The country’s next top military commander will come from the navy.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Vice Admiral Art McDonald as the new chief of the defence staff on Wednesday, replacing Gen. Jonathan Vance, who announced his retirement last summer.
McDonald is currently the commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and, within the defence community, has been considered the leading candidate for the post for weeks.
His appointment was reported earlier in the day by CBC News.
A former frigate captain and Pacific fleet commander, McDonald has been intimately involved in the planning of the navy’s new combat fleet for a number of years.
Vaccine rollout help among first tasks
He is the first naval officer to hold the defence chief’s post in more than two decades.
The last sailor in that job was Vice-Admiral Larry Murray, who was only appointed on an acting basis amid the fallout of the Somalia scandal in the mid-1990s.
In his remarks, Trudeau underlined the important role the military has played in the federal government’s response to the global pandemic.
“In his new role as Chief, Vice-Admiral McDonald will oversee the work of the Canadian Armed Forces, including on vaccine rollout through Operation Vector,” the prime minister said.
“McDonald’s leadership and expertise will be invaluable as the Armed Forces continue to work around the clock to keep Canadians safe.”
McDonald inherits tough files
A change of command ceremony will take place in the new year, at which time McDonald will be promoted to full admiral.
Aside from managing the ongoing fallout of coronavirus both at home and abroad, McDonald will inherit a number of tough files, including the military’s ongoing efforts to stamp out sexual misconduct within the ranks, as well as a rising campaign to deal with extremism among military members.
He will also face heightened scrutiny on some of the biggest military purchases in a generation, worth tens of billions of dollars, including new fighter jets and the construction of 15 new frigates.
Trudeau expressed his gratitude to Vance for his more than five years of leadership as defence chief.
Italian art gallery becomes a COVID-19 vaccine centre – The Globe and Mail
The Castello di Rivoli, near Turin, has been a marvel of reinvention over its thousand-year history. It has been a castle – castello in Italian – royal palace, military barracks, refugee centre and, lately, a UNESCO World Heritage site and art gallery.
In March or April, it will assume another role, COVID-19 vaccination centre, when the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, the site’s main tenant, opens its galleries to visitors who fancy combining a bit of culture with their inoculations.
The idea of turning one of Europe’s best-known contemporary art museums into a temporary health clinic was conceived by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 63, the museum’s American-Italian director. “Art has always helped and healed,” she said. “It provides an experience that includes and involves others and can be a form of therapy to treat trauma.”
While vaccinations are normally not considered traumatic experiences, getting one in an airy gallery might take the edge off any lingering jab anxiety. Polls suggest there is vaccine hesitancy among significant minorities of Europeans.
The vaccines will be administered in the third-floor gallery of the museum, where the walls are lined with the creations of Claudia Comte, a Swiss artist whose work, according to museum literature, comprises “large scale environmental installations … of a form of consciousness primarily shaped through the digital experience.”
While Ms. Comte’s art may not be to everyone’s taste, the gallery no doubt beats a sterile, windowless hospital room as a vaccination centre. Ms. Comte is also working on what Ms. Christov-Bakargiev called a “soothing, calming” soundtrack that will be played while medics administer the vaccines.
After they get their jabs, the newly inoculated will be allowed to wander the lower galleries (assuming Italian pandemic restrictions allow them to open), where one of the new installations will include Sex, by German visual artist Anne Imhof. Works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Amadeo Modigliani are also on display.
The vaccinations will be done by the local health authority, which will have to ensure that the proper safety protocols are in place. Ms. Christov-Bakargiev said the museum should be ideal for the inoculation effort, since it is already equipped with thermal scanners and a climate-control system and has ample space for physical distancing, waiting rooms and vaccination booths. The third floor covers 10,000 square feet.
She said the idea of turning the museum into a vaccination centre came to her months ago but took on new urgency on Dec. 13, when museum chairman Fiorenzo Alfieri died of COVID-19 after a month-long illness. He was 77.
“The day after he died, I thought that I needed to do something more than close the museum during the pandemic and wait,” she said. “We had to do something more.”
Many museums and art galleries in Europe began as hospitals, including Les Invalides in Paris and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, home of Picasso’s Guernica. Castello di Rivoli is just doing it in reverse order – a museum that is becoming, in effect, a hospital.
According to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, Italy, which has seen 83,000 pandemic deaths, had administered more than 1.2 million vaccine does by Jan. 19. Ranked by doses per 100 people, the tally puts it well ahead of the European Union average.
Italian health authorities are planning to open vaccination sites in public spaces across the country, including city squares. Cultura Italiae, a group of cultural leaders, has proposed that other museums and cultural centres copy the Castello di Rivoli vaccination model. After all, “public museums are committed to creating an accessible, pluralistic space to serve our community,” Ms. Christov-Bakargiev said.
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Chatham gallery creating art 'quilt' for Black History Month – CBC.ca
An arts organization in Chatham-Kent is looking for contributions for a unique community project to mark Black History Month.
The theme of the project is “celebrating Black lives” and the Thames Art Gallery and ARTspace are seeking submissions from the public for original works of art on the theme. The art can be any media, including painting, drawing and writing.
The public submissions will be combined and set up in a pandemic-friendly public display.
“What we’re having people do is produce a piece of work and then photograph it and then send it to us and we will print it out and then assemble it in the form of a quilt,” Phil Vanderwall, curator of the Thames Art Gallery, said on CBC Radio’s Windsor Morning on Friday.
The completed work will be displayed in the window of the ARTspace gallery on King Street in downtown Chatham.
“So it’s a nice public space,” he said.
The ‘quilt’ format of the project allows for community participation while preventing close contact. Both ARTspace and the Thames Art Gallery are closed due to COVID-19.
Vanderwall said quilt-making is currently undergoing a bit of a revival.
“This seemed like a good opportunity to explore that,” he said.
Submissions are already coming in and the deadline is Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m.
The quilt will be unveiled Feb. 5 and will remain on display until Feb 26.
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Two arts and culture groups in Nanaimo have received more than $100,000 from the provincial government to help improve their spaces and support arts programming.
On Jan. 22 the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport announced in a press release that nine arts and culture groups on Vancouver Island and its adjacent islands received more than $440,000 as part of the B.C. Arts Council’s new arts infrastructure program. Among the local recipients are the Nanaimo Art Gallery, which got $75,000, and the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, which got $31,933.
NAG executive director Carolyn Holmes was thankful for the grant and said the funds will be spent on expanding the ArtLab studio.
“These renovations will make it possible to increase the capacity of our programs and involve more members of our community in art-making experiences,” she said in the press release. “This recent year has showed us just how important these creative outlets and learning opportunities are for our well-being.”
Other recipients on the Island include the Belfry Theatre, CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers and Victoria Baroque Music Society, all located in Victoria, as well as the Cumberland Museum and Archives. The Hornby Island Arts Council, Alert Bay’s U’mista Cultural Centre and the Sointula Museum and Historical Society also received funding. In all, 49 group from across the province received nearly $2 million in grants.
“Art and creative expression are so important for people to maintain healthy lifestyles, especially right now,” Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson said in the release. “We are supporting arts and culture spaces across the province and here in Nanaimo, assisting them through the pandemic and helping to make them better for the future.”
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