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The art of making art: Visibility Arts – Evanston RoundTable

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“I like to come and make art before I go to my job at the grocery store. It calms me down.”

“I like to work on one piece at a time so that I don’t get confused.”

“I need variety, so I work on several pieces at once so that I feel better.”

Visibility Arts is part of the nonprofit organization Search Inc. For 20 years, Visibility Arts has provided classes focused on art history and creating art. The Evanston branch of the program is at 824 Dempster St.

All artists in the program have some type of developmental challenge or disability. A group of six individuals – John, Katy, Eric, Becky, Pam, and Henry – were kind enough to share with me how they create time and focus for their artistic work. They have been working individually with Visibility Arts from four to as many as 20 years.

Visibility Arts Crew (Submitted photo)

Art is regularly offered in 1- to 2-hour time slots. Attendees get exposure to art history, learn about artists, are introduced to new materials, and use studio time to create their personal art. The six artists I interviewed create their works using a variety of mediums, including acrylics, prints and virtual graphics.

A work is sometimes utilized on products sold by Visibility Arts. such as graphic images on drinking glasses or labels on candle packaging. One such image was of a raccoon. Pam explained that she sees raccoons much like humans: They both need love and food. The final graphic was a result of creating several variants before settling on one that was then printed on drinking glasses. Becky created an image of a musk ox. After creating the image in pencil, it was sent to a printer to print on drinking glasses. She also selected the color and finish for the product.

Jar candle (Submitted photo)

Visibility Arts was awarded a grant from the Evanston Arts Council to publicize the ability of those with disabilities to participate and contribute equally to the Evanston art community. One of the activities supported by the grant was to create a logo that could be used on buttons, stickers, business cards and lapel pins that would be distributed throughout Evanston. The activity was part of an awareness campaign called NeurodiVERSED.

The final logo is reflective of the multiple ways that people process using their brains. It is the shape of the brain with five different colors representing different regions of the brain. The logo was developed by Henry and John. Because of the pandemic restrictions, they had to collaborate remotely. One would gather photos; the other would create a sample. They talked to each other remotely and completed the image.

As with most artists, sharing their finished creations is important to Visibility Arts artists in order to receive recognition. The artists at Visibility Arts have the opportunity to participate in as many as 12 shows each year. Some are in gallery space like the recent show at Three Crowns gallery. Another example is the Evanston Made market on the first Saturday of each month during the summer. Most recently, works by the artists were shown at the Evanston Art Center as part of the Evanston Made show, and theirs were some of the first works sold at that show. Completed art is in the windows every day at their Dempster office. All the art pieces are for sale, and the funds go to the artists.

Glassware (Submitted photo)

As members of the Main-Dempster Mile (MDM) community organization, the Visibility Arts artists created and contributed the drawings for a coloring book that is being sold as a fundraiser for the MDM Festival Fund by some of the merchants. It is Halloween-themed and can be purchased locally. To see it and learn where to purchase it, visit MDM’s website.

Another instance of their artistic accomplishments: John and Katy collaborated to offer a class in portraiture at the Evanston Public Library.

Windows (Submitted photo)

Visibility Arts creates the opportunity for the artists to have control, which for some disabled people is often lacking in other parts of their lives. They use their artistic voice to present a component of their lives that often is not seen or is dismissed. When asked why they do art, the answers sounded very similar to all the artists I am fortunate enough to interview.

“I feel like I created something great.”

“I enjoy being an artist and grateful for this opportunity.”

“I like seeing people look at our work through the window.”

I asked: “And how do you know when a piece is done?”

“I walk away and then come back with fresh eyes another day. But sometimes it is tough to make that decision.“

The response to this question that has stayed with me relates to the subjective aspect of art that is one of the most defining and alluring features of creative work.

“When I think it looks good, then it is done.”

Just like our brains are different, so are our tastes in art. And none of them are wrong.

If you would like to learn more visit www.search-inc.org . If you would like to purchase an item, visit the office at 824 Dempster St. or planet-access-co.shoplightspeed.com/home-goods/visibility-arts/.

This story appeared earlier on the Evanston Made website.

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Paintings turned trees into central characters in Canadian art: expert – OrilliaMatters

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NEWS RELEASE
ORILLIA MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY
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In her introduction to this year’s Carmichael Art History Lecture fundraiser, Executive Director of the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH), Ninette Gyorody paid tribute to Qennefer Browne. It was a remembrance of gratitude.

Browne founded our annual Art History Lecture and named it in honour of Franklin Carmichael, a member of the Group of Seven, who was born in Orillia. Browne organized speakers for many years, until her death.

This year, we were incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Anna Hudson, who teaches Art History and Visual Culture in the Arts Music Performance Dance (AMPD) Department of York University, as our distinguished lecturer.

Her compelling presentation was a focus of her doctoral dissertation, “Art and Social Consciousness: The Toronto community of Painters, 1933-1950” was ‘What Came after the Group of Seven.’

From 1933 to 1950, a group of socially-conscious painters imagined a society transformed by art, and came together to develop a shared language of visual representation, building on the legacy of the Group of Seven.

Dr. Hudson spoke of the way artists play off each other’s work, investing form with meaning over time. Her talk was supported by images of Canadian paintings and photos of the period, which illustrated ideas within the lecture and enabled us to connect with the art.

Visual themes of the lecture were ‘TREE, BODY, INDUSTRY, LAND, HOME’.

First up for discussion were paintings by Franklin Carmichael: Autumn in Orillia (1924), Farm, Haliburton (1940) and Autumn Hillside (1920). In the 1940 painting, a tree is the dominant figure in the landscape. Dr. Hudson explored what this might mean, referencing the historical context of 1940.

Next, images of Jack Pine and West Wind, by Tom Thomson, were shared. These paintings lifted trees into the role of central characters in Canadian art, rather than being part of a pretty European style landscape painting.

Continuing her discussion of paintings, sculpture, photographs and commercial art by Canadian artists of the period 1933 to 1950, Dr. Hudson shared her interpretation of this phase of our national art.

One of the most fascinating paintings referenced was ‘Tree’, painted in 1944, by Isabel McLaughlin. This writer viewed this painting at The McMichael Gallery last month. Dr. Hudson’s assessment of ‘Tree’ as “disturbing, powerful, visceral, tactile” fits this painting.

We thank Dr. Hudson for sharing her vast knowledge and passion for this important time in Canadian art history. Her presentation was a great complement to the Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition: Tradition Transformed, now in its 20th year. Don’t miss this incredible juried show.

For 2022:

The History Speaker Series will be on hiatus for December and will resume on Jan. 19, 2022, via Zoom.

Popular Orillia historian, Dave Town, will be our guest speaker with his talk ‘Yellowhead’s Revolt’. Local Indigenous leader, Rama’s Chief Yellowhead, stood defiant against not just the white man, but his fellow Chiefs in 1846 at the Great Meeting held in Orillia.

At issue were life-changing policies, the most significant of which was the creation of the first residential schools in Canada. Chief Yellowhead stood up for what he felt was right for his people. Don’t miss Dave’s fascinating talk about this important event in our local history.

Click here to register for the talk or call Monica at 705-326-2159 or email visitors@orilliamuseum.org

Admission to the History Speaker Series is free, but donations to OMAH are appreciated.

The OMAH History Committee thanks you for your loyal support in 2021. Stay tuned for a full list of dynamic speakers in 2022. Wishing you a safe and festive holiday season.

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Art Fx #44: "Around the Bend" by Pam MacKenzie – Huntsville Doppler – Huntsville Doppler

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Art Fx is a year-long series on Huntsville Doppler featuring Huntsville-area visual artists.

“Around the Bend” by Pam MacKenzie is a 24” x 36″ acrylic on birch

“This painting depicts a canoe trip up a stream to explore what lies beyond,” says Pam. “My husband and I were avid canoeists and spent countless hours exploring small rivers and creeks. Travelling in these small bodies of winding waters always left you wondering what was around the corner. Did it continue on or was this bend going to end up in a bay or a larger body of water than we were comfortable travelling on in our canoe? Were we going to be able to continue in the canoe or going to have to portage over a rough spot, leaving the colour of our canoe on buried river rock? Or were we going to find a quiet spot to pull ashore on and explore the land along the banks?”

“Around the Bend” is available for $400.

“Around the Bend ” by Pam MacKenzie (supplied)

About the artist

Artistic endeavours have always been part of Pam’s life, from making her own school clothing to designing and creating wedding gowns and apparel to art quilts, weaving and stained glass.

Pam began exploring the drawing and painting art world in 2013 with Laura Landers, Iris Shields, and now Carol Rudderham.  

Pam has taken long workshops with a number of well-known Canadian artists and is currently working on an online course in bold-colour painting through the Bold School based in B.C.. While her first love is portraiture in black and white, she felt the need to colour her portraits first in pastels and now in acrylic and is taking this course to do just that.

Currently Pam is exploring the world of pouring art as she has splints on both arms following a tumble this fall. When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.

Pam is co-chair of the Huntsville Art Society and takesadvantage of the many opportunities through HAS to show her work. She also paints with a group at Carol Rudderham’s and shows her work bi-annually in the gallery at Partners Hall in the Algonquin Theatre.

Find Pam online at the HAS website or contact her at pammack123@icloud.com or 705-788-9875.

See more local art in Doppler’s Art Fx series here.

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Year end art exhibition features 40+ local art makers – North Bay News – BayToday.ca

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The Alex Dufresne Gallery is presenting its annual year-end show “Petit Noel: Exhibit & Sale.”

“This art exhibition has brought together over 40 different painters, photographers, potters, and artisans of all mediums, styles, and levels of experience to curate a show that reflects the passion of the northeastern Ontario art community.,” says Natasha Wiatr, Curator.

All pieces are no larger than 20” by 20” in size and almost all pieces are for sale.

The show is currently on display and will stay up until Saturday, December 30.

The gallery is open Wednesday – Saturday from 10 – 5 excluding Christmas Day and New Years Day.

“If you would prefer to book the gallery for a private viewing on a Tuesday, please contact us to arrange for a time,” adds Wiatr. “The gallery is free, with donations welcome. Due to Covid-19 guidelines, we ask that visitors wear masks and maintain six feet of social distancing, and we have hand sanitizer available on site. Please do not visit if you are not feeling well.”

Location: Alex Dufresne Gallery (107 Lansdowne St. E. in Callander, in the same building as the Callander Bay Heritage Museum)

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