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Native medicinal plants explored through art at Museum – Campbell River Mirror – Campbell River Mirror



Colleen Jay (left) and Joy Dawson sketch some local plants in the afternoon on Saturday. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorColleen Jay (left) and Joy Dawson sketch some local plants in the afternoon on Saturday. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
Colleen Jay (left) and Joy Dawson sketch some local plants in the afternoon session of the event on Saturday. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorColleen Jay (left) and Joy Dawson sketch some local plants in the afternoon session of the event on Saturday. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror

Increasingly, the way we live is becoming more chemical-based — with much of how we eat, drink and use to treat our ailments created in a laboratory — however, as a group of Campbell Riverites learned over the weekend, beneficial, natural and traditional alternatives exist all around us.

Despite the intense heat, the mood was quiet and contemplative at the tables set up outside the Museum at Campbell River on Saturday. The event was about exploring native plants through medicine and the arts, and a small group of people were busy setting up art supplies and choosing plants from a table set out in the sun.

RELATED: Museum at Campbell River showcasing Native Plants and medicine

Museum programs manager Ken Blackburn said that “any opportunity we have to have discussions and… learn about traditional and Indigenous knowledge are definitely part of that reconciliation process of spending the time to listen and learn… Raising awareness of the natural environment around us and the native plants surrounding us it is really important to hear from an elder and knowledge keeper of traditional uses of things.”

In a morning session with We Wai Kai teacher Umagalis (June Johnson), the group learned about the importance and use of many plants to Indigenous Peoples of the west coast. The second half of the day was spent learning how to draw these plants, all while learning to appreciate slowing down and connecting with the natural world again.

“As June was talking about earlier today, we have a reliance on pharmaceuticals and chemistry in an environment that has become increasingly more chemical and toxin-based,” Blackburn said. “Anything that can help to swing back to more natural interventions in health is really positive.”

Plants like Oregon Grape, Devil’s Club and Cedar, all have medicinal uses that go back for thousands of years for the Indigenous peoples of the west coast. Blackburn explained that learning from the Indigenous peoples on whose lands we all live is an important step towards reconciliation.

“How do we go further, then, to encourage people to observe the natural world around them and encourage people to spend time to, in a sense, become more intimately aware of what these plants are? In many cases, they’re kind of considered to be weeds by the rest of the community, when in fact they have very strong intrinsic values,” he said. “The arts do that. The arts are one way you can encourage people to participate in processes that heighten awareness and understanding of the nature of what’s going on around them.”

That was the goal of the afternoon session, a botanical drawing lesson led by artist Clive Powsey.

“It’s the observational skills of looking closely at the characteristics of the nature of the plant. Then through drawing it, I think you get a heightened awareness of it. Ultimately, it’s an arts-based program to learn from elders and learn traditional knowledge and then encourage deeper investigation,” Blackburn said.

That is the idea behind the larger Art and Earth Festival, of which Saturday’s event was part. The idea is to give people a sense of culture and place, using the environment and the arts.

“It’s all about geography and learning the areas. It’s culture. Culture is the relationship between people and place,” said Blackburn. “I think it’s something we really need to learn.”

RELATED: Discovery Passage Aquarium wants your seashells

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Open Studios and Drive-By Art returns to Jamestown on August 7 – What'sUpNewp



Open Studios and Drive-By Art returns to Conanicut Island on Saturday, August 7 from 10 am – 5 pm. Jointly hosted by the Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) and Conanicut Island Art Association (CIAA), Open Studios is a one-day, island-wide event where participating artists invite the public into their studios or to see their work outside while passing by. 

There are more than 30 participating artists across the island as well as groups of artists with pop-up displays at Out of the Box Studio and Gallery and behind the JAC on Douglas Street. From 10 am to 3 pm at the Community Mural Wall at the JAC, all are welcome to join in a participatory project called the “People’s Patchwork,” which will offer coloring sheets based on the Ohio Star quilting pattern.  

Participating artists of Open Studios and Drive-By Art include: Shirley Bell, Coffee Bell, Kathleen Caswell, Rose M Chase, Clancy Designs Glass Studio, Bernie Courtney, Daniel Dunn, Joannie Ellie, David Gagnon, Joanne Koehler, Deb Lichtenstein, Sue Mailloux, Jody Pandelidis, Wilson Pollock, Elaine S Porter, Christopher T Terry, Ernie Wulff, Honest Forms, Jillian Barber, Looking Upwards, Peter Diepenbrock, Peter Marcus, Kelly McDermott, Rick Meli, Out of the Box Studio and Gallery, Melanie Saunders, Susan Schaffer, Gillian Stoneburner, Didi Suydam, Brad Vaccaro, and Christi Work. 

Maureen Coleman, Executive Director of the JAC, explains “Last summer, we expanded the number of participating artists and added outdoor Drive-By Art as a way to bring art to the community during the peak COVID-19 restrictions. The community was so enthusiastic that we are continuing with that expanded format this summer. Jamestown is home to so many talented artists, so it’s exciting to have this one day of special inside access to their studios and artwork. With more than 30 artists participating, there’s a huge variety of artwork to explore!”

An interactive tour map is available on the JAC’s website: It provides full details on participating artists, their location, hours, and more. Flyers will be available at the JAC beginning at 10 am on August 7 or the map can be accessed on your mobile phone for point-to-point directions. In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled to Sunday, August 8 from 10 am – 5 pm. 

At a Glance: 

WHO: Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) and Conanicut Island Art Association (CIAA) bring together 30+ local artists

WHAT: Open Studios and Drive-By Art

WHERE: Artist studios throughout Jamestown, detailed map available at 

WHEN: Saturday, August 7, 10 am – 5 pm (rain date on Sunday, August 8) 

The Jamestown Arts Center is a multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts space that hosts art exhibits, theatre, dance and musical performances, film screenings, and educational programming including artist talks and hands-on art classes for all ages. The JAC opened in 2010 in a former boat repair shop redesigned by award winning architects Estes/Twombly. Since 2014, it’s won 5 of Rhode Island Monthly’s ‘Best of Rhode Island’ awards, including the Editor’s Pick for Outdoor Art in 2021.

Programming partners include: Heifetz International Music Institute, FirstWorks, RISCA, FabNewport, RISD, Manhattan Short Film Festival, SENE Film Festival, Spectrum Theatre, Providence Art and Design Film Festival, Island Moving Company, the Jamestown Schools, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, The Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Acting & Directing Program and many individual artists and local organizations. The Jamestown Arts Center has quickly become a leading arts and cultural hub for Rhode Island and beyond, where creativity, ideas, and innovation flourish. For more information visit:

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By Robynblair Talks The Art Of Merchandise And Collaborations – Forbes



Making a living as an artist today isn’t easy. Financial success is extremely rare. Merchandise and collaborations are two of the best ways to spread brand awareness and establish a loyal customer base. And no one has mastered this quite the way Instagram’s “Candy Artist” Robyn Blair Davidson aka by robynblair has.

With prices for her work starting at $3200 for an original 16 x 24 inch piece, these ventures have allowed the artist’s brand to grow. “Many collectors absolutely start off high-end and become repeat customers whenever I have a new drop. However, I know that other clients are saving up for their first custom piece, but get their fix on the lower price-point items,” Davidson tells me. 

Sweet Beginnings

After her brand started to grow in popularity in 2018, the artist launched her first collaboration with Name Glo. “I was a client of theirs before I started by my brand. Right in the beginning, the founders and I went to lunch and I told them about my art and how happy I was about the piece I made for myself. Right then and there we decided to join forces, making my pieces with their neon on top.” 

That grew into a pop-up at American Two Shot in Soho, which then turned into a spot at the Affordable Art Fair with Art Star. “As luck would have it, the Vice President of Home from Bergdorf Goodman walked through, saw our pieces, and asked us to be their next Artist in Residence. It was an incredible journey and I was so glad to do it together with Name Glo.”

Davidson feels she made smart business decisions from the beginning, and expanding the brand early was a logical step. “It was important to me that from the beginning I could offer different price points to my clients. My goal at the end of the day is truly to make people happy and smile through my art and my designs.”

Making Art Accessible

Davidson has always felt it’s important to diversify her offerings because it allows as many people as possible to enjoy her work. “I love that I can offer the principles behind my brand at various price points. It’s huge for taking a business like mine to the next step, especially since the core product is on the higher end.” 

The theme and vibe of Davidson’s work truly lends itself to a variety of products and merchandise. For example, the lollipop swirl placemats and coasters coordinate perfectly with her art. 

The cake serving set is another example of her sophisticated approach to brand expansion. While it is packaged in a sprinkle print box, the pieces have modern white handles and the blade features Davidson’s signature statement box reading “Eat Cake.” At $85, it’s accessibly priced and a great introduction to the brand.

But Davidson is extremely particular. She doesn’t just slap her name or branding on any product. “I like to start with the story,” she says, “For me, if there isn’t a good story behind a piece or collection, it isn’t worth building out. For example, with the Hostess Collection, the story was that we all wanted to gather again. And with our placemats and coasters, I made sure that your gathering would be that much sweeter.”

There are also has several less expensive, giftable merchandise offerings including baseball caps, iPhone cases she designed with Off My Case, as well as puzzles.

The Queen Of Collaboration

Davidson has collaborated and co-branded a list of products. This includes Mini Melanie cookie boxes, Baby Noomie children’s pajamas, Apparis furry flip-flops, as well as with Stephanie Gottlieb on a jewelry box.

Most recently, the artist created keepsake acrylic boxes with celebrity-lauded brand BondEye Jewelry (Olivia Rodrigo and Gabrielle Union are fans) on a box that was sent out to their VIP customers. “I love projects like this, especially when I know my art will be seen by new people and used in a special way. I’m also a huge fan of Jess [Klein, the founder] personally and professionally,” she tells me. 

Still, Davidson is still very particular about who she works with. “It’s important for me to make sure the collab makes sense for both brands, and do more long-term ventures together instead of the quick, one-offs that are definitely tempting, but not as sweet.”

Three Cheers 

In summer 2021, Davison launched a line of Spritzy Rosé with Cooper’s Hawk featuring three colorful ombre-style labels. She was also very involved with product development, even doing a tasting with Tim McEnery, who founded the brand. “The Cooper’s Hawk collab was the dream scenario for me,” the artist says. “I love rosé and was so excited when they reached out to me. The team at Cooper’s Hawk offered me complete creative control, which was both gratifying and humbling. Together we made a set of wine that I am incredibly proud of.”

Cooper’s Hawk Winery produces approximately 700k cases of wine each year and has received over 500 awards in various local, national, and international wine competitions.

What’s Next

As for the future, Davison plans to continue her very successful business model. “I am very intentional with the projects I pursue, and make sure that in each category I partner with the best or I consult with experts to make sure everything I launch is a success. I am very proud of this because I know how easy it is to spread yourself thin and just do it all.”

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Culture camp teaching about world through art – Toronto Star



Habitat of the Arts is open for the summer and with that comes all of their amazing new camps.

A new camp that just started this year is the culture camp

Habitat usually has art camps, even theatre camps, but they felt that they were missing something.

With the unfortunate events of COVID the past year, Jasper hasn’t had many of its usual international visitors.

“It may not have much to do with our youth, but the whole community cannot help but feel that void,” said Marianne Garrah, director of Habitat for the Arts.

Heritage Canada has come out with some grants to renew and revive the arts.

“Why not make art more visible when our visitors return? How can we do that? How can we include our youth?” Garrah asked.

And with that came the first year of the culture camp.

Habitat noticed a need to engage our youth in art and education and build towards an appreciation for the world that chooses Jasper for their holidays.

Tina Byrd will be running the camp. She has designed the program on what she would have loved to have had access to when she was young.

“Imagine being 10 and being given all the tools and paint and inspiring enthusiastic instructor and the freedom to just do,” Garrah said.

Besides running the culture camp, Byrd also works at the elementary school.

The culture camp is all geared towards learning about the world through the power of art.

Jasper relies a lot on its visitors. But how much do youth know about where they come from?

“How do we ensure our youth appreciate the cultures that come here?” Garrah asked.

The culture camp has guests coming to share their real-world experiences with the youth.

A couple of the cultures that the youth will learn about will be Mexico, Indigenous Canada and Africa. Each day, they will also get to try food from the country of the day.

The camp is similarly designed from the multicultural night that Habitat of the Arts ran in previous years.

The camp starts on Aug. 2 and will run up until Aug. 13, ending with a fair in the park, weather permitting.

The kids will be designing their own “fair” throughout the duration of the camp.

“I think we underestimate the potential to consult youth when it comes to community engagement,” Garrah said.

The kids will get to make masks, paint like impressionists, create mandalas and learn about colour and even Bhangra dance.

The camp will highlight the need for youth to engage in the arts for diversity and inclusion.

The youth will be distanced for health and safety and making as much art as they can in the nine days.

There are only a few spots left, so contact for details.

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