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New public art piece funnels into Kinsmen – Edmonton Examiner



Amid COVID-19 restrictions, Edmonton artists Karen Klassen and Erin Pankratz installed “Ripple Effect” at the Kinsmen Leisure Centre. Photo Supplied

A new wash of colour is bringing some life back to the pool deck at the Kinsmen Leisure Centre.

With the pool expected to be reopened on Sept. 8 for lap swimming and swim club uses after months of extensive renovations, the addition of two large mosaic art pieces entitled “Ripple Effect” will be sure to turn some heads.

Edmonton artists Karen Klassen and Erin Pankratz collaborated on the project, which took about four months to fabricate and two weeks to install.

“I think people will love it. It’s so bright, beautiful and tactile,” said Klassen.

Approved in the 2018 capital budget for $33,000, the art piece helps replace two big block windows near the kids’ pool which had deteriorated over time from condensation.

The design shows lively rippling water surfaces that evoke rhythmic, playful, and soothing movement.

“You can see that there is perspective in it. The water is going back, there is a horizon line, it’s not completely flat. It looks like you can go into it. We wanted to create some depth in that space because it’s kind of enclosed and cave-like. With no natural light now, we wanted to create a lot of colour and depth,” said Pankratz.

“For myself looking at it, I find you’re following each line and seeing where it ends and how it turns into the next line. It’s really cool. I think you’re going to take your time looking at it,” Klassen added.

The artists aimed to make the piece timeless. While both have created previous public art pieces, this was their first piece inside of a pool. Previously, the pair was commissioned by the Edmonton Arts Council in another collaboration mosaic piece on a bench “Spring is Sprung, the Grass is Riz (I Wonder Where the Birdy is?)” installed in Edmonton’s Dermott Park in summer 2018.

“We wanted to make this more appealing to everyone, as to opposed to just kids or have a beach scenario. We didn’t want to go representational. We wanted to go abstract and colourful,” said Klassen.

“People can find what they want to find within it. It’s not giving them everything,” added Pankratz. “With public art, we’re always thinking about how long it will last.”

Mayor Rod Frank thanked the artists for their contributions.

“Strathcona County’s public art program inspires, celebrates and preserves our community’s cultural spirit and identity. We are proud to have a unique collection of public art pieces that stimulate creative conversations and connections,” said Frank.

It took four months for Edmonton artists Karen Klassen and Erin Pankratz to fabricate their two mosaic pieces entitled “Ripple Effect”, which has since been installed near the kids’ pool at the Kinsmen Leisure Centre. Photo Supplied

At the beginning of the pandemic, the artists worked separately in the same studio at different times to create the mosaic, which they found odd since they love working together. But as the months went on and restrictions lifted, they became cohorted so installing the piece amid COVID-19 restrictions wasn’t all that different.

“We were asked to wear a mask if we were going to be working close to other workers who were tiling or we had a choice of waiting until we were more comfortable. Other than that, there were no worries. Everybody had their own space,” said Pankratz.

There was even an opportunity for an art lesson.

“We actually had one worker come up to us while we were installing it and said ‘What a beautiful painting’ but we told it’s not a painting, it’s mosaic.’ We had the same thing happen when we were doing the bench project, where a guy came up and said he didn’t like mosaic but he loved this. It’s about seeing it done in a professional way, not a kitschy way, and how you can see it as a highly technical art form,” detailed Klassen.

Both agreed finding work during COVID-19 has been hard with art shows and festivals cancelled, as well as art contracts being delayed for months.

“Every month, you’re applying for something, but then all of that stopped. You’re always trying to get the next gig as you’re already working on something. As an artist, you need to be flexible and find other ways to generate income,” said Pankratz, adding she’s offering an online mosaic class.

“You’re always thinking about other projects and spreading yourself out,” said Klassen.

Find out more about the artists at their websites: and For Pankratz’s online course, go to;

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Moostletoe Tour cancelled but MJMAG offering plenty of art opportunities this fall –



The artists and committee of the Moosetletoe Studio Tours have decided to cancel this year’s annual tour of local artists’ studios due to COVID-19 concerns, but that doesn’t mean Moose Jaw will be without chances to get involved with art throughout the fall.

The Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery has a number of programs and projects coming up that will help the community continue to stay connected to both their own creative side and the artists of Moose Jaw.

Education program coordinator Christy Schweiger from the MJMAG shared a few of the upcoming items of interest on the art gallery’s calendar, beginning with the ongoing work happening to put the gift shop online.

No set timeline has been established for the launch of the online shop, as the curator and tech team are still in discussion and the process will take some time, but MJMAG hopes to have the online option available for the Christmas season.

“We have someone in the community who is very tech-oriented that is working with the curator to come up with a concept of how to do that,” said Schweiger. “So that’s a little ways off but we will be working on that, and it’s a great idea to have it up for Christmas. We want to highlight local artists and work with local artists in not only our community but in Saskatchewan to provide them that option.”

The Norma Lang Gallery is also under construction as MJMAG staff prepare for the fall exhibition titled Marsha Kennedy: Embodied Ecologies, which will open on Oct. 9.

The Women’s Cape Project showcase in the gallery lobby, facilitated by cultural educator and traditional Cree artist Barb Frazer and featuring the beadwork of local Indigenous women, will also be expanding with an addition to the exhibition — another beadwork medallion project featuring 30 more artists.

For those looking for a more hands-on art experience, the MJMAG has also planned several art classes coming up, with something for all ages. 

Adult classes will be taking place in-person, with a limit of six participants per class to ensure proper safety protocols. Materials will be provided for all participants, and masks will be required while in the building.

“It’s hard to wear a mask for the whole time but it is required, [and] we will be taking breaks,” said Schweiger. “We’re just trying to test the waters and make people feel comfortable and safe, while we’re offering classes.”

Kids classes are also available, with small, in-person classes available as well as online versions for those nervous about public spaces. Schweiger is also working on providing the art gallery’s school art program to educators in an online capacity this fall, which will also be available to students who are homeschooling.

The MJMAG is planning for the Creatabilities art class to return in November in the afternoons, which is aimed towards individuals with special needs and learning difficulties. The class takes place online, from a distance, with material kits provided to participants with everything they need to take part.

A new art class for seniors aged 55 and up is also underway, in partnership with Senior Centres Without Walls, where participants are given the materials and step-by-step instructions from Schweiger over the phone.

“Everything is over the phone, and so that is for seniors and particularly it will be good for people who are not technologically inclined, with the Internet,” said Schweiger, adding that the first session went very well.

MJMAG is also adapting the pop-up clay sessions that became popular last year with the upcoming launch of Clay At Home, a do-it-yourself craft kit that contains all the materials needed to create a clay ornament. The first clay kit is Halloween-themed and available for preorder right now, with pickup set for Oct. 25-27.

Schweiger encourages people to check out the upcoming calendar of classes, as the MJMAG has been working very hard to adapt programming to the unusual circumstances of this year and there is a little something for everyone.

“I’ve always wanted to work with vulnerable groups such as seniors and individuals with learning disabilities, and so this has really given me a chance to spend time with them online,” said Schweiger. “I feel really good that we have been able to include more community members in our programming, that we’ve never had time to do in the past.”

All of the MJMAG’s upcoming programs are open for registration online only, as the gallery is reducing physical contact where possible. 

More information on classes and what’s coming up can be found on the MJMAG’s website at

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‘Gratitude’ art exhibit celebrates essential workers –



Ashfield artist Robert Masla is grateful for essential workers who are often overlooked but are no less essential to a whole, functioning, prosperous human society.

So he has put together a solo exhibit of recent oil and watercolor paintings, “Gratitude: The Unrecognized Essential Workers Series,” that will be on view online beginning Oct. 1 or at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton.

“Most of us are acutely aware of the essential workers who are obvious to us during these challenging pandemic times — health care workers, doctors, nurses, etc.,” he said. “Hopefully this time has also brought a heightened awareness and appreciation to those that though providing these essential services, they remain unrecognized in their value to society at large.”

He listed teachers, service persons, postal workers, immigrant farmers, artists, musicians, writers, EMT’s, custodians, poets, social workers, dancers, repair persons, ” etc. etc.,” adding that “perhaps the most impassioned of these, (and unpaid), are the ‘Defenders of a Real Democracy’ who are formed by all of the diverse members and occupations of society, depicted in the paintings ‘Take a Knee: Rural Communities in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter’ (oil 22”x72″) and ‘The 30th of May: Persecution of the Defenders of Real Democracy’ (oil 48″x72″) that are on display in this exhibition at the R. Michelson Galleries.”

A full-time professional artist whose exhibition history extends over 40 years, Masla’s canvases, murals and portraits can be found in the United States and in Mexico in numerous public and private collections. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in both countries and in various books and publications.

Throughout his more than 40-year career, his work has moved from visionary and symbolic paintings, to landscapes, particularly from, but not limited to the areas around his homes and studios in western Massachusetts and Mexico. His work has moved from trompe-l’oeil still lifes to abstract collages to portraits to murals. These are executed in a variety of methods and a variety of media — oil paint, alkyd, watercolor, gouache, acrylic, digital collage, charcoal, water soluble graphite, sumi-e ink.

“I do not call myself a watercolorist or ‘oilist’ or ‘portraitist or ‘landscapeist’ or either impressionist, surrealist, realist or abstractionist,” he said.

Sometimes he has been asked what is his favorite medium, and he replies, “Paint.”

Although Masla makes a living as an artist, art to him is more than a product:

“It is a process as well, it is also a way of life, of seeing, being and doing – of connecting with myself and with the universe around me.”

Art, like life, is not easily defined, he said; it is “a reflection and part of the great mystery we call the universe, (some would call God). Back in the ’70s, when I was constantly grappling with such existential questions, I coined the term SpiritRealism, to refer to artwork and a lifestyle that reflected these concerns, and had no ‘stylistic boundaries.’”

As an artist, Masla’s intention always has been to use his work as a spiritual practice, a form of ritual and meditation, a practice that ultimately helps him transcend his limited ego and reach a place of non-judgmental awareness and openness. “It grounds me in the present moment so I can connect with the creative flow of nature that surrounds me and is me. We are all a part of creation unfolding, and I see my role as an artist to play my part as co-creator, and hopefully help others make that connection through my work,” he said. “We all go about our work and our lives, hopefully trying to be present, aware and compassionate. In my case, a lot of that time is spent making art, and if I am still enough, present enough, I am able to connect – to be in the place of my essence — open awareness — that is where spirit is, and you catch it on the in breath, aha, the in-spiration.”

Masla graduated from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University with a bachelor of fine arts degree and diploma in painting in 1979 and received a master’s in fine arts in painting and art history from The City College of New York in 1986.

His exhibit, “Gratitude: The Unrecognized Essential Workers Series,” will be available online beginning Oct. 1 or at the gallery (masks and social distancing required). Masla will be at the gallery Oct. 3, from 3 to 8 p.m. and Oct. 4 from 1 to 8 p.m. and by appointment.

The gallery is at 132 Main St., Northampton.

For more information, go to or


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NYC Startup Maireann Makes Fine Art Collections More Accessible – The Ritz Herald



Maireann is a New York-based Fine Art marketplace that sells top-quality signed and limited edition prints. They launched on August 15, 2020. The fine art prints they sell are targeted at consumers desiring to purchase high-value art but cannot afford outrageously-expensive collections. Maireann wants to ultimately make quality art that will appreciate in value more readily available.

Nebulous I – Photographed by Mario De La Isla. Yosemite National Park, California, 2015

“Maireann helps photographers survive and make a living, especially during these trying times,” exclaimed Creative Director Freddie Leiba who’s worked with some of the top names in art and fashion like Andy Warhol, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson, Joseph Chen, Helmut Newton, Horst P. Horst, and Francesco Scavullo to name a few. “I’ve seen many Photographers struggle to find a good marketplace to sell to art collectors,” added Leiba, ” Maireann helps solve this problem.”

Says New York Fashion Photographer Joseph Chen, “The series Forme Féminine et Sensualité is an ongoing study I have been working on and off for the last 10 years, it revolves around the intricate relationship between sensuality and the female form. Maireann is a great platform to share my work to the world, it also gives me the opportunity to do what I feel, which is sometimes hard to do on commissioned advertising jobs.” Supermodel Megan Irminger, who worked with Chen over the years, adds, “I think it’s a beautiful piece illustrating the light that women bring to this world.” The series Forme Féminine et Sensualité by Chen is sold exclusively with Maireann.

Maireann accomplishes their mission by lowering the cost of the art to the consumer while offering a majority of the sales price to the artist. Maireann keeps a very low percentage of each print sold in comparison to other marketplaces. Maireann even offers free shipping on all orders $200 and above.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Maireann to sell my photography,” added photographer Mario De La Isla. “Previously, I’ve struggled to find buyers who would appreciate my limited-edition prints. But with the help of Maireann, I’m able to focus more on creating art than worrying about selling my work.” De La Isla is a veteran photographer for National Geographic.

Lastly, Maireann is currently on the lookout for artists that they, themselves, bring a unique point of view, to help showcase fresh exceptional talent to the art world.

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