As the Cariboo begins to reopen following the COVID-19 shutdown, art is returning to 100 Mile House as the Parkside Art Gallery prepares to open its own doors in June.
The longtime gift shop manager Claudia Ring said that she’s looking forward to seeing the public in the building once more. Ring herself is a textile artist who first got involved with the gallery because of her love of art and her desire to socialize with other artists.
“I think it’s important to support local artists so I buy a lot of art too because I think that it’s important for the community,” Ring said.
During normal times, Ring said typically the gallery will have a new art show every month and host opening parties at the beginning of each month. In addition, they also have the gift shop Ring runs, a room set aside to rent out for activities, a fashion room for textile artists and a garden that hosts the storey walk for children to enjoy.
Due to the pandemic Ring said they had to close down in mid-March because as they are a volunteer-run and based organization their first priority was to make sure those volunteers were safe. Ring says she and the other volunteers are now feeling safe to resume operations and plans to reopen on June 2.
To ensure this safety, Ring said they’re currently working on cleaning and sanitizing the washrooms and are putting in a new rule barring people coming in off the street or park from using it. At the front desk, they’ve put up sneeze guards, stockpiled hand sanitizer, gloves, facemask and everything else they need to protect both the general public and the volunteers.
“We’re very excited to reopen and all the volunteers were really excited to come back, it’s time to open again,” Ring said.
While they may be reopened, she said she doesn’t think they’ll be doing art show openings the same way they did before the pandemic. She feels having a bunch of people come for the openings will be too crowded but feels their day to day operations shouldn’t be impacted.
As a way to make up for the lost revenue from the last few months, Ring began making cloth masks out of cotton and silk and selling them to people in the community who needed them by donation. She will be counting to sell masks at the Parkside Gallery’s gift shop and to date has raised $2,500 from mask sales alone.
“There’s a lot of people who want masks now and they are being recommended to,” Ring said.
'Stealable Art' exhibit in Tokyo invites theft – CTV News
The Tokyo art exhibit opened to enthusiastic visitors, but many of those circulating weren’t just there to soak in some culture — they were casing the joint for a midnight raid.
Hours after the gallery closed for the night, a crowd had gathered ready to pounce on the artworks. The police station was nearby, but officers only intervened for crowd control, because all the pieces at the Stealable Art Exhibition were up for grabs.
The event was intended as “an experiment”, to alter the relationship between artists and visitors, organiser Tota Hasegawa told AFP.
It was originally conceived as a low-key event that might attract some covert thievery, but word spread so fast on social media that a crowd of nearly 200 people packed the streets near the gallery hoping for a chance to grab a prize.
Would-be robbers were told they could raid the gallery from midnight, but the crowd was so big that the theft started half an hour earlier, and the exhibition that had been billed as running for up to 10 days was emptied of art in less than 10 minutes.
Yusuke Hasada, 26, was a rare winner, gripping a crumpled 10,000 yen ($93) banknote in a frame, which was part of the “My Money” installation by Gabin Ito.
He arrived an hour before midnight only to see a crowd had already formed.
Since there was no apparent queue, he manoeuvered himself into a spot right in front of the gallery.
“The moment the staff said they should open early due to the big crowd, people rushed in from behind me. I was in the front, and I almost fell over,” he told AFP.
“It was scary.”
Hasada said he plans to hang the work, among those on display supplied by 10 contemporary artists, in his home.
But not everyone stealing the items appeared to have the same idea, with several artworks appearing on online auction sites within hours with price tags as high as 100,000 yen.
Even after the exhibit was emptied out, would-be thieves continued arriving, forcing a nearby police station to dispatch officers for crowd control.
“You are blocking traffic!” officers shouted.
Yuka Yamauchi, a 35-year-old systems engineer, showed up 15 minutes before midnight but was too late.
“I entered with my husband and it was just packed with so many people… We saw larger artworks taken out by those who came earlier,” she said.
“I haven’t seen so many people in a long time as we have been refraining from going out due to the coronavirus.”
But Yamauchi didn’t leave completely empty-handed.
“I’ve got a clip… It must have been one of those used for the cloth installation. I found it dropped, so I picked it up as a souvenir,” she said with a laugh.
Yamauchi recognised the clip because she was at a preview of the artwork six hours earlier to “case” the venue.
She said she would happily come back for a similar “participatory” art event, where some of the artists showcased work that was purpose-made for those hoping to make off with it.
Naoki “SAND” Yamamoto’s work “Midnight Vandalist” was composed of a stack of peelable pages with printed illustrations.
Another work was a large cloth printed with lines to be cut along with scissors.
But would-be thieves were responsible for organising their own getaway vehicles. A notice was posted at the entrance: “We do not assist art thieves with packing or transporting artworks, so you are responsible for everything.”
Organiser Hasegawa told AFP he later met with police — perhaps not used to such large-scale larceny in Japan, with its ultra-low crime rate — to clear up any misunderstandings about the event and the crowd it attracted.
He said the budding thieves had proved to be “well-mannered.”
They might have been there to stage robberies, but when “someone lost a bag with a wallet in it, it was passed onto a staffer and safely returned to the owner.”
Métis artists launch summer public art series – paNOW
On Friday afternoon, a small crowd gathered to watch the pair create a large chalk mural in front of the Mann Art Gallery.
“It’s a way for us to have a conversation about the Métis culture,” Dorion told paNOW. “Between ourselves, but also with the community.”
In the coming weeks, the duo plans to unveil a new installation every Friday. Over the course of the summer, the public can expect to see a herd of buffalo on the riverbank, a live Giving Tree at Kinsmen Park, and a willow labyrinth near the Field House.
Dorion explained they carefully considered the pandemic in their planning. That meant making considerations for safety, but also simply recognizing the public’s particular need for uplifting messages and accessible art at this moment.
“We wanted to share something very positive and public and outdoors,” said Dorion. “So people could be out in the fresh air, in the sunshine and the elements, and be able to easily social distance.”
The Intergenerational Métis Artist Mentorship Program builds off Dorion’s previous work with the Mann Art Gallery where she’s facilitated various community workshops. Castle is the gallery’s Art Educator.
Dorion sees the program as an important opportunity to transfer knowledge to a fellow Métis artist and art educator.
Castle is similarly enthusiastic about the project.
“I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and experience,” she said. I’m just really excited to get out there and make some art.”
The interactive element will be an important part of all five installations, and Castle said they hope to further continue the conversation online through the Mann Art Gallery’s social media channels.
“We still really wanted to connect with the community,” she said. “But because of COVID, we can’t physically do the art with groups of people. So, at least this is a way we can engage.”
The Intergenerational Métis Artist Mentorship Project is funded by the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Leadership grant from Saskculture and the Community Initiatives Fund.
On Twitter: @alisandstrom
'Gerryfest' to celebrate Gerry Atwell's music and art, but also his advocacy against systemic racism – CBC.ca
A festival celebrating the life of the late Gerry Atwell is taking place in Winnipeg next month — but the night will be about more than just music and art.
Atwell, a Juno Award-winning musician known for playing the keyboard for the Winnipeg band Eagle and Hawk, died after suffering a heart attack in late November 2019.
Family and friends knew they would celebrate his life with a music festival this summer. But with people in North America demanding change once again, a key part of the daylong festival will be focused toward the fight against systemic racism — a cause Atwell long advocated for.
“We’re all missing his humanity when it comes to these types of issues,” said Judy Williams, Atwell’s sister.
“He always had a different message for the different audiences he might have been speaking with,” she said, and were he alive now, he would say “something profound, but something that would be inclusive, whether he was going to encourage someone to take some action, or think of other people.”
Atwell also would see the positive opportunities that will come through the conversations being had, added Louise May, executive director of the St. Norbert Arts Centre, where she worked with Atwell for about 25 years.
“Even though it’s coming from such negativity and such a negative event, there is so much hope through it, and so much burgeoning awareness, and ability to talk about it and ability for people to confront themselves with it,” said May.
“It’s a very, very hopeful time and I know Gerry would be pushing us to see that hope and to really manifest it.”
Gerryfest will take place on Aug. 14 — Atwell’s birthday — at the St. Norbert Arts Centre. Both Williams and May said they felt his presence during the process of organizing the event.
“Even the term ‘Gerryfest’ was Gerry’s idea,” said May. “It was something that we talked about many times, kind of in a joking way. But I knew he always wanted to really do it, which was to have a day when all of his bands played back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
“To which I always said, ‘Gerry, what, you’re going to play for seven, eight hours in one row?'” she said. “That was going to be the very best day that he could imagine for himself.”
Although Atwell won’t be there in person, his presence will be there through former bandmates and other lives he touched, May said.
The planning of Gerryfest started before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Manitoba. So the original plan of a weekend festival has been whittled down to an afternoon and evening of music and art dedicated to Atwell.
“I really think we can just keep his work alive and keep building on it year after year with this,” said May, adding that this will be the first of an annual festival.
The festival will also raise funds for the Gerry Atwell Memorial Mentorship Fund, an endowment fund that will have musicians and artists mentoring young people, just like Atwell once did, said Williams.
An invitation is needed to attend the event at the St. Norbert Arts Centre, but people can tune in through livestreams online, said May.
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