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Vernon council sends mask project back to art gallery – Penticton Western News – Penticton Western News



Vernon council has done an about-face on a contentious mural project regarding masks.

Council revisited a motion they passed at its regular meeting Monday, May 30, supporting the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s request for funding for a project titled Behind The Mask. The project, conceived by a Calgary artist, includes a total of 11 photographic murals of local residents under masks created by themselves that would be posted on the walls of city- and privately-owned buildings for five years to bring awareness to mental health.

The city committed $33,000 to the project, to go along with $55,000 the art gallery had received through grant funding.

The announcement drew extreme outrage from the public, causing Coun. Akbal Mund to ask three of his six colleagues to revisit the matter during the regular meeting of council Monday, June 13. Mayor Victor Cumming and Couns. Brian Quiring and Kelly Fehr were absent from the meeting. Coun. Teresa Durning served as acting mayor.

“There was a considerable outcry from the community and when there’s a lot of response, you have to revisit what was voted on,” said Mund. “The scope of this project is too large for what the community is ready for, and not for five years.”

Calgary artist Katie Green worked with the gallery’s engagement curator and the harm reduction program coordinator at Turning Points Collaborative Society to lead participants through a series of workshops where masks and characters were created through an intimate story-telling process.

Participants were then photographed wearing their masks in a setting of their choosing, and it’s those photographs that the gallery was going to place on walls around the city.

A total of 11 murals have been proposed to be put around Vernon, including on city-owned property at the downtown parkade (three), the washroom building at the new Civic Memorial Park (former Vernon Civic Arena site) and on the side of the downtown washroom at Coldstream Avenue and 35th Street.

Private businesses that have expressed interest in putting up a mural include Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services (4400 block, 27th Street); Vernon Community Arts Centre (Polson Park); Bosman Accounting (two murals, 290o block 31st Avenue); Upper Room Mission (3400 block 27th Avenue); and the Turning Points Collaborative Society (2800 block 33rd Street).

Two petitions were started after the announcement: one against the murals, one in favour. As of Monday, more than 3,000 people had signed the petition against the project, and 1,000 people had put their names on the petition in favour of the art.

“With what we’ve received, I think the public has spoken,” said Coun. Kari Gares, who was absent from the May 30 meeting and did not vote on the project.

Gares and Durning said a majority of the comments written about the project by the public were “disheartening.”

“These (project participants) are individuals in our community that are suffering,” said Gares. “Words hurt. Words do have negative consequences.”

Coun. Scott Anderson, as he did on May 30, reiterated his call for public consultation on the project, which Gares said should be funded by the art gallery, and not by the city.

“This impacts our city, our lifestyle, our safety or, in this case, our face to ourselves and to the world for years to come,” said Anderson. “We technically don’t have to ask our citizens but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.”

Mund motioned to send the project back to the art gallery, asking them to conduct a public consultation process and bring back the content of putting up the murals under a reduced scope of what was originally presented.

The motion was unanimously supported.

The Behind The Mask project is currently on display at the art gallery.

READ MORE: City unmasks funds for Vernon gallery project

READ MORE: UPDATE: Thousands petition for/against Vernon art project

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New interactive art installation in front of Ackland Art Museum engages community – The Daily Tar Heel



The Ackland Art Museum installed a new interactive art piece, or “spatial gesture,” on its terrace that features magenta arches and iridescent glass– inviting Chapel Hill community members to stop and look. 

The eye-catching art features several arches that extend from the ground and frame reflective panels that change color based on light and movement. When backlit by red, green and blue lights, the panels capture shadows of those standing in front of them. 

White platforms at each end of the arches allow visitors to sit, perform, eat or just talk with friends.

The Urban Conga, a design studio based in Brooklyn, N.Y., created the installation, called pARC, as an open-ended space for the Chapel Hill community. It was installed on June 18 and will remain there until July 2024.

Maeghann Coleman is a designer on the Urban Conga team and helped create the installation. An artist and architect, she has been there since its start in 2013. 

She said her team tried to work together to mesh the concepts of both the arches and seating elements with the shadow play. 

“We’re taking art off the pedestal and giving people the opportunity to interact in the way that they would want to,” Coleman said. 

Coleman said she hopes the piece will be used by visitors and help them create new relationships with people who they don’t normally interact with.

Ryan Swanson, who serves as The Urban Conga studio’s founder and creative director, mirrored Coleman’s desire for the installation to foster community. 

“Within the space, we tried to create multiple tools that people could kind of use to create, inspire and really learn and listen to each other and really become this communal space,” Swanson said.

According to The Urban Conga’s website, the art should invite people off the street and into the museum and University. The goal of the installation is to attract passersby to the museum to view, relax, laugh and — most importantly — play.

“We really focus on sparking community interaction and social activity through open-ended play,” Swanson said. “So through our work, we see play as a tool to bring people together within the public space.”

The Ackland Art Museum is hosting a sunset celebration at the pARC this Friday at 5 p.m. where attendees can make their own pARC-inspired iridescent suncatchers, relax with friends and family and explore the museum’s galleries. 

On Sunday, July 24, the museum is hosting “Ackland F.A.M.: Play at the pARC”. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., families can grab an activity kit and take a summery scavenger hunt through the galleries. In the evening, there will be a pARC-inspired movement workshop led by choreographer Killian Manning and will feature special musical guest Dan Levine on cello. 

Katie Ziglar, the director of the Ackland Art Museum, said the exhibit is meant for all age groups to enjoy. 

“We have our values as a museum,” says Ziglar. “We have three they are rigor, playfulness and responsiveness. This is right up our alley, our playful ally.”

She said pARC is the third installation in a series of interactive installations.

“The first was some beautiful turning, spinning that people could ride around on with different colors made by a Mexican design group,” Ziglar said. 

The second was an “installation based on ancient Arabian water vessel in our collection,” according to Ziglar. 

She said that she hopes the new installation brings new audiences to the Ackland, and that it inspires people to want to learn more about the museum and what it can offer the public. 

“I think the biggest thing is showcasing the value of play and how it can be used in different ways in different spaces to people together,” Swanson said. “And that’s really the true essence of our work, is highlighting that play is a valuable tool.”

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Art exhibition with references to famous movies coming to Strathcona County –



This summer, Strathcona County will have an art exhibition saturated with popular culture references.

Red Deer artist Jason Frizzell will be showcasing his miniature sculpture pieces called “We’ll Build a Palace Upon the Ruins” at Gallery@501, Strathcona County’s only public art gallery.

From July 8 to Aug. 20, the exhibition will be on display for all to enjoy. 

It will showcase close to 60 small-scale sculptures that continue a thematic exploration of transition, identity, denial and discovery. It will also take viewers through different time periods and eras as they explore the showcase.

“Jason has created a really interesting journey of discovery for our visitors when they enter the gallery space,” said Kris Miller, the curator for Gallery@501.

Some pop culture references viewers will see include Mad Max, The Wizard of Oz, Planet of the Apes, The Flintstones and Stephen King.

To go along with the art itself, Gallery@501 also partially recreated Frizzell’s studio space within the gallery. 

“Being that he is working in a miniature format, it is really interesting to see these sculptural pieces. The content, stories, narratives that he is sharing with us for this artwork really struck a chord for us.”

Gallery@501 is also adding a sensory-friendly feature to the exhibition so the art can be explored through touch and iPads for larger viewing.

The public is also invited to an opening reception and exhibition walk-through with Jason Frizzell on July 14 at 7 p.m.

Gallery@501 is located at #120, 501 Festival Avenue, Sherwood Park. It is always free to visit.

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Idea Exchange welcomes new Cambridge Art Galleries director – CambridgeToday



The Idea Exchange is ready to welcome Alix Voz as the new Gallery Director/Curator of Cambridge Art Galleries. Alix will be starting in the position Wednesday, says a release from the city.

“We are thrilled to have Alix joining us in Cambridge,” said Idea Exchange CEO Helen Kelly in a press release. “Her enthusiasm for presenting art exhibitions that are engaging and accessible for the broader community is infectious. We look forward to many dynamic public art projects and programs under her leadership.”

For the past four years, Vos has been working as the director/curator at the WKP Kennedy Gallery in North Bay.

She holds a master of arts in interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Art History and Fine Arts, Geography, Communication and Culture, from York University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Nipissing University, says the release. She is an adjunct faculty member at Nipissing University where she teaches art courses in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program. She is also an instructor in the Visual and Creative Arts Advanced Program at Sheridan College. 

An active community member, Vos served as the vice-chair of the public art policy committee for the City of North Bay.

Vos has her own contemporary art practice and has had her work exhibited at the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, and the Red Head Gallery in Toronto. Her artistic practice includes drawing, having recently published her illustrations in a children’s book. She is currently working on an art-history-inspired children’s illustration book series.

With a love of literature and a passion for art, Vos says she’s excited about the opportunities for community engagement at Idea Exchange.

The community will have an opportunity to meet the new curator/director during the virtual opening reception of Fibreworks 2022 on July 21 at 7 p.m., registration is required to attend.

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