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New West art project showcases hope in a time of COVID-19 – Powell River Peak



At a time when no one could predict how long lockdown would be in effect and the world seemed to hold its breath, one woman had a vision: to create a mural that would inspire hope.

Merril Hall, a longtime New Westminster resident and facilitator of public art projects, was commissioned by the Arts Council of New Westminster to create an art project that could be accomplished within social distancing guidelines and eventually become an installation in one of the city’s public spaces.

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Now New Westminster residents are invited to check out the result of that work with a new exhibition at the Anvil Centre, Aug. 10 to 27.

Hall is facilitator of the Garden Gals, a group of active sketchers and painters who share a passion for art in nature and who are all avid gardeners. Hall invited those artists to help create a mural project that would include images that evoke sentiments like thoughtfulness, kindness and appreciation.

Each painter created in isolation and was left to their own devices to choose a colour palette and format for their canvas. The only instruction was that each must include a heart and a flower and present an interpretation of the theme of Positivity During COVID-19.

With titles like Hopeful Heart, Downside Up, and The Window Between Us, the paintings carry the artists’ messages of how positivity can be witnessed in the world around us – and specifically right here in New West.

The mural project came about through the arts council’s Seniors Expressions Through the Arts program; the program’s advisory committee recommended it as a way to memorialize the experiences of living through the pandemic.

The mural is now being displayed in partnership with the Anvil Centre, thanks to an opportunity that’s available because of the facility’s closure. The paintings will be viewable through the centre’s ground-floor windows along Columbia Street.

“This is a unique way to showcase this timely project while the facility is closed,” said Todd Ayotte, manager of community art and theatres for the City of New Westminster.

Ayotte noted plans are underway to reopen the community art gallery at the Anvil Centre later in the fall.

For now, everyone is invited to turn out on Columbia Street to see the works; viewers are reminded to keep their distance and be responsible when occupying sidewalk space to view them.

After the exhibition, the paintings will be fused together to become an original mural.

“If we had all been together, I would have set the colour palette and drawn up the plan,” Hall said. “This way, each artist had their own freedom to choose their own way to connect with the theme. We thought of this as patchwork that would only all come together when the canvases were completed. In the end, we all feel incredibly proud of the work we were able to accomplish apart, together.”


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The World’s Best Art Is Helping Celebrate The Met’s 150th Birthday – Forbes



In these times, any institution celebrating its 150th anniversary is a reason to rejoice. And for visitors to the Big Apple, as well as its native sons and daughters, the best of art is its own Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If museum officials are smiling quite a bit more these days, it’s not only because it will reopen on August 29—but it will reopen knowing that it also has received a remarkable gift: $5 million, donated by the ubiquitous Adrienne Arsht.

Ms. Arsht’s philanthropy is wide-ranging, and visitors will be able to see the results when the Met demonstrates some of the performance artists it is backing with her contribution. But the great bulk will be unseen: it will go to interns, those young people who devote their time but often receive no money. Now, about 70 people will be named as Adrienne Arsht Interns.

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They will be working at this place founded in 1870, but the art goes back 5,000 years, incorporating, oh, tens of thousands of objects. It is located at one of the easiest addresses to remember—1,000 Fifth Avenue. That’s on the corner of 82d Street.

A first-time visitor to the museum—the largest in the United States, fourth largest in the world—will take in objects that will last a lifetime in memory.

Perhaps the most noted exhibit at the reopening will be a broad look at the Met through the years, called “Making The Met, 1870-2020.” It will include not only noted works of art, but ancient treasures so fragile they usually are kept from view in the museum’s storied vaults.

In particular, look at the Met’s involvement with a lady known as Queen Hatshepsut, who lived about 3,500 years ago. The Met describes her as perhaps the ancient world’s first important female ruler.

So we will see her face, and how it was found in pieces (a jealous successor destroyed her statues), that the Met’s expert antiquarians put back.

Of course, to most people an art museum houses the Old Masters—those classic paintings whose names we were forced to memorize in junior high school.

Well, the Met is taking a fresh take on them, in fact calling its exhibition “A New Look at Old Masters.”

You will read discussions about these fabled European paintings and sculptures.

One gallery will feature, for example, still-life paintings from the 16th and 17th Centuries, while a short walk away other galleries display oil sketches from the same period.

You will learn about Tiepolo’s techniques, and compare his paintings to those of Rubens and van Dyck.

Then it’s on to expressionism, as well as the role of female artists.

Perhaps the most theatrical of the Met’s famed exhibits is guarded by a strange creature—a lion with a man’s head, and five legs. This is the lamassu, and he has been protecting the Assyrian Sculpture Court.

Then there is another wide-open space (under a skylight) that is filled with marble statues, some merely bodies with their heads never found. This is the Greek and Roman Court, and you get the sense that these ancients are about to start philosophizing, or going into battle.

Although the museum could have opened earlier, it wanted to get things exactly right for its 150th anniversary. And it’s all being done for you.

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Street art festival boosts LGBT visibility in Vancouver's Chinatown –



Pride in Chinatown is celebrating its third anniversary and, unlike the Vancouver Pride Parade and other major events across the Lower Mainland, the event is not going online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The idea of Pride in Chinatown [is] to have a presence,” said Paul Wong, the artistic director and curator of the month-long street art festival.

The festival features eight artists’ projects scattered throughout the neighbourhood, meant to promote the inclusion of LGBT people in the community. 

“Chinatown has been segregated through discrimination and racism and fear. Chinatown has evolved from being very conservative and being very repressed … and homophobic,” Wong said to Stephen Quinn, host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

Most of the festival’s artworks are displayed at a single location. But artist Kendall Yan’s creation Quarantine is a bit different — with several locations across Chinatown. 

The drag performer — whose stage name is Maiden China and who has family ties to Chinatown — turned one of his Instagram self-portraits into a poster and put it up at multiple locations across the neighbourhood.

“It’s very pleasing for my ego,” Yan said about seeing his face all over Chinatown.

The project began after he uploaded 41 portraits to the photo-sharing platform while stuck at home during the height of the pandemic, one photo per day. 

But what came after was an unpleasant experience.

Yan initially wanted to display all 41 of his self-portraits on a storefront. He approached three businesses near his studio, but said the responses were disappointing.

“People are very hesitant to give space that’s very visible, in the fear that someone is going to vandalize their business,” he said.

“That is a very homophobic thing in and of itself.”

Wong faced similar resistance when he dispatched volunteers asking business associations and community service organizations to put “Pride in Chinatown” stickers on their doorways and windows. 

“It’s been an interesting way to see that kind of embracing or resistance to being queer out loud and proud in Chinatown,” said Wong.

On Saturday, community organization Youth Collaborative for Chinatown had an anonymous artist present a floral installation at the Millennium Gate as a tribute to people of different races and sexualities. 

All the exhibits for Pride in Chinatown — except the artwork made of real flowers — will be displayed until Sept. 7. 

Comrade(ry) by David Ng at 525 Carrall Street. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Never As It Seems by Diyan Achjadi at Carrall and Keefer. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Fortune Diptych by Jay Cabalu at Fortune Sound club, 147 East Pender Street. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Love is Love by Candie Tanaka at Propaganda Coffee, 209 East Pender Street. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A Quotation by Susan Sontag by Ho Tam at Access Gallery, 222 East Georgia Street. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Click the following link to listen to Paul Wong and Kendall Yan’s interview on The Early Edition:

Artistic Director and Curator for Pride in Chinatown Paul Wong and Kendall Yan, AKA Maiden China, speak with Stephen Quinn about the events around Pride in Chinatown. 9:43

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Solo exhibition “Pastel Stories” debuts at Quesnel Art Gallery – Quesnel Cariboo Observer



By Melanie Law

Special to the Observer

For Marcela Bodorikova, her first art gallery show is a celebration of texture and colour.

“Pastel Stories”, which opened August 6, 2020 at the Quesnel Art Gallery, is the culmination of a year of work. Bodorikova has brought together 50 artworks, all rendered in pastels.

“About a year ago I discovered pastels, and I completely fell in love with the texture and the colours and how vibrant they are,” said Bodorikova.

Her solo show is testament to that love. The images range in subject matter, from small landscapes to larger, close-up images of flowers or fruit; from colourful barnyard beasts to Bodorikova’s latest works, a series of self-portraits. But a common theme is Bodorikova’s exploration of the medium. “Because I just started [using pastels] a year ago, it’s all a learning process,” explained the artist.

Bodorikova, who moved to Canada from Slovakia in 2002, only began creating art in a serious way about five years ago. It was the gift of a colouring book that sparked her creativity.

RELATED: Sharing a love of nature at Quesnel Art Gallery

“Somebody got me a colouring book, and I thought, ‘This is cool, but also kind of boring to colour things. I’d rather create these pages,’” said Bodorikova. She began experimenting with an art form called Zentangle, in which the artist combines dots, lines, orbs, and other small shapes in an unplanned way on small pieces of paper. Bodorikova began to Zentangle on porcelain mugs, and she sold her creations in local shops, including Cariboo Keepsakes and Tiny Treats.

“At some point, the Zentangle started to be a little bit too repetitive for me,” admitted Bodorikova, who then challenged herself with acryllics on canvas. Next came charcoals. “I thought, ‘These are so cool to use, but I need more colour.’” So Bodorikova ordered a set of pastels, and stumbled onto her preferred medium.

Bodorikova favours a technique that showcases the mark-making process. “I prefer a non-smudging style, so you actually see the strokes of pastels.” A piece titled Set Free, for example, depicts a horse rearing against a blue background made up of hundreds of pastel markings in different shades, densities and thicknesses.

Bodorikova said she is still learning about working with pastels, but hopes to continue evolving her style as she experiments. She takes online art classes, and every month there is a different topic to explore. These explorations have resulted in some of the works hung in the Art Gallery until August 28: an image series of different kinds of fruit, for example, showcases experimentation with blending the foreground and background. “The exercise with the pear and the apple, it’s called ‘lost and found edges’ … the edges of the apple are lost at some point in the background; it’s about making a joined impression with the background,” said Bodorikova.

Above all, Bodorikova said she enjoys the tactile nature of working in pastels. “I like the feel of it. I like the messiness of it,” she said. “It’s part of the pleasure of painting with pastels.”

“Pastel Stories” runs Aug. 6-28 at the Quesnel Art Gallery. For more information about this and other local art shows, visit

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