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Public bench art, decal artists tour Tillsonburg – Woodstock Sentinel Review

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Two artists who created the designs for new Downtown Tillsonburg BIA decals and painted public art benches had an opportunity to see their work firsthand last Thursday.

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“In the spirit of exploration, we want people to venture out from the places on Broadway they’re used to frequenting and try something new as they explore downtown Tillsonburg,” said Karlee Slattery, Events & Marketing co-ordinator for the Downtown Tillsonburg BIA, noting three of the eight public art benches are on Broadway, and five are on side streets.

“This is my first public art application that I’ve been accepted to,” said Woodstock area artist Aggie Armstrong. “I’ve done some stuff for a private business in Woodstock (including Early Bird Coffee).

“Mostly I do my original art and I do watercolour courses,” said Armstrong, noting the London and Toronto courses were offered live pre-Covid but are now done online.

STEPS Public Art, which sponsored the BIA bench art and decal project, has an app that shows all of the STEPS art featured across the province and complete artist profiles.

In Tillsonburg, eight benches in total were painted by two visual and media artists (Aggie Armstrong and Ray Vidal) who were selected in a June/July contest. The artists were given specific parameters to follow incorporating the theme ‘eat, shop, live, explore’ downtown Tillsonburg.

“I did include my kind of stamp on it though,” said Armstrong, who enjoyed seeing her art on the streets.

Tabitha Verbuyst, program co-ordinator/curator at the Station Arts Centre, takes a examines Tillsonburg BIA bench art by Ray Vidal. (Chris Abbott/Norfolk and Tillsonburg News)
Tabitha Verbuyst, program co-ordinator/curator at the Station Arts Centre, takes a examines Tillsonburg BIA bench art by Ray Vidal. (Chris Abbott/Norfolk and Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN

“I like it ­­– public art is the best for people to immerse themselves in art. Not all art is meant to be within the cloisters of four walls. This way it’s immersive, people can engage with it and it just shows people that you can infuse art into anything.

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“And for a little Filipino-Canadian girl, seeing that is done by somebody who looks like her… My whole thing with my art and my teaching is that it should all be representational. You can’t do what you can’t see and if there’s somebody that’s doing what you even thought of doing, that looks like you, that’s the best way to kind of validate or qualify your dreams.”

Rhonda Franks, who runs a graphic design business, created the eight decals, one for each art bench, done in four single-colour themes (eat, shop, live, explore) matching the BIA’s colour palette.

“I do a lot of design thinking and I think that translates into my fine art as well. Quite a few of the illustrations I drew myself, I drew new ones for each design. That’s fun too. That was something that happened through the pandemic – the illustration part of my business has actually blossomed a bit more. I enjoy doing digital illustrations as much as I do other things. That’s what I really like about having a design business and doing art as well, my whole life is creative. I’m lucky this way.

“This was actually very challenging because they had requested that I stay within a single corporate colour, but I could use variations in that shade. So I had to come up with something that could convey all the things that Tillsonburg had to offer, but do it in a simple enough way that it would reproduce well in a single colour.”

The decals, placed prominently on cement in front of each bench, had to be easily interpreted.

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“I kept that in mind, I needed to be able to read it and engage people. And as you’re sitting on the bench, the longer you look at it, I hope people find more things in it.”

Public art appealed to Franks, who has been doing more signage work and now sees it more often.

“It is nice to be able to see my work out there, but for a long time I didn’t see it. When you start getting into doing this type of work, you do get to see it a little more often and that is pretty cool.”

Franks, who lives in the Burgessville area, remembered driving in Woodstock after doing billboards for Oxford County and exclaiming, ‘That’s my billboard!’

“This was a nice opportunity to have your work in a different market, and it’s always good to have your name out in a different area. I had actually put my name in for either, bench or decal, and I enjoyed doing it.”

Artist Ray Vidal from Mississauga did not attend the bench/decal tour.

The BIA art benches can be found in front of The Town Centre mall, Station Arts Centre, behind the library, in front of Enchanted Eats Café and The Carriage Hall, at the corner of Brock Street East and Harvey, at the Broadway/Oxford parkette, and south Broadway.

cabbott@postmedia.com

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Moose Jaw Art Guild meets to discuss its upcoming MJMAG exhibition – moosejawtoday.com

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The Moose Jaw Art Guild is excited for their 54th Christmas exhibition at the Museum & Art Gallery

Led by President Karen Walpole, ten members of Moose Jaw’s Art Guild gathered for only the second time in 18 months to discuss their upcoming exhibition. The forms necessary for submission were distributed, and everyone chatted about how their works were progressing.

The theme for this year is “Looking Out My Window,” to be interpreted by the artist. A variety of mediums are encouraged, including drawings, pastels, watercolours, and sculptures.

Many of the works displayed in MJMAG’s lobby will be for sale. The exhibition will open on Nov. 12th, and continue until Jan. 9th of next year. 

Karen Walpole noted that she is “always excited” to share some of the Art Guild’s venerable history, particularly in regards to its role in the founding of MJMAG. She says that, “Back in 1963, the City of Moose Jaw asked what was then the Moose Jaw Fine Arts Guild to comment on their plan to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday.” 

The Guild took that chance to strongly endorse and lobby for a “Cultural Centre” in Crescent Park near the Public Library. The Moose Jaw Art Museum opened in 1967, and the Art Guild has had an annual exhibition there ever since. 

Jennifer McRorie, MJMAG’s current curator and director, confirms that the Art Guild was “instrumental in getting the art museum established.” She adds that, “In 2017 we celebrated our 50th anniversary, and so we actually presented an exhibition from our permanent collection that was the result of 50 years of collecting the work of Moose Jaw artists.”

The Guild itself was established on a cold February night in 1929, after a presentation by influential Saskatchewan artists Vaughan Grayson and Barbara Barber. That night, the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan was voted into existence. In 1957 it became the Moose Jaw Fine Art Guild, and in 1984 it achieved its current form as the Moose Jaw Art Guild. 

This year’s exhibition comes on the heels, obviously, of the enormous disruption of the global pandemic. Nevertheless, the Guild endures, and is always open to new members. Walpole sincerely emphasizes that one purpose of their showings is to, “provide encouragement and an introduction to many of us that want to try our artistic hands, but don’t know where to start.”

Art is about expression, moving beyond the limitations of language to convey emotion in a subjective, yet direct way. Although it is not possible to control exactly how one’s art is perceived, this should not be a barrier. The main thing, Walpole says, is “to have the confidence to at least attempt an art form of some kind.”

More information about the Art Guild, its meetings, and how to join can be found on their Facebook page.

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Knitting for Guelph's Art Not Shame: 3 things to know about the organization and fundraiser – GuelphMercury.com

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Knitting for Guelph’s Art Not Shame: 3 things to know about the organization and fundraiser  GuelphMercury.com



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So you want my arts job: Art Installer – ArtsHub

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A rare opportunity saw Andrew Hawley join the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) as a casual art handler after graduating from his BFA in Drawing at RMIT in 2003.

Eighteen years later, he is now the Collection and Exhibition Preparator at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), known for their eccentric and challenging exhibitions, and undoubtedly, one of the most exciting environments in which to work in art installations, storage, and exhibition preparations.

He also holds a Masters in Cultural Materials Conservation from the University of Melbourne, and has worked across ACMI, the Victorian Arts Centre, ExhibitOne, POD Museum and Art services, and the Melbourne Immigration Museum.

From Ron Meuck’s 10 metre infant sculpture to Ai Weiwei’s White House (2015) in Mona’s Siloam, Hawley and his colleagues are the answer to your question: ‘But how did they manage to get it there?’

Here, Hawley shares the excitement of working on high-profile exhibitions and discusses the skills you would need to pursue this challenging but rewarding profession.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO?

In a nutshell; I prepare artwork and other culturally significant material for storage, exhibition and loan, and assist with exhibition/display installation. My role is quite varied but I spend most of my time at our off-site collection store where I design, construct and fit out custom packing units for artworks. These vary from timber crates and travel frames to archival board boxes, archival tubes for rolled works and the occasional solander box. I also ensure artwork is clean and display ready. 

I organise and maintain the off-site collection storage area which involves a lot of 3D Tetris. I work closely with colleagues including registrars, a conservator, a mount maker and several other very highly skilled art handler/technicians as well as a wider team of kinetic artwork and time based media technicians.

I assist with exhibition installation/deinstallation and collection changeover at the museum and some external locations during festivals.

I’m also a qualified paper conservator so I undertake some conservation assessments and treatments when required.

Read: So you want my arts job: Museum Program Producer

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR CAREER?

I finished a fine art degree in 2003 and was looking for something outside the hospitality industry and inside the museum/gallery industry. Luckily, a regular customer at one of the venues I worked in (as a chef/cook), let word slip that the National Gallery of Victoria were hiring casual art handlers to prepare to move into the refurbished premises at St Kilda Road. I got the boss’ details, wrote an application letter, attended a job interview and somehow was successful, despite no prior experience.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THE MOST IN YOUR JOB?

Unique challenges and a reliance on lateral thinking for solutions – something I experience almost every day. I also have great colleagues with whom I liaise about all aspects of the job. We learn from each others’ creative perspectives.

I love the excitement of a large or high profile exhibition, including engagement with external or international artists and curators, trying to help realise a vision that may or may not be clear in everybody’s mind. I equally love the calm and solitude of a collection store and the fact that I work so closely with museum objects on a daily basis. If I have a bad day, looking at an ancient Egyptian mummified cat or some 2,000 year old bronze knife coins is very soothing. 

IN AN INTERVIEW FOR YOUR JOB, WHAT SKILLS AND QUALITIES WOULD YOU LOOK FOR?

Similar institutional experience in a similar capacity (eg. art handling, art packing) would be a must. It takes many years to attune yourself to the level of care required around culturally significant objects and irreplaceable artworks.

Other qualifiers would include:

  • A strong work ethic
  • An ability to handle multiple projects with strict deadlines
  • The ability to delegate fun jobs
  • The ability to undertake monotonous or tedious jobs
  • Strong, clear communication
  • Patience
  • Physically fit and able

The ability to look outside oneself and one’s own experience for solutions. It’s a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ kind of position and a good Jack should know when they need to call on a master of something.

Someone who prefers order and neatness in their professional life. I’m in no way the neatest person in my private life but organising a storage area that keeps artwork safe and secure requires a high degree of attention to detail.

WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE INSTALLATION EXPERIENCES/PROJECTS THAT YOU’VE WORKED ON?

There’s been a lot over the years – I’ve done everything from helping carry and install a 10 metre silicon sculpture of an infant (Ron Mueck) to hanging iconic works from Picasso, Munch or Tom Roberts. From installing 100 tiny neolithic arrow/spear heads in one showcase to helping build a large, imperial Chinese house framework on glass balls (Ai Weiwei), and from installing famous AFL players’ jerseys in a sports museum (MCG/Australian Sports Museum) to hanging stills from Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey (ACMI).

It’s hard to pick one moment from one project. In recent times, it’s probably been the preparatory work and final install of big MONA shows like On the Origins of Art, The Museum of Everything and our recent Monanisms 2021 collection based exhibition.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING HAPPENING IN YOUR SECTOR AT THE MOMENT?

We’re still operating and I still enjoy my job.

Read: So you want my arts job: Theatre Technician

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