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These women are stirring Toronto’s creative juices to provide art for isolated seniors – Toronto Star

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Taking beauty to the eyes of beholders is a new initiative by two Toronto friends driven to help seniors who are alone in long-term care homes.

“We thought, ‘What can we do in this moment when everyone is isolated?’” said Margaux Smith, who has an art studio practice and works as a librarian with the Toronto Public Library.

Smith and a friend came up with the idea to donate art to seniors after hearing reports about the effects of COVID-19 on care homes and also in talking with her grandmother, who is quarantined at home and takes comfort in her own art collection. At first she wondered if art could actually make a difference.

Then Smith bounced her ideas off a friend who works with seniors in a care centre. “I’ve been inside some long-term care homes and I know not all of them have access to art. It’s something we thought we could do to help.”

Smith and another friend Tatum Dooley, an art curator, teamed up and put social media to work — with Instagram account cdnart_in_isolation and website cdnartinisolation.format.com — to launch their arts movement, with a call to artists across the city to donate their works.

“When Margaux suggested that they donate art to seniors, it just clicked. I was on board the second she said it,” said Dooley, who runs the Instagram account Canadian Art Forecast that shares the work of emerging artists.

Dooley is quarantining alone during the global health crisis, and realizes how quickly loneliness can creep in. “I hope that the seniors who receive art have their daily lives brightened a bit, and also know we’re thinking and care about them.”

There are many reasons why artists want to donate, added Dooley. “Everyone has a story — some have elderly parents, grandparents or people in long-term care facilities for a variety of reasons. Everybody seems to have a personal connection about why they want to donate to this initiative. It goes both ways.”

In its early stages, the focus of the friends’ initiative is on collecting enough donations of art. They’re accepting works from anyone interested in contributing. “We don’t want to make it restrictive — it could be art from people of all ages, amateur or professional work, because different things are going to resonate with the seniors receiving it, and they are going to have different tastes and interests,” said Smith.

The first installations will take place at Fudger House, on Sherbourne St., one of 10 long-term care homes operated by the City of Toronto. Smith said the goal is to have an artwork in each of the 250 residents’ rooms. They’re aiming for the first installations, to be done by staff at Fudger House, to take place in May.

“We are extremely pleased,” said Lisa Salonen MacKay, an administrator at Fudger House. “This is a great way to bring art into long-term care homes.”

With the residents spending their time in their rooms due to social distancing protocols resulting from the pandemic, Salonen MacKay said they will benefit from having artworks within sight. “Art brings joy, is a focal point in a room and can boost spirits.”

Artists have been responding to the Instagram call-out from Smith and Dooley and, so far, they’ve had about 20 official donations of art. Many others have messaged to say they are interested in getting involved with offers that range from donations of artworks to volunteering to help, including picking up and delivering the art donations — using no-contact physical distancing.

One of those volunteers is Matthew Varey, who runs the contemporary art program at Etobicoke School of the Arts. He hopes to involve current art students, as well as graduates of the school.

“Connecting art and artists to a diverse audience is an important part of what we are capable of, in terms of making the world a better place. I always seek real-life opportunities, as opposed to assignments for ESA, and this one is remarkable in its ability to impact people’s lives” said Varey.

He’s had family members in long-term care facilities and has also contributed his art to Sunnybrook Hospital’s long-term care facility for Canadian veterans. “I have real empathy for those staying in the LTC homes, and certainly those working there.”

The value of including artworks in living and working spaces transcends all barriers, including age, said Smith. “It’s a medium that can be used to generate hope, to tell stories, create more beauty and something to contemplate in what could be a really kind of depressing and stressful situation.

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“We want to show that we’re thinking about seniors and create more relationships with people in the community, that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Art has the power to do that.”

There are still details to be figured out, Smith added, such as how to let seniors select works they like. “It’s really important that it’s not arbitrary and that they feel like they are getting something that resonates with them.” Smith and Dooley are also encouraging the artists to write a little bit about their work, to make it more accessible and personal.

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Levi Nelson art on display in downtown Pemberton – Pique Newsmagazine

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Hydro boxes in Pemberton just got a lot more exciting.

Pieces by Levi Nelson, a Lil’wat Nation artist in his last year at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, are now installed on hydro boxes along Portage Road and on the utility box at the Downtown Community Barn.

“We are incredibly grateful and honoured that Levi shared his artwork with us,” the Village of Pemberton said on a Facebook post on Friday, June 5.

Nelson’s work has been exhibited at the Talking Stick Festival, the Museum of Anthropology, North Vancouver City Art Scape, and the Emily Carr University of Art & Design Aboriginal Student Art Show. He also recently became the first Lil’wat Nation artist to have a piece in the Audain Art Museum’s permanent collection.

The recent hydro box wraps were made possible thanks to a contribution from BC Hydro’s beautification fund.

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Applications being accepted for public art funding – paNOW

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Macleod Campbell explained they are also happy to support public art projects as they help to improve the overall quality of life for people in the city.

“It’s nice to have public art for viewing at this time as well as of course supporting the artist,” she said.

Eligible groups can include a range of organizations from local art groups to private businesses. In order to be eligible, the group has to be working with a professional artist and the piece must be displayed publicly.

There is not a hard deadline for people to apply for funding. Macleod Campbell said applications are subject to approval from the art working committee and city council.

Macleod Campbell explained the city is also working to make people aware of the art which is on display in public spaces around the city, as they have created a public art tour brochure. The document is currently available on the city website and they are looking to get physical copies out into the public.

“That’ll be something as well,” said Macleod Campbell.

MichaelJoel.Hansen@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @mjhskcdn

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Edmonton teen shares love of art with neighbourhood – Global News

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Paige Reid is brightening up her Edmonton neighbourhood, one driveway at a time.

The 15-year-old budding artist said chalk art was an easy way to spend less time cooped up in the house.

“It was a way to be outside and still do something I would have done inside anyway. I just wanted to have fun with a new kind of medium,” said Paige.


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Before long, her work captured the attention of most of her neighbours in Riverbend.

“I’ve had a lot of kids run up to me and say, ‘Whoa, whoa whoa!’ They’ve been very amazed that I’ve done characters that they recognize.”

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Paige soon began to venture out from beyond her own driveway.

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“Paige offered to draw a cat on our porch,” said neighbour Shauna Scott. “Every single time someone comes to our door people stop and say, ‘Wow, who did this?’ It gives us a big kick when we open the door.”


Paige Reid working on her chalk art on June 4, 2020.


Jessica Robb/Global News

The young artist said she doesn’t charge for her drawings, but if someone offers compensation—she’ll use it to buy more chalk.

“People say you can’t put a price on happiness so I don’t want to do that. It’s fun for me. I don’t need a reward for doing something I already want to do,” she said.

Paige’s mom, Cori Reid, said it’s no surprise her daughter spends her day bringing joy to others.

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“She’s got a good heart. She’s very kind,” said Reid. “She thinks about other people all the time.”

This neighbourhood Picasso is also helping fill time during long summer days.

“[Because of COVID-19] there’s not a lot for kids to do right now, except for being stuck on the computer and be stuck with school on Zoom, dance class on Zoom. It’s nice to get out and feel productive,” said Reid.

While at the same time, bringing a neighbours a smile, one character at a time.

“I’m very happy I’ve achieved my goal of making other people happy.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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