“The great thing about play therapy is that I can work with (children) as young as three if there’s trauma,” she said. “Kids will play out what’s going on.”
She also has adult clients and will invite them to write, do art or play music, she said.
With adults, she often finds that they have carried traumas throughout their lives that stem from childhood adversities — which is why working with children is especially important.
“It gives me the tools to help them so they don’t have to carry that on into adulthood and maladapt and learn unhealthy coping mechanisms. They can have a way to process it,” said Wilgress.
“I figure I’ll be training my whole life, learning different therapy approaches because I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all for anyone,” she said.
Since moving to Muskoka, Wilgress has learned about the challenges youth face in navigating the mental health system and accessing the right resources.
“I feel like there’s a lot of gaps for kids and youth because they don’t know where to go,” she said. “(Some children) present well or mask well and those are the ones that I think we have to worry about because then they’re carrying that on into adulthood.”
And it can be difficult for families to find the funding to support their children’s needs.
“I find there’s these little pockets of money here and there but even for myself, as a therapist trying to figure that out and let people know, I feel like I don’t know all about them,” she said.
Wilgress offers a flat rate for her sessions on a sliding scale but said she doesn’t want people not to come to her if they’re struggling financially.
With more awareness being spread about mental health needs, Wilgress said she is hopeful that services will become more accessible.
And if clients don’t find she is the right fit for them, she will give them a referral for another local organization.
“They need that safe place where things aren’t going to go wrong and they can have that trust,” she said. “Therapy’s all about therapeutic relationships.”
This 500-year-old rock art is among the rarest in the world. Found at a site called Yilbilinji near northern Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria—and depicting a humanlike figure holding a boomerang (right), surrounded by more boomerangs—it’s a type of stenciling that involved creating miniature outlines of humans, tools, and other shapes. Similar, much older mini-stencils have been found elsewhere in Australia and around the world. Now, scientists think they know how ancient people made them.
Australia’s Aboriginal populations have been creating rock art for at least 44,000 years. Typically when stenciling, the artist held their hand or other object up to the rock and sprayed pigmented liquid onto it, leaving behind a life-size negative on the wall.
But the red-rock overhang at Yilbilinji features much smaller figures: 17 minihumans, boomerangs, and geometric patterns—all too tiny to have been modeled after a painter’s hand or a real object. One of the new study’s co-authors remembered seeing Aboriginal people using beeswax as a kind of clay for making children’s toys resembling cattle and horses. Might the ancient rock artists have used beeswax to form stencils?
Working with representatives of the local Indigenous Marra people, the researchers attempted to replicate the ancient art using only materials native to the region. By heating and molding beeswax, sticking it to the rock, and spraying it with a white-pigment paint, they managed to produce rock art exceptionally similar to the originals found at Yilbilinji, they report today in Antiquity.
The miniature art may have served a spiritual or ritualistic purpose, the researchers note. Or, they suggest, because many of these stencils are positioned relatively low on the rocky overhang, it may have just been child’s play, the ancient equivalent to children scribbling on the walls.
Weiss is a Rural and Suburban Mail Carrier with Canada Post and he has been working since the Covid-19 virus was first detected.
“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stops the mail from being delivered,” Weiss said.
You could also add ‘virus’ to his statement.
Weiss delivers to the communities of the Peaks of Grassi, Mineside, Homesteads and Prospect Point. People depend on their mail even more than before the virus disrupted normal routines.
“I’ve definitely been much busier during the pandemic,” Weiss said. “My parcel delivery is up almost 40 percent for this time of year increasing the workload to Christmas-like volume. This is probably due to all the online ordering of goods during the lockdown.”
Working through the -30 C cold snaps of the last few winters has been challenging though, he said.
The thought of taking a break from work now because of the coronavirus hasn’t crossed his mind.
“I’m not worried about the virus or getting sick due to the low numbers in the Bow Valley,” Weiss said. “And being equipped with the proper PPE and taking all necessary precautions.”
He is outside for most of his workday and happy to be there, he said.
“I love this job as it lets me be outside getting exercise and interacting with the community,” Weiss said. “I’ve been doing it for almost two years.”
The community has been appreciative that he is still on the job.
“People have been awesome to me during this time,” Weiss said. “Very thankful and supportive that we are still delivering their letter mail and packages during a time when they have limited access to the town and its services.”
The community mailboxes can fit a wide variety of parcels, he said.
“What does not fit I gladly hand deliver to customers’ doors to ensure they receive their goods,” Weiss said.
It’s been business as usual with not much downtime at the job. And the typical stereotype of dogs versus mail carriers does not apply, he said.
“I love cats and dogs and I am always happy to have interaction with them while working,” Weiss said. “Never had any bad experiences with them.”
When he isn’t working, he skateboards, snowboards, mountain bikes and tries to keep up with his cross fit workouts, despite the gym being closed for the time being, Weiss said.
“I started skateboarding in the early 70’s skateboard boom and rode my board to school in Calgary at elementary, junior high, and high school,” Weiss said. “I recall getting chased by teachers down the hallways while riding it back in my younger years. Carving and grinding the bowls in Canmore and Banff is a passion of mine that will never die. Both parks are killer and open now and I hit them whenever I have the time and weather permits. I’ve made countless friends skating at them over the years.”
Weiss carries the nickname Snaketrick, because of the boa constrictor cowboy boots he wore in high school. But he doesn’t mind if you call him that.
“I feel very fortunate to live and work in Canmore as it lets me pursue all the outdoor sports that I love,” Weiss said.
Leah Collins and Lise Hosein are Stuck at Home. Different homes. And while they’re holed up in their respective Toronto apartments, they’ll be trying some of the most inventive arts and culture they’ve discovered online. The world doesn’t look the same right now. Neither does art. Join them and see how COVID-19 is changing how we consume all kinds of culture.
Bob Ross, it’s not. But since 1993, do it — an ongoing art project created by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist — has collected hundreds of how-to’s from international artists, recipes that invite anyone to mess about with ideas from Marina Abramović and Yoko Ono, Adrian Piper and Louise Bourgeois.
Long-distance collaboration? That is so 2020. And earlier this month, Google Arts & Culture launched a quarantine chapter of the project: do it (around the world). Along with artist instructions from the archives, fresh “do its” are added weekly, and the new class of multi-disciplinary art stars boasts Es Devlin, FKA twigs and Solange. But again, these aren’t tutorials. Nobody’s hopping on a livestream to teach you about performance art or painting…and though the projects are, in a sense, collaborative, maybe hold off on sending Virgil Abloh a LinkedIn invite.
Instead, Obrist’s label for do it is “exhibition in progress.” And it’s taken the shape of a real-live, in-person exhibition at more than 150 venues around the world, including NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery. Morgan Melenka coordinated that show in the winter of 2018. “I would say it is like conceptual art for dummies,” she says. “It’s a very joyful and exuberant introduction to conceptual art.”
The form can sometimes feel a bit obtuse, she says. “Like, conceptual art doesn’t have to be one piece of wood leaning against a wall in a room and that’s it,” she jokes. “[do it] brought the idea of conceptual art and Fluxus into the 21st century, and made it feel approachable. I think that sometimes when we think back on those periods from the mid century they seem kind of cold — but it doesn’t have to be.”
It’s a very joyful and exuberant introduction to conceptual art.– Morgan Melenka, artist
In do it, art is playful. The instructions are designed to be short and easy to interact with. Plus, there’s no right — or wrong — way to tackle a project.
“They’re supposed to stretch your creative thinking,” she says. “There’s no barriers to entry. So if somebody, say, is feeling timid about creating, if you’re given a bonkers suggestion you can respond to it as much or as little as you want to without feeling the fear of coming up with the idea.”
At NSCAD’s exhibition, 73 artists put their spin on instructions from the do it compendium. Visitors tried them, too — and created their own. “One of the beauties of having it as an exhibition was that it was such a celebratory community event and brought so many people together,” says Melenka.
So what’s do it like when you’re stuck at home alone? We gave it a go.
Leah Collins: What did you know about do it before we jumped into it this week? Did you ever pick up the book? Go to an exhibition? Look it up on Wikipedia?
Lise Hosein: No. I am a conceptual art stan, especially if it’s relational or involves instructions, but I didn’t know about this.
LC: Ha! A stan? OK, because when I talked to Morgan, she called it a sort of introduction to conceptual art. She also called it “conceptual art for dummies.” (I’m still debating which quote’s my fave.)
What do you think? Does that sound about right to you? I’m appealing to your expertise as the team’s resident PhD candidate, Lise!
LH: I think some of these projects could be considered “introductory” (though I’m not entirely sure I believe what I’m saying). Mostly, they just seemed like pieces selected because they are viewer-completed (or, in our case, the DIY conceptual art we need in 2020).
LC: What do you mean by “viewer-completed?”
LH: The piece is activated when you follow the instructions.
LC: OK, OK…I’m going to lean into the whole “conceptual art for dummies” angle and ask you a follow-up question: What do you mean by “activated?”
LH: The works exist on their own, as sets of instructions, but you create a work by following those instructions and achieving a result.
LC: Ah. So, how did you go about doing do it? There’s an app that’ll send you different instructions every day, but I just dove into the website. What sort of things wound up grabbing your attention?
LH: Well, I did two of them. One was more…a process, I guess; the other, an activity.
LC: I think I did four? Four and a half if you count Jenna Sutela’sTear Crystal. I’ve been keeping a pot at my desk, in case I start crying.
LH: How many tears are in it so far? Also, that’s a big pot, Leah. Are you OK?
LC: Maybe two? It’s hard to tell. “Lacrimal” evaporates so easily.
LH: Gross. What if tear salt becomes a valuable resource of the post-COVID future?
LC: Proud to be an early investor.
Lise, I’ve got to lean into the “conceptual art for dummies” angle AGAIN and just say it: that project is pure jokes. And look at this one. Truly, a breathtaking troll. Why, yes. I will wear underpants on my head because an artist told me to.
LH: You should do everything artists tell you to.
LC: Ha! So on that point, what was your first do it? You haven’t told me yet!
LH: My first one was practicing “stillness as a matter of urgency,” which given our current times, feels more like a condition than a gesture — like telling yourself “STAY CALM” over and over in caps lock.
LC: So how did you approach it?
LH: I sat still, with considerable urgency.
LC: Any thoughts you’d care to share about the process? Did it “expand your horizons,” as the website promises?
LH: It did not. But I may have successfully lowered my dopamine?
LC: Oh no! You should try my first do it to set you straight again. I kind of avoided the more ponderous options, and looked for things that might get me playing with my hands a bit — like this one by Precious Okoyomon. The instructions make it sound like low-key witchcraft, but I would 100 per cent do it again.
Weirdly, I just happened to have a packet of the exact same flower seeds the instructions call for. The bigger miracle: I didn’t set off the fire alarm while burning my “fears” over a bathtub full of water. Plus, I got to spend a few enjoyable minutes poking around in my balcony garden, looking forward to the cheerful green things that are going to sprout. I guess it was a quick little exercise in hopeful thinking — and as a nice bonus, my apartment smelled like a campfire for the rest of the evening. So long as I didn’t accidentally conjure a few demons, total win.
LC: Yep. Well put. It was definitely the performance art equivalent of a smiley emoji.
LH: I mean, that’s a perfect outcome for some of these projects. A smiley emoji is what we need right now.
LC: Maybe? I don’t know. That narrative seems too easy.
The instructions are usually simple by design, but if you want to really challenge your thinking, they could produce way more than cozy navel-gazing.
I guess cozy navel-gazing is just my jam right now. I tried this one, too — Homage to Each Red Thing. I wound up curating a bunch of odd red mementos from my teens and early 20s.
LH: Where are they now?
LC: The red things? Oh, socked away in all the boxes they’d been stashed in before.
LH: I like that the bulk of these projects mean you reevaluate your possessions or your thoughts or your movements through the day. We’re in the Age of Introspection, after all
LC: Cool if I steal that phrase? It beats “the new normal,” anyway.
LH: I will allow that.
LC: But tell me more! I’m guessing this is an idea you hit on while getting all introspective on your second do it?
LH: My second do it was by Max Hawkins and the instructions were to create a conference call between all of your friends who share the same first name. I cheated a bit and just used friends whose first names begin with “Carol” so I could include the -ynnes, -ines and -yns (plus the Carol propers).
LC: How many Carols can one Lise possibly know?
LH: One Lise knows five. But only four showed up, because Carols are unreliable.
LC: Classic Carol. What did you talk about?
LH: I left it up to them — there was an artist/art manager, another artist, an author and a provost from OCAD U. And they sort of handled the call themselves, first each telling a story about their name (usually how they got it), and then talking a little bit about what they do (and how they’re doing it now).
LC: Sounds like a networking event for Carols. Empowering Carols in the Arts! Carol Caucus! A Safe Space for Carols!
LH: I think that is at least in small part what it was. Or what I hope it was.
LC: I am kind of impressed that you pulled that one off.
LH: It was a little scary! I’m not much of a moderator, but it worked out well.
LC: Did you know much about the artist, Max Hawkins?
LH: I don’t know anything about this artist, no.
LC: I’m asking because the “star factor” sure seems to be a part of do it‘s appeal. I mean, the site plays up some of the big names that are contributing new instructions, for one thing
LH: Definitely. There are projects by Marina Abramović…and Solange?
LC: Yeah. And it’s a multi-disciplinary mix. There are pop stars, designers…
Also, I am so not the first person to make this comparison, but tackling a do it is a little like covering a song, so if you’re a fan of the artist, you’re probably a little more inclined to participate.
LH: Huh! How so?
LC: Like, you’re reproducing their work, but putting your own little twist on things. Or maybe it’s more accurate to think of it as, like, a partnership? (Like, hey! I just did a collab with FKA twigs!)
Just knowing that there are so many famous names associated with the project, does it bring anything to the experience?
LH: I think it does, in exactly the way you just said. Feeling like you “participated in” or engaged with a work by a heavy hitter feels exciting and, I guess, legitimizing?
I mean, not everybody got to stare at Marina Abramović in person, so if you can work with her at a distance, why not?
LC: Not everyone has the necessary ingredients for Spirit Cooking, either.
LH: I hope I never do. Side note: I wonder if she’d Zoom with me. I just have to make a bunch of other friends named Marina…
LC: I know we were trying this at the same time and everything — so maybe I should have just sent you a Zoom invite this week — but did you feel kind of lonely doing do it? A lot of the instructions feel super playful, but trying these things in isolation really dampens the potential for fun. There’s always social media, I guess, and there’s a hashtag for sharing stuff. But if that’s not for you (and it isn’t for me), I don’t know how I feel about trying do it in a vacuum.
LH: I totally agree with you. We’re in Week 10 now, and the solitude is becoming increasingly obvious. That’s part of why I sought out a project that involved other people. But I also think that doing these particular projects made me feel like I was engaging with something other people were simultaneously trying to carry out, and there’s community in that.
LC: It’s just the suggestion of community, though, at least to me. A mere whiff!
Are you going to keep trying new instructions?
LH: Sure. I’m going to keep checking the site, and I’d definitely try another — especially if it involves the Carols.
CBC Arts understands that this is an incredibly difficult time for artists and arts organizations across this country. We will do our best to provide valuable information, share inspiring stories of communities rising up and make us all feel as (virtually) connected as possible as we get through this together. If there’s something you think we should be talking about, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See more of our COVID-related coverage here.
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