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Happy New Year: Connecting with nature through art – Times Colonist



Happy New Year from Robert Bateman and the Times Colonist! And to help you ring in 2019, here is a special message from the Salt Spring Island artist.

Today’s artwork is Snowy Morning — Blue Jay.

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“The blue jay, like our Stellar’s jay of the west, is a welcome bird at the feeder. It brings a dash of colour to the winter landscapes.

“I have placed this one in a snow laden wild grape vine. Grapes that remain on the vines will last as food throughout the winter season.”

Since 2013, The Bateman Foundation has been connecting people to nature through the lens of art at the Robert Bateman Centre, in the historic Steamship Terminal building at the Inner Harbour.

Through the largest public collection of the work of the world-renowned artist and naturalist, and educational programs that help inspire a love of nature to our children, thousands of people are connected to the healing benefits of art and nature.

The centre also features a gallery gift shop, which is home to more than 100 Bateman limited edition prints, puzzles, books and educational games, as well as a selection of locally crafted artworks and jewelry by Vancouver Island artisans.

All purchases support Bateman Foundation’s goal of reconnecting people of all ages to the magic of nature. The centre and gift shop, at 470 Belleville St., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but is closed on New Year’s Day.

For more information or to donate, visit

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Squamish Art Walk on tap – Squamish Chief



In a year where events of all types have been wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s comforting that a couple of cornerstones will be returning, albeit in a different form.

The Squamish Arts Council’s annual Art Walk is set to run from Nov. 1 to 28, with some pandemic adaptations, of course.

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Executive director Amy Liebenberg said that while the number of participating artists, at roughly 25, is consistent with past years, there are understandably fewer hosting venues in 2020.

“They’re either not open or not interested in encouraging excess clientele, especially if they’re just coming to look and not necessarily coming to patronize the business,” she said.

The venues taking part this year as Zephyr Café, Saha Eatery, Squamish Academy of Music, Northyards Cider, the Squamish Public Library, The Ledge Community Coffee House, Andy Anissimoff Gallery and Britannia Mine Museum.

While the event’s art-viewing element is similar to years past, the more radical change has to do with studio tours and other artist interaction, as many of the studios are small and not suited to welcoming the public for a peek behind the curtain at this time.

Instead, artists will share “the tools they use, the processes they use and how their wonderful, creative imaginations transform ordinary materials into the magic you see all around,” Liebenberg said. The tours will be available on Instagram by searching the hashtag #squamishartist.

“Enjoy the behind-the-scenes tours and enjoy what these incredible artists are making,” she said.

As well, the Anonymous Art Show will be back for a second go-around.

“We have some of the most amazing artists I’ve ever known who live and work in Squamish and so it’s going to be really fun to have them back again for some Anonymous Art Show pieces,” she said.

Artists will submit their pieces by early November, while the show is set for Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

“You hope to be the first in line to grab a piece that most delights you,” she said.

Introducing our Zephyr Cafe location of collaborative art work that will be displayed for our Art Walk program launching…

Posted by
Squamish Arts Council on 
Friday, October 23, 2020

In terms of participants, Liebenberg said there are always a few surprises, as last year, there were several who hadn’t painted in many years if ever before, while there were some who work in a different medium, such as textiles, trying their hands at something new.

Liebenberg said that with many artists having had tough times this year, they would appreciate a purchase or, at the very least, a message of support for a job well done.

“Our creative community deserves all of our support and a big round of applause for continuing to do some pretty heavy emotional lifting on behalf of the community,” she said.

For more, visit

The Foyer Gallery is in the lobby of the Squamish Public Library. – The Chief staff

Foyer Gallery set for fundraiser

One of the Art Walk participants, Foyer Gallery at the Squamish Public Library, will hold a fundraising event of its own in November.

The gallery was unable to host its traditional events, a May gala with an exhibit in the lead-up, where for a $50 sponsorship, patrons can take part in a “raffle for art” event.

This year, supporters are encouraged to take part in a pay-what-you-can campaign of sponsorship. Each supporter will be entered into a random draw for one of six pieces of artwork by a local artist or a one-on-one virtual art lesson from curator and painting instructor Toby Jaxon. To donate, head to

“We formatted it and decided that we’d take a stab at getting some donations before 2020 ends,” she said with a chuckle.

Among the artists donating pieces are three volunteers, also known as the “hanging crew” for their work installing new exhibits monthly or, now during COVID, every six weeks: 20-plus-year veteran Fran Solar, 13-year helper Linda Wagner and, in her third year, relative newbie Karen Yaremkewich.

The three have not only diverse mediums, with Wagner being an oil painter, Yaremkewich being a fabric artist and Solar working with metal, but they also have distinct skills when installing the shows.

“Fran is a master at creating interesting vignettes. We’ve got these three beautiful display cases, so that’s her specialty. Linda, she’s super gifted at figuring out where all the wall art should go and coordinating the pieces based on size and style and colours. Karen, she’s really proactive at moving the inventory around, getting up on the ladder—and it doesn’t hurt that she’s super tall,” Jaxon said.

Jaxon added that she’s also been creating virtual versions of the galleries so visitors can decide if there’s a piece they’d like to see more closely or purchase before arriving, especially given the library’s limited hours.

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Yellowknife drugstore stocking local art for holiday season – Cabin Radio



Craft sales face a tricky time this holiday season, so a downtown Yellowknife drugstore is stepping in to provide shelf space for local artisans.

Sutherland’s Drugs will spend several weeks setting aside room for the city’s craftspeople to sell their goods. Pharmacy owner Aaron LaBorde said the store wants to give back to customers and the arts community.

“We’re just trying to help some [customers] that otherwise, in a regular year, would have had the opportunity to attend some shows and stuff like that,” LaBorde told Cabin Radio.


“And of course, support the local artisans and give people a little bit of a chance to buy stuff that was produced locally.

“With the way the things are this year, it’s something that we thought would be a nice thing to do for the town.”

While some of the city’s usual festive craft fairs are going ahead, others have been cancelled outright and even those proceeding will have restrictions on numbers.

LaBorde said a couple of artists have already reached out to the store, looking to participate. Sutherland’s can’t guarantee everyone’s items will be displayed, but is trying to assess the level of interest from the arts community.

“We’re a local business here too, and we appreciate all the support that we get,” LaBorde said.


“We’ve been really trying our best to support other local businesses … just to try to improve the situation here in Yellowknife, because that’s where everybody’s at right now.”

Those interested in selling their products at Sutherland’s this Christmas are encouraged to call the store at (867) 873-4555.

This coverage of the NWT’s business sector during the Covid-19 pandemic is sponsored by the NWT’s Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment. Visit Buy North for more information on businesses near you.


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York Region teacher, animal lover lifts spirits by 'abandoning' art around town –



If your spirits are lifted when you stumble across beautifully etched wooden art pieces around town, you have Erin Sanderson to thank for it.

The York Region special needs teacher is showing her love for her community by leaving special gifts for people to find throughout Innisfill, after moving there more than 14 years ago with her husband, Simon, and their two boys.

Just last year, she discovered a hidden talent in pyrography: the art of free-hand wood burning.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness for many people,  Sanderson started leaving some of her wood pieces in random spots around town as a way to lift spirits.

“I’ve been placing little pieces of [wood] art all around Innisfil,” said Sanderson.

She adds positive messages and inspirational quotes on the backs of the wood art designs before placing them on park benches, in restaurant bathrooms, on top of electrical boxes, or at the dog park.

She said it is part of a movement across the world known as Art Abandonment.

“I just want to put a smile on people’s faces,” exclaimed Sanderson. “I love the neighbours and the community, the fact that everybody is ready and willing to help each other… I just want to distract people from all that is going on in the world right now.”

“When my dad passed away, I inherited all his tools,” said Sanderson, adding that her father was a woodworker who made cabinets. “I started using my dad’s tools, carving and sketching, and then my mom bought me a wood burner for Christmas.”

Sanderson learned how to burn intricate designs and portraits onto wood, and has since joined groups on Facebook to learn different wood burning techniques.

“If it’s clean wood, I can burn anything on it,” she said.

In just the last year, Sanderson has made charcuterie boards, hand-crafted wooden knives, custom art on paddles and oars, bird houses, keepsake boxes, name signs, business logo signs, pet portraits and more. She creates the designs at home, doing custom orders for clients.

“There’s a lot of tracing, but the technique is actually burning it onto the wood,” explains Sanderson. “What I really enjoy doing is when someone has an idea, we can work together to create a piece.”

Sanderson uses graphite paper to trace images onto wood before burning the image with her tools by hand to get the right picture.

“If you don’t think you can do something, just try because you never know,” said Sanderson. “It’s been great for my mental health, to be able to focus on something so beautiful… I love working with people and making their dreams come true through this art.”

So next time you’re out around the town, and you happen to find a wood carving with a note attached “You found free art”, keep it as a token of Sanderson’s attempt to make you smile.

Simon works with the York Region District School Board, inspired by sons Jack, 10, and Calvin, 8, who are both on the autism spectrum.

The Sandersons have three pets; an old English sheep dog, Miss Mugs, or Fluff-a-lug; a foster pug named Forest; and a big, fat cat, Chicken.

Sanderson loves animals and once worked for animal control in the Innisfil, Bradford, and Newmarket area. Now, she works part-time at a dog kennel, Unicorn Hill Siberian Huskies in Baxter, just 10 minutes outside of Innisfil.

Sanderson is also a volunteer with Pawsitive Pet Food Bank in Innisfil with her good friend, Irene Louro. The pet food bank collects pet food donations for animals in the community.

“We collect from the community and donate to those going through a tough time.” explains Sanderson.

Sanderson also sells pet food, Harlow’s Blend, an all-natural holistic line of Canadian made dog and cat food. Sanderson delivers it for free to Innisfil residents.

To view more of Sanderson’s Pyrography, visit her Facebook page: PyrographyNerd 

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