Several community groups in Penticton, B.C., have pooled their resources to create art supply care packages to distribute to people in need — hoping that the healing power of art can provide comfort and distraction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bethany Handfield with the Penticton and District Community Arts Council said she realized just how much people of all ages were struggling during virtual town halls held by her organization.
“I was really noticing some of the struggles that a lot of our community members were having, a lot of challenges people were facing from financial losses, to additional child care, [and] a lot of the social isolation that was happening with our senior population,” she said.
“I’m really hoping that with the challenges of having children at home, homeschooling and that type of thing, it’ll take a little bit of financial pressure off of families that would maybe have to go out and get these types of supplies. We hope it will give everybody a bit of a creative outlet — we know how powerful the healing power of art can be for everyone.”
There are two types of packages being distributed. Some are aimed at younger children, with supplies like crayons, construction paper, pom poms, and googly eyes. The second type of package — geared toward seniors and older teens — contains watercolours, pencil crayons, pastels, and watercolour paper pads.
In total, 360 packages were distributed, funded by Foundry Penticton and the Arts Council. The organization OneSky helped with buying, and local businesses, which remained anonymous, donated supplies.
Handfield said she hopes to one day see some of the artwork inspired by the project.
“We hope that giving people a bit of access to these supplies, they can have a bit of relief from the scary times that have been happening lately,” she said.
Métis women hoping to revive live art with 5 temporary outdoor installations across PA – Prince Albert Daily Herald
Danielle Castle and Leah Dorion firmly believe they were meant to collaborate. The two Métis artists are the same person at heart: They’re both inspired by the land and dedicate their lives to arts education.
In fact, Dorion sees a younger version of herself in Castle. She remembers, nearly two decades ago, when she was trying to kickstart her art career while raising her son.
The pair is launching their Intergenerational Métis Artist Mentorship Project on Friday. Outside of the Mann Art Gallery from 1 to 3 p.m., weather permitting, they’ll be collaboratively creating a sidewalk chalk mural.
That will be the first of five temporary outdoor art installations across Prince Albert.
“We’ve had so much fun scouting locations, pitching ideas to people that we’re working with,” said Dorion. This includes the Mann Art Gallery and the City of Prince Albert.
“It’s going to go well no matter what because we’ve already—together—learned so much about how to do this public art.”
Castle is the acting educator at the Mann Art Gallery. Last year, the gallery launched a small residency project with Dorion.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic entered Saskatchewan, Dorion hosted workshops there making Métis moss bags and Plains-style Métis ribbon skirts.
“We were looking for ways to extend and do things with Leah at the gallery for her mini residency that we started, and we were just looking at grants and how to do it,” explained Castle.
“Then, with COVID, things changed. Leah was just like, ‘You know what, I want to mentor you,’ and I’m like ‘yes.’”
Dorion will work with Castle on the outdoor installations, teaching her how to plan, produce, install and implement the art.
The project is inspired by Dorion’s children’s book The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Métis Story. The book highlights the culture’s core values, including strength, kindness, courage, balance and love.
Nowadays, they said, live public art is scarce.
One of Dorion’s favourite memories is setting up her easel at Batoche National Historic Park. Children who were there on a field trip were constantly checking in, excited to see what her next brush stroke would bring.
“When people see me working publicly, making art, they’re so inspired and so curious and so excited. We don’t watch people live, making things as much as we used to.”
Castle agreed, saying art isn’t always about seeing your finished work on display.
“It’s the process, not your final product,” she said. “It’s so important. That’s where you’re getting the therapy and the expression.”
“I think the public will just come to the spaces and just feel good about the art being in the public locations. It will really elevate the city’s story and the city’s visual arts,” added Dorion about the temporary installations.
The Intergenerational Métis Artist Mentorship Project is funded by the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Leadership Grant from SaskCulture and the Community Initiatives Fund.
Castle and Dorion will be working on each of the five art installations in accessible locations for the public to come watch and ask questions. They’ll be ensuring that no more than 30 people are gathered at one time, and that everyone is physically distanced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
They will be working on separate projects on the Friday of every week, for the next five weeks.
However, they may have to move the events to the weekend depending on the weather. The Mann Art Gallery will update the public on its social media platforms.
“To work with younger artists pushes a person who’s been practicing art for so long to different directions,” emphasized Dorion.
“It’s honestly such a perfect time in my life,” said Castle about the collaboration.
“The universe made it happen.”
Coronavirus: Vernon Public Art Gallery moves fundraiser online – Globalnews.ca
Staff at the Vernon Public Art Gallery have been hard at work to move their biggest fundraiser of the year online.
The 34th annual Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts, a garden party that has been adapted to an online art auction and night of entertainment made viewer-friendly to ticketholders from their homes, where they can enjoy live music and a little friendly competition.
“It’s such an important event not only for our community but for the operations of the gallery,” said Dauna Kennedy, Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director.
“In order to maintain the type of work we do from the gallery we look at raising $80,000 to $90,000 between fundraising and Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts is our big fundraiser of the year.”
The event normally raises approximately $60,000 for the gallery. All money is raised through ticket sales and a live auction.
“Culture is one of the foundational building blocks [of our community] without culture you don’t have community,” said Andrew Powell, Vernon Public Art Gallery president.
“It’s a great opportunity for the gallery and I think there’s a lot of artists that like to use it as an opportunity to showcase themselves.”
The art that is available on auction can be viewed at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. To join in on the festivities on July 15, visit their website at vernonpublicartgallery.com
Zoos and Aquariums fundraiser
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Video brings art exhibit to life, raises funds for Lethbridge Soup Kitchen – Globalnews.ca
Art, culture and community; that’s what a group of Alberta creators are trying to promote with their latest venture, a video highlighting a local artist after his exhibit was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The novel coronavirus has imposed a number of restrictions on Albertans, including artists trying to showcase their work. One of those artists is Robert Bechtel, who has roughly 200 of his paintings currently on display at the Trianon Gallery.
Bechtel is a local artist who attended the University of Lethbridge and has a studio near the city.
The Trianon Gallery and its latest exhibit by Bechtel can currently be viewed by appointment-only because of the pandemic. The limited access sparked an idea among some local creative minds to bring the exhibit to the masses.
“A chance meeting with Nick Bohle led to a conversation that led to a video and then a concept of a sale that we would donate back half the profits of the sale [of the art],” Savill said.
The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen has been selected to receive 50 per cent of the profits from the sale.
“It’s local, it’s very direct, it feeds people that need help and has been operating a long time and is a wonderful organization,” Savill said.
“I think it’s always good to reach out to the community, especially in these trying times, and to help the most vulnerable people in our society,” Bechtel says in the video.
“Art is going to reach out, be more than just painting — it’s going to reach out to the community.”
The joint effort proves that even during a pandemic, passion for art can go beyond the canvas and touch those in the community, even if you can’t see it in person.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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