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Home is where the art is – La Salle University

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An innovative class project has La Salle students using household objects to recreate works of art housed in the University’s Art Museum.

If, for the moment, you can’t see works of art in person, why not recreate them with objects found around your house? That’s what La Salle University’s Mey-Yen Moriuchi, Ph.D., suggested to her students when classes shifted primarily online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moriuchi, an associate professor of art history at La Salle, drew inspiration from the Getty Museum Challenge, which prompted social media followers of the famed Los Angeles museum to recreate famous works of art using household objects. Similarly, Moriuchi asked students to recreate works of art that are part of the La Salle University Art Museum’s collection, dubbing the extra-credit assignment the Art Recreation Challenge.

Mey-Yen Moriuchi, Ph.D.

“I offered the Art Recreation Challenge as a way for students to engage with a creative art activity that was going viral on social media during the global pandemic,” said Moriuchi, who offered the assignment in her summer courses and extended the challenge into the fall. “I have been surprised at how students use the objects in their homes during quarantine with such ingenuity. Students have responded in extremely creative and fun ways.”

Students aren’t just limited to household objects in the Art Recreation Challenge. Humans in the home are fair game, too. Moriuchi pointed to the recreation of Maria Brooks’ 1884 painting The Letter by education major Gabriel Rappa, ’23, as one of her favorites to feature another person, in this case, Rappa’s cousin.

“The Letter depicts a young, blonde woman seated in an armchair looking straight out at the viewer,” said Moriuchi. “Having just read the letter in her right hand, her expression is a mix of sadness and longing. Gabriel used his cousin Abby as the model, and she beautifully captures the same facial expression.”

For Moriuchi’s Art History class during the summer sessions, Biology major Lauren Fenn, ’23, recreated Theodoros Stamos’s 1947 painting Sea Forms with a rock, a stick, a leaf, a small cardboard box, and a tissue, using a hot glue gun to hold those objects together.

“It was a fun and creative assignment,” said Fenn. “Professor Moriuchi gave us the opportunity to explore the La Salle Art Museum and be creative about art. This project really intertwined ways to describe art and what can art be.”

Following Moriuchi’s lead, several faculty members also have implemented the Art Recreation Challenge into their curriculum. Among them—English professor Kevin Harty, Ph.D., who is including it as a graded assignment in his fall First-Year Seminar course, Literature and Film Ask: Who Am I? Harty also will offer it in his spring course, Western Tradition in Literature Since 1700.

“I am an art museum addict,” said Harty. “I regularly visit art museums around the world whenever I can, and I encourage my students to do so, as well. This is one way of calling attention to art museums at a time when many are closed and losing much needed revenues. We need art and the museums that house it, and so the challenge essentially serves an educational, an artistic, a cultural, and a social purpose.”

—Patrick Berkery

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Press On Winnipeg sharing hope through art – CHVN Radio

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A local art initiative says they were inspired by a Christian punk band to use art to spread joy.

The image of a flying blue sparrow accompanied by a logo reading “Press On Winnipeg” is catching the attention of both outdoor and art enthusiasts. The anonymous street art project organizers say they hope people find inspiration when they see the bird.

The group says they want to spread positivity and encouragement and have good things from people. They say have heard of people viewing their art for a number of purposes, ranging from using it as an excuse to take a walk to hunt for the birds.

“Art can be a really deep and fascinating way in which we experience something greater than ourselves,” an anonymous representative from the group says. “Others have had spiritual experiences where they have shared that when they have seen our art that they have had experiences with God or Jesus.”

The representative says they want people to have a spiritual connection to art and is glad to see it happening with their work.

They say the name, Press On Winnipeg, comes from Relient K’s “Pressing On.” Relient K is a Christian punk bank from Ohio.

“That is actually what inspired one of us to start this project.”

While they were inspired by the band 10 years ago, their intention since the beginning is simple: to spread happiness.  

The movement is now catching the attention of thousands as the group ramped up their efforts during COVID-19.

Active since beginning to share their work on the Waterfront Bridge a decade ago, the group has only recently joined any form of social media. Their Instagram account was created in the spring after Winnipeg joined the list of cities affected by COVID-19. They currently have over 4,700 followers and say it is a great way to interact with people.

“When we only had 30 followers, one of the 30 followers in all of our group was actually the person that caught us.”

The group tries to stay anonymous and has only been caught putting their art up on a handful of occasions in the past 10 years. They say they try to be respectful regarding where they put their art and use special screws when posting their signs on trees and do not put art on occupied buildings unless requested.

Press On says they have received very little negative feedback.

“The whole idea of it was to share some happiness and hope with Winnipeg.”

The group shares art and the image of the bird both in Winnipeg and now outside the perimeter in unique spots.

Press On hints that the next Winnipeg location to see their work will be “very very high up.”

Now taken down for the winter, Press On shared that their Wall of Hope installation was fulfilling its purpose.

“The idea of it was to create this wall for people to be able to express themselves, to be able to create art that signifies hope for themselves.”

The tall structure acted as a gallery wall for people who wished to showcase their hope and what helps them “press on.”

Now waiting in storage, Press On promises that the wall will return.

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No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere – Toronto Life

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No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere

Plastering everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets

StreetARToronto was launched by the city in 2011 with two main goals: to reduce vandalism and help support street artists. These days, it provides workshops for local artists and regularly hosts open call-outs for public art, often on themes of diversity and inclusion, to decorate Toronto’s empty walls and alleyways. So far, the initiative has sponsored over 1,000 pieces around the city, which plaster everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets. When Covid-19 hit, the organization asked artists to submit ideas for murals honouring front-line workers. Here are a few that have been completed so far.


Queen West

Emmanuel Jarus, an artist and muralist, has redone this same wall near Graffiti Alley three times over the past six years. He completed his latest reinvention during the pandemic. The idea came to him when he ran into a very tired friend in a parkette, taking a break from work. He thought her mood and stance perfectly reflected the exhaustion and uncertainty of the current moment. “I like to observe things—I call my work ‘painting journalism’—and my murals happen organically,” Jarus says. He snapped a bunch of photos of his impromptu model, created an image on his iPad and selected his colour palette from whatever was available at the discount warehouse down the road. The result is a striking image which Jarus hopes passersby find relatable and honest.


Adelaide and Portland

Alexander Bacon is an internationally recognized artist who’s been painting since he was a teenager in the 1990s. His vibrant, large-scale pieces, featuring portraits and historical references, can be spotted all over Toronto, including Kensington Market and the Entertainment District. The inspiration for this massive mural near Adelaide and Portland came to him when he was submitting ideas for a virtual art festival in Puerto Rico. The flower represents the fragility of life, and the gloved hand represents the strength of our front-line workers. The scene is also supposed to show the sacrifices everyone is making for the most vulnerable in our society. “We basically shut the world down for people who aren’t strong enough to fight this virus,” says Alex. “I think it’s beautiful humanity is willing to do that.”


Bloordale Village

Peru Dyer Jalea’s signature style uses simple geometric shapes, primary colours and clean lines to create puzzle-like patterns with a meditative vibe. This particular mural, which is on the side of Pancho’s Bakery, a Latino-owned business near Jalea’s home, was designed to honour firefighters. “It’s one of the noblest professions I could think of,” he says. “They’re often unrecognized and underpaid for doing one of the city’s most dangerous jobs.” There’s a station nearby, where Jalea had taken his two young children for a tour earlier this year. “My son is obsessed with fire trucks and my daughter’s favourite colour is red, so I was able to make everybody happy,” he says. For the mural, Jalea used geometric shapes spelling out “gracias,” blended with the image of a fire truck to guide the eye down the wall and around the corner to the bakery. He says the community has been thrilled to see the wall, which had been tagged with unsightly graffiti before, turned into a tribute to first responders.

To people fleeing the city for more square footage and less density, we say pffft. Pandemic or not, Toronto is thriving. Let us count the ways

The People’s Pantry started small and grew fast. Now, nearly 600 volunteers devote their culinary skills, bikes, cars and time to help out

Launching a restaurant is risky in the best of times. These fearless folks did it during Covid

They’re the scientists and specialists working on the development and distribution of a vaccine

Donté Colley’s videos are little pearls of joy

They spend their free time printing face shields, making music, and helping Torontonians stay connected

Here’s how Torontonians came together to save Pam’s Roti Shop from closure

The pandemic turned our best wine bars into streetside patios, bottle bodegas and de facto wine clubs

Their success is one of the few happy small-business stories of Covid

If we can’t have nice weather, at least we can hold on to the summery vibes

And Toronto brands have stepped up to meet the demand

This guy makes really cool all-season backyard office pods for the WFH set—himself included

The pandemic meant postponement for thousands of bethrothed Torontonians. These four couples made other plans

Four examples of random kindness in our midst

By the end of this year, Toronto will have 40 kilometres of new bike lanes—the largest single-year expansion in our history

Even a global pandemic couldn’t slow film and TV production for long

Here’s just a sampling of the heavy dose of CanCon on the Billboard charts

Here are just a handful of the hyper-talented founders, CEOs, CTOs and managers who’ve brought their skills to the city

Toronto is about to get the tallest mass timber structure in North America

They’re a beacon of hope, a catalyst for progress and—oh yeah—a really good team

And Bike Share added 300 of them to its fleet

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Hamilton-born Kapwani Kiwanga wins France's top art prize for Flowers for Africa installation – The Globe and Mail

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Kapwani Kiwanga’s installation Flowers for Africa: Union for South Africa at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg, 2017.

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A Canadian expat has won France’s top art prize. Kapwani Kiwanga, who lives in Paris, won the Prix Marcel Duchamp Monday.

Kiwanga, who was born in Hamilton and grew up in nearby Brantford, studied anthropology at McGill University in Montreal before establishing herself as a visual artist in France. Her work in installation, video, photography and sound art begins with documentary research and explores issues of society, place and colonialism.

Kapwani Kiwanga.

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She won Canada’s $100,000 Sobey Art Prize in 2018 with a large installation that evoked the walls of prisons and hospitals. Her contribution to the Duchamp Prize exhibition is an installation entitled Flowers for Africa, a continuing project she began during a residency in Senegal in 2013. It evokes key moments in the history of African independence by recreating the floral bouquets that were placed on parade-viewing platforms or negotiating tables during diplomatic and national ceremonies.

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The Prix Marcel Duchamp was established in 2000 by the Association for the international diffusion of French art to identify the leading artists of the new generation in France and give them international exposure. Finalists are selected through a vote by the association’s members before a winner is chosen by an international jury.

The winner is awarded €35,000 (about $54,000), and several exhibition and professional development opportunities including participating in the group show dedicated to the four finalists at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This year, the other finalists included Alice Anderson, Hicham Berrada and Enrique Ramirez. All four artists’ work is on display at the Centre Pompidou until Jan. 4 while an exhibition of previous laureates is touring France to mark the prize’s 20th anniversary.

Find out what’s new on Canadian stages from Globe theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck in the weekly Nestruck on Theatre newsletter. Sign up today.

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