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Homeless artist gains support, reconnects with family, after his art is posted on social media –



A local artist who has been homeless for five years is gaining national attention for his artwork, and is getting help finding a home after one of his drawings was shared thousands of times on social media.

A Facebook post featuring Claudemier Bighetty’s artwork has been shared over 5,000 times, and resulted in a flood of support — including help trying to find him a home and reconnecting him with his family. 

Bighetty said people are recognizing him in the streets now. “When I’m drawing something out there, they’re like, ‘you’re that guy, you’re that guy from Facebook!’ Like some total strangers,” he said. 

Part of the credit goes to Jay Mousseau, who originally posted Bighetty’s pen drawing on Facebook after purchasing it off of him in a parking lot. 

WATCH | Claudemier Bighetty and Jay Mousseau share their story

Homeless for five years, Claudemier Bighetty’s life is slowly changing with the help of social media and some new friends. 3:46

In his original post, Mousseau highlights Bighetty’s tremendous skill and refers to him as the Indigenous Picasso. 

“Never judge a book by its cover … You never know someone’s skills or talent they have,” Mousseau said in the original post.

After that post gained widespread popularity, Mousseau set out to find Bighetty. He spent over a week searching for him until he was finally able to locate Bighetty under a Winnipeg train bridge, where he currently lives. 

“I showed him his post. I seen his face glow and light up, and I seen how happy it made him,” said Mousseau.  

Joshua Mousseau (left), Jay Mousseau (centre left), and Brandan Campell (right), visit Claudemier Bighetty everyday. The three men often bring Bighetty food, outdoor equipment, art commissions and good news when they visit. (Jonathan Ventura/ CBC)

Mousseau, his brother Joshua Mousseau and friend Brandan Campell have kept visiting Bighetty every day since they were first able to locate him. 

“I love these guys, they are the best thing that has ever happened to me, they keep my head on straight,” said Bighetty. 

The social media post currently has over 800 comments of support, but its impact goes well beyond likes and shares.

New fans of Bighetty’s artwork have dropped off canvas, art supplies, a working cellphone, food and have started commissioning original pieces. 

Recently, Bighetty’s work has been auctioned off online. His first piece sold for $225 to a buyer in Ottawa.

Mousseau has also started organizing with the Galerie d’art Riverside in Wakefield, Que., which will be hosting five of Bighetty’s original pieces. 

Finding family again

The post has done more than create demand for Bighetty’s art — it also reconnected him with family who’ve been searching for Bighetty but have been unable to locate him until now.

Bighetty’s son and brother reached out to Mousseau on Facebook, and was able to help reconnect the family members.

Claudemier Bighetty reunited with his brother Gordon Bighetty Jr. (Submitted by Jay Mousseau)

With the coldest months of the year approaching, Mousseau has started a GoFundMe campaign to help Bighetty find a warm home for the winter. 

“I wanted to lift him up, because that’s what we do as Indigenous people,” said Mousseau. 

He hopes that Bighetty won’t be on the streets for much longer. 

Recently, Bighetty has also been approached by Ndinawe Safe House to help him find a place to live and provide him with culturally appropriate support. 

Between help from Ndinawe and the GoFundMe, Mousseau believes Bighetty will be off the streets and in a hotel this week — a transitional step to finding a permanent home. 

For the artist, he says it’s all a bit overwhelming, but he’s enjoying the positive support and says that he’s going to continue making art.

“I’ve been through it all. I’ve seen it. I’ve been in and out, and … because of my art work, it’s keeping me grounded,” Bighetty said.

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Best Art Books of 2020 – The New York Times



The long stretches of pandemic lockdown this year have afforded the chance to spend as much time reading about art as looking at it, which may account for the number of text-intensive recommendations on our lists. At the same time, with access to “live” art still limited, images on the pages of some books below will let you create your own private museums-at-home, and they’ll be pretty glorious. — Holland Cotter

Clockwise from top left: Félix Vallotton’s “The Charge” and  Matisse’s “Interior With a Young Girl (Girl Reading)” from “Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde”; “Metaschema II” (1958), Hélio Oiticica, from “Abstract Art: A Global History”; a drawing by Eva Hesse; Peter Saul’s “Master Room (Hide a Bed)”; the cover of Duro Olowu’s “Seeing.”
Credit…Clockwise from top left: The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Larry Aldrich Fund; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Museu de Arte Contemporâne da Universidade de São Paulo; Allen Memorial Art Museum; Peter Saul / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Prestel

‘PETER SAUL: PROFESSIONAL ARTIST CORRESPONDENCE, 1945-1976’ Edited by Dan Nadel (Bad Dimension Press)

Epistolary autobiographies are possible only if one writes letters often and well — like the maverick painter Peter Saul. This book contains over 100 letters from his correspondence with his parents and his first dealer, Allan Frumkin, whom he met in Paris in 1960. Both sets of letters are equally “professional,” in that they are smart, heartfelt reports from the studio about his progress, his place in the art world and his desire for success. Frumkin’s commitment jump-started Saul’s career. Two days after they met, the artist wrote to his parents about the dealer: “He said that it’s almost impossible to disappoint him except by dropping dead.”

Credit…Esopus Books

‘MODERN ARTIFACTS’ By Michelle Elligott & Tod Lippy (Esopus Books)

In 2006 Tod Lippy, an artist and editor, invited Michelle Elligott, chief of the Museum of Modern Art’s fabled archives, to write a column on some aspect of its holdings for his just-founded magazine, Esopus. This she did for each of its 18 issues, until 2018. All are republished here, with actual-size reproductions of telegrams, photographs, carbon copies of letters (remember those?), newspaper clippings and an early V.I.P. guestbook. Foldout facsimiles include Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s sketches for his famous chart of modernist art movements. Mixed with these are new projects by six contemporary artists — Mary Ellen Carroll, Rhea Karam, Mary Lum, Clifford Owens, Michael Rakowitz and Paul Ramirez Jonas — that illuminate additional aspects of the archive, revealing their contemporary implications.

‘ABSTRACT ART: A GLOBAL HISTORY’ By Pepe Karmel (Thames & Hudson)

This large coffee table/art history book announces its singularity with its cover, a painting by Hilma af Klint, whose recently rediscovered achievement upended the history of modernist abstraction. A herculean effort, it reproduces the efforts of over 200 artists from all seven continents, usually with sharp capsule discussions. It provocatively divides abstraction according to subject matter (the body, the cosmos, landscape, architecture), increasing its accessibility. The book’s inclusions and theories can be debated, but it sets a standard for future efforts.

‘FÉLIX FÉNÉON: THE ANARCHIST AND THE AVANT-GARDE’ By Starr Figura, Isabelle Cahn, and Philippe Peltier (Museum of Modern Art)

This unusual exhibition was devoted not to an artist, but to a workaholic polymath: an anarchist. art critic, publisher, editor, collector and art dealer. He was an important early admirer of the Pointillist Georges Seurat and also of African sculpture. This catalog examines the facets of his many activities, one readable essay at a time. The result is an up-close portrait of the overlapping cultural spheres of fin de siècle Paris, seen from a new and telling perspective.

‘EVA HESSE: OBERLIN DRAWINGS’ Edited by Barry Rosen (Hauser & Wirth)

When the Eva Hesse died at 34 in 1970, she left behind an influential body of sculpture as well as a mass of drawings and works on paper whose extent is sumptuously revealed by this monumental volume. It reproduces more than 350 examples, almost all given to the museum over the years by the artist’s sister, Helen Hesse Charash. Ranging from 1952 to 1970, they include art-school figure drawings, adaptations of older artists’ styles and sketches for her canonical late works. Altogether, they indicate how Hesse achieved so much so quickly: She started young and never let up.

‘DURO OLOWU: SEEING’ Edited by Naomi Beckwith (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago/DelMonico Books/Prestel)

This impressive little volume is a catalog of the exhibition “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago,” organized for the Museum of Contemporary Art by the Nigerian-born fashion designer and self-taught curator, with nearly everything selected from the city’s museums and private collections. But it is equally a handbook to Mr. Olowu’s extraordinary interdisciplinary, multicultural curatorial sensibility, first revealed in his gallery-like London boutique, where he surrounded his designs with all manner of jewelry, art, craft and vintage photographs, records and magazines. The works in the show are similarly diverse, triangulated among several generations of creators in the United States, Europe and Africa. The book reproduces many of them in a deliberately compressed format — without borders, often seen in close-up and sometimes overlaid with additional images. They invite the close observation that is Mr. Olowu’s modus operandi.

Credit…Eli Leon Bequest

‘ROSIE LEE TOMPKINS: A RETROSPECTIVE’ By Elaine Y. Yau, Lawrence Rinder and Horace Ballard (University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive)

The catalog to the first retrospective of the quilt-artist Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936-2006) is essential to familiarity with the achievements of superlative 20th-century artists who never set foot in the art world. Lavishly illustrated, it features three excellent essays and traces the extraordinary visual range of the quilts, which can resemble found-object collages, consist entirely of glowing velvets; or elevate double-knit polyester and vintage clothing. Tompkins — who also made assemblages — transformed everything she touched with her improvisatory piecing and unerring sense of color, composition and scale. In the still-unfolding field of African-American quilt-making, she has no equal.

Credit…Clockwise from top left: Duke University Press Durham and London 2020; Reel Art Press; Kerry James Marshall and Phaidon, “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” by Nicole R. Fleetwood; siglio

‘SAHEL: ART AND EMPIRES ON THE SHORES OF THE SAHARA’ By Alisa LaGamma (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Sahel derives from the Arabic word for shore or coast. It was the name given by traders crossing the oceanic Sahara to the welcoming grasslands that marked the desert’s southern rim, terrain that includes modern Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. On the evidence of art from the region, the culture early travelers encountered must have looked bewildering, rich and strange. It still does in this Met book, the catalog for the most beautiful exhibition of the 2020 season.

‘LATINX ART: ARTISTS, MARKETS, AND POLITICS’ By Arlene Dávila (Duke University Press). The marketing of modern and contemporary art from Latin America is one of the success stories of the globalist decades, giving a once-niche interest a presence in big North American museums. Exactly the opposite is true of Latinx art, loosely defined as work made by artists of Latin American birth or descent who live primarily in the United States. That lack of institutional support is dictated by the politics of class, economics and race, the cultural anthropologist Arlene Dávila argues in this important broadside of a book.

Credit…Mauritshuis, The Hague.

‘WOMEN, ART, AND SOCIETY’ By Whitney Chadwick (Thames & Hudson). Whitney Chadwick’s fact-packed critical survey of art by women was a monument in the field of feminist Western art history when it first appeared in 1990, and an important corrective to centuries of neglect. In its newly released and updated reissue, it’s bigger than ever and still foundational, a bible. Ms. Chadwick’s protest-scholarship finds a boots-in-the-street counterpart in the work of the Guerrilla Girls, a fluid band of anonymous, ape-masked female artists who’ve been visually and verbally calling out art-world misogyny since the late 1980s, as documented in the visually lively ‘GUERRILLA GIRLS: THE ART OF BEHAVING BADLY’ By the Guerrilla Girls (Chronicle Books).

‘MARKING TIME: ART IN THE AGE OF MASS INCARCERATION’ By Nicole R. Fleetwood (Harvard University Press). The United States has the largest population of captive human beings on the planet, some 2.5 million, in a prison-industrial complex that constitutes a punitive universe walled off the larger world. What takes place behind those walls? Deprivation and cruelty, but also art, as we learn from this absorbing book that serves as a companion piece for a remarkable group show of the same title at MoMA PS1 (through April 4, 2021).

‘QUEER COMMUNION: RON ATHEY’ Edited by Amelia Jones and Andy Campbell (Intellect). “Exhibitionists shall inherit the earth,” wrote the pioneering performance artist and Jesse Helms whipping-boy Ron Athey, who has secured a place in the history books for his physically, psychologically and politically extreme body-centered work. This substantial book, a companion volume to a career survey set to open at Participant Inc in January, includes tributes by devoted colleagues but is most engaging as a compendium of Mr. Athey’s own writing, much of it autobiographical. Whether he’s speaking as an ex-Pentecostal, a punk rocker, a porn magazine columnist, an H.I.V. positive gay activist or a mentor to generations of queer nonconformists, he’s a bracing read, and never more so than when he’s playing, shock-jock style, with ethical fire.

‘GRIEF AND GRIEVANCE: ART AND MOURNING IN AMERICA’ Conceived by Okwui Enwezor (Phaidon). Up to his death in 2019, the Nigerian-born curator Okwui Enwezor was working on a group exhibition he described as a response to the wave of “politically orchestrated white grievance” sweeping the United States and “the crystallization of Black grief” it produced. The catalog for the show (scheduled to open in January at the New Museum) is a prescient document of a continuing condition, and a tribute to Mr. Enwezor and the canon of Black artists he helped to shape.

Credit…Danny Lyon

‘THE DESTRUCTION OF LOWER MANHATTAN,’ by Danny Lyon (Aperture). ‘GODLIS STREETS’ (Reel Art Press). Late in a year that has seen New York City simultaneously surviving a pandemic and an emptying-out come two blast-from-the-past photography books that take the distressed city as a subject. Aperture has reissued Danny Lyon’s anguished 1960s pictorial record of the demolition of 19th-century buildings in the Wall Street area in the name of “urban renewal.” And from Reel Art Press come pictures of the recession-tattered Manhattan of the 1970s and ’80s by the vigilant street photographer David Godlis. Mr. Lyon’s pictures are mostly of buildings, Mr. Godlis’s mostly of people. In both cases, the New York they captured is gone, just as surely as the one we knew at the beginning of 2020.

Holiday Stocking-Stuffer:

‘FROG POND SPLASH: COLLAGES BY RAY JOHNSON WITH TEXTS BY WILLIAM S. WILSON’ Edited by Elizabeth Zuba (Siglio). The artist Ray Johnson (1927-1995) and the writer William S. Wilson (1932-2016) were decades-long friends — soul mates really is the word — and comparably skilled acrobats of images and words. This lovely little book pairs well-known collages by Johnson, the inventor of Mail Art, with little known writing on him by Wilson, and it’s a serious pleasure, just the thing to light up a dark-early, late-year night.

Credit…Clockwise from top left: Takay and Damiani Editore; Musée du Louvre / Gérard Rondeau; The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of Artworkers Retirement Society; Takay and Damiani Editore; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

‘RAPHAEL 1520-1483’ Edited by Marzia Faietti and Matteo Lafranconi (Skira). There’s no 2020 show I regret missing more than this one in Rome, the largest Raphael retrospective ever. As the title indicates, both exhibition and catalog proceed in reverse chronological order. From the epic funeral procession after Raphael’s death on his 37th birthday, we rewind through his indelible portraits of the Medici pope Leo X and the courtier Baldassare Castiglione, past his grand “School of Athens,” to his first, hesitant figure studies in Urbino. This a posteriori saga gives us a refreshed Raphael, whose psychological acuity feels newly approachable.

‘FLUENCE: THE CONTINUANCE OF YOHJI YAMAMOTO’ By Takay (Damiani). Long resident in London and New York, the Japanese photographer Takay returned home to shoot this profoundly beautiful book, documenting three decades of experimental tailoring by the designer Yohji Yamamoto. Takay’s subjects trail Mr. Yamamoto’s black gowns and suits through undistinguished Tokyo streets; the fashion portraits alternate with images of birds on a power line or Shinjuku at midnight, shot in the grainy black-and-white style called are-bure-boke (“rough, blurred and out-of-focus”). Posing alongside the professional models are several titans of Japanese culture: the actress Rie Miyazawa, fragile and rumpled in a polka-dot gown from 1999; the theater director Yukio Ninagawa, pensive in a thick wool jacket; and even Daido Moriyama, the godfather of postwar Japanese photography, whose portrait here in a three-quarter-length overcoat embodies estranged Tokyo cool.

ARTEMISIA’ Edited by Letizia Treves (National Gallery, London/Yale). “I will show Your Illustrious Lordship what a woman can do,” Artemisia Gentileschi told a Sicilian client in 1649 — and indeed, this Baroque painter put herself on the front lines of her dramatic tableaux. This catalog’s new scholarship reveals how Gentileschi blended self-portraiture and allegory, in paintings of herself as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, or in her gruesome “Judith Beheading Holofernes,” painted just after the notorious trial of the fellow artist who raped her. There is much more to Gentileschi than the violence she depicted: This book also reproduces recently discovered letters to a lover, swearing, “I am yours as long as I draw breath.”

‘THE PEOPLE SHALL GOVERN! MEDU ART ENSEMBLE AND THE ANTI-APARTHEID POSTER’ Edited by Antawan I. Byrd and Felicia Mings (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale). In the years after the Soweto Uprising of 1976, South Africa’s townships were papered with bold agitprop whose pared-down imagery came with a promise: This country would soon be free. They were the work of Medu (whose name means “roots” in Sesotho), a multiracial coalition of more than 60 artists who fought for the liberation of South Africa through screen prints and lithographs, printed in Botswana and smuggled over the border. This book assembles nearly all the surviving specimens, and should offer young artists a model of collective authorship and political engagement.

‘THE LOUVRE: THE HISTORY, THE COLLECTIONS, THE ARCHITECTURE’ By Genevieve Bresc-Bautier, photographed by Gérard Rondeau (Rizzoli). It’s not only Europe’s greatest museum; the Louvre is also a palace, upon which France’s kings, revolutionaries, emperors and presidents have projected visions of power and nationhood. Visit without the crowds or the jet lag with this sumptuous volume, whose 600 pages let you scrutinize the woodwork of Henri II’s bedroom, the gold of Louis XIV’s Galerie d’Apollon, the glass of I.M. Pei’s pyramid. The pleasure of this book comes from narrating the Louvre’s history as residence and museum together, and photographing the whole collection in situ.

Credit…Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nüremberg

‘VAN EYCK’ Edited by Maximiliaan Martens et al. (Thames & Hudson). His crystalline panels of saints and burghers are so accomplished they can feel unassailable — and so does this hefty volume, the catalog of the largest Jan Van Eyck show ever staged (at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium). It concentrates on the altarpiece he and his brother Hubert painted in the 1420-30s, whose recent restoration laid bare the optical innovations that fueled his unprecedented naturalism. Nothing can replace seeing these too-perfect panels in person, but this book, printed by the masters at Die Keure press in Bruges, comes pretty close. (Read more about the show.)

‘GENEALOGIES OF ART, OR THE HISTORY OF ART AS VISUAL ART’ Edited by Manuel Fontán del Junco, José Lebrero Stals and María Zozaya Álvarez (Fundación Juan March). In 1936, MoMA’s first director Alfred H. Barr Jr. drew a famous diagram of modern art’s development, with arrows leading from Cézanne to Cubism, thence to de Stijl and Dada, and triumphantly to abstraction. This catalog for an ingenious exhibition in Madrid arranges dozens of modernist paintings, plus African sculpture and Japanese woodblocks, in the exact order Barr mapped them — revealing the ambitions, and also limitations, of a teleological art history. It also presents other efforts, from the 17th century to today, to chart painterly styles; these family trees and flow charts turn art history from a science of images to an image itself.

‘CRITICAL ZONES: THE SCIENCE AND POLITICS OF LANDING ON EARTH’ Edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (MIT/ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe). Climate change should furnish to art what Galileo delivered to theology: a definitive rupture of where we think we stand. The giant catalog for this German exhibition unites philosophers, scientists, historians and artists (from Caspar David Friedrich to Sarah Sze) to re-anchor art inside a constantly transforming ecosystem. The old “Blue Marble” won’t cut it; we need new methods of depicting Earth and its landscapes that account for our codependency with all species. After all, as the editors write, aesthetics is “what renders one sensitive to the existence of other ways of life.”

Credit…Clockwise from top left: Pluto Press; Shahidul Alam; Pluto Press; Shahidul Alam; Pluto Press; Mark Blower and ICA London

‘THE BRUTISH MUSEUMS: THE BENIN BRONZES, COLONIAL VIOLENCE AND CULTURAL RESTITUTION’ By Dan Hicks (Pluto Press). The Benin Bronzes, shorthand for thousands of objects looted in the British sacking of Benin City in 1897, epitomize the violence at the core of anthropological collections and in their continued display. A curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University, Dan Hicks casts an unflinching eye on his institution’s history and the prevarications of museums today that deflect mounting calls for restitution with offers of loans, partnerships, or updated wall text. Time’s up, he insists. Restitution will not diminish museums; quite the contrary, Hicks argues, it is key to their renewal. If you care about museums and the world, read this book.

‘THE TIDE WILL TURN’ By Shahidul Alam; edited by Vijay Prashad (Steidl). The eminent Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam was jailed for more than three months in 2018 for denouncing the repression of protesters. Released after a mobilization of local and foreign support, he reflects here on his prison experience and a life of fighting for justice (for laborers, survivors of gender violence, Indigenous groups, and others) through image and deed. Some of his finest pictures illustrate the text, as do his selections of noteworthy images by other Bangladeshi photographers. Solidarity and integrity reign, along with tenacious optimism, expressed in a heartfelt exchange of letters with the writer-activist Arundhati Roy. (Read about his current exhibition.)


‘GLITCH FEMINISM: A MANIFESTO’ By Legacy Russell (Verso). “This book is for those who are en route to becoming their avatars,” writes Legacy Russell, a dynamic curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem who celebrates the glitch, the slippage that makes machinery malfunction, as a portal to escape the gender binary and social control of the body. Grounded in theory (from Edouard Glissant to Donna Haraway) but a fast, percussive read, her text is also a guide to the growing field of art practices — notably driven by Black and queer creators —- that dissolve the boundary between “internet art” and physical performance, activism and community-building. “Glitch refuses,” she titles one chapter; it also “ghosts,” “encrypts,” but “mobilizes,” and most of all — this is a theory of liberation — “survives.”

‘ROAD THROUGH MIDNIGHT: A CIVIL RIGHTS MEMORIAL’ By Jessica Ingram (University of North Carolina Press). Around 2005, the photographer Jessica Ingram began visiting sites of racial terror in the Deep South — some famous, like the Mississippi town where the young civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were killed in 1964, but others barely known beyond their immediate communities. She went quietly, returned over the years, and eventually reached out to descendants, whose interviews, along with news clippings and legal files, accompany her photographs of these rural locations. Ms. Ingram is white, and careful and candid about her implication; she is also Southern, and highly tuned to how the land — more than any statue or marker — carries memory.

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Instructor has students looking beyond the screen to create physical art – The B.C. Catholic



As the world undergoes incredible challenges in the midst of COVID-19, Sarah Matossian, art department head and instructor at Little Flower Academy in Vancouver, has risen to the occasion and found success encouraging her students to create physical art, as she continues to provide a project-based curriculum for her students.

Instead of digital art assignments, she has her students create hands-on art projects in their own spaces at home and document them online.

Little Flower Academy was faced with the shutdown in late March, just as students were about to return after spring break. The school quickly transitioned to teaching on Zoom and through the school website.

“Overnight, our world has been forced to depend on screens even more than usual,” Matossian said. “This is the reality that’s out there, and I didn’t want to just be swept away in that thunderous current. My students were already overwhelmed by social media and screen time for so many hours of the day before the pandemic, and I was seeing the negative effects of this then. So I asked myself, how can I help my students look beyond the screen? How can I guide them to continue to interact with the physical world and to be creative without becoming even more dependent on screens?”

While planning her curriculum, Matossian’s goal was to engage her students without completely depending on a screen.

“This has been wonderful. It is so critical for our mental health, as well as our physical and emotional well being to keep being creative during challenging times. In addition to painting, sculpting and drawing, it’s quite remarkable how many of my students have been choosing to return to pastimes of old, such as embroidery and crochet. They have been re-purposing and redesigning clothing and sneakers, embroidering atop old photographs, and enjoying the slow and careful process of these ‘old-fashioned’ creative methods. They’ve been telling me how it’s been so enjoyable for them and how much better they feel when they engage in this process.”

“Since we can’t meet as a physical community, the presentation of art is where I decided to make our biggest pivot,” Matossian said. “We showcase projects through photography and video, and also share during our Zoom classes.”

Prior to the start of the pandemic, Matossian’s art students exhibited their projects during their annual art show for friends, family and community members.

Additionally, the halls of Little Flower Academy rival art galleries in Vancouver with more than 700 art pieces on display, which according to Matossian “help our student artists feel a sense of pride and bring colour and life to each hallway of our school.”

Matossian said she and her students often visit Ronald McDonald House to do face painting and lead crafts for children who are undergoing treatment at B.C. Children’s Hospital next door. I

“It’s a special way to give back to our community and try to spread joy during difficult times. Art brings us together in such a meaningful way. Over the years, when a few of our students and staff faced life-threatening health concerns, such as cancer, having my students make artist trading cards for them was a way to share encouragement and messages of hope.”

Matossian began her relationship with the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising when she invited the institute to share classroom workshops at Little Flower Academy. Her classes enjoy watching the DEBUT Runway Show and learning about creative careers. 

Inspired by institute, Matossian led her students in classroom projects such as unconventional material dresses on mannequins, creating shoe sculptures, fashion drawings, and jewelry design, to name a few. Matossian also believes her students who attended the institute’s 3 Days of Fashion Summer Program had their eyes opened to the possibilities of a career in creative fields.

“They have returned excited and feeling more empowered about pursuing their creative passions,” said Matossian.

Article courtesy of FIDM. Reprinted with permission.

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This weekend is a perfect time to Hop into the Arts District – OrilliaMatters



Well folks we are moving into December and the holiday season and Christmas events are coming up fast here in O-town! Lots of opportunities to support local artisans, creatives, and businesses in your Christmas shopping and events.

First off, Mariposa Arts Theatre’s production of The Christmas Tree is still playing at the Orillia Opera House, Thursday to Sunday until Dec. 6. There are both matinee and evening shows, and audience members are limited to 50 and seated socially distanced in the large Gordon Lightfoot auditorium.

This is a lighthearted yet poignant Norm Foster show that will be sure to put you in the holiday mood. Members of the Orillia Silver Band will also be playing holiday music for your enjoyment. For tickets, click here.

The Orillia Arts District is hosting a Holiday Art Hop this Friday night from 5 to 8 p.m. and this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All the galleries along Peter St. S. will be open with special guest artists and beautiful one-of-a kind art and gifts for you to buy.

Hibernation Arts has a special arts draw going on for this event. Anyone who spends $50 on art there is entered into a draw for a special arts goodie bag…so get in and get spending! Many of the galleries have great ideas for gift giving, including soaps, coasters, cards, mini works of art, purses, pillows and more. Come and see what Orillia’s arts district has in store for you this Friday and Saturday.

This Saturday and every Saturday until Christmas, both the Orillia Farmers’ Market and the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market have special Christmas markets happening.

Full of Christmas tasty treats and cheer and excellent locally-made Christmas presents to be bought and enjoyed. The Orillia Farmers’ Market downtown also has two special Christmas markets on Wed. Dec. 16 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for your last-minute Christmas shopping.

Of course, this Friday is Black Friday and many stores downtown and about town have Black Friday sales and events happening. As well, many stores in downtown Orillia are open until 7 p.m. Friday nights, until Christmas, to help you with your Christmas shopping. And parking is free in the downtown lots!

Please please support our locally-owned and operated, independent stores and restaurants here in town, on Black Friday, this holiday season, and throughout the year.

They are hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and we all want them to still be here at the end of this terrible pandemic. Winter season, after Christmas, is a hard time for them every year, so let’s make sure they all have good Christmas sales to tide them through. Please help if you can.

Hip Chick Design is having a Pop Up Shop from Dec. 1 to 13 at Creative Nomad Studios. Beth McKean will be having lots of her talented maker friends join her in this one-stop-shop for Christmas, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

Rustica Pizza Vino is having an outdoor Christmas market, featuring some of your favourite independent makers and creatives, Friday, Dec. 4 and 11, from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Shop safely outside in a beautiful setting and enjoy some mulled wine and dessert pizza too.

Does creating put you in the holiday spirit? Then there are some upcoming workshops that you will enjoy! Craig Mainprize is hosting a landscape painting workshop on Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. at Creative Nomad Studios. You will be safely seated with your household bubble, or socially distanced, so come check out this awesome workshop and learn from this accomplished landscape painter. For tickets click here.

Creative Nomad Studios is also the home of a wreath making workshop on Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. with Elegance of Nature Floral Design. This is your chance to tap into your creative side and come home with a beautiful decoration for your front door. This will put you in the holiday spirit for sure. For tickets, click here.

And, on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., also at Creative Nomad Studios, come enjoy a Paint Night with local artist Dale Duncan. The painting is entitled A Frosty Eve, and the workshop is designed for painters and non-painters alike, so come with your enthusiasm and holiday spirit and take part. Tickets are available here.

Storytelling Orillia is hosting a Legendary Kitchen Party, online on Nov. 29, with great stories and music, to celebrate Canadian Storytelling Day. For more information and for the link to participate, email

If you are looking to have a festive family photo taken this year, Streets Alive Productions is again hosting a Merry Streets Alive Christmas, where you can have your photo taken by local photog Deb Halbot and collect a beautiful hand painted Christmas ornament as well. There are two dates for this fun opportunity. Dec. 5 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. the event will be outside The Eclectic Café and Dec. 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. it will be in the Peter Street Arts District.

Of course, all of these fun lead up to the holiday events can only happen if Simcoe Muskoka stays in the orange zone for Ontario, regarding Covid-19. It is up to all of us to wear our masks, wash our hands, social distance and do NOT hang out with multiple people, unmasked, in private homes. That is a prime way this virus is spreading. Please, for the sake of our business owners, creatives, makers, and our friends and neighbours, stay safe and follow the guidelines. Let’s make sure we stay in the orange zone for the holidays. Take care.

And last minute, the award recipients for the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards are announced Wed. Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. on the Orillia Museum of Art and History YouTube channel, here. It starts at 7 p.m. and will be available after that time. Enjoy!

Please send your arts news to by Tuesday at noon to be included.

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