life like? What are you worried about? Have you learned anything new? What should our descendants learn about this time in our lives?
A couple of people have written about Black Lives Matter. “It’s been a pretty intense period all around,” said museum spokesperson Jenny Conway Fisher. “I’m really happy this is a potential outlet and a way for people to share how they’re feeling.”
Everyone is experiencing the pandemic differently, she said, depending on factors like privilege and geography.
“It’s important to capture that variety of experience because it isn’t one thing,” she said. “There are so many cascading impacts, economic and social and personal — but in order to get a sense of it, you need those individual stories.”
Get the latest in your inbox
Never miss the latest news from the Star, including up-to-date coronavirus coverage, with our email newsletters
So far, they’ve received about 250 letters, 460 emails and 20 social media posts. In a time when people have felt helpless and uncertain, the project has given focus — “I’m going to tell my story, and it’s going to mean something,” she said.
A boy who developed a 3D-printed ear protector for masks sent one with a letter. Children wrote about how surprised they were to miss school; how happy they were to spend more time with family. Some people have written about difficulties at work, loved ones who died of COVID-19, and the pain of family separation.
They are collecting letters until the end of July. (Torontonians are welcome to write, she said: “The thread is only made richer if we witness other people’s experiences across the country.”) The collection will be used later as a resource, and eventually, as an exhibit, pending permission requests.
In April, the Museum of Vancouver launched a similar outreach campaign encouraging citizens to document lockdown life by tagging their social media posts with #isolatingtogethermov. They’ve had hundreds of digital submissions that live on their website.
Traditionally, museums have collected items many years after an event — and often receive donations from families when a loved one dies. One risk in asking for submissions in the moment is the potential performative element.
People “might not necessarily be genuine or authentic in what they collect because they’re thinking, ‘Oh the museum is collecting from me I have to send them the best representation of my COVID behaviour,” Mihalache said.
Curators at the ROM have already started collecting artisan-made and sustainably produced facemasks for the museum’s textile collection.
Swarupa Anila, the senior vice-president for exhibition and gallery development at the ROM, believes that one of the themes artists will explore are the intersections of racial and economic disparity through the lens of the pandemic.
“I think artists have often shown us what has been and needs to be broken, to see solutions differently,” she wrote in an email.
When it comes to physical artifacts, Mihalache can all but guarantee that the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Fashion Institute of Technology will have a mask exhibit. Masks are already being collected heavily as a focal point of this moment: a tool, a point of protest, a fashion statement.
As she reflects on the many items and narratives that will likely be collected, Mihalache said it’s important that specific voices are given space in exhibits, like grocery store workers. And when museums collect, they need to remember the needs of the community over their own.
“You have to ask what is the need? Why am I bothering this community,” she said. “Is the collecting going to be a support to them, or is it going to be a form of exploiting them to make the museum look better?”
Museums have to be accountable to people about what they are going to do with these stories, and they should approach any collecting in a spirit of solidarity, she said.
“You’re collecting fragile objects or memories from people who might be experiencing trauma, from people who maybe have lost people during these times, and you’re also collecting funny videos from people who are doing yoga with their cat or dog.”
Analysts urge Canada to focus on boosting the economy – Arab News
Free non-medical masks to be available at drive-thrus again – Calgary Herald
China Lays Groundwork to Crackdown Further on Political Threats – BNN
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019 – report – MINING.com
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Richmond BBQ spot speaks out about coronavirus rumours Vancouver Is Awesome
- Tech14 hours ago
Another COVID-19 case confirmed in Sarnia-Lambton – Sarnia Observer
- News21 hours ago
Two-thirds of Canadians support closing businesses again if COVID-19 cases spike: survey – CTV News
- Health19 hours ago
Four straight days of no new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba – CTV News Winnipeg
- Real eState18 hours ago
LACKIE: Pandemic real estate hit costing city dearly – Toronto Sun
- Art20 hours ago
How I learned to stop worrying and love online art galleries – The Globe and Mail
- Investment21 hours ago
Africa's Biggest Investment Takes Shape Under Islamist Threat – BNN
- Science19 hours ago
Rocket Lab launch fails during rocket's second stage burn, causing a loss of vehicle and payloads – Yahoo Finance UK
- Sports20 hours ago
Yankees' Tanaka released from hospital after line drive to head – CANOE