Connect with us


Our Community: New art installation unveiled, collecting socks for those in need



Art installation unveiled in Commercial Alley

The newest addition to the ever-changing outdoor art “gallery” in Victoria’s Commercial Alley is now on ­display.

Feeling Fuzzy Inside by Eliska Liska, which ­consists of four panels, was selected after a call for entries from emerging artists and artist teams.

Nichola Reddington, the city’s senior cultural ­planner, called Liska’s piece “a cheerful ­meditation on things that bring joy to young people in our ­community.”

“We invite residents and visitors alike to pop by Commercial Alley when downtown to spend a few minutes connecting with this art, that is free for all to enjoy.”


Artwork has been displayed for the past 10 years in the alley on the west wall of the Youth Empowerment Society building on Yates Street. The outdoor gallery, located between the 500 block of Yates and Bastion Square, showcases a new temporary art installation every year.

Liska is originally from the Czech Republic and spent five years travelling in Europe and Mexico, ­painting murals as she went. She has a master’s degree in contemporary art and new media from Ostrava ­University in the Czech Republic, and works in such mediums as painting, pottery, printing and drawing.

Liska, who runs Full Sink Pottery and is an art designer and teacher at the McTavish Academy of Art, says she has a special fondness for public art.

“Creating in public spaces, where art talks to the wider public and also influences the visual side of the city, has always been the most appealing art to me,” she said. “Each of the panels show different activities that have ability to consume us and help us learn who we are and where we stand, as well as simply to make us feel good.”

Former Montessori teacher gets PM’s award for excellence

Former Selkirk Montessori School teacher Amabel De Lara has been given a Prime Minister’s Award for excellence in early childhood education.

De Lara, who was at the school for over 40 years before retiring in June, received a certificate of achievement for what was described as “a career of enriching children’s lives.”

One of her former colleagues said they were inspired to become a Montessori teacher after being in De Lara’s kindergarten class many years ago.

“The amount of effort she put into training, modelling and caring for me is the greatest gift I could have received, and I hope I can be an ‘Amabel’ to someone else one day,” the colleague said.

Collecting socks for those in need

The recent drop in temperatures means it’s time for the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s annual effort to collect 10,000 pairs of socks for people in need.

The campaign, now in its 16th year, brings together Cool Aid, Kia Victoria, La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries and PVH Legwear Canada, the company that makes McGregor socks. Michael Bloomfield and Congregation Emanu-El launched the initiative in 2006.

The goal is to raise $10,000 for 10,000 pairs of warm socks for those who are homeless or in poverty. Socks will be given to 25 organizations in Victoria, Nanaimo and Salt Spring Island to distribute.

Foot-care nurse Miranda Berniaz, who owns Victoria Foot Care and provides services at the Cool Aid Community Health Centre once a week, says warm, dry feet might not be glamorous, but they’re an important part of health care.

“And for people on the streets who spend so much time moving from one place to another with all their belongings, the challenges are even greater, said Berniaz, adding foot problems can be an indicator of other issues, like poor circulation or nerve damage.

“Clean, dry footwear makes all the difference.”

Since it began, the campaign has distributed 122,500 pairs of socks worth $572,500. Cool Aid buys the socks at a deep discount from PVH Legwear Canada, with La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries providing shipping.

Kia Victoria got involved last year, matching every $5 donated up to $5,000. The company will do the same this year, and also store and deliver socks.

The campaign runs until Nov. 30. Funds can be donated online at or by calling Kia Victoria at 250-383-1977.

Grocers Going Beyond drive supports cancer research

Grocers are working with the B.C. Cancer Foundation for a second year to help with cancer research and care on Vancouver Island.

Through Nov. 11, the Grocers Going Beyond Campaign will be raising funds for the Innovation Research Fund, which is part of the foundation’s ongoing Beyond Belief Campaign.

Thrifty Foods, Tru Value Foods, Red Barn Market, Fairway Market and the 49th Parallel Grocery are all taking part.

Go to or visit a participating store to find out how to support the campaign.

Thrifty Foods will match donations up to $50,000 during the Grocers Going Beyond Campaign.

More than 6,000 people on the Island will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022.

Young artists vie to be Victoria mayor for a day

The City of Victoria is offering kids 12 and under a chance to be mayor for a day.

Three of the artists from the Victoria Votes 2022 Kids Colouring Contest will be selected at random to serve as mayor for the day, and artwork from the contest will be displayed around city hall in December.

The deadline to enter the colouring contest is Nov. 25.

Early in the new year, the winners will get the chance to learn how local government works and sit down for a pizza lunch with Mayor Marianne Alto, where they can talk about missing middle housing, among other things.

Colouring sheets, which were made available at voting places on election day, can also be picked up at city hall or the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre. The colouring sheet is also available online at

Finished artwork can be submitted at the Public Service Centre at city hall or the front desk at Crystal Pool, or it can be mailed to Victoria Votes 2022 Kids Colouring Contest, City of Victoria, 1 Centennial Square, Victoria, B.C. V8W 1P6.

Queen Elizabeth’s Fashion Reign wears well in Saanichton

The Saanich Pioneer Society, which operates the Log Cabin Museum in Saanichton, is holding the first in a series of Talk & Tea events Nov. 6, called Queen Elizabeth’s Fashion Reign.

Donna Otto will speak at 2 p.m. on outfits worn by the Queen over the years, and will give background on royal sites in Britain where she saw them displayed.

The museum is also open Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. with demonstrations from spinners and knitters. It is located at 7910 Polo Park Cres., in the park behind Thrifty Foods.

Admission is $5 for members and $7 for non-members.

Source link

Continue Reading


Inspired by a Lifetime exhibition showcases art by nonagenarians –



A local artist is capturing the beauty in sunset years by teaching seniors how to paint. Their work has made the walls of a local gallery. 

“I thought I’d be dead before I got famous. Thank God that’s not the case,” jokes 92-year-old Keith Sumner, one of the many seniors whose original art is displayed at the exhibit titled Inspired by a Lifetime at Stonebridge Art Gallery.

A resident of Leacock Retirement Lodge in Orillia, he is one of the students taking lessons with Lisa Harpell, an Elmvale-based artist who has been teaching art classes to seniors in retirement homes in the region. 


The work of about 40 senior artists ranging in age from 81 to 101 years old from seven retirement communities is on display at the Wasaga Beach gallery until March 27. The show includes work done by residents from Waterside Retirement Lodge (Wasaga Beach), Chartwell Whispering Pines (Barrie), Aspira Waterford Retirement Residents (Barrie), Allandale Station (Barrie), Lavita Barrington Retirement Lodge (Barrie), Bayfield House (Penetanguishene), and Leacock Retirement Lodge (Orillia).

The exhibition also includes Harpell’s paintings and sculptures. 

True to its title, each painting displayed for Inspired by a Lifetime has an impactful story to tell.

Verna Stovold, who suffers from macular degeneration, was one of Lisa Harpell’s students whose work is part of the Inspired by a Lifetime exhibit now on at Stonebridge Art Gallery. Contributed photo by Lisa Harpell

Verna Stovold, who lives with macular degeneration, is one of the many seniors attending the classes.

“Verna paints beautifully because her body remembers how to paint background, middle ground and foreground,” said her teacher, Harpell. “She tells us the paint that she wants and she dabs her brush and goes right ahead and paints. She asks me all the time if it’s okay if she comes to class … I say, ‘Verna, you’re the one that’s inspiring everyone else.’ Because I am holding up [her] paintings and everybody goes ‘wow.’” 

Stovold has two large paintings and ten studies included in the exhibition.

The process of training seniors to paint has been extremely gratifying for Harpell. 

“It is deeply satisfying to the soul. It brings me to tears all the time,” she said. “Because I know that what they created is worth showing. And it needs to be brought to the community not only for their sake, but for the community to realize that anyone can do this. Creativity is something that gives us hope. And that is something that is necessary in this world right now.” 

In her early days, Georgian College, Barrie, grad worked with the late Canadian artist, William Ronald. 

“He really did bring out the kid in me. He was such a kid himself. And that [thought] is what I really try to pass on, not only his legacy. I also find that the child in every one of my students wants to just play with paint and get their hands dirty. And have some fun and laughs,” says the mother of four. 

Alysanne Dever, lifestyle and programs manager at Chartwell Whispering Pines Retirement Residence, said the exhibition and art classes have brought a wave of positivity for the artists, their family, and their caretakers. 

“This is the first time that I have ever seen or heard of an art gallery showing for seniors with no prior experience,” says Dever, noting the opening day reception crowd packed the gallery. “Really, that’s what it’s all about! The residents were so proud that people were complimenting and wanting to learn about what inspired them to paint specific photos. One of our residents actually sold an art piece as well and she was so thrilled!”

Dever is a strong proponent of the benefits of art therapy, and says it provides residents with a creative outlet to express what might otherwise stay bottled up. 

The talented group of senior artists at Chartwell Allandale Station Retirement Residence. Contributed photo by Lisa Harpell

“This allows them to escape from reality, even for a little bit as they immerse themselves in their art piece in that moment,” says Dever. “Art therapy encourages seniors to use their creativity and gives them a sense of control and independence, which are essential qualities as you age.”

Not every brush stroke is smooth, and not every day was wrinkle-free for Harpell while she taught lessons in retirement homes. From outbreaks and whiteouts to loss of confidence, the behind-the-scenes training and coordination to make the exhibit happen meant clearing several hurdles. 

And yet, Harpell says, it is during the most trying circumstances that intuitive art therapy has a larger role to play, especially among the community’s vulnerable ones. Art has played such a role in Sumner’s life, after he picked up the brush in his 90s. 

“Painting puts you in a different mindset. Takes you away from everyday things,” says Sumner. “My perception of things has changed. The sky is different every day… and it intrigues me. I am observing things more critically, in more detail…and painting has encouraged that.” 

The exhibit is supported by the Wasaga Society for the Arts, in part because it helps accomplish the society’s mandate of making art accessible. 

The society’s interim president, Steve Wallace, said the group aims to introduce the community to all kinds of art, and to promote diversity and inclusion for artists and patrons. 

The Inspired by a Lifetime exhibition runs at the Stonebridge Art Gallery until March 27 on Thursdays and Saturdays and on Monday, March 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Lisa Harpell at the Christopher Cutts Gallery in Toronto where she attended an event honoring her late mentor Canadian artist William Ronald. Contributed photo by Antoine Adeux

Adblock test (Why?)


Source link

Continue Reading


President Biden to Award National Medals of Arts – National Endowment for the Arts



National Medal of the Arts w/ purple ribbon

Washington, DC—President Joseph R. Biden will present the 2021 National Medals of Arts in conjunction with the National Humanities Medals on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. ET in an East Room ceremony at the White House. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will attend. The event will be live streamed at

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, said, “The National Medal of Arts recipients have helped to define and enrich our nation’s cultural legacy through their life long passionate commitment. We are a better nation because of their contributions. Their work helps us see the world in different ways. It inspires us to reach our full potential and recognize our common humanity. I join the President in congratulating and thanking them.”

Below is the list of 2021 recipients:


Judith Francisca Baca: Judith Francisca Baca’s collaborative work has turned forgotten histories into public memory—pioneering an art form that empowers communities to reclaim public space with dignity and pride. 
Fred Eychaner: From dance and architecture to arts education and a lifetime of LGBTQI+ advocacy, Fred Eychaner has helped give millions of people strength to be themselves and moved our country forward.
Jose Feliciano*: Over 60 years, 60 albums, and 600 songs, Jose Feliciano has opened hearts and built bridges—overcoming obstacles, never losing faith, and enriching the goodness and greatness of the Nation.
Mindy Kaling: Imbued with humor and heart, Mindy Kaling’s work across television, film, and books inspires and delights—capturing and uplifting the experiences of women and girls across our Nation.
Gladys Knight: Gladys Knight’s exceptional talent influenced musical genres—from rhythm and blues to gospel to pop—and inspired generations of artists, captivated by her soundtrack of a golden age in American music.  
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: As one of the most decorated comedic actors of our time, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has blazed a trail for women in comedy and across American life through her commitment to excellence and the power of her example.
Antonio Martorell-Cardona: Transcending generation and genre, Antonio Martorell-Cardona’s art exposes hard truths with whimsy and color, to help us remember and grow, as people and as a Nation. 

Joan Shigekawa: Throughout her career, Joan Shigekawa has championed artists, created global exchanges, and promoted the power of the arts to heal, build strong economies, and help people and Nations reach their full potential.
Bruce Springsteen: One of our greatest performers and storytellers, Bruce Springsteen’s music celebrates our triumphs, heals our wounds, and gives us hope, capturing the unyielding spirit of what it means to be American.
Vera Wang: From the runway to red carpets to retail stores, Vera Wang’s modern designs and bridal collections express individualism and elegance, making beauty and style accessible to all. 
The Billie Holiday Theatre: Channeling its namesake’s exploration of freedom and identity, The Billie Holiday Theatre cultivates some of our Nation’s most renowned Black actors, writers, designers, and musicians and has expanded the reach of American artistic expression and achievement. 
The International Association of Blacks in Dance: Through teaching, training, and performance, The International Association of Blacks in Dance promotes dance by people of African ancestry and origin, explores and exchanges art, spans cultures and generations, and enriches the dance culture of America.

* Will not be in attendance at the ceremony.

The 2021 National Humanities Medals will be presented at the same ceremony 

Join the conversation on Twitter at #ArtsHumanitiesMedal.

About the National Medal of Arts

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. It is awarded by the president of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States. Please see additional information and the list of past recipients on the NEA website.

The National Endowment for the Arts manages the nomination process on behalf of the White House. Each year, the Arts Endowment seeks nominations from individuals and organizations across the country. The National Council on the Arts, the NEA’s presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed advisory body, reviews the nominations and provides recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients.

Adblock test (Why?)


Source link

Continue Reading


An Artist Reckons With the 'Fat' Body – Vulture



Art: Copyright Shona McAndrew. Courtesy the Artist and CHART. Photo by Neighboring States.


“As a fat woman,” Shona McAndrew explains in the catalogue for her new show, “I came to believe that I didn’t deserve intimacy, shouldn’t express happiness in the presence of others, and certainly shouldn’t be proudly showing my large naked body to anyone.” With her exhibition at Chart Gallery — featuring ten paintings, mostly nudes of herself and her lover — all that has changed. There is also one magnificent, oversize papier-mâché sculpture of McAndrew lolling in a bubble bath. Here is a ferocious artist slaying both her internal demons and cultural taboos.

McAndrew, who has described herself as “the only chubby child in France” (she grew up in Paris), was a breakout star at the 2019 Spring/Break art show. Her installation was a room-filling papier-mâché sculpture of her and her boyfriend sprawled on a bed in their messy Brooklyn bedroom. Afterward McAndrew, now 32, went a different direction, showing a series of well-done but removed images of women and friends. She’s a precisionist with a Post-Impressionistic touch for part-by-part painting, but the work was more devotional than “grab you by the lapels.” Something was missing.

Turns out, it was her. McAndrew is now the subject. She paints her naked body, either alone or being touched by others, taking pleasure in it as something that might be desired and seen without humiliation. Her work has become more open, honest, and vulnerable, without falling back on the rawness that characterized her work at Spring/Break. The paintings are rendered in a pink scale so that everything appears to come through a filter of mossy mist, lending them a formal stillness and a new sense of confidence. I can imagine this work sending profound messages to large audiences.

In Too Deep depicts McAndrew guiding the finger of her lover into her belly button as she fondles one of her breasts. Flesh abounds, falls, forms a landscape. She peers down the visage of her own body while withdrawing into her psyche. The penetration echoes Jesus guiding the finger of Thomas into his open wound.

Hold You Tight features a seated McAndrew as she embraces Stuart, her partner, who is standing. Her eyes are closed; she seems to be partaking of a world of sensual and spiritual sustenance — like she’s savoring the first taste of something she’s denied herself until now. The pose recalls Bernini’s Rape of Proserpina, with McAndrew as Hades, but rather than abducting the unwilling Proserpina into the underworld, she’s summoning something from within her. Stuart’s surrender is sweet.

Art: Copyright Shona McAndrew. Courtesy the Artist and CHART. Photo by Neighboring States.

Movie Night shows McAndrew cradling Stuart’s head in her lap. As he looks away, maybe at a screen, she’s looking down at him, at peace and ease, lost in the moment. The cards are stacked against women artists exploring this kind of secret life. The search for domestic bliss, the overcoming of body issues and self-doubt, are common topics in other fields and in the popular press but feature rarely in the realms of high art. Such themes are dismissed as the stuff of romance novels and soft-core illustration. As bell hooks wrote, “Male fantasy is seen as something that can create reality, whereas female fantasy is regarded as pure escape… A woman who talks of love is still suspect.”

McAndrew says she didn’t look at herself in a mirror for ten years. “Growing up in a fat body, I always felt that the rules of femininity didn’t apply to me,” she told me. Now, she’s rendering “body parts that made me uncomfortable” and has learned “to lovingly paint my double chin” and “to appreciate the formalism in the folds of my fat.” Now she wants “to put my secrets into the painting” — secrets that she shares with so many others. “I don’t want it to just be for me and about me,” she told the Art Career podcast in late 2022. “I want it to be for anyone with a body.”

Adblock test (Why?)


Source link

Continue Reading