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Mosaic art provides artist with a way to centre herself – 100 Mile House Free Press

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While painting, sculpting and other fine arts may be better known, Tracy McAvity likes to practice the art of the mosaic.

McAvity who moved to 100 Mile House in 2002 after falling in love with the scenery and the “warm and kind” people in the South Cariboo, stumbled upon mosaics a year later after reading a magazine article called “How to Mosaic a Flower Pot.” Seized by a desire to try her hand at art, McAvity gave it a whirl.

Seventeen years later, art has become a big obsession for McAvity, who is one of the artists featured in the Parkside Art Gallery’s 20th-anniversary show Envision.

READ MORE: Parkside Gallery celebrating 20 years with community art submissions

“As an artist, I use just a variety of material in my creations like wood, seashells, sand pebbles, stain glass, (fine chine) and things I find on nature walks,” McAvity said. “Creating is really a big passion of mine and it’s really for me about the process of the whole piece.”

She finds the process of making mosaic art almost addictive, saying it’s akin to assembling a puzzle. McAvity will shatter a piece of china, tile or glass and then find a new way to fit it all together in either a picture or an abstract way on a board or whatever you’re using as a medium.

Her most recent piece featured at Parkside, The Tree of Life, has leaves made from different pieces of china teapots, plates and cups along with everything else she could find. She cut 220 pieces to size for the piece and glued them to the board, which makes it the biggest and most fun piece she’s ever done.

Not many people do mosaic art, McAvity said, so she feels fortunate to help keep the craft alive. Her biggest inspirations for pieces often come from the ocean or hiking around lakes or other large bodies of water. One of the things she loves most about living in 100 Mile House, she said, is the number of lakes and nature in the area.

“For me, creativity kind of comes and goes like most artists, so I really like to do a lot of hiking and walking around the 100 Mile area. Nature definitely inspires me and I fid can be really creative after a good hike and I get my head into the piece I’m working on but you never know what you’re going to create,” McAvity said.

Her current mosaic will be made up of things she’s found on her hikes in fact including bottle caps, nuts and bolts, golf balls, bungee cords and coins.

Art, in her opinion, is important for different reasons for everyone in the community. McAvity personally finds art calming and a way to centre herself, putting herself in a positive headspace. She said she’s incredibly grateful to Parkside Gallery for giving her a place and venue to show her art over the years. As a result, she feels she’s become a better artist and having other people look at her work and give her feedback has made her more confident.

Having never received formal art training and barely being able to draw a circle in grade school, McAvity said she’s definitely a study on how anyone can do art if they put their mind to it. She suggests those considering getting into mosaic art should just go for it, noting they can put all kinds of meaningful things in what they create. The Tree of Life includes pieces of china from 1936 passed down to her from her grandmother, for example.

“Every time you look at it on the wall a memory comes back of something positive,” said McAvity, who works a medical transcriptionist typing up the emergency room and trauma medical reports for Vancouver.

Down the road, McAvity would like to do a few bigger pieces and put on her own show at the Parkside Gallery but said she’ll have to see what the new year brings.

“There are so many amazing artists at Parkside, especially in this show (Envision). There’s such a wide variety of different kinds of art people are doing with their own style, it’s definitely something worth seeing,” McAvity said. “We’re living in the craziest of time and you just need to find little things, every single day, to be grateful for.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

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A mosaic mirror frame by Tracy McAvity. (Photo submitted)

Tracy McAvity is a mosaic artist who works as a medical transcriptionist when not volunteering at Parkside Art Gallery. (Photo submitted)

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Manitoba celebrates outstanding philanthropist in the arts – CHVN Radio

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Six people from around the province are being recognized for their bold philanthropic efforts.

Michael Nesbitt is being awarded the Outstanding Philanthropist Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba Chapter (AFP).

There will be a virtual ceremony on November 13 to recognize six incredible people and corporations and their contributions to our province. 

Nesbitt owns Montrose Mortgage Corporation, however, it’s his investment in the arts that has him being honoured. 

Although there was not much art culture in Nesbitt’s household in his childhood, his love for it started when he went to Toronto after high school. 

“My first exposure to art was when I graduated from University. My younger sister gave me a cheque and she said ‘think about buying some art, because art matters’.”

After learning more about fine art, Nesbitt went out in Toronto and purchased his first piece. Since then his love for art has grown.

He is being recognized for his investment in the U of M, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, the Graffiti Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Manitoba Opera.

Since COVID-19 hit, Nesbitt, like many, has missed being able to go see live performances, including the Opera. 

“I think it’s fair to say music is a big part of my life.”

Nesbitt will be part of the celebration evening in November, put on by AFP.

“Typically in the past, I haven’t been willing to accept these awards and tried to be under the radar. But I think in the last while I’ve come to realize it’s important for others to know what people like myself are doing. I hope other people will take notice and step up and help, not only the arts but other charities,” says Nesbitt.

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Press On Winnipeg sharing hope through art – CHVN Radio

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A local art initiative says they were inspired by a Christian punk band to use art to spread joy.

The image of a flying blue sparrow accompanied by a logo reading “Press On Winnipeg” is catching the attention of both outdoor and art enthusiasts. The anonymous street art project organizers say they hope people find inspiration when they see the bird.

The group says they want to spread positivity and encouragement and have good things from people. They say have heard of people viewing their art for a number of purposes, ranging from using it as an excuse to take a walk to hunt for the birds.

“Art can be a really deep and fascinating way in which we experience something greater than ourselves,” an anonymous representative from the group says. “Others have had spiritual experiences where they have shared that when they have seen our art that they have had experiences with God or Jesus.”

The representative says they want people to have a spiritual connection to art and is glad to see it happening with their work.

They say the name, Press On Winnipeg, comes from Relient K’s “Pressing On.” Relient K is a Christian punk bank from Ohio.

“That is actually what inspired one of us to start this project.”

While they were inspired by the band 10 years ago, their intention since the beginning is simple: to spread happiness.  

The movement is now catching the attention of thousands as the group ramped up their efforts during COVID-19.

Active since beginning to share their work on the Waterfront Bridge a decade ago, the group has only recently joined any form of social media. Their Instagram account was created in the spring after Winnipeg joined the list of cities affected by COVID-19. They currently have over 4,700 followers and say it is a great way to interact with people.

“When we only had 30 followers, one of the 30 followers in all of our group was actually the person that caught us.”

The group tries to stay anonymous and has only been caught putting their art up on a handful of occasions in the past 10 years. They say they try to be respectful regarding where they put their art and use special screws when posting their signs on trees and do not put art on occupied buildings unless requested.

Press On says they have received very little negative feedback.

“The whole idea of it was to share some happiness and hope with Winnipeg.”

The group shares art and the image of the bird both in Winnipeg and now outside the perimeter in unique spots.

Press On hints that the next Winnipeg location to see their work will be “very very high up.”

Now taken down for the winter, Press On shared that their Wall of Hope installation was fulfilling its purpose.

“The idea of it was to create this wall for people to be able to express themselves, to be able to create art that signifies hope for themselves.”

The tall structure acted as a gallery wall for people who wished to showcase their hope and what helps them “press on.”

Now waiting in storage, Press On promises that the wall will return.

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No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere – Toronto Life

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No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere

Plastering everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets

StreetARToronto was launched by the city in 2011 with two main goals: to reduce vandalism and help support street artists. These days, it provides workshops for local artists and regularly hosts open call-outs for public art, often on themes of diversity and inclusion, to decorate Toronto’s empty walls and alleyways. So far, the initiative has sponsored over 1,000 pieces around the city, which plaster everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets. When Covid-19 hit, the organization asked artists to submit ideas for murals honouring front-line workers. Here are a few that have been completed so far.


Queen West

Emmanuel Jarus, an artist and muralist, has redone this same wall near Graffiti Alley three times over the past six years. He completed his latest reinvention during the pandemic. The idea came to him when he ran into a very tired friend in a parkette, taking a break from work. He thought her mood and stance perfectly reflected the exhaustion and uncertainty of the current moment. “I like to observe things—I call my work ‘painting journalism’—and my murals happen organically,” Jarus says. He snapped a bunch of photos of his impromptu model, created an image on his iPad and selected his colour palette from whatever was available at the discount warehouse down the road. The result is a striking image which Jarus hopes passersby find relatable and honest.


Adelaide and Portland

Alexander Bacon is an internationally recognized artist who’s been painting since he was a teenager in the 1990s. His vibrant, large-scale pieces, featuring portraits and historical references, can be spotted all over Toronto, including Kensington Market and the Entertainment District. The inspiration for this massive mural near Adelaide and Portland came to him when he was submitting ideas for a virtual art festival in Puerto Rico. The flower represents the fragility of life, and the gloved hand represents the strength of our front-line workers. The scene is also supposed to show the sacrifices everyone is making for the most vulnerable in our society. “We basically shut the world down for people who aren’t strong enough to fight this virus,” says Alex. “I think it’s beautiful humanity is willing to do that.”


Bloordale Village

Peru Dyer Jalea’s signature style uses simple geometric shapes, primary colours and clean lines to create puzzle-like patterns with a meditative vibe. This particular mural, which is on the side of Pancho’s Bakery, a Latino-owned business near Jalea’s home, was designed to honour firefighters. “It’s one of the noblest professions I could think of,” he says. “They’re often unrecognized and underpaid for doing one of the city’s most dangerous jobs.” There’s a station nearby, where Jalea had taken his two young children for a tour earlier this year. “My son is obsessed with fire trucks and my daughter’s favourite colour is red, so I was able to make everybody happy,” he says. For the mural, Jalea used geometric shapes spelling out “gracias,” blended with the image of a fire truck to guide the eye down the wall and around the corner to the bakery. He says the community has been thrilled to see the wall, which had been tagged with unsightly graffiti before, turned into a tribute to first responders.

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And Bike Share added 300 of them to its fleet

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