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Keyano holds first public feedback meeting on planned art centre – Fort McMurray Today



Community members look at plans for the art centre project at Keyano College on Thursday, January 30, 2020. Laura Beamish/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Keyano College launched its first public engagement session with residents over its upcoming art gallery and theatre project on Thursday evening.

Dozens of people visited Keyano Theatre to ask questions and learn about the project. Set up in the theatre’s lobby were artistic renderings of the spaces, floorplans and a screen that allowed people to explore the facility digitally.

Once built, the facility will have upgraded and expanded the existing theatre, and turned an underused gymnasium into art studio spaces, a ceramics studio and an art gallery.

However, the project has been met with a polarizing reception because of its price tag. In November, council narrowly approved $16.85 million in funding during 2020 budget talks. Funding terms include quarterly updates, a legal review, investigating other funding sources and public consultations.

Mayor Don Scott and councillors Mike Allen, Bruce Inglis and Jane Stroud voted in favour of the project funding. Councillors Phil Meagher, Verna Murphy and Sheila Lalonde opposed. Councillors Krista Balsom, Claris Voyageur and Keith McGrath were absent from the meeting.

Since November, public opinion has also been split on the project. That split remained on Thursday evening.

Rick Oosterman, a Waterways resident, said he is not as opposed to the project as he first was after visiting the engagement session. He is impressed with the digital spaces planned for the new facility. However, he still feels the art gallery will be “dead space.”

“If they focus on that and do something spectacular, that’s going to wow people for the next 10 to 20 years, that’s money well spent,” he said. “But building a dead space art gallery is not going to wow anybody today, yesterday or tomorrow.”

He also said he doesn’t feel it’s fair public money should support something he predicts only a small portion of the population will use.

Fort McMurray resident Ashley Freimark said the project is needed in the community.

“I think the issue is people are thinking it’s just an art gallery. They’re not thinking of the studios and all the different opportunities it’s going to pose for students to be able to get into things like architecture or engineering,” she said. “Art covers a whole bunch of different things. It gives us the shelter over our heads, the cloths on our backs and without that then where would we really be.”

Community members gather at the public engagement session for the art centre project at Keyano College on Thursday, January 30, 2020. Laura Beamish/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Keyano president and CEO Trent Keough said he knows not everyone will agree with the project, but listening to both people who agree and disagree with the project can be beneficial. He is also hopeful the meetings will win over new supporters.

“In that listening, I think we’ll also gain insight into how we might be able to strengthen our project and actually move people from naysayers to supporters,” he said. “And some of them we may never move.”

In previous interviews, Keough has pointed out Keyano spends more than $2 million annually maintaining the space, which is used by 35,000 people each year. The college also has no theatre or performing arts programs.

The gallery’s goal is to revitalize Keyano’s small arts program, which was gutted in 2012, with a public space and attract fine-arts programming. Currently, the college only offers one arts design program.

A brochure at the Thursday evening session predicts the annual economic benefit of the arts centre will be approximately $6.4 million.

On Thursday, Keough said he hopes a transparent approach will help people gain confidence in the project.

“We’re not asking the question, ‘do we need or do we want the gallery’, that’s already been answered,” he said. “What we want people to look at are the design concepts and say we’re lacking something here, how does this resonate Wood Buffalo, this design doesn’t reflect the city of Fort McMurray.”

A rendering of the planned Keyano art gallery, sent to media by Keyano College on Tuesday, November 26, 2019.

Greg Bennett /

jpg, FM

Iris Kirschner, who sponsors the Kirschner Family Community Gallery at MacDonald Island Park, no longer lives full-time in Fort McMurray. She said during an interview earlier in the day that art galleries are important for communities, but questioned if this project would breathe life into its arts programs.

“I’m not sure an art gallery would be putting the cart before the horse. Do you have the programs in place before the art gallery or do you have the art gallery before you restore the programs,” she said. “I think that’s something I would be looking at and making sure my programs are already there.”

Florence Weber, the owner and manager of Points North Gallery, said she thinks the community needs the project.

“It’s long overdue, I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “Children who are exposed to art have a higher grade point average than otherwise and a better appreciation for the arts.”

The engagement session is one of multiple meetings being the college is hosting in coming months. The meetings will also include feedback from rural residents. Keough says the next meeting will be in Fort Chipewyan and the college is still setting up a date.

Community members can also fill out a survey on the Keyano College website.


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Habitat ReStore items find new life — as art — for Regina fundraiser – Regina Leader-Post



One of Wilf Perreault’s signature alleyways is among two dozen artworks being auctioned March 7 in a Habitat For Humanity Regina fundraiser.

Artist Justine Schlosser sits with a piece of her art at The Local Market in Regina. This piece will be auctioned during a Habitat for Humanity gala event.

BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post

When Habitat for Humanity first invited renowned Regina artist Wilf Perreault to paint a door for a fundraiser, he accepted and immediately took a trip to the ReStore.

Back then, doors were the required canvas for participating artists, and Perreault found a maple door to use as the frame for his auctioned-off piece.

Now — as reflected in the event’s title, Doors & More — items range from chairs to spoons to a unicycle to whatever else the ReStore has on hand. Even so, Perreault sticks with doors.

“It started a journey for me of playing with doors, like a whole new adventure of playing with a door as a starting point, as a frame actually,” said Perreault.

“It’s actually helped my other work too, in terms of composition.”

For this year’s event on March 7, Perreault is painting one of his signature alleyways, its pink-hued sky in honour of his wife Sandi and a friend’s wife, who both died from breast cancer.

Artist Wilf Perreault sits in his Regina studio, alongside the painting he made for the Habitat for Humanity Doors & More event.


Regina Leader-Post

Perreault’s piece is one of two dozen that will be auctioned to raise money for the non-profit Habitat For Humanity, which provides affordable housing in the community.

Kristin MacPherson isn’t usually drawn to doors. Last year, the artist chose a toolbox; this year, a vintage ironing board caught her eye.

“One of the things I really love about Habitat is the ability to walk in there and find something and just think ‘this item’s intriguing, and I don’t know where I’m going to go with it,’ and then the piece sort of becomes something,” said MacPherson.

She picked the 1940s ironing board even though she has thought all along, “I don’t really want to paint on this, because it’s so beautiful just as a piece.”

So, she’s creating a fabric collage — a fitting choice for its canvas — to be attached to the ironing board.

“It’s a bit of embroidery; I’m cutting fabrics and other materials like lace textures and things like that, and that sort of comes from my grandmother, because she was big on starching doilies and she ironed everything,” said MacPherson.

Artist Kristin MacPherson sits with a work-in-progress art piece, which will be auctioned during Doors & More.


Regina Leader-Post

Kristin MacPherson is using lace and embroidery in her art piece.


Regina Leader-Post

Meanwhile, Justine Schlosser chose a corkboard and some gold paint from the ReStore, and used them along with “just kind of whatever I could get my hands on.”

Her abstract painting is largely white, with metallics and small splashes of colour.

“I’ve never painted on a corkboard before and I always like to leave a little bit of the raw canvas kind of coming through, just very subtle hints of it, so that’s exactly what I did with this corkboard,” she said.

Schlosser is also participating in the new Battle of the Brushes, a live painting competition during Doors & More.

“I feel like I should be more nervous about it,” she said laughing.

She’s wondering how the 20-minute timeline will play out, since she usually paints in layers and likes to have them dry in between.

Artist Justine Schlosser sits with a piece of her art at The Local Market in Regina. This piece will be auctioned during a Habitat for Humanity gala event.


Regina Leader-Post

Twenty-some artists are represented in Doors & More, volunteering their time to create the artworks, and many of them attending the event.

“The thing that I love about Habitat is they include the artists in the whole process,” said MacPherson.

Perreault agreed.

“It feels like you’re on a team. And I just feel like I’m part of the whole project. Normally I work in a studio by myself and it doesn’t feel like a team thing sometimes. But I know the work I do is bigger than who I am, which is pretty cool,” he said.

Schlosser enjoys giving back; she said she donates to different community fundraisers each month.

“I just think it’s good to give back to community. If it wasn’t for our strong support here in Regina, I wouldn’t have a job doing what I love.”

Doors & More takes place at the Casino Regina Show Lounge on Saturday, March 7, 7 p.m. For tickets ($100), visit casinoregina.com or eventbrite.com.


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This lizard makes art that's raising money for Australia bushfire relief – CNN



The Argentine black and white tegu is owned by Sarah Curry, a graphic designer from Lansing, Michigan, who sells its artwork on Etsy. She has raised $2,000 in two weeks.
Curry told CNN she got the idea after she saw her local zoo do it and wondered if it would be safe for Winston. After checking with the veterinarian to get the right type of paint, she was ready to try.
“He walked in it and just started doing his thing and made a big mess,” Curry said.
Winston is 4 feet long, weighs 15 pounds, and was once owned by someone who couldn’t care for a lizard. Winston was in bad shape and dumped off in a box at The Great Lakes Zoological Society.
“You could tell his diet wasn’t right. He was malnourished and his skin was flaky,” Curry said. “The people who had him just didn’t know what they were doing.
“He’s really hard to care for if you don’t know what you’re doing, but for me it’s easy.”
The Michigan zoo nursed Winston back to health. But when it shut down due to lack of money, Winston ended up at a rescue, where Curry adopted her pet in March 2015. She thinks the reptile is 12 years old.
It has its own climate-controlled room after destroying too many enclosures. An omnivore, it eats raw chicken, green beans and strawberries.
Winston uses his tail as a paint brush. Winston uses his tail as a paint brush.
Curry said she knows a lot of people who live in Australia and she wanted to do something to help after the devastating bushfires there. She hasn’t chosen a charity for the money yet.
“All of the animals and people fighting for their lives, now they have no homes, nowhere to go,” she said.
Curry has a fresh batch of paint for more art by Winston.
“He doesn’t realize that he’s making an impact,” she said.

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Local beer and local art make a perfect combo for Winnipeg couple – Global News



When you think about art, is beer the first thing that comes to mind?

Probably not, but a Winnipeg husband-and-wife team is hoping to change that.

With their Blank Canvas Beer project, Brad Chute and Jenna Khan are combining their two loves and highlighting local artists and local brewers at the same time.

“A big thing we wanted to do was take art off the walls, put it on a beer can and into the hands of beer drinkers,” Khan told 680 CJOB, “and maybe introduce two different communities who maybe know something of each other — and might learn something about each other as well in both directions.”

Their first beer, Arctic Stout, was released Feb. 13 and is a collaboration between visual artist Kal Barteski — known for her Back Alley Arctic project in the Wolseley area — and Torque Brewing’s Perry Joyal.

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“We had this idea quite some time ago, and we met Kal socially, just by chance,” said Chute.

“I ran the idea by her, and she was quite excited about the idea of putting some of her art onto beer and getting the chance to show off what she can do.

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“We’re calling it an ‘arctic stout’ just to tie in the polar bear imagery. It’s a stout in flavour — it’s a darker beer with lots of flavour, lots of rich, rosy notes — but Perry decided to make it as light as possible … trying to go paler and paler and paler, and I think he succeeded.”

French photographer finds Winnipeg’s beauty in murals

Khan said the beer, which sold almost 1,000 cans at its launch party in Torque’s taproom, was created after a tête-à-tête between artist and brewer.

“We wanted to have a beer that was reflective of the art outside of the can and vice-versa,” she said.

“When Perry and Kal were first talking — we brought them together for a conversation — the word ‘unexpected’ was used a lot … and that’s how Kal felt the first time she ever saw a polar bear out in the wild.

“You picture them as white and fluffy and cuddly, but there are also a lot of colours to them, their skin is black … so she wanted to put something unexpected on the can as Perry wanted to inside the can.”

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While this is the first Blank Canvas Beer release, Chute said they’re having preliminary discussions about a follow up, which will be a completely new collaboration.

“We’ve spoken to other breweries and other artists, because the idea is that each release will be a totally different brewery, totally different artist, totally different beer,” he said.

“The idea is we want to do a new release every three or four months, sort of seasonally … we’re in the early days of talking with folks.”

Blank Canvas Beer Co.

Blank Canvas Beer Co.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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