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Guelph's rich art scene struggles to perform during the pandemic – GuelphToday



It has been a difficult time for art during the pandemic as local artists and art organizations have struggled to keep their craft alive. 

In the artistic Royal City, the pandemic not only put a stop to live performances, live galleries, and festivals — something artists thrive on to survive — but it has also made it difficult for artistic community spaces to cater to these artists. 

“A lot of us are struggling and it’s a scary time to look t the future and not really see a clear cut end,” said Scarlett Raczycki, executive director of Silence which provides a space for artists to showcase their work on Essex Street. 

She said since the closure of Silence in March, approximately 100 artists have been affected.

“Because our venue is small, it is difficult to make sure that everyone is safe when they’re in there in a bigger capacity and we have to take into consideration how we can fit artists if we can only fit 10 people,” said Raczycki. She also added that the venue is now available for rent for small events. 

Raczycki said while the organization has been very fortunate to receive government funding — $15,000 from the Canadian Council of Arts — a lot of them are beginning to wrap up.

“Right now we’re just looking to find new ways to support musicians and artists and still be able to connect audiences to them as well,” said Raczycki.

She said there has been an intense call to perform virtually, but that that option is difficult to monetize. 

“Folks are so used to having free access to a lot of content online so I’ve noticed a great many of online live streams and performances musicians are offering are free which has been super uplifting for audiences online but doesn’t help contribute to the lack of funding musicians have had,” said Raczycki.

And needless to say, a virtual performance does not offer the same experience a live performance does. 

“You want that human contact. I would classify myself as an entertainer rather than a musician. You need that connection,” said James Gordon, a well known Guelph musician and City of Guelph councillor.

Gordon performed his last concert in February.

“That’s a long time to be without any income, a long time to not be connected to your fans,” said Gordon who had a solo concert tour scheduled to perform in 20 cities in Western Canada right when COVID-19 hit. 

“In one day, I lost about $20,000,” said Gordon. “I can’t think of many other vocations that are 100 per cent out of business, but we are.”

He said the pandemic helped shine a light on an already struggling business for local artists where no one buys CDs. 

“It’s going to catch up with us eventually because if recording artists can’t generate revenue from the recordings they make, then they cant do it and those people that are getting it for free won’t get anything,” said Gordon. 

“Something’s got to change.”

A survey about COVID-19 impacts on arts and culture which surveyed over 800 respondents across Canada found that over  $20 million in income was lost due to COVID-19 as of April 12.  The estimated economic impact from lost revenue in arts and culture across Canada is $1.5 to $1.9 billion. The income loss per artist is estimated to be approximately $22,000 per person. 

Patti Broughton, executive director of the Guelph Arts Council — who caters to a range of artists such as performance artists, theatre artists, musicians, visual artists and writers among more — said the impact on livelihood is very significant because artists are losing numerous paid gigs. 

“Notice that artists aren’t the most paid of workers, you can easily see the impact,” said Broughton.

“There’s so much about the arts that have in the past happened in person so the live performing arts have been pretty devastated by this.”

During the months the Art Gallery of Guelph was closed as a result of provincial regulations, the gallery had to reinvent itself, go online and support alternative forms of learning and public engagement.

“It was a particularly challenging period for the Art Gallery of Guelph and yet one full of new insight and opportunities as well,” said Shauna McCabe, executive director of the Art Gallery of Guelph.

“With the declaration of states of emergency around the world and the shutdowns that resulted, artists globally have been faced both a lack of spaces and stages to share their work and the elimination of sources of financial support,” said McCabe. 

McCabe said despite financial insecurity, she has seen the struggles of artists paralleled by immense generosity from artists and performers to assist and support their community. 

“If we think about how important creative expression has been to all of our lives throughout this period, it is clear that the arts provide us with both a sense of context and community,” said McCabe.

Raczycki said many can agree that the world turned to art to help cope with the pandemic whether it’s been binge-watching Netflix, revisiting an old vinyl collection or tuning in to music live streams. 

“There’s been a lot of community togetherness being led by musicians and artists putting together different digital projects,” said Raczycki.

She said it’s important for the community to remember that if they want something to be there at the other end, they have to check-in. 

“We’re in it for the long haul. We want to survive through it but it’s a matter of having that community buy-in and being able to come together after. This is going to be a really magical moment,” said Raczycki. 

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Sandro Botticelli painting could auction for more than $80M, despite pandemic –



An enigmatic painting from Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli will go on auction next year and art watchers will be seeing if it fetches more than its eye-watering $80 million US estimate, despite the pandemic.

Botticelli’s 15th-century portrait of a nobleman in Young Man Holding a Roundel is the highlight of Sotheby’s Masters Week sale series in New York in January.

“Just the sheer beauty of this has been a joy,” said Christopher Apostle, who has for more than three decades handled the Old Master Drawings sale and is now head of the division. “I can’t think of a Botticelli like this that’s been on the open international market.”

Opportunities to acquire a Botticelli — the artist behind such masterpieces as Primavera and The Birth of Venus — are very rare.

“The fact that there are 12 known portraits by Botticelli puts it in an elite type of situation,” said Apostle. “These are the most personal things he produced, in a way. It’s just something he’s doing with one individual.”

The auction house believes it could get over $100 million. The last painting to achieve that level at auction was Claude Monet’s Meules at Sotheby’s New York in 2019, going for $110 million.

Painting last acquired in 1982

If it reaches those dizzying heights, it would represent a windfall for the present owner. The painting was last acquired at auction in 1982 for the equivalent of just over $1 million today.  

Apostle doesn’t believe the global pandemic will depress interest in the work. “We’ve seen even during this time period that people are hungry for art, hungry for masterpieces, always.”

The painting — believed to have been executed in the late 1470s or early 1480s — actually represents two art works. Botticelli painted the noble sitter but the roundel — a circular disc used as a symbol — depicts a saint, and is an original 14th-century work attributed to the Sienese painter Bartolomeo Bulgarini.

Who the young man depicted has been lost to history as well as why he holds the roundel. Some scholars believe he is associated with the ruling House of Medici or another powerful family in Florence.

Apostle says some things can be inferred: The young man’s hair is long and fashionable for the time. His tunic is buttoned up and restrained, dressed in a republican way.

“There’s a rectitude to this picture and a lack of arrogance while still being very confident, that I think exemplifies that attitude that these republicans in Florence felt about themselves,” he said. “Also, by presenting this medallion, he’s just making sure we’re aware he’s a cultivated person.”

In the past 50 years, the painting has spent extended periods on loan at the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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Pandemic-inspired art exhibit – News 1130



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Students explore art themes in Re/LAUNCH/ing, vol. 1 – St. Albert TODAY



Now that school is back in session, a new collaborative art project has been launched.

Re/LAUNCH/ing is aimed at hitting the same high notes that its predecessor with.draw.all did, but with the added emphasis on the intrinsic value of art to the artist.

At noon on the last Thursday of each month, will be displaying an online gallery of art created by high school students. This month’s rendition features 12 creations from students at Paul Kane, Bellrose and St. Albert Catholic High.

Artist: Ava Currie
Art 10
Artist Statement: €œ”The comforts of the countryside landscape study. Memories of lazy summers at my grandparents’€™ house.”
Camille BuenviajeArtist: Camille Buenviaje
Grade 12
Mixed Media
Title: Always You
Artist Statement: “My psychological self portrait is a three-year-old version of myself in which to reminisce on my childhood. The chaotic organization and missing pieces represents the forgotten memories.”
Dax Ziesel 2020 BCHSArtist: Dax Ziesel
Art 31
Pencils, ranging from 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B and 8B.
Title: “€œLacertil”
Artist Statement: “€œI am truly satisfied with the outcome of this drawing. Inspiration for my work derived from my interest in animals, namely large lizards like the iguana. My greatest struggle with this piece, which was steadily resolved, was knowing where to begin with the essential details. There are various ways to demonstrate the elements of shading, texture, and value with one pencil alone in a drawing, so I sat cluelessly pondering after the rough sketch. However, in the end, the project was a success and has exceeded my own expectations.”
Halle CrottyArtist: Halle Crotty
Grade 10
Pencil Crayon
Title: Paint Blob
Artist Statement: “I created this realistic drawing of a blob of paint using pencil crayon techniques.”
Hannah ChinnArtist: Hannah Chinn
Grade 11
Title: Chains and Gears
Artist Statement: “A still life close up of bike gears drawn in ballpoint pen.”
JuliannaManansalaArt10Artist: Julianna Manansala
Art 10
Pigment Pen
Title: A miniature piece
Artist Statement: “A miniature drawing, focused on precision and details.”
Justine La Riviere 2020 BCHSArtist: Justine La Riviere
Art 10
Artist Statement: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then we will realize we cannot eat money.”
Kaitlyn CabralArtist: Kaitlyn Cabral
Grade 11
Title: Obstruction Ahead
Artist Statement: “Resilience, strength and fear. Inspired by the psychological study of the trolly problem. When faced with fear or a difficult decision, are we strong enough to follow our intuition and take action or will we tense up under the pressure and fright? Whichever decision is made, we must rise above and keep moving forward.”
Lauryn TaylorArtist: Lauryn Taylor
Grade 10
Title: Keys of Comfort
Artist Statement: “Piano has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. When I did not know how to play, I would listen and sing along to my mom and sister. Sitting at the bench of my family’s piano has a certain familiarity that is comforting and relaxing. My hands know where the keys are before I know myself.”
Lily MalthouseArtist: Lily Malthouse
Grade 10
Title: Still Life
Artist Statement: “In my art piece, I used an arrangement of fruits as my reference to create a still life composition. I completed this with a simple art tool, a ballpoint pen, which made it possible to create both soft and intense shadows. For this piece, I focused most on value study and recreating a deeper contrast image.”
RJ SmithArtist: RJ Smith
Grade 12
Acrylic on canvas
Title: Deep-Sea Dream
Artist Statement: “This piece is inspired by my dreams. I am always daydreaming. Sometimes even if you are talking right to me, my mind will be off in a fantasy making up stories and exploring different worlds. Some of the art I have created is inspired by my dreams. This particular piece comes from my knowledge that I might never experience the depths of the sea, I can dream up what it might feel and look like, but I will most likely never experience it first hand. Painting this dream was the best way to bring my vision to life. With guidance in class, I was able to improve my skills in painting perspectives, highlights and lowlights.”
Shaelyn Emond 2020 BCHSArtist: Shaelyn Emond
Art 10
Pencils I used are 8B, 6B, 4B, 2B, HB, 2H and my Papermate mechanical pencil.
Title: “€œRoscoe, An Unforgettable Counterpart”
Artist Statement: “€œI told my friend, Elora about our nature-themed pencil project and she suggested I draw a car deep in a forest. I thought it would be too out of place for a vehicle in perfect condition to be out in the middle of nowhere. So considering the nature theme, I made it into an overgrown jeep. The reason I chose a jeep is because my favourite character from a show that has now ended drove this jeep, which had many issues with it, all throughout the show. He probably valued it so much because it was from his mother who passed away. The jeep was more than just a ride to get you places. It saved himself as well as his friends and family many times and was like a child to him.”

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