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Jeff Morton named director of Godfrey Dean Art Gallery – Yorkton This Week



The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery has hired a new director. Saskatchewan artist and composer Jeff Morton will take the position of director at the gallery starting Oct. 1.

Morton has a long history of working in the arts, and has worked with organizations and galleries across Canada, including the Canada Council for the Arts, Saskatchewan Arts Board, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Dunlop Art Gallery, Neutral Ground Artist Run Centre, New Dance Horizons, Curtain Razors, the Art Gallery of Regina, Holophon Audio Arts, Open Space, CARFAC SASK, and the University of Victoria, among others.

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“I’m coming to this job as an arts professional working in music, experimental sound, sound art and media art… Self-employed for the last three years, working for a consultant and project manager for various organizations and individuals… Before that I lived in Ottawa for six years, and I worked for the Canada Council for the Arts, which gave me quite an education into how different organizations, groups and collectives find a way through in the context of an arts ecology that isn’t particularly funded.”

Morton believes that history is what the gallery responded to, because it gave him a background in grant writing, planning and organizing.

He views his own work as part of what he wants to do with the gallery, trying to reach out and get the community on board

“My artistic practice is largely about community engagement, getting people to make music together, making sound art, I do a lot of workshops, field recordings and before COVID hit I had a few gigs across Canada and in Reading in the UK, getting people to make music in creative ways with improvisation and composition techniques… I’ll be able to translate that to some new creative ways of engaging youth and adults as well in outreach and workshops, I’ve got a few ideas for that.”

Morton is new to Yorkton, though he has been in the city before, and he said that his first step as Director is going to be to start talking to people, including to everyone on the local Arts Board, to see what they want to see, what they believe the art gallery should emphasize, and what is working already.

“I don’t want to parachute into the city and presume I know where to steer this thing. It’s about finding the people who are already doing the work, are already cultural leaders, who are already champions of the arts in the local area, and how to bring them together how to learn from them, and how to find connections in the community that I can emphasize through the space that the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery has.

One of the things that he said that the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery has an extensive track record with is outreach, and he wants to continue to put an emphasis on outreach, workshops and classes as he steps into the role of Director. However, a lot of the work they had been doing is not possible with COVID-19, so he’s looking at how they can adapt that outreach to online. Morton has experience in that field, and has produced online projects with Victoria-based collective of-the-now, including Decolonial Imaginings (

The gallery is in the first year of a pilot project in the smaller of the two galleries, using it as a commercial space to promote local artists and sell their work. Morton said that he intends to really push that forward for the remainder of the pilot, and continue to push that forward. He said that they want to emphasize the commercial gallery space especially in the Christmas season.

“Myself, growing up as the son of two potters, I really did live the life of seeing how the arts become something that is for sale.”

Morton has a history in music and sound, and when asked he sees potential for the Gallery to be a host of a variety of performances, especially given the Land Titles Building and its unique sonic properties.

“It is a way to get large groups of people out. The way that galleries are, more than ever, emphasizing community engagement, and our role in the community, having events that bring people out at the same time is important. A gallery exhibition is not less important, but they bring out people more disparately… I think the capacity for poetry readings, theatrical works, artists talks as well as music and sound, I think there’s lots of potential there.”

But he emphasizes that any performance plans will wait until he’s got a better idea of the community, which reaches back to his first duty, which will be talking to the community as a whole, and finding ways to get local musicians and artists involved.

“I feel a bit of a hesitation to program things simply because I think they’re cool or meaningful without knowing what the connection is with the community.”

He also believes that an art gallery is a great place for a local musician to perform, as it’s a different context from something like a bar or a larger show.

The focus on responding to the community comes from a philosophy that Morton adopted at the Canada Council for the Arts. He said that when he started, he was asked why grants were important, and he said it was to help artists pay rent, and make a living. He soon realized that while it helped the artists, it was really about how the art itself benefits people.

“The reason that we as a society decide to support the arts is because it benefits everybody. You can’t really have an art gallery that is niche, that is its own little clique, that just serves itself… A gallery like the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery serves the entire community, and without that holistic and inclusive approach it just doesn’t function the way it is intended to.”

By pure coincidence, Morton will introduce himself to Yorkton with a show of his own work next month at the gallery. He said that he had been in talks with the former director, Don Stein who has since retired, about doing the show for a couple years, and it was originally scheduled for earlier this year before COVID-19.

“The timing is a bit funny in a sense, but the exhibition has nothing to do with me as director of the gallery… But it will be a fun way to introduce myself.”

The work comes from a residency Morton had with the Conseil culturel fransaskois, Saskatchewan’s French-language arts council. Through the residency, he developed work that is sound and image based, which he describes as a bit abstract. They are treatments of vintage stereoscopic view master slides.  

“It’s very much an improvisatory kind of artistic practice, where abstract images are coming together in a playful way. There is a cliche or nostalgic element because of the way those view masters look… It’s basically 2020, I’ve been fortunate to have a home and studio, but I’m basically stuck there. These art pieces are predominantly wooden boxes that you look inside of and you see these images. You look around inside there, it’s not possible to see the entire image all at once, and for me this became a reflective process. It reminded me of being a kid and exploring view masters and stereoscopic things with wonder. And it also really brought home for me my experience of living in a box myself, and not really able to go out and about and see people in the same way. Having to go inside my imagination and find an inner world that would be, not a replacement for, but a functional assistance for dealing with the isolation that came with COVID.

He said that it will be healing for people to be able to go to the art gallery again, and that the Godfrey Dean has a good plan for keeping people safe, but he admits that he’s a little bit nervous about having an exhibition coming out of COVID.

“We’re still, as a province, a little on-edge, and art galleries are not the front line of this fight against COVID. We could talk to our teachers who would have a few more things to say about that.”

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NYC Startup Maireann Makes Fine Art Collections More Accessible – The Ritz Herald



Maireann is a New York-based Fine Art marketplace that sells top-quality signed and limited edition prints. They launched on August 15, 2020. The fine art prints they sell are targeted at consumers desiring to purchase high-value art but cannot afford outrageously-expensive collections. Maireann wants to ultimately make quality art that will appreciate in value more readily available.

Nebulous I – Photographed by Mario De La Isla. Yosemite National Park, California, 2015

“Maireann helps photographers survive and make a living, especially during these trying times,” exclaimed Creative Director Freddie Leiba who’s worked with some of the top names in art and fashion like Andy Warhol, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson, Joseph Chen, Helmut Newton, Horst P. Horst, and Francesco Scavullo to name a few. “I’ve seen many Photographers struggle to find a good marketplace to sell to art collectors,” added Leiba, ” Maireann helps solve this problem.”

Says New York Fashion Photographer Joseph Chen, “The series Forme Féminine et Sensualité is an ongoing study I have been working on and off for the last 10 years, it revolves around the intricate relationship between sensuality and the female form. Maireann is a great platform to share my work to the world, it also gives me the opportunity to do what I feel, which is sometimes hard to do on commissioned advertising jobs.” Supermodel Megan Irminger, who worked with Chen over the years, adds, “I think it’s a beautiful piece illustrating the light that women bring to this world.” The series Forme Féminine et Sensualité by Chen is sold exclusively with Maireann.

Maireann accomplishes their mission by lowering the cost of the art to the consumer while offering a majority of the sales price to the artist. Maireann keeps a very low percentage of each print sold in comparison to other marketplaces. Maireann even offers free shipping on all orders $200 and above.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Maireann to sell my photography,” added photographer Mario De La Isla. “Previously, I’ve struggled to find buyers who would appreciate my limited-edition prints. But with the help of Maireann, I’m able to focus more on creating art than worrying about selling my work.” De La Isla is a veteran photographer for National Geographic.

Lastly, Maireann is currently on the lookout for artists that they, themselves, bring a unique point of view, to help showcase fresh exceptional talent to the art world.

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New art piece in Lacombe acknowledges roots of the land and reconciliation –



“It is a metal sculpture of two rough grouse, with two logs; the female is sitting on one log and the male is landing at the end of the other,” explains Maureen MacKenzie, community services executive assistant with The City of Lacombe. “It was created to represent the affinity between rough grouse, but also that people have for one another. It also represents the two communities and local First Nations.”

According to a release, grouse was an imported food source for settlers and Indigenous peoples when bison populations dwindled across the prairies. The piece also pays homage to settler and Indigenous communities living and working together across Canada’s west.

MacKenzie adds The City had a robust anti-racism program planned earlier this year, but once again COVID-19 caused its postponement. The program was meant for large groups and would’ve included the blanket exercise, a 60s Scoop exhibition, and other workshops.

“The last census in 2016 indicated we have over 800 residents of Lacombe who are Indigenous, which is almost 10 per cent of our population, so it’s really important we show we’re willing to walk the walk,” MacKenzie says. “We as a city want to embrace all of our cultures, and in this instance, with truth and reconciliation in mind, our plan is to host those workshops eventually, and that’s our way of saying we’re taking action on inclusion and racism.”

‘Miweyihtowin’ was created at a cost of $18,000.

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North Dakota Museum of Art reopens Tuesday with launch of 'Art in Isolation' exhibition – Grand Forks Herald



The exhibition consists of assemblages of images submitted by artists and others in 35 countries around the world, including Portugal and Russia, as well as area communities, said Matthew Anderson, the museum’s director of education.

Last spring, museum staff members issued an online invitation to people asking them to submit images of how they were expressing their creativity during quarantine.

“Thousands of images started arriving from around the world …. The images describe an outpouring of creative expression,” said Anderson, adding that the pandemic has caused unanticipated change. “Change also fuels creativity, and that is what the North Dakota Museum of Art brought to light.”

As part of the launch of the “Art in Isolation” exhibition, the museum is asking visitors to donate a nonperishable food item to give to those in need and place it in drop boxes in the entry. Anyone who is in need may pick up a food item after viewing the exhibition; all remaining items will be donated to local food banks.

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The exhibition runs through Oct. 7.

Other exhibitions include “Consequences,” with artwork by Lynne Allen, a descendant of the Hunkpapa band of the Lakota on Standing Rock. In the late 1990s, after reading the journals of her great-grandmother, Josephine Waggoner, Allen began making objects that reflect the culture in those writings. These objects were crafted from paper, cut and stitched to shape and lacquered with shellac or from recycled vellum printed with images copied from Waggoner’s journals.

The museum is presenting more than 20 major prints by Allen, an internationally known printmaker, Anderson said.

The “Celebration” exhibition features artwork from the museum’s permanent collection, including Julie Buffalohead’s “Stolen Sisters,” a 4-by-18-foot, mural-sized acquisition that anchors the show. It illustrates the use of acrylic paint, ink, graphite and collage, applied to Nepalese Lokta paper, which has been used in Nepal since the 12th century to write epic tales, print mantra for use in prayer wheels and religious texts chanted by Buddhist monks.

The museum, located on the UND campus, south of Twamley Hall, has been closed to the public since mid-March when the national public health emergency, due to the spread of COVID-19, was declared.

When the facility reopens, new hours will be from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays.

The museum will be following CDC guidelines and working with UND officials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Anderson said. Visitors will be required to wear face masks and encouraged to practice social distancing.

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