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MacKenzie Art Gallery and Sask. Science Centre not ready to reopen yet – News Talk 980 CJME



Art and science enthusiasts in Regina will have to wait a bit longer to return to a popular art gallery and a science facility in the city.

The MacKenzie Art Gallery has announced it will be reopening shortly after the August long weekend. It closed in mid-March due to the threat of COVID-19.

However, the Saskatchewan Science Centre said it does not have a reopening date to announce at this time.

As part of Phase 4.2 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, museums and galleries could begin the process of reopening as of Monday, along with movie theatres, live theatres and libraries.

MacKenzie Hamon, the communications co-ordinator for the MacKenzie Art Gallery, said the delayed reopening will allow the gallery to make some changes to its facility and protocol to allow for social distancing.

“We want to make sure we’re following the number of people we’re allowed in the doors at a time,” Hamon said, referring to public health guidelines that are in place.

“We’re looking at a few different options in terms of purchasing tickets in advance and time ticketing, and we’re revamping our exhibition spaces on the second floor of the gallery just to ensure that we can provide social distancing between the artworks that are on display and between the galleries.”

Hamon said the measures will prevent crowding as people visit the second floor of the gallery.

“Even just taking tickets from the public and interacting with them, all of that will have to change as well,” she said.

Additional cleaning and sanitizing measures will also be introduced for the benefit of the gallery’s visitors as well as its artwork.

“We want to make sure we’ve got everything in place that we have to do in terms of safety measures and cleaning procedures,” Hamon said.

The gallery is also working with an adjusted exhibition schedule due to COVID-19. Hamon said the MacKenzie often works with other galleries across the country to bring exhibitions to Regina.

“A lot of those schedules have been changed because of COVID across the country, so we had to look at what exhibitions we could host when we reopened and when we would be able to have them,” Hamon said.

Hamon said the gallery’s reopening is something for which staff members are excited.

“I think everyone is looking forward to it and getting back to what we do, which is introducing the public and the city to visual art and our community programs, which have been continuing to run online since we’ve been closed,” Hamon said.

“It’ll be different but I think everyone’s looking forward to doing what we do best.”

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Fort Langley Artists Group showcases art virtually to help hospice – Aldergrove Star



Fort Langley Artists Group (FLAG) is going ahead with their annual charity gallery, but in a virtual setting.

From now until July 31, people can peruse FLAG’s website or their Facebook page to check out local art for sale.

People can purchase 10 X 10 paintings; half of the proceeds goes to the artists while the other half of sales will support Langley Hospice Society.

Gabrielle Strauss, FLAG’s organizer, said Langley Hospice received $650 from FLAG’s charity gallery last year.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing, the Langley Heritage Society has made the difficult decision to keep the CNR Station closed for the season,” Strauss said.

Virtual viewing will be people’s only chance to experience FLAG’s new creative works, since the Flagstop Gallery will be closed.

FLAG artist’s work typically hangs in CNR Station and has been an anonymous gallery in the past with artists name’s written on the back of the peice so buyers don’t know until after purchase.

“Instead of mounting a theme-based show, the members of the Fort Langley Artists Group [FLAG] have chosen to showcase some of their favorite new creations online in a virtual, visual feast,” Strauss explained.

Alison Philptt, Annie Segelkin, Beverly Lawrence, Caroline Ashley, Daphne Scaman, Diane Zepeski, Ela Cholewa, Gabrielle Strauss, Kim Bucholtz, Margo Harrison, Marguerite Whelton, Patricia Falck, Robin Bandenieks, and Ursula Bolivar all contributed a variety of different pieces of artwork for the cause.

READ MORE: VIDEO: See Nana’s Naughty Knickers online this weekend

Call Robin at 604-856-1984 to purchase a painting.

“You may discuss payment and delivery or pick-up of your purchase with the artist,” Strauss added.


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Ottawa Art Gallery reopens this week, with reserved time slots for visitors – CTV News



The Ottawa Art Gallery is set to reopen to the public this week, 117 days after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of the popular downtown gallery.

Measures are being put in place to keep visitors and staff healthy and safe during the pandemic, including reserved time slots to visit the gallery.

On Wednesday, the Ottawa Art Gallery will open for a special day reserved for all frontline workers. On Thursday, the gallery at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge will open for the public.   The new temporary hours will be Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission to the Ottawa Art Gallery will continue to be free, but visitors are asked to pre-book a time either by phone or through Eventbrite.  The first two hours of every day will be set aside for seniors and immunocompromised visitors.

Visitors are asked to “consider wearing your mask at all times while in the Gallery”, and complimentary masks will be provided if you don’t have one.  The gallery will be cleaned on a 30 minute rotation during visiting hours, and hand sanitizing stations will be available on every floor.

“The last few weeks have been dedicated to ensuring safety and cleaning measures are in place, and we are ready to welcome you back to the art,” said Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Art Gallery.

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Remember the pandemic? Canadian museums and art historians are working on how to do that – Toronto Star



When the Museum of Vancouver closed in March, the acquisitions team was already thinking deep into the future, strategizing how they’d preserve this pandemic moment in time.

Museum people tend to see the world a little differently. Take last year, when the city of Vancouver approved a ban on plastic straws. The museum’s acquisitions team made sure to snag a couple for the permanent collection, so the citizens of the future can see what they looked like in person.

During the pandemic, they have had to be nimble to save items from the dumpster of history.

As the lockdown in British Columbia eased and businesses started to reopen, many of the murals that had been painted on the boarded-up storefronts were being tossed away, said museum spokesperson Lorenzo Schober. The museum worked with a local business improvement association to help curate an outdoor art show, and it plans to keep a few of the murals for its permanent collection.

It also acquired a pair of John Fluevog shoes made in honour of B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. They plan to collect COVID-19 signage when it is no longer needed.

Across the country, museums and arts professionals are collecting materials and planning for future acquisitions that reflect people’s experiences with COVID-19.

Months of lockdowns have made people across the country “desperate to reconnect,” and the possibility of using art to create conversations can be healing, said Ulrike Al-Khamis, director of collections and public programs at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

“People have been turning to art to overcome isolation, to stay sane and healthy,” said Al-Khamis, who also teaches in the department of art history at University of Toronto.

The museum management knew the importance of “reacting in the moment” so it reached out to the public for submissions of art depicting things that have provided a sense of comfort, stability and hope. The museum will add these submissions to their pre-existing “Sanctuary” exhibition and plans to work with a renowned Pakistani artist to create a special project with these items in the future.

Guelph Museums sent out a similar call for artwork and objects that would help tell the story of Guelph during COVID-19.

Usually, they collect items years after an event occurs, so this was a new approach, manager Tammy Adkin said in an email. More than 50 people have submitted artwork, items and suggestions, including locally created masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, photographs of through-the-window visits at long-term-care homes, photographs of signs supporting front-line workers, written reflections from students, and painted rocks planted in front of a local hospital with messages of love and support.

“I’ve been so touched by the very personal stories people have shared about how their lives have been impacted — separation from elderly parents, struggles with home-schooling, and inspiration to rally as a community,” Adkin wrote. “What is essential is that we recognize this pandemic is affecting different people in different ways, and we need to ensure that we are representing the entire story of the impacts.”

Irina Mihalache, the director of the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto’s faculty of information, agrees that future exhibits on the pandemic should reflect the social inequalities revealed by the virus, because the pandemic and the protest movement surrounding anti-Black racism are intertwined, she said. From what she has seen, museums seem to be taking that direction.

“Hopefully, 10 years from now,” she said, an exhibit will show “how things have changed based on those realizations. That’s my hope that I have for museums.”

Letters received as part of the “Dear Glenbow” project at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. The museum asked people to write letters or send emails about their experiences during the pandemic, and hundreds responded.

In the early days of lockdown, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary asked people to send letters and emails about their lives in this moment. They launched “Dear Glenbow” with a few prompts — What brings you joy right now? What is your daily life like? What are you worried about? Have you learned anything new? What should our descendants learn about this time in our lives?

A couple of people have written about Black Lives Matter. “It’s been a pretty intense period all around,” said museum spokesperson Jenny Conway Fisher. “I’m really happy this is a potential outlet and a way for people to share how they’re feeling.”

Everyone is experiencing the pandemic differently, she said, depending on factors like privilege and geography.

“It’s important to capture that variety of experience because it isn’t one thing,” she said. “There are so many cascading impacts, economic and social and personal — but in order to get a sense of it, you need those individual stories.”

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So far, they’ve received about 250 letters, 460 emails and 20 social media posts. In a time when people have felt helpless and uncertain, the project has given focus — “I’m going to tell my story, and it’s going to mean something,” she said.

A boy who developed a 3D-printed ear protector for masks sent one with a letter. Children wrote about how surprised they were to miss school; how happy they were to spend more time with family. Some people have written about difficulties at work, loved ones who died of COVID-19, and the pain of family separation.

They are collecting letters until the end of July. (Torontonians are welcome to write, she said: “The thread is only made richer if we witness other people’s experiences across the country.”) The collection will be used later as a resource, and eventually, as an exhibit, pending permission requests.

Guelph Museums sent out a call for artwork and objects that would help tell the story of Guelph during COVID-19. Photos of the rock garden outside of Guelph General Hospital are one of the images that will endure.

In April, the Museum of Vancouver launched a similar outreach campaign encouraging citizens to document lockdown life by tagging their social media posts with #isolatingtogethermov. They’ve had hundreds of digital submissions that live on their website.

Traditionally, museums have collected items many years after an event — and often receive donations from families when a loved one dies. One risk in asking for submissions in the moment is the potential performative element.

People “might not necessarily be genuine or authentic in what they collect because they’re thinking, ‘Oh the museum is collecting from me I have to send them the best representation of my COVID behaviour,” Mihalache said.

Curators at the ROM have already started collecting artisan-made and sustainably produced facemasks for the museum’s textile collection.

Swarupa Anila, the senior vice-president for exhibition and gallery development at the ROM, believes that one of the themes artists will explore are the intersections of racial and economic disparity through the lens of the pandemic.

“I think artists have often shown us what has been and needs to be broken, to see solutions differently,” she wrote in an email.

When it comes to physical artifacts, Mihalache can all but guarantee that the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Fashion Institute of Technology will have a mask exhibit. Masks are already being collected heavily as a focal point of this moment: a tool, a point of protest, a fashion statement.

As she reflects on the many items and narratives that will likely be collected, Mihalache said it’s important that specific voices are given space in exhibits, like grocery store workers. And when museums collect, they need to remember the needs of the community over their own.

“You have to ask what is the need? Why am I bothering this community,” she said. “Is the collecting going to be a support to them, or is it going to be a form of exploiting them to make the museum look better?”

Museums have to be accountable to people about what they are going to do with these stories, and they should approach any collecting in a spirit of solidarity, she said.

“You’re collecting fragile objects or memories from people who might be experiencing trauma, from people who maybe have lost people during these times, and you’re also collecting funny videos from people who are doing yoga with their cat or dog.”

Gilbert Ngabo

Katie Daubs

Katie Daubs is a Star reporter and feature writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @kdaubs

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