After 18 weeks closed, the Ottawa Art Gallery is reopening to the public today.
Taline Jirian, OAG’s deputy director of marketing, says the gallery wanted to open as soon as possible to offer the public a safe way to engage the community during the pandemic.
“We consider ourselves a community hub, central to the city and a welcome space,” she said. “In addition to feeling that the art is kind of a respite for people, especially at this time, (we’re) giving people the opportunity to really engage in something that might take their mind off what’s going on.”
OAG is ensuring safe visits, based on recommendations from the City of Ottawa, including the mandatory wearing of a face mask.
“The last few weeks have been dedicated to ensuring safety and cleaning measures are in place,” gallery CEO Alexandra Badzak said in a press release announcing the opening.
The gallery is asking visitors to pre-book two-hour time slots, by phone or online. OAG’s new hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, from Wednesday to Sunday. The 10 a.m. to noon period is reserved for seniors or people who are immunocompromised.
Only a certain number of people will be allowed into the gallery at a time, in order to maintain physical distancing. Walks-in are not allowed and people will be asked to present an e-ticket or a printed version on arrival.
Hand sanitizer will be available on every floor, and the gallery will be cleaned every 30 minutes during visiting hours. More thorough cleaning will be done on Monday and Tuesday, when OAG is closed.
Accessibility tools are still available upon request. The cafe will be open, but all payment is contactless.
Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, whose ward includes the Daly Avenue galley, said he was delighted that OAG was welcoming back Ottawa residents.
“The OAG is a cultural epicentre for Ottawa and its reopening is a major step in reopening our downtown,” he said in a press release.
OAG has collaborated with Ottawa Tourism to encourage residents to help get the city’s tourism economy back on its feet.
“With the Ottawa Art Gallery’s doors reopening to the public, together, we are sending a message that our city is ready to embrace, engage and kick-start our recovery,” said Michael Crockatt, president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, in the media release.
OAG hosted a special event on July 8, which opened up the gallery specifically for frontline health workers before the official reopening.
Jirian says it was a no brainer to offer the healthcare workers this opportunity as a thanks for all of their efforts in combatting COVID-19 in recent months.
“We just wanted to make sure they had a safe space and that they knew that we were appreciative of the continued work that’s being done in the community,” she said.
Mayor Jim Watson arrived at 10 a.m to mark the gallery’s reopening, with the rest of the day being reserved for healthcare professionals from The Ottawa Hospital to enjoy the exhibits.
Jirian said she’s excited that OAG is able to extend the exhibits that are on display; they had only been on display for three days before the gallery had to shut down.
“This is our opportunity to really share a lot of work the gallery has put into showcasing, so we’re excited to have the public back.”
Visitors are being asked to use the 10 Daly Ave. entrance of OAG to enter and leave the building. Admission is still free.
Said Jirian: “We’re confident in the processes that are in place to make sure that staff and visitors are well taken care of.”
PIQUE'N YER INTEREST: Art should be challenging—but is that what Whistlerites want? – Pique Newsmagazine
While COVID-19 has forced us to physically distance from those around us, it’s been art that has helped tie us back together during these past few months.
And hasn’t that always been the function of art? To express those innermost, intangible qualities of the human condition in the hopes that it might make someone out there feel less alone? And in a time of both literal and figurative isolation, it’s impossible to put a price on the true value that art can and has brought us.
Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. For the countless bands livestreaming no-crowd sets from their living rooms, the plethora of creative workshops held over Zoom, and the renowned museums and theatre companies offering their art and stage productions to a virtual audience during the pandemic, the asking price has most often been nothing at all.
For the tireless creatives already accustomed to having their work vastly undervalued, offering up the art they’ve invested so much blood, sweat and soul into free of charge is a gift I hope society remembers—with their time and their wallets—when all this is said and done.
I also hope the artists who have left so much of themselves on the stage, canvas or screen, both before and during COVID, aren’t afraid to ask for something in return. And I’m not just talking about fair and equitable monetary compensation, although that, of course, would go a long way towards giving some much-needed stability to a sector that has always sat on shaky ground, at least in this country. I’m referring to something that’s a little trickier to pin down, but it’s a favour that, if extended, would benefit both artists and audiences alike.
My sincere hope is that when we emerge from our collective reclusiveness, it will come with a fresh perspective on not only the art we consume, but our capacity to consume it. Even before COVID glued us all to a rotating cycle of black screens, the cultural zeitgeist was being homogenized by streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon to the point where an algorithm has more influence over what we watch than our own personal taste. And when we hand over our consumption habits to massive, global corporations whose sole desire is to keep you on their platform for as long as possible, the kind of content we consume tends to fall into two categories: inflammatory, anger-inducing sensationalism (looking at you, YouTube!), or breezy, mindless flicks that are familiar, even comforting to watch, but leave your brain the moment the credits roll. (There’s a reason The Office and Friends have consistently been Netflix’s two most-watched shows. As entertaining and well-made as they both are [well, The Office, anyway], they are the TV equivalent of a big bowl of buttery popcorn: tasty in the moment, surely, but you’re gonna need a bit more substance to feel full.)
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel the issue runs even deeper in Whistler, where, for as educated and enlightened a community as we are, many people don’t necessarily come here to expand their cultural horizons or think too hard about anything other than their next pow day or night on the town.
As someone who has been a small part of Whistler’s burgeoning theatre scene over the years, it’s something I’ve wrestled with in my own work: What do Whistlerites want from their art, and more importantly, do they want to be challenged?
From my experience, Whistlerites want art that is fun and light, and, crucially, they want to see their town reflected back at them. It’s why our art galleries (Audain excluded) are filled with colourful landscapes and bear portraits, our bars are filled with the sounds of popular cover tunes more often than originals from the many talented musicians who make their living here, and our most beloved cultural showcases, like the 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown and Deep Winter, are modelled after high-octane athletic competitions.
I say all of this not to wag my finger in condescension at a philistine public, but rather because I know what Whistlerites are capable of. I’ve seen time and again just how willing they are to throw caution to the wind for a sweet dose of adrenaline, how committed they are to milking every last thrill out of life. I just wish they demanded as much out of their art as they did from their recreational pursuits.
By its very nature, art should be challenging, but it also requires an audience that is willing to take a risk—something that Whistlerites have been adept at for generations.
Artist provides a different type of collaborative art experience – Manitoulin Expositor
GORE BAY – Art lovers had the opportunity to discuss additions and changes that could be made to the works of artist Jean Rodak to complete paintings she had on display this past weekend as part of a collaborative art experience.
The exhibit of some of Ms. Rodak’s paintings was held at Almaz’s Health Food Store, located in Gore Bay. What was different from the normal art exhibit is that some of Ms. Rodak’s paintings were unfinished and viewers had the opportunity to collaborate with the artist to complete them to the former’s tastes.
“As an artist you will have people say things like, ‘if only that was in green’ or ‘if it matched my couch,’ I would buy the painting,” Ms. Rodak told the Recorder this past Saturday. “By displaying paintings that are not complete, I can meet face to face with people who can provide input and give their opinion of what is needed to finish a painting.”
“Why am I doing this? … it is fun and I figured it would be a great way to meet people in person and get their opinion on my unfinished paintings and what they would like to see done to complete them,” continued Ms. Rodak.
“My fascination with colour, design and emotion are the main motivators in every single drawing and painting I create,” Ms. Rodak stated. “The subjects, medium and colours combine with fantasy and imagination to express impressions and feelings that are experienced at the time of fruition. The act of creating is often enough to stimulate the work to a fascinating end. Turmoil and pleasure are equally important influences in my works. They have been described as vibrant and exciting, a feast for the eyes. I love this description.”
Art lovers who visited Mr. Rodak’s display at Almaz’s could verbally or in written form provide comments and suggestions on certain painting they are interested. They were asked, ‘How would you like to see this work finished? Want to talk about it? Meet Jean for tea and art chat.’
“As well as receiving their opinions I’ll take pictures of people with the paintings,” said Ms. Rodak. “If they really fall in love with one of the paintings, but want to make a change or add something, because I use acrylics I can try and make the changes they recommend.”
Ms. Rodak is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, where she has earned her degree in Design and Illustration. Jean exhibits and teaches art in Toronto. A founding member of North York Visual Arts, she is a signature member of the Toronto Watercolour Society and is an award-winning member of several other art groups. Her works are part of several corporate and private collections in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Ms. Rodak moved to Manitoulin Island for half the year. “It is so beautiful that you could paint day and night and still need a little more time to finish. I’m looking forward to sharing some new and exciting work in the next months and wondering where this adventure will lead me.”
Taking your Art Business Online – GuelphToday
With social distancing many artists realize that now more than ever it makes sense to take their art business online. Most recently Guelph Arts Council and the Downtown Guelph Business Association hosted Guelph’s very first Art on the (Virtual) Street event whereby artists pivoted their business sales to be 100% online. Artist participant TarasLachowsky reflects on his experience as an artist vendor and noted “human to human connection is important…my advice to artists going into online sales would be to organize your artworks and have really good photographs.”
How to bridge personal connections with your customers online and having great photo documentation of your artwork is just one of many things to consider when taking your art business online.To learn more about this process, I interviewed Ken Braithwaite, Web designer/founder, Ethos Design. Ken graciously shared these insights and experiences:
1. What’s involved with taking your art business online?
Everything you do online and offline gives people an idea of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. A website connects all of these because it’s where you get to define yourself online the way you want to. It also leads people through a simple sales process. People want to buy from those they know, like, and trust. So you’ve caught their attention, engaged socially, and shown you can be trusted as a professional.
Results can vary depending on your website budget. If you have tech skills you could opt for a DIY option like Squarespace or WIx. Both offer affordable monthly programs but you’re limited to the site themes provided. It may be too restrictive and you may need to hire a designer after the fact.
HIRING A PRO
Hiring a designer is a good option, but can get expensive. It helps to work with someone who demonstrates they’re interested in what you’re doing, and not just trying to sell their marketing scheme. You need someone who’ll take the time to get to know you, and what you’re about. Otherwise, you could end up with something you’re not happy with.
Stripe and Square are good forms of secure payments and integrate with most platforms. Square has the added benefit of providing a mobile, in-person shop, allowing you to use your smartphone to make sales anywhere with an internet connection. Both options are free to get started, and charge a per-transaction fee around 3%.
2. How best to expand your social presence and market your wares/services.
YouTube videos provide ideas for social media platforms. You don’t have to be great at every platform, just focus on two or three that suit your business. Some can be monetized. For example: if you started your own YouTube channel teaching people how to draw, the potential exists to earn additional passive income if your content is consistent and popular.
HIRING A PRO
If you someone to manage your social media, make sure they take the time to reflect your voice and spread your message. If someone says they’ll make three posts a week on one platform, I wouldn’t see that as a good plan. Trading time for money limits everyone’s potential. Social media is fluid and spontaneous. You’ll likely end up doing the commenting and messaging yourself anyway. That said, there are people who do this right and know how to make it work.
3. How to choose social media channels for your business/type of art.
Definitely instagram as a social hub – especially if you’re doing some kind of visual art. Post with purpose. If you’re able to teach people the tricks of your trade, YouTube and TikTok are great. TikTok has short educational videos with personal stories, and they’re super engaging.
The key is learning who your audience is, where they are, and then engage with them. Listen to what they say. Provide the type of content they want.
4. What ways can you suggest to engage with audiences and potential buyers?
Spend time growing your social networks. Focus more on giving than getting. Add new people and actually engage with them. Likes are the lowest form of engagement. Share and comment on their posts. Get to know people. They’d rather buy from someone they know, like, and trust.
You need to sell things to stay in business. To Sell is Human, by Daniel Pink, is a good sales book, helping you communicate key information without giving off that ‘sales-y’ vibe. Your online presence is about clear and consistent communication. What you say, matters equally as how you say it. Know who you’re talking to, and what they need to hear, and you’ll be on the right path.
Ken Braithwaite can be contacted at ethosdesign.ca, instagram: @ethosdco.
The Guelph Arts Council, and 2H Media are co-hosting a workshop to help introduce you to selling your art online.
2H Media’s Introductory E-Commerce workshop takes place on Thursday, August 13, from 10:00am to 12:30pm. GAC members will receive a promo-code to attend the work at no cost. Please email email@example.com to receive your GAC membership promo code.
For more information please click here:
Presenters information found here:
This Content is made possible by our Sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.
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