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'The art was lonely:' Ottawa galleries, museums begin to reopen –



Ottawa’s museums and galleries have started reopening after COVID-19 restrictions, but there are some changes that patrons will need to heed before paying a visit.

The Ottawa Art Gallery opened its doors on Wednesday, with the first day reserved for frontline workers. The general public was allowed to tour the gallery beginning on Thursday.

“The art was lonely,” jokes CEO Alexandra Badzak. “We’re very happy to have people back in the building, that’s our job; we’re here to bring a connection between art and our community.”

In a very abnormal time of navigating a world of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, Badzak notes that a visit to a gallery can help provide some relief.

“We know that art is a really important part of making you feel relaxed and connected to community,” said Badzak.

In Carp, the Diefenbunker has re-opened its blast doors, but with a few changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission: sanitizing stations and physical distancing markers have been placed around the bunker, and staff are limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.

“There’s a couple of exhibitions that we did have to close, due to high-touch areas or spaces we couldn’t ensure physical distancing,” said Christine McGuire, the Diefenbunker’s executive director. “But really, the majority of the museum is open to the public, as it was before.”

The Ottawa Art Gallery requires visitors to book their visit in advance, online. Visits are limited to a three-hour block of time, but people can roam freely in the gallery without having to follow a set path.

Purchasing tickets to Diefenbunker online is optional, but the museum is restricting payment to online and cards only.

Additional precautions required are on the Diefenbunker’s and Ottawa Art Gallery’s websites.

Many other galleries and museums in the capital remain closed while they adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Clumsy tourist snaps three toes off work of art – Toronto Sun



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These little piggies didn’t make it to market, stay home, or have or not have roast beef.

Three toes off the right foot of the plaster model of the statue ‘Paolina Bonaparte as Venus Victorious’ on display at a Treviso, Italy museum were inadvertently chopped off as a tourist had his picture taken with the work of art.

The Antonio Canova masterpiece was apparently damaged as a tourist, who had lain down to have his photograph taken with the statue, got back to his feet.

Video surveillance footage caught the act on tape as a 50-year-old Austrian man clips the statue’s feet as he gets back to his own.

CCTV footage released by Italian Carabinieri military police shows a tourist posing for a photograph while leaning on a 19th century plaster model of “Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix” by sculptor Antonio Canova, before damaging the toes of the sculpture, in this still image taken from video, at the Gypsotheca Antonio Canova museum in Possagno, Italy, July 31, 2020. Faces blurred at source. Carabinieri Treviso/Handout via Reuters

The man was tracked down through museum booking information. Museum officials spoke with the man’s wife who admitted her husband’s involvement. She said he panicked when he realized the damage he had done and fled but is ready to face whatever consequences are deemed worthy by museum staff.

The incident occurred on July 31 and to date it is still unclear whether charges will be laid.
Preparations are already underway with regards to a repair.

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MacKenzie Art Gallery’s new CEO focused on fostering relationships with all Sask. communities



The MacKenzie Art Gallery is reopening to the public next week — and it’s doing so under a new interim executive director.

“The gallery, like everybody else, has been facing a lot of changes to our world right now, but I think that we’re really well prepared,” said John Hampton, the new CEO of the Regina gallery.

“We’ve got a great team here, so that’s been helping ease me into the role and help us serve the community the best we can.”

Hampton is the first Indigenous person to be executive director and CEO at a major Canadian art institution, according to the gallery.

“I feel incredibly honoured for that, but also it is a really large responsibility,” said Hampton, who has been preparing by working for the past month with the outgoing CEO Anthony Kiendl, who is taking over as CEO and director of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Hampton said right now, staff are thinking through the gallery’s role as a cultural institution and as caretakers of culture for the territory.

“We know that there’s a lot of conflict and pain and hurt out there, and we can see [that] through the protests that are happening across North America,” he said.

“And so we’re putting a lot of work into thinking what our role is as cultural custodians in articulating the cultural difference and similarities.”

The gallery has a history of engaging Indigenous artists and curators, Hampton said, but has been challenging itself in recent years to represent the art of all cultures in the area, in the spirit of the treaties — and is focused on welcoming newcomers as family.

“We have a responsibility to not only Indigenous and settler people who signed those treaties, but also to Black and POC [people of colour] and new Canadians,” he said.

“And we want to ensure that this is a welcoming space for them, that we reflect those cultures responsibly and that we try to foster those relations in a good way.”


All the artwork in the MacKenzie Art Gallery is new after reopening from the pandemic. (Matt Howard/CBC)


Hampton, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation in the United States, said he has a responsibility to be incredibly sensitive to the people from the local area.

He also said starting the job during a pandemic has been a challenge, but that people can feel safe returning to the gallery.

An Indigenous executive director and CEO has been chosen to lead the Mackenzie Art Gallery on an interim basis. 2:30

Visitors are being asked to purchase tickets online and arrive at a timed entry. When they come, they will have plenty of room around them in the gallery areas, Hampton said.

“Our focus is really just on people feeling comfortable and safe,” he said. “You can have a space of calm for just appreciating art to its … fullest sense, and having your focus on something other than the anxiety.”


The Mackenzie Art Gallery has three new exhibits. (Matt Howard/CBC)


As of Aug. 12, the gallery will be open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is currently half-price, as the gallery’s theatre and food services are still closed for now.

The gallery is reopening with three new exhibitions, including a feature exhibit by Divya Mehra called From India to Canada and Back to India (There is nothing I can possess which you cannot take away).

Another exhibit, called Reflecting Dis-ease: Eh Ateh Pahinihk Ahkowsiwin — Rethinking Pandemics Through an Indigenous Lens, “allows us to see that history in a way that is much more relevant, and we’re much better at understanding those histories now that we are currently living through this pandemic,” Hampton said.


An inflatable is part of Divya Mehra’s exhibit From India to Canada and Back to India (There is nothing I can possess which you cannot take away). (Matt Howard/CBC)


Staff are also slowly being transitioned back into the building and some are staying at home for personal reasons, but Hampton said he’s glad to be back in the gallery.

“I’m most looking forward to being able to share our work with the public again. While I was working from home, you lose a little bit of that quality of life just being surrounded by your four walls all the time,” Hampton said.

“And when I came back to the gallery and I saw works going up on the walls again and it brought that feeling of normalcy … I just felt so much joy in seeing art again,” he said.

“Just to be able to be surrounded by that and share that with the public is going to be a really enriching experience.”


The MacKenzie Art Gallery is requesting people book online ahead of their visit and come at their designated time. (Matt Howard/CBC)


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City seeks proposals for public art at new South Burnaby arena – Burnaby Now



The City of Burnaby is looking for public art proposals for its new South Burnaby arena.

The city currently has an open call on the B.C. Bid website (where public bodies post for a variety of construction, infrastructure and other projects) for public art for the new arena, which is under construction at 18th Street and 10th Avenue. 

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The city has specified a budget of $300,000 for public art to stand in a landscaped area along the 18th Street side of the building, next to the main entrance plaza. The arena is intended to house two NHL-sized rinks with 200 to 300 spectator seats in each, plus skate shop, concession, meeting and multi-purpose rooms and a variety of activity spaces.

The bid documents say the chosen public art “will enrich the experience and enjoyment for South Burnaby Arena’s diverse array of multi-generational users, fostering and encouraging community engagement and connectivity while providing a significant cultural contribution to the City of Burnaby.” They note the project allows for a site-specific artwork, or series of related artworks, with a “wide range of possibilities in approach, media, form, including the use of light and other innovative media.”

The city is calling for an “enduring artwork” (with a life expectancy of at least 20 years) that will speak to diverse audiences, invite engagement and dialogue, and foster community identity.

The documents call for a shortlist to be announced in the week of Sept. 14, with the final agreement awarded in November. The project is slated to be completed by September 2020.

The bid is open until Aug. 24. For full details, see the website.

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