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UPDATE: Vernon art gallery project on-hold for one more month – Vernon Morning Star – Vernon Morning Star




The Vernon Public Art Gallery will have to wait another month for direction on its Behind the Mask project.

Gallery staff and board made a passioned plea to Vernon council Monday, July 18, asking that the project go ahead as presented and, as board president Andrew Powell pointed out, approved twice by council.

“This project has been vetted and all kinds of approvals have been given,” said Powell, stating that the city approved funds, Greater Vernon Advisory Council gave its nod for the project as did Canada Council, which provided more than $53,000.

The Downtown Vernon Association has also promised funds for the project.

Any reconsideration of the project, said Powell, would hurt the gallery financially as well as its and the city’s reputations.

Council voted in June to return the project to the art gallery to start a public consultation project after residents were vocally opposed to it via social media comments and an online petition which drew thousands of names in opposition. There was also an online petition showing support.

The gallery presented its consultation findings (see Original Story, below), conducted solely with patrons visiting the gallery in person, and that drew a comment from Coun. Scott Anderson, who said he struggled to understand why no online feedback was allowed.

Coun. Kari Gares questioned if the survey was in some way skewed.

Coun. Akbal Mund stated that more than 2.25 per cent of people would have visited the gallery if they were against the project.

Because the gallery appeared before council as a delegation, Quiring told representatives it is council’s policy to not make decisions on delegations on the day they present.

“There’s a lot of information that has been discussed and brought up today and we will look forward to a report from staff. That’s the intent of the policy and this (project) is a good reason,” he said. “We have to come up some ideas.”

Staff will present its findings and recommendations to council for the next regular meeting, Monday, Aug. 15.


Vernon residents had their say over the Behind the Mask public art project with Vernon Art Gallery.

Of the 313 locals who completed the survey, 49.2 per cent say they strongly approve of the exhibition of mask and 215 individuals say the project has initiated more conversations around mental health.

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However, the project still has opposition.

Participants in the survey had the chance to offer suggestions to aleviate any concerns. In the response from 182 people, recommendations were made to shorten the installations duration, create fewer murals than currently planned, choose different locations, and adding QR codes at the murals to offer more information on the series.

The gallery heard those concerns and drew up a modified proposal to go before Vernon council today (July 18).

The modified proposal includes decreasing the timeline from five to three years, relocating some of the murals, adding QR codes to offer more context to the public, and the reduce the number of murals despite approval for 13.

READ MORE: ‘Wearing a mask is a big part of how I feel’: Vernon students debate art


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Surrey Art Gallery talks return with wildlife artist – Surrey Now Leader



Surrey Art Gallery Association resumes its monthly Thursday Artist Talk series Sept. 8 with wildlife artist Leo Recilla.

The free talk at the gallery (13750 – 88 Ave.), titled Simplicity Meets Complexity, will run from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A freelance graphic designer by trade, Recilla said he is always ready to work with his hands – and away from a screen – creating artwork based on ideas he’s compiled through the years.

Using techniques adapted from his studies in graphic design, the artist delights in combining realistic details with simple abstract or geometric forms.

The illustrated talk will highlight Spirit Animals, his ongoing portrait series, depicting the intricate relationship between wild animals and humans.

“The main subjects of the portraits, each inspired by the wildlife of British Columbia, are hand-drawn in realism with a lot of detail and interlocked within simple abstract or geometric forms that represent man-made interactions,” he said.

For these works, his predominant media are graphite and charcoal – occasionally mixing in inks or acrylic paint sparingly, to accentuate specific areas and achieve an intended effect.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Recilla emigrated to Canada in 2003, settling in Burnaby, B.C., where he’s currently based.

Aside from art, he said, he strives to broaden his creative horizons by designing logos and branding for small to mid-size businesses, taking and self-developing film photography at home, and occasionally doing woodworking.

For more information on his work, visit

For more information on the Surrey Art Gallery Association, visit

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What Should We Expect of Art? – The New York Times



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What Should We Expect of Art?  The New York Times

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Concordia's Art Volt Collection aims to help launch the careers of fine art grads — University Affairs – University Affairs



The initiative includes a ‘bootcamp’ in art marketing and sales skills.

A newly launched art collection aims to support graduating students and recent alumni of Concordia University’s faculty of fine arts as they launch their careers in the competitive commercial market, while simultaneously giving the general public an opportunity to buy or rent artworks.

The Art Volt Collection (AVC) is the latest initiative of Art Volt, a platform launched in March 2020 with a variety of programs helping to help Concordia’s fine arts alumni as they transition out of school.

The new collection features about 140 artworks from 25 artists working in a variety of media, including print, painting, photography, video, ceramics and textile installations. The collection officially launched with an event at Maison du Conseil des arts de Montréal on May 17.

“It’s very important for artists to have support in the years after they graduate,” said Camille Bédard, head of AVC. “The three to five years that follow graduation are the most critical ones, because this is when artists decide if they will continue or not in their artistic path. Art Volt is there, at this pivotal moment for them.”

The not-for-profit service is supported by the Peter N. Thomson Family Innovation Fund. In 2019, the Peter N. Thomson Family Trust gave a $5.6 million gift to Concordia’s faculty of fine arts. That donation supports three areas, including the innovation fund. Each year, the AVC will make a call for submissions to acquire new art, from artists who have graduated in the past five years. Graduating students and alumni submit their work to be reviewed by a professional jury, made up of faculty, artists and curators.

Twenty-five artists were selected for the first collection, a number that could grow in the future, Ms. Bédard said. The artists’ work is showcased online, providing exposure and connections to patrons interested in renting or buying pieces, and there’s are also plans for future in-person exhibitions.

Another major component of AVC is professional development. Prior to the collection’s launch, the first group of artists attended a day and a half of “bootcamp” training, covering topics including how to properly package artwork, price pieces, and how to write a bio and artistic statement. “All the workshops that we give at the bootcamp are skills that they don’t necessarily learn at school, but they need,” Ms. Bédard said.

That focus on professional development, alongside the jury process for selection, sets the collection apart from other university initiatives that rent or sell student art. “It’s really about supporting their careers as they enter their professional life. We’re covering a wide range of skills that are part of the artistic life, but that you don’t learn while you’re at school,” Ms. Bédard said. “Art Volt is somewhat of a transition between university and real life.”

One of the artists in the first collection is Alexey Lazarev, a Montreal-based multidisciplinary visual artist who graduated from Concordia in 2019. He first participated in the Art Volt platform’s workshops and presentations before successfully submitting his work to the collection. A few of his pieces sold at the launch event, and a few more have sold through the collection’s website.

“Participating in a program like this has helped me understand the realities of the business, what it takes to be an artist, and to have some sales and make some money. It’s also good for visibility and to make new connections,” Mr. Lazarev said. “I think more universities should do a program like this; it really adds value.”

While the program’s model is unique to Concordia, Ms. Bédard sees opportunity for other universities to adapt it to meet their own needs. “I would suggest thinking, what do your artists and students need, in terms of making it into the art world? What can you offer them to help them? Maybe it’s providing them with skills and certain tools, or maybe it’s exposure,” she said.

Already, the collection has helped showcase student artists to the broader university community by providing opportunities to buy or rent original art. “There are lots of offices in universities but there was previously no way to have artworks by students in those offices,” Ms. Bédard said. “With the collection, we’ll bring artworks of Concordia students into Concordia offices, instead of having just random artworks.”

Anyone can purchase or rent artwork from the collection, but first they have to become a member of the AVC. Annual memberships start at $25, and philanthropic donations of $250 or more include automatic membership in the collection, alongside other perks. Artists set their own prices for their pieces, and the AVC takes a 30 per cent commission on sales, which Ms. Bédard said is lower than the industry standard of 50 per cent.

Already, plans are underway to expand what is available through the AVC so that graduating students and alumni from all nine departments in Concordia’s faculty of fine arts are eligible for transitional support. Acquiring a theatre play is not the same as acquiring a painting, Ms. Bédard said, so the focus will be less on buying and selling and more on providing artists with increased visibility and connections in their fields.

One way to do that is through partnerships. For example, performances will take place this August and September featuring the work of Concordia students in dance, visual arts and theatre at Art POP, the visual arts segment of the POP Montreal International Music Festival.

“The collection has just started, and already there are so many more ideas that we have in mind to develop,” Ms. Bédard said. “Having access to that visibility and exposure is really key.”

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