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The pandemic, however, brought these face-to-face sessions to a halt. The meetings transitioned to video calls, but Bell wanted a space to showcase and share the work many of the participants were creating.
She thought of hosting a podcast.
“The intention was to share projects from the VOICE Lab and also connect to other people in other places across Saskatchewan or Canada that could speak to disability or art and were interested in sharing,” Bell said.
“The podcast I think is also a way to have conversations about disability, art and access.”
Often when people think of people with disabilities creating art, they think of it as a therapeutic activity, said Kathleen Irwin, a theatre professor at the U of R and one of the faculty representatives with the VOICE Lab. She emphasized that art is much more than a therapy.
“We’re not just looking at art-making as a therapeutic endeavour, we’re looking at it as a real form of expression and conceptualizing and thinking important thoughts and disseminating important thoughts,” said Irwin.
By viewing art through that lens, Irwin said supporting people with disabilities as they explore creative self-expression helps them to build confidence in their skills and to advocate for themselves.
“We have given them an opportunity to do podcasts, to express themselves musically, to express themselves artistically using creative apps that are readily available,” she said.
“We’re really just trying to expand the scope of their expression.”
Newmarket resident finds therapy in chalk art drawings (7 photos) – NewmarketToday.ca
Kim Egan had purchased the 12-pack of sidewalk chalk on a whim.
“I was at the Dollar Tree in Newmarket, where I always go for arts and crafts supplies,” said Egan. “They were being sold for only $1.25. It was very much a spur of the moment thing.”
Chalk in hand, Egan had walked to Newmarket’s Haskett Park and had found a secluded stretch of pavement on which to draw. Her Victorian-inspired artwork, a brightly coloured vase of flowers, was finished 14 hours later.
The experience, she said, took her completely by surprise.
“I suffer from anxiety and depression, something that’s been especially challenging for me — and a lot of people — during the pandemic,” said Egan. “But art, drawing, was therapy. It helped me relax and forget my problems.”
Egan again returned to chalk art when her grandmother, Rose, tragically suffered a stroke mid-August. Already stressed from the isolation of quarantine and unable to visit her due to strict post-COVID-19 hospital restrictions, Egan’s mental health was struggling.
To help ease some of her anxiety, Egan took to the pavement outside her Davis Drive apartment and designed a special homage to her grandmother. Throughout the painful few days preceding Rose’s passing, working on the drawing gave Egan a small — but much needed — sense of control.
“The artwork I drew for her was a big pink heart that said ‘Rose’ in it, with roses on either side and a crown, flames, and cross atop it,” said Egan. “I came to learn afterwards that what I drew is actually a religious symbol, representing Christ’s heart. It was odd, because I didn’t know it at the time.”
Egan’s latest chalk drawing, a floral scene inspired by her love for nature, can currently be seen on the outdoor stage at Riverwalk Commons. As rain and wind can wash her art away in minutes, the stage’s overhead awning afforded Egan rare protection from September’s wet weather.
Yet despite the unique challenges her chalk art can bring, from being at the whim of the elements to scraped and sore knees, Egan is confident she’ll stick with it. A lifelong art lover, she has dabbled in mediums as wide-ranging as embroidery, handmade jewelry, flower pressing, painting and more. With chalk art, the most committing of the bunch, she just may have found her calling.
“When I was a kid, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say an artist,” said Egan. “Art is something I’ve always been so passionate about. And now, late in my life, I have a burning desire to explore my creativity more. It’s something I have to do, before I die.”
Apart from using chalk art as a personal source of happiness, Egan is also hopeful that its positivity will spread.
“I hope people get some pleasure or happiness from seeing it. I hope it’s a bright spot in their day. It’s been great sharing my creativity with others.”
Egan is happy to report that the reaction to her artwork has, so far, been overwhelmingly positive. With each drawing, she’s gained the courage to venture out more and more into the public eye.
“Because I’m out there drawing for a few days, I get people out for walks who will stop to talk and take pictures,” said Egan. “They’re very encouraging. It’s been nice.”
Three proposed designs for new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia released (3 photos) – HalifaxToday.ca
COMMUNITIES/CULTURE/HERITAGE/ART GALLERY OF NOVA SCOTIA/DEVELOP NOVA SCOTIA/TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE RENEWAL
Nova Scotians can now see and provide feedback on the three final conceptual designs for the planned new art gallery and waterfront arts district in Halifax.
Today, Sept. 21, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia launched the Design Competition Exhibition, which runs until late October and features 3D models, renderings and detailed submissions by three shortlisted design teams. As part of the public engagement process, Nova Scotians will have an opportunity to share their feedback on each of the design approaches and concepts.
“A new gallery and waterfront arts district reflects the importance of art and culture to our communities and our lives,” said Leo Glavine, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. “This gallery belongs to all Nova Scotians, and I encourage everyone to visit the exhibit in person or online and share their feedback.”
Public feedback gathered during the exhibition will be considered in the development of the project. Following the selection of the winning team, further community engagement will take place across the province.
The public can also view and comment on the submissions online at https://artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/artsdistrict . The submissions will be posted later today. On Sept. 24 at 6 p.m., the three final teams will present their designs through a livestream on the gallery YouTube Channel and on the website.
“The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has a history that dates back to 1908, yet Nova Scotia has never had a purpose-built provincial art gallery. Today marks a major milestone for the arts and cultural sector in Nova Scotia. The three design teams have delivered concepts that reinvent the idea of an art gallery and arts district. We hope that all Nova Scotians will engage with us throughout this process to ensure that we have a space that is reflective of all communities in our province.”
– Nancy Noble, director and CEO, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
“Community participation in the work to create a new arts district is critical to ensure what we build reflects us all and is a place where everyone can belong. We encourage Nova Scotians to engage in these early concepts over the next few weeks, to share their ideas big and small, and to help shape this inclusive place for art and community. Once the successful design team is selected, we’ll look forward to engaging with the community again.”
– Jennifer Angel, president and CEO, Develop Nova Scotia
— the three finalist designs are the result of a six-month, international design competition – the first of its magnitude in Nova Scotia
— the three teams participating in stage two of the design competition are Architecture49 with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hargreaves Jones; DIALOG, Acre Architects, Brackish Design Studio and Shannon Webb-Campbell; KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman (NWAC), Public Work and Transsolar
— the winning submission will be chosen in October by a qualified jury of professionals, including architects, a landscape architect, artists and museum professionals
— the successful design team will carry out a provincewide public engagement process
— in April 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $30 million in the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia project through the New Building Canada Fund-Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component, National and Regional Projects
— the Province of Nova Scotia has committed $70 million towards this project
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia building website: https://artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/artsdistrict
Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan https://novascotia.ca/culture/
Review: Craig Johnson mystery involving art creates art, too – St. Albert Today
“Next to Last Stand,” by Craig Johnson (Viking)
In “Next to Last Stand,” the 16th book in Craig Johnson’s popular mystery series, Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire is feeling his age. He’s not sure he even wants to stand for reelection. However, a good mystery can always get the veteran lawman’s heart pumping again.
He finds one when the director of the Wyoming Home for Soldiers and Sailors calls to inform him that his pal Charlie Lee Stillwater has passed away — and that he needs to examine what was found in the old man’s room. Arriving there, Longmire sees stacks of papers and file folders, a huge hoard of books about art, a scrap of canvass that appears to be a copy (or perhaps an actual piece) of a famous painting, and a box containing $1 million in hundred dollar bills.
It appears that Charlie died of natural causes, but where did the long-penniless old soldier get a million dollars in cash? When did he develop an apparent obsession with art? And is that scrap of canvass a clue or a red herring?
Johnson builds his story around a real work of art: “Custer’s Last Fight,” a not particularly good and historically inaccurate painting of the battle of Little Big Horn that was destroyed in a fire in 1946 at the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Fort Bliss, Texas. However, because millions of copies were distributed by Anheuser-Bush, it is one of the most well-known art works in American history. The original would be worth millions.
Could it have somehow survived the fire? The plot thickens when Longmire discovers that his old pal had been stationed at the Texas army post at the time of the fire.
Fans of the Longmire series will be pleased that many familiar characters, including stoic Henry Standing Bear and crude-talking Deputy Sheriff Victoria Moretti, play a prominent role in the tale that also involves a crooked art dealer, a skilful art forger, some Russian art collectors, and an assortment of violent thugs.
Johnson excels at introducing his series characters to new readers without boring longtime fans with details they already know. The plot is not as dark as the last few Longmire tales, but as always, a suspenseful one unfolds at an appealing pace and the prose is first rate.
Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”
Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
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