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MacKenzie Art Gallery’s new CEO focused on fostering relationships with all Sask. communities



The MacKenzie Art Gallery is reopening to the public next week — and it’s doing so under a new interim executive director.

“The gallery, like everybody else, has been facing a lot of changes to our world right now, but I think that we’re really well prepared,” said John Hampton, the new CEO of the Regina gallery.

“We’ve got a great team here, so that’s been helping ease me into the role and help us serve the community the best we can.”

Hampton is the first Indigenous person to be executive director and CEO at a major Canadian art institution, according to the gallery.

“I feel incredibly honoured for that, but also it is a really large responsibility,” said Hampton, who has been preparing by working for the past month with the outgoing CEO Anthony Kiendl, who is taking over as CEO and director of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Hampton said right now, staff are thinking through the gallery’s role as a cultural institution and as caretakers of culture for the territory.

“We know that there’s a lot of conflict and pain and hurt out there, and we can see [that] through the protests that are happening across North America,” he said.

“And so we’re putting a lot of work into thinking what our role is as cultural custodians in articulating the cultural difference and similarities.”

The gallery has a history of engaging Indigenous artists and curators, Hampton said, but has been challenging itself in recent years to represent the art of all cultures in the area, in the spirit of the treaties — and is focused on welcoming newcomers as family.

“We have a responsibility to not only Indigenous and settler people who signed those treaties, but also to Black and POC [people of colour] and new Canadians,” he said.

“And we want to ensure that this is a welcoming space for them, that we reflect those cultures responsibly and that we try to foster those relations in a good way.”


All the artwork in the MacKenzie Art Gallery is new after reopening from the pandemic. (Matt Howard/CBC)


Hampton, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation in the United States, said he has a responsibility to be incredibly sensitive to the people from the local area.

He also said starting the job during a pandemic has been a challenge, but that people can feel safe returning to the gallery.

An Indigenous executive director and CEO has been chosen to lead the Mackenzie Art Gallery on an interim basis. 2:30

Visitors are being asked to purchase tickets online and arrive at a timed entry. When they come, they will have plenty of room around them in the gallery areas, Hampton said.

“Our focus is really just on people feeling comfortable and safe,” he said. “You can have a space of calm for just appreciating art to its … fullest sense, and having your focus on something other than the anxiety.”


The Mackenzie Art Gallery has three new exhibits. (Matt Howard/CBC)


As of Aug. 12, the gallery will be open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is currently half-price, as the gallery’s theatre and food services are still closed for now.

The gallery is reopening with three new exhibitions, including a feature exhibit by Divya Mehra called From India to Canada and Back to India (There is nothing I can possess which you cannot take away).

Another exhibit, called Reflecting Dis-ease: Eh Ateh Pahinihk Ahkowsiwin — Rethinking Pandemics Through an Indigenous Lens, “allows us to see that history in a way that is much more relevant, and we’re much better at understanding those histories now that we are currently living through this pandemic,” Hampton said.


An inflatable is part of Divya Mehra’s exhibit From India to Canada and Back to India (There is nothing I can possess which you cannot take away). (Matt Howard/CBC)


Staff are also slowly being transitioned back into the building and some are staying at home for personal reasons, but Hampton said he’s glad to be back in the gallery.

“I’m most looking forward to being able to share our work with the public again. While I was working from home, you lose a little bit of that quality of life just being surrounded by your four walls all the time,” Hampton said.

“And when I came back to the gallery and I saw works going up on the walls again and it brought that feeling of normalcy … I just felt so much joy in seeing art again,” he said.

“Just to be able to be surrounded by that and share that with the public is going to be a really enriching experience.”


The MacKenzie Art Gallery is requesting people book online ahead of their visit and come at their designated time. (Matt Howard/CBC)


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The Agnes Etherington Art Centre reopens to the public – Queen's Journal



After Kingston moved back to the green zone, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre reopened to the public on Feb. 20with a maximum capacity of 41.

In an interview with The Journal, Kate Ducharme, visitor services assistant, described the process of reopening with social distancing protocols.

“We’re a very safe space, and visitors really adhere to our guidelines and I think they’re just excited to be able to come and experience art again,” she said.

According to Ducharme, the reduced capacity in the art centre allows for a more intimate viewing experience.

“It’s a huge change, and you do feel that change when you’re in the galleries. Most times you’re in the galleries with just yourself or with the household that you’re with, which also allows for a real personal experience with the exhibitions.”

Ducharme is excited about the reopening and looks forward to seeing people enjoy the experience of viewing art in-person again.

“It’s wonderful to be able to share those experiences with people,” Ducharme said. “We have a collection of 17,000 pieces, so there’s lots to share. There are new exhibitions from visiting artists as well, so it’s a great opportunity to come in and check it out.”

Agnes staff members faced a challenge last spring when COVID-19 forced them to move online, but Ducharme said she’s proud of the work the team has accomplished.

Read More: The Agnes goes digital

“Virtual exhibitions and public programing all went online, so that was a huge shift for our staff. And a lot of that work is still going on, trying to make those exhibitions available because not everyone has the option to come in person,” she said.

For those unable to visit in person, Ducharme recommended taking advantage of the Agnes’ online resources, which include workshops, lectures, and tours.

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Open Your Art launches Take-Out Art Kits – Brunswickan



Amidst lockdowns and lowering temperatures, it is gratifying to learn that quality recreation is still available and affordable in Fredericton. Open Your Art Fredericton has just launched a product that facilitates access to art materials, even for the greenest of novices. Handcrafted in-studio by talented ceramic instructors, Open Your Art promises you won’t be bored anymore in quarantine.

Take-out art kits have been around for a while, but now they are being produced and marketed for and by locals. Angela Black, Arts Educator and owner of Open Your Art, explains that the product is facilitating access to art expression for, “folks unable to come out to a studio for whatever reason.” She adds that the barriers imposed by Coronavirus protocols are easily overcome by creating the art takeout kits.

“We have learnt, working with many ‘vulnerable’ sectors, that attendance and access to transportation for example can be a real barrier to taking part in extracurricular activities,” said Black.

The kits come in various sizes and options for individuals, families, and teams. Open Your Art accords special privileges for “team” and “family” kits by providing live tutorials over Zoom with an instructor who will guide and inspire your first steps. 

“The kit itself is a reusable container that gets returned to the studio once your piece is finished. Everything is washed and reused as much as possible. The kit contains a range of underglazes for decorating your tumblers in line with individual or group taste as well as brushes and a manual,” Black explained. 

“This product is literally flying off the shelves,” Angela Black said. “People are buying them five at a time sometimes. We have started selling them for birthday parties as well. The kits are very popular at $25 (plus tax), so we have decided that our next few options will be a bowl, wine cup, and wait for it – dog bowls.”

If you’re wondering what to do to liven things up at your next family get together, (virtual) office retreat, or even just one random Sunday afternoon, Open your Art kits may be a good option. The instructors have become quite proficient at hosting team building events. The prospect of teaching work enhancement skills in a positive, low-key environment sounds decidedly tempting. 

Black expects the art kits to become even more popular as new options are constantly being developed to accommodate everyone. According to her, the company is all for inclusion.

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The Art of Clanny Mugabe | The Journal – Queen's Journal




Clanny Mugabe is a second-year student in the faculty of Arts and Sciences. She’s currently majoring in English and would describe herself as heavily inspired by world mythology, speculative fiction, and character design. She primarily draws digitally, and each digital painting often has a spiritual/mythological element to it.


“This is a digital painting with the simple goal of portraying an ambiguous black person with a regal air, to contradict the normative stereotypes of black people that portray them in a less than dignified light. The gold is used because its associated with riches and royalty. The word Ulysses is the latinized form of the name Odysseus, who is a figure of Greek/roman mythology that was known for his nobility and intelligence.”

Celebrities as Greek Gods

Adut Akech

“Greek mythology is something that has inspired me a lot throughout my life, and the legacy of Greek/Roman mythology and ancient Greek/Roman civilization is still celebrated today. So, I felt like inserting black people into that mythology because history is very whitewashed; we are not educated on non-European civilizations often, and ancient Greece and Rome is very whitewashed in the public consciousness even though they were diverse empires whose art history and mythology have roots in the Middle East and Africa.”

Decolonized fashion

“I had always imagined what the world would look like if European colonization never happened, and I specifically wondered about what aspect of culture would be changed, specifically culture we take for granted, like fashion. This line of speculation was encouraged by Black Panther, and the costume design of the movie inspired this series and was referenced. So last year I designed several pieces of fashion mostly inspired by African fabrics, African fashion, futuristic aesthetics and film costume design.”

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