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Turning Local Art Into A Fashion Statement – Choose Cornwall – Choose Cornwall

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February 5, 2021
By Kevin Lajoie

Cornwall Ontario – A new grassroots community initiative is helping to showcase local art in a whole new way – and generate some much-needed revenue for artists at the same time.

Cornwall Art T-Shirts

The Cornwall Gallery in Motion project grew out of a desire to bring awareness and support to local artists who have been severely impacted by Covid-19.

“For these artists, their art is their prime means of income and they have been hit hard by Covid,” said Jane McLaren, the community leader and art enthusiast who is the driving force behind the project.

Through the project, five local artists – Tracy Davies, Pierre Giroux, Yafa Goawily, Louise Mignault and Laura Stevens – each created an original artwork celebrating different aspects of the community. The creations are being featured on t-shirts by Mike’s Printing & Apparel and being sold for $25 each, with all of the proceeds going back to the artists.

“Our hope is that people will buy the shirts, wear them proudly and create a living ‘gallery in motion’ of original art featuring the work of local artists,” McLaren added.

The shirts feature a variety of themes related to Cornwall ranging from landmarks like The Port Theatre to fishing, cycling, wildlife and placemaking.

Tracy Davies, for example, paid tribute to one of the lifelines of the community – the St. Lawrence River – with da zentangle-themed design of a walleye.

“Fishing is a big draw to the city and it’s also enjoyed by many in the community,” said Ms. Davies, the owner of Cailuan Gallery in Downtown Cornwall. “I’m thrilled to be taking part in this initiative. It’s a fun way to raise awareness of the arts and the important contribution they make to the quality of life of a community.”

Where to buy

The t-shirts are now available online through Mike’s Printing & Apparel (www.mikesprinting.ca) for $25 each. A limited number of long sleeve t-shirts are also available for $30 (please check with Mike’s Printing on sizes and available colours). Details on the designs, sizing and colours can all be found through the website.

Showcasing the work

Come March, the original pieces of artwork behind the t-shirts will be on display at the new home of Mike’s Printing & Apparel in Downtown Cornwall on Pitt Street. The original artworks will, at that time, be available to purchase. Further details will be announced in the near future.

In the meantime, everyone who purchases a shirt between now and the opening of the store will be entered into a draw for a $50 gift certificate that can be used at Mike’s Printing.

The importance on art

Cornwall is home to a vibrant arts community, and that community has been hard hit by Covid-19, with venues, performances and live events mostly shuttered for the past year and no certainty on when things will return to normal. That was the driving force behind the initiative.

“It is the arts that carries the message of the heart of community to the people who call it home. Through this initiative, we hope to share our pride, our hearts, and our hope for the future of this community we call home,” McLaren said. “We hope that this is the first of a series of activities celebrating community through art.”

The project has been supported by Cornwall Economic Development and the Downtown Cornwall Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Additional information

For additional information on the project, please visit:

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Art Fx #10: "Spring Melt" by Janine Marson – Huntsville Doppler – Huntsville Doppler

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

“Spring Melt” is a framed original oil on birch board measuring 8″ x 10″ and is painting #7 from Janine Marson’s Rural Roots Collection, for which she created 50 paintings to honour her roots at Oxtongue.

“Spring Melt” was painted on location at Boyne Creek in Dwight during the spring melt. “The deep mysterious blues contrasted beautifully with the bright white snow and caught my eye enough to want to paint it,” said Janine. “I pulled off to the side of the road and grabbed my trusty paint box to head down closer to the water to sit and paint. I’ve seen this annual melt year after year and it always cheers me up to see the melting ice and trickling waters usher in the promise of spring.

“Next time you drive out towards Dwight, take a peek on your right hand side and you may just catch a glimpse of this ray of hope.”

“Spring Melt” is painting #7 from Janine Marson’s Rural Roots Collection. It is available for $375. (supplied)

About the artist:

Janine Marson is a seasoned artist with a B.A. Fine Art from the University of Guelph and a Diploma of Art and Design from Georgian College. Her art career spans over 30 years creating works of art in all media. Janine shares her wealth of knowledge with students at the Haliburton School of Art and Design and out of her own studio in Huntsville. She created a wildly successful exhibition in 2017 of 100 paintings to honour the 100-year anniversary of Tom Thomson’s death. It was followed by another series called Rural Roots, 50 oil paintings that honoured her roots at Oxtongue, which was revealed June 29, 2019 at the Oxtongue Craft Cabin and Gallery. In 2020 Janine exhibited in the group show LANDED: a Gallery Exhibition Celebrating the Land with her colleagues at The Barn, Hillside.

Janine’s studio is at 2-6 West St. N. in Huntsville. Connect with her at 705.789.6843, online at
janinemarson.com, or on the following social media channels: Facebook @JanineMarsonArt, Instagram @janinemarson, Twitter @throughtomseyes, and LinkedIn @janinemarson.

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

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How home-office video calls are helping to boost art sales – CBC.ca

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Videoconferencing has become so common during the pandemic that “Zoom” is being used as a verb. We zoom friends and colleagues, and they peer inside our bedrooms, basements and condos, perusing our bookshelves and decor.

Many of us worry about what’s there, what it says about us, and want a change.

“People are finally looking at what’s behind them as they stare at their screen,” said Andrea Rinaldo, co-owner of the Butter Art Gallery in Collingwood, Ont. “And they don’t like what they see.”

That has prompted something of a renaissance for the gallery, and the local artists it represents, in what has become the best year for sales in its existence.

“What we’ve introduced is the idea of Zoom Art,” Rinaldo said.

“Something that might also offer the people that they’re on the call with [some] eye candy,” added her business partner Suzanne Steeves. “Something to look at besides the books.”

Art sales are booming at this Collingwood, Ont., gallery co-owned by Andrea Rinaldo, right, and Suzanne Steeves, with customers wanting ‘something other than books’ for the background of their Zoom calls. (David Common/CBC)

Sales have skyrocketed at the gallery as customers have sought to spice up their backgrounds. From smaller pieces for $45, to larger works of fine art selling for well into five digits, the gallery aims to be accessible to all buyers — even those who just want to browse options on social media.

Exponential growth in videoconferencing

The use of videoconferencing ballooned during the early months of the pandemic, with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Go To Meeting and a series of other services showing enormous growth in both the number of users and amount of use.

Zoom ended 2019 with 10 million daily meeting participants, for example. When the pandemic was declared in March, that rose to 200 million. By April, daily users surged to 300 million, and have kept growing.

Simultaneously, people began to focus on the backgrounds of their calls. Social media feeds posted some of the best (and the worst), and people passed judgment on RoomRater on Twitter and other forums.

“Instead of the power suit, it’s now the power art,” said Steeves at the gallery.

Andrea Rinaldo said the gallery-going experience has changed for some. ‘If they don’t see something on the wall here to stand in front of, we just lift one up … and they stand in front of that piece so they can make that comparison and see which piece behind them makes them look the best.’ (David Common/CBC)

Working from home has fundamentally altered the gallery experience for some. People used to come to look at the art — now they come to stand with their backs to it.

For those who come into the gallery, “if they don’t see something on the wall here to stand in front of, we just lift one up … and they stand in front of that piece,” Rinaldo said. “So they can make that comparison and see which piece behind them makes them look the best.”

And during lockdowns, they’re offered Zoom or Facetime tours of the options available.

There are also some additional considerations when choosing art for a wall featured in Zoom calls, said Rinaldo.

“Is it too distracting for the people who are viewing you? Are they going to be paying attention to what you’re saying or are they going to be focusing on the art?”

As director of sales and group services for the nearby Blue Mountain Resort, Helen Stukator wanted something bold to help boost online pitches and client interactions.

“I’m very used to being face-to-face with my clients, entertaining them, wining and dining and having those opportunities to really build a relationship. And if it’s just a boring wall or a white wall behind me, it doesn’t have the same effect.”

Stukator went with a painting from Ontario artist Grace Afonso, and said she is delighted by the response.

“People really like it. You can’t not see it,” she said. “It’s a conversation starter and it’s personal.”

Helen Stukator, seen on a video call with her new background painting by Grace Afonso. (David Common/CBC)

Expanding audience

Artists are also surprised by the extra attention.

“It’s fun and exciting for me,” said the Hamilton-based Afonso, stunned by the sudden exposure of her art to far more people. “It’s bringing a little cheer to everybody else and it’s bringing cheer to me to paint it.

“Hopefully they’re getting a little peace and happiness by looking at it, because Zoom calls can be quite stressful,” she said.

The artist knows a lot about stress herself, working as a full-time charge nurse at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. She works on crisis and psychosis cases in the hospital’s eating disorder unit, which has seen a substantial increase in patients during the pandemic.

So back in her art studio on days off, it’s an “opportunity to recenter yourself … go back to that place where you’re peaceful and joyful and calm.”

Grace Afonso said her income from painting has at least tripled since last March, with many customers buying larger and more expensive pieces for the background of their video calls. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

The artist is also excited that her art is being seen by more than just visitors to someone’s home. They’re now being shown to a much wider audience through the video calls of those who have purchased her works.

It’s not what she expected from the pandemic.

“I thought with COVID, everything for art would kind of die down and it would just be quiet time for us artists in the studio just to paint,” she said, “I didn’t expect everybody to be so interested in what we’re doing right now.”

Afonso has painted about 75 works over the pandemic year — similar to an ordinary year — but this year all have sold quickly. The greatest difference is size. In COVID times, there has been demand for larger pieces, which equates for the artist to a higher selling price. She said her income from painting has at least tripled since last March.

Meanwhile, a banner year was not what the founding partner of Butter Art Gallery expected when the pandemic first hit.

“We were very worried,” Steeves said. “We were having discussions about how long do we stay closed and not make money. But surprisingly, we did make money.”

Butter Gallery co-owner Suzanne Steeves worried how badly the business would be hit by the pandemic, but 2020 would turn out to be its best year yet. (David Common/CBC)

The gallery’s contemporary art collection has also caught the attention of a growing internet-based community, who peruse the ever-changing collection online.

“We had a conversation with a couple,” Rinaldo said. “They [told us they] got their glasses of wine, put up their big screen together, and flipped through our repertoire of art. And that’s what they did for the whole evening.”

The couple called up the next day and arranged to pick up two pieces curbside.

The success has trickled to artists across Ontario and Quebec, with surging demand creating a constantly revolving selection of available pieces at the gallery.

“I just think it’s really important to support local arts,” Stukator said, with her new painting prominently hung on the wall opposite her laptop. “It keeps the community going. It shows appreciation and it makes our community beautiful.”

WATCH | The National’s feature on video calls driving sales of art:

A small art gallery in Collingwood, Ont., has seen a boom in sales during the pandemic and it’s at least in part from people buying ‘Zoom art’ to make video calls a little brighter. 4:22


Watch full episodes of The National on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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Victoria art centre offers free therapeutic art sessions – Goldstream News Gazette – Goldstream News Gazette

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The Bateman Foundation hopes to harness the healing power of creativity with a series of free therapeutic art sessions.

Materials are provided for the free drop-in sessions, and an on-site art therapist will be available for assistance or mental wellness insight.

“It’s learning about art and nature and using those as tools for wellness,” says Lauren Ball, spokesperson for the Bateman Foundation. “We (wanted) to help people to feel a bit more powerful in their daily lives.”

In the summer of 2020 the foundation launched the Wellness Project, adapting its annual Nature Sketch program for the pandemic and providing it free of charge to small groups in the community.

The new drop-in therapeutic art sessions are an extension of that program, says Bell, and a direct response to the effects of the ongoing pandemic.

READ ALSO: Nature Sketch program returns in Victoria with COVID-19 safety protocols

“Knowing that anxiety and depression are on the rise on this mass scale because of social isolation, we wanted to help in some way,” she said.

“It’s not about being a really great artist, it’s not necessarily about the final result of what you create, it’s about tapping into the creative potential and creative energy that exists within all of us, and using that to find some sense of joy, some sense of peace.”

Art therapist Kaitlin McManus will be on site to help participants who want to discover meaning in their artwork while they are creating.

All ages and experience level are welcome. Four people can participate simultaneously for 30 minutes each, unless there is no one waiting to join, in which case artists can stay longer.

Sessions run twice a week at the Bateman Gallery at 300-470 Belleville St. on Tuesday evenings from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Appointments are not necessary.

READ ALSO: Renowned photographer’s work captured at the Bateman Gallery


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
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