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Good grief! 'Peanuts' celebrates 70th anniversary with art – CTV News

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NEW YORK —
The virus pandemic won’t stop Charlie Brown, Snoopy or the “Peanuts” gang from marking an important birthday and they’re hoping to raise the spirits of sick kids while they celebrate.

The beloved comic celebrates its 70th anniversary this week with new lesson plans, the announcement of a new TV show and a philanthropic push that includes donating “Peanuts” murals for kids to paint in 70 children’s hospitals around the globe, from Brooklyn to Brazil.

“When kids see the familiar face of Snoopy, they feel like they are at home watching the cartoon,” said Dr. Kusum Viswanathan, who heads the pediatrics department at Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in New York. “I think it’ll really help in positive coping and distraction. It makes the environment very comfortable, as opposed to being very stiff and professional.”

The 4-foot-8-inch wide by 4-foot-1-inch high murals have been sent to participating hospitals in six pieces, along with smocks, brushes and paints in 13 colours. Children and hospital staffers are encouraged to paint the easy-to-follow templates, a diversion that gains even more importance during coronavirus restrictions.

The initiative is being welcomed at the CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, California, where the virus pandemic has shut down the playrooms and cut back on starry, well-wishing visitors, like baseball star Mike Trout.

“There’s really nothing to look forward to so I thought even just painting something like this at bedside is going to really truly mean something, especially during this time,” said Amber Chavez, the special programs co-ordinator.

The finished murals show an image of Snoopy and Woodstock sharing a laugh atop his red doghouse. It’s co-sponsored by Peanuts Worldwide and the Foundation for Hospital Art. They hope the custom murals bring a smile to worried families.

“Art is always very therapeutic,” Viswanathan said. “Any child who comes — even if a child comes for a regular check-up — it’s always a slightly scary event and I think it helps patients feel a sense of normalcy.”

Jeannie Schulz, the widow of the comic strip’s creator, Charles Schulz, said the initiative hopes to lower the fear level in hospitals: “If you can have a little bit of levity — a little smile — we know that lowers your blood pressure. It’s almost as good as patting a dog.”

How each hospital deploys the murals has been left to the local administrators. Brookdale let lots of children paint them in its auditorium, while the California hospital wants to give one panel each to four patients and two nurses. The hope is the finished murals will offer children a chance to leave a permanent mark on the facility.

“They could come to the hospital for their next check-up and see their mural is out there and they provided the painting maybe for the head or the stomach or whatever part of Snoopy that they did,” Viswanathan said.

Scott Feight, the executive director, of the Foundation for Hospital Art, said the murals represent a chance to “celebrate humanity and our ability to overcome and fight this virus.” The non-profit over the years has donated more than 49,000 paintings to 7,500 hospitals in 195 countries.

Other initiatives launching to celebrate the “Peanuts” anniversary include an animated video campaign on social media urging viewers to be kind to each other, Earth and themselves. There’s also a new Apple TV+ animated show debuting in February called “The Snoopy Show.”

“Peanuts” made its debut Oct. 2, 1950. The travails of the “little round-headed kid” Charlie Brown and his pals eventually ran in more than 2,600 newspapers, reaching millions of readers in 75 countries.

The 1965 CBS special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” won an Emmy and rerun immortality, and many other specials followed. There was a hit stage musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The characters also appeared on sheets, stationery, amusement park attractions and countless other products. Apple TV+ debuted “Snoopy in Space” in 2019.

Jeannie Schulz said her husband managed to create “recognizable characters that express the humanity of each of us. It hits on a lot of cylinders.”

The strip offered enduring images of kites in trees, Charlie Brown trying to kick a football, tart-tongued Lucy handing out advice for a nickel at what looked like a lemonade stand and Snoopy taking the occasional flight of fancy to the skies of World War I. Phrases such as “security blanket” and “good grief” are a part of the global vernacular. Schulz died in 2000.

The hospital administrators say that “Peanuts” teaches children that the world is big enough for everybody, appreciate the small things and embrace friendships. Those lessons, they say, fit with their mission.

“It teaches about kindness and friendship,” Viswanathan said. “It teaches our children that life has challenges but with support from friends, you can solve problems. I think it teaches them not to give up.”

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Teens behind latest art damage on Berlin's Museum Island – WellandTribune.ca

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BERLIN – Several teenagers sprayed graffiti on a piece of art outside one of Berlin’s most famous museums and that the vandalism was unrelated to the damaging of more than 60 other art works on the city’s Museum Island that were smeared with an oily liquid early this month, police said Saturday.

A huge granite bowl in front of the Altes Museum, which is part of the German capital’s museum complex and houses antiquities, was defaced Friday night by some teenagers and adults, Berlin police said. Two of the suspects were temporarily detained.

Museum Island is a UNESCO world heritage site in the heart of Berlin and one of the city’s main tourist attractions,

Dozens of other exhibits at the Museum Island complex were vandalized Oct. 3. Investigators said they had watched hours of surveillance camera footage but not found any obvious sign of anyone applying the liquid.

Museum experts have said the motive remains a mystery and there appeared to be no thematic link between the targeted works. They expressed optimism that the apparently random damage can be repaired.

Berlin police said the graffiti sprayed on the granite bowl did not have any political content or appear related to the damaging of the other art works.

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Teens behind latest art damage on Berlin's Museum Island – The Battlefords News-Optimist

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BERLIN — Several teenagers sprayed graffiti on a piece of art outside one of Berlin’s most famous museums and that the vandalism was unrelated to the damaging of more than 60 other art works on the city’s Museum Island that were smeared with an oily liquid early this month, police said Saturday.

A huge granite bowl in front of the Altes Museum, which is part of the German capital’s museum complex and houses antiquities, was defaced Friday night by some teenagers and adults, Berlin police said. Two of the suspects were temporarily detained.

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Museum Island is a UNESCO world heritage site in the heart of Berlin and one of the city’s main tourist attractions,

Dozens of other exhibits at the Museum Island complex were vandalized Oct. 3. Investigators said they had watched hours of surveillance camera footage but not found any obvious sign of anyone applying the liquid.

Museum experts have said the motive remains a mystery and there appeared to be no thematic link between the targeted works. They expressed optimism that the apparently random damage can be repaired.

Berlin police said the graffiti sprayed on the granite bowl did not have any political content or appear related to the damaging of the other art works.

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Saving the saints: St. Ninian's restoration reveals art history in Antigonish – CBC.ca

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Michelle Gallinger spends more than nine hours a day pressed against the grand walls of St. Ninian’s Cathedral.

She’s slowly revealing a piece of Canadian history that’s been hidden for decades.

Under the painted walls and columns of the Antigonish, N.S., church, is an extraordinary mural by Quebec painter Ozias Leduc.

Gallinger, a fine arts conservator based in Dartmouth, considers him the Michelangelo of Canada.

“It’s pretty exciting. You get to have your hands on somebody’s painting who nobody has seen in its entirety since 1937,” said Gallinger.

Leduc has been recognized by the federal government as a national historic person, a designation given to people who’ve made unique and enduring contributions to Canada’s history.

He painted 150 churches, mostly in his home province. Gallinger said St. Ninian’s is the only one in Eastern Canada.

Leduc and his team painted the church in 1902, 26 years after the cathedral opened.

His work covered the entire interior from floor to ceiling. But in 1937, the cathedral needed an update and the first layer of paint was added, covering up some of the murals.

For three months, Michelle Gallinger and her team have been standing on scaffolding at the top of St. Ninian’s Cathedral, restoring murals by hand. (Robert Short/CBC)

Over the years, as many as seven layers of paint covered up the masterpiece, leaving only some of the saints exposed. They became known as the “floating saints.” 

The rose medallions on the ceiling were filled in. They’re now blue circles, but their intricate designs can be seen peeking through the layers.

Most people have no idea what’s actually on St. Ninian’s walls.

“The columns are actually painted marble,” said Gallinger. “On the outside aisles, the Stations of the Cross are all painted by Ozias Leduc and there are stencils that go up the wall.”

Two angels on the walls hadn’t been seen since 1957, when they were completely painted over. Damage caused by a steam leak at the cathedral caused layers of paint to peel away. (Robert Short/CBC)

It’s Gallinger’s job to bring that work back to life, and she’s working against the clock to save Leduc’s masterpiece.

A few years ago, there was a steam leak inside the cathedral that travelled up the columns.

“That actually caused the paint and all the subsequent layers to flake off or come forward,” said Gallinger. Those curling pieces of paint are taking the original mural with them.

In 2012, the church decided to start a campaign to save the murals. It started fundraising and every time donations total $80,000, Gallinger comes in with her team to save two saints.

In all, it’s expected the work will cost more than half a million dollars.

“The best part of it is when you get to take the four layers of artist paint off the faces. They no longer look dead or tired — they come alive,” said Gallinger.

The restoration team is using stencils to fill in some missing pieces of Ozias Leduc’s original mural. (Robert Short/CBC)

In this phase of the project, Gallinger and two of her colleagues have been tasked with revealing two saints, Matthias and Peter, as well as two angels that have been completely covered since 1957.

It’s incredibly slow, detailed work that is done by hand.

“We actually have to glue it all back down using steam irons and adhesive and hot irons,” Gallinger said of the peeling paint.

“Then we have to use what’s called a poultice, which is basically a wad of cotton with a solvent on it, to remove the top layers down to the original layer.”

Ozias Leduc originally painted St. Ninian’s from floor to ceiling. The blue circles were filled with rose medallions. While some parts have been restored, other sections are now flaking away. (Robert Short/CBC)

Once the layers are removed, she can see the original brushstrokes and paint colours.

“Right now, the two angels are just standing on clouds and it’s just glorious to see them,” she said.

But the damage of time is clear: some parts of the walls have peeled in large chunks, leaving behind blank white sections. That’s where Gallinger and her team are trying to fill in the blanks with their own paint.

“We will put a fine art varnish on it,” she explained. “They could always take our overpaint off without ever affecting the original Leduc.”

Michelle Gallinger says they were fortunate to find a few old photos of St. Ninian’s that were stored in Quebec. She’s using those to fill in missing sections of Ozias Leduc’s original mural. (Robert Short/CBC)

Rev. Donald MacGillivray, rector of St. Ninian’s, has been watching the church walls transform.

“Beauty is important,” he said. “The artwork here was made beautiful, and to have it restored brings beauty back into the building.”

He said it is incredible that people have been willing to donate to the project over the years. Every dollar has been an anonymous contribution.

“People come up to me and say, ‘I want to give money to help with this, but I don’t want my name to be known.'”

St. Ninian’s still has to raise $280,000 to restore the remaining seven saints. The cathedral hopes to finish the project in three years. (Robert Short/CBC)

The church is filled with posters showing old photos that give hints of what’s hidden on the walls, and explaining the work that needs to go into each of the saints.

When this phase finishes up next week, St. Ninian’s still has seven saints to save.

MacGillivray’s goal is to have the money raised in the next two or three years.

And while he waits to bring Gallinger’s team back to Antigonish, MacGillivray takes the time to appreciate the section that they have almost completely transformed.

“It’s wonderful,” he said.

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