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Mural flap shows divide in Fredericton art community, says artist –



One of the artists who painted new murals in downtown Fredericton says many members of the public love them, even if some members of the city’s arts and culture advisory committee are less than impressed.

Laura Forrester and fellow artist Penny Heather painted several murals last summer, including one at the River Stone Recovery Centre on King Street.

The committee made an example of it in its annual report to council last week, which called for better planning and quality control.

“I was completely blindsided,” said Forrester.

The River Stone mural was a private commission, she said. 

The building owner approved the design, said Forrester, and hundreds of others sent her positive feedback about it.

She described the committee presentation that singled out her work as “very problematic.”

It compared the River Stone mural to a “giant, sensational mural” done in Montreal by multiple artists, over many weeks with a huge budget.

The Fredericton arts advisory committee contrasted these images in its presentation to city council under the heading: “They need to be conceived and undertaken by a professional muralist (who understands scale, perspective and composition).” (City of Fredericton)

“It’s apples and oranges,” she said.

“Using it as a way to talk about the skill level of the artist isn’t fair. We did what we were hired to do.”

Forrester said she’s glad this came up because it raises an important issue.

“These are conversations that are worth having. There’s a divide in the art community in Fredericton. This has exposed cracks in terms of who gets to make the decisions about where the funding goes and who gets to have access to the opportunities.”

“We have to be very careful that we’re not saying just because you have a smaller budget the art that you decide to put on your wall is not good enough. Then you’re alienating a whole, you know, you’re making it unaccessible for people who don’t have huge budgets.”

In general, said Forrester, the arts community in Fredericton is “huge and supportive.” 

But funding should be more evenly spread out, she said.

“There’s a whole subculture here that goes beyond the galleries — not that the galleries aren’t important. They’re so important. But the art community is so much more than that and often is completely overlooked and often delegitimized.”

The advisory committee’s presentation listed the mural situation in the city as a “challenge.”

It said “locations need planning and context.”

The arts committee used this picture as an example of how murals “need to make sense with and use the inherent architecture of the building.” (City of Fredericton.)

Murals “need to be conceived and undertaken by a professional…who understands scale, perspective and composition.”

“They need to make sense with and use the inherent architecture of the building.”

And “less is more.” The growing number of murals downtown may diminish each piece’s impact. 

The advisory committee has 15 members.

There are representatives from city council, The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, The Playhouse, Theatre New Brunswick, The New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, the UNB Arts Centre, Craft NB, government and First Nation departments and agencies and the business community. 

CBC reached out to a few of the members Monday. They declined to give interviews. 

A brief statement issued Friday, in the wake of a backlash on social media, apologized for any hurt caused by the presentation.

This image was shown as an example of planning murals in the context of an area. (City of Fredericton)

“It was not intended to question the integrity or the work of any artist,” said the emailed statement.

The committee was pointing out the increase in the number of murals “in high profile public spaces and on heritage buildings.”

It said murals are essentially public art and deserve some attention from council.

Committee chair Kate Rogers said she loves “the vibrancy and colour” of the murals and hopes the committee can “find many opportunities to present the work of local artists throughout the city in a way that is inclusive, celebratory, and sustainable.”

This mural was recently painted on the pedway at the end of Carleton Street. (Mike Heenan)

Forrester agreed that it’s important to have policies about public art, especially when it comes to heritage buildings. 

But she said the walls that she and Heather painted were previously “neglected, graffitied or run-down.”

“They look better now,” she said.

Forrester said the advisory committee seems to want control over who gets to paint what murals where and when.

That’s “fine” for publicly owned spaces or publicly funded projects, she said.

But she said private businesses exercise their own form of quality control.

“They have a back and forth discussion before the paint hits the wall.”

She suggested the committee’s tastes are narrower than the public’s.

 “I do understand that it does become part of the framework of the city. But I think that’s ok. And I think that’s exciting. And I think if you look at the way the public are responding to the murals that are there already, the general public are very responsive in a very positive way.”

Information Morning – Fredericton12:46Mural controversy

A controversy has erupted over the value of public murals in the city’s downtown. Laura Forrester is a working artist in Fredericton who has created a number of those murals. 12:46

“I don’t think every corner and wall needs one, but there’s definitely some space. There’s lots of walls in Fredericton.”

And if there turns out to be a major problem with a privately commissioned mural, she said, it’s not hard to fix.

“It’s just paint,” she said.

“If it’s offensive it can be painted over.”

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Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat



Creative, imaginative artwork of students from Mountview Elementary School will be on public display at the gallery of Cariboo Art Beat until April 9.

“The students of Mountview elementary were all invited to participate in an art contest,” Tiffany Jorgensen said, an artist at Cariboo Art Beat.

Each class was separately judged by three professional artists at Cariboo Art Beat, Jorgensen said, based on the students’ creativity, techniques, use of space and originality.

“It was extremely difficult to select pieces from the abundance of beautiful art presented,” she said. “There is so much talent and fantastic imaginations.”

The artist of each selected piece was given formal invitations to their art show to distribute to whomever they choose, and Jorgensen said anyone is free to view the beautiful artwork throughout until April 9.

Honoured at the show were works from local artists Ryker Hagen, Annika Nilsson, Rylie Trampleasure, Angus Shoults, Izabella Telford, Isabella Buchner, Kai Pare and more.

“Come view their wonderful pieces to get a glimpse into the minds of our creative youth,” Jorgensen said.

“It’s been so fun. The kids have come in and seen their work on display with their grandparents, parents, and they’re all so excited.”

Following up on the success of the Mountview art show, Jorgensen said more elementary schools have been invited to participate.

April will feature the works of Nesika and Big Lake, followed by Marie Sharpe and Chilcotin Road next month.

Cariboo Art Beat is located at 19 First Ave., under Caribou Ski Source for Sports’ entrance on Oliver Street.

Rylie Trampleasure, Grade 2, has her work on display at Cariboo Art Beat. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Isabella Buchner

Isabella Buchner

Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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Launching the conversation on Newfoundland and Labrador art history



ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is a book that has been a long time coming, Mireille Eagan says.

While working at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Eagan curated an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador joining Confederation with Canada.

“As I was researching, I noticed that there was very little that existed in terms of the art history of this province,” she said. “There wasn’t even a Wikipedia article.”

Noticing this large gap, “Future Possible” was a book that needed to exist, she said.

As the 70th anniversary approached in 2019, Eagan, now living in St. John’s and working as curator of contemporary art at The Rooms, envisioned filling that gap.

Over two summers, The Rooms held a two-part exhibition. The first looked at the visual culture and visual narratives before the province joined Confederation and the second focused on 1949 onward, Eagan said.

“At its core, it was asking, what are the stories we tell ourselves as a province? It was looking at iconic artworks, it was looking at texts that have been written about this place, and it put these works in conversation with contemporary artworks,” Eagan said.

In the foreword to the book, chief executive officer of The Rooms Anne Chafe described it as a complement to the exhibition and a project that “does not seek to be the final say. It seeks, instead, to launch the conversation.”

History and identity

One example of that conversation between the past and the present mentioned by Eagan is the work of artist Bushra Junaid, who moved to St. John’s from Montreal as a baby. The daughter of a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father, Junaid said her experience growing up in the province in the 1970s, where she always the only Black child in the room, was not like most.

“All of my formative years, my schooling and everything, took place in St. John’s,” she said. “It’s very much shaped my current preoccupation.”

Her interest in history, identity and representation led her to making “Two Pretty Girls…,” which used an archival photograph of Caribbean sugarcane workers from 1903 with text from advertisements for sugar, molasses and rum from archived copies of The Evening Telegram collaged over the women’s clothing.

In her essay “Of Saltfish and Molasses” published in “Future Possible,” she described the work as “(allowing) me to place these women and their labour within the broader historical context of the international trade in commodities that underpinned Caribbean slavery and its afterlife.”

It’s a direct connection between Newfoundland and people in the Caribbean, a historical line not often drawn through the context of the transatlantic slave trade, but one she knows personally through the stories told by her mother, Adassa, about their ancestor, Sisa, who “as a teenager, survived the horrors of the Middle Passage, enduring the voyage from West Africa to Jamaica in the hold of a slave ship (Junaid).”

A book like “Future Possible” allows people to interpret themselves and their past, present and future, Junaid says.

“I appreciate the ways in which they really worked to make it as broad and diverse as possible,” she said. “It’s also striving to tell the Indigenous history of the place, the European settler history … and then also looking for … non-Western backgrounds such as myself. It’s enriching.”

What shapes us

St. John’s writer Lisa Moore contributed an essay called “Five Specimens from Another Time” that weaves together moments from her own life, the province’s history and current realities and the art that has inspired her over the years.

“It’s really interesting to me to see all this work of people that I’ve written about in the past and whose work influenced me, even in my writing of fiction, and then newer artists,” Moore said. “I just think that the book is a total gift.”

With such a rich cultural history ready to be written, she imagines “Future Possible” is just the first of what could be many books about art in the province now that the “ice is cracked.”

“The writers that (Eagan) has chosen to write here are also really exciting critics from all over the province, talking about all kind of different periods in art history,” she said.

As time passes, the meaning of the works in the book becomes richer, she said.

Mary Pratt’s 1974 “Cod Fillets on Tin Foil” and Scott Goudie’s 1991 “Muskrat Falls,” for instance, are two images with seemingly straightforward and simple subject matter. But any viewer looking now, who is aware of the cod moratorium and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, would find it difficult to see and interpret these images outside of those contexts.

“Artists, writers, filmmakers … they’re keen observers of culture and the moment that we live in,” Moore said. “They present things that are intangible like the feeling of a moment, or the culmination of social, political and esthetic powers that come together at a given time and shape us.”

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is available online and in stores.

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.
[email protected]
Twitter: @andrewlwaterman



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Parrott Art Gallery goes virtual to help flatten the curve – The Kingston Whig-Standard



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Feeling stir crazy because of COVID and the latest lock-down? Take a virtual trip to Morocco!

On Wednesday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m., the Parrott Gallery will host Lola Reid Allin’s Armchair Traveler online presentation: “Morocco: Sea, Sand and Summit”. Allin is an accomplished photographer, pilot, writer and speaker. Travel with her through the land of dramatic contrast and hidden jewels, busy markets and medieval cities, and enjoy some virtual sun.

For more information and to register for this free online event, please visit The Armchair Traveller Morocco photography exhibit is also available to view through the Parrott Gallery website until mid-May.

Even though our gallery is currently closed to the public, our exhibitions are all available to view online. Sam Sakr’s show “The Housing Project” is certain to bring a smile to your face. His collection of mixed media artwork will take you to a playful land of fantastical creatures that inhabit imaginary, stylized cityscapes. If your spirit needs uplifting, you need to see to see this show. I hope that everyone will be able to view Sakr’s work both online and then in our gallery after the lock-down ends in May. Without a doubt, it will be worth the wait to see it again in-person when we re-open.

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Another exhibition that you can currently visit on the Parrott Gallery website is the group show “Spring Sentiments: a Reflection of Art in Isolation”. This was a collaborative effort by the 39 artists who submitted their work, our staff who put the show together in the gallery and online, and our guest curator Jessica Turner. We are thrilled that Jessica was able to transcribe her experience with this show into a final paper for her Curatorial Studies BFA degree at OCADU.

The fact that we have had to close our doors just as this show was opening is a sad reflection of the theme as the audience must now reflect on this artwork at home, in isolation. The up-side to viewing this exhibition online is that one can read the artist statements that accompany the work and get a more in depth view of the artists’ perspectives. We encourage viewers to support our artists by sending in their comments and to vote for their favourites in the show by following the appropriate link on the webpage.

When you can’t come in to our building, the Parrott Gallery will bring the artwork to you. And then when the sun and flowers come out in May, and when it is safe to return to our gallery on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, we hope to see you all again.

For questions about our online talk, our shows, or to purchase any of the artwork please call us at 613-968-6731 x 2040 or email us at

Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

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