Posts Tagged ‘artist run’
…. to skip the long role call skip to 2:30…
written by Becka Viau
I challenge you to consider this debate and then mix it up with your thoughts about a Prince Edward Island Provincial Museum. I am not suggesting another animatronic display of the father’s of Confederation … but how significant is the closing of Founder’s Hall? What will become of that space? Is a true museum the answer?
written by Becka Viau
This town is small would like to congratulate all of the poets and artists that participated in the Island Poems: a collaborative art project! The show was a true success. It was amazing to see such diversity in subject and media, as well as the incredible amount of artists that participated!
This Project was our first collaboration with Peake Street Studios and the PEI Writers’ Guild and I have to say it was a very rewarding process.This town is small would like to thank Donnalee Downe from Peake Street and Yvette Doucette from the Writers’ Guild for all of their efforts in making this happen … including initiating the collaboration!
this town is small has put all of the poems and artworks up on the Island Poems page, in hopes that it will serve as a digital catalogue of the exhibition. Please visit the page and read the poems and view the artwork.
If you would like to see installation photographs of the exhibit please visit here.
If you would like to hear an interview from CBC Mainstreet about the exhibition please visit here.
I encourage the artists to send us an email with links to their web pages so we can link their work from this show to more information about them on the net.
Congratulations on an excellent show! We look forward
Written by Gerald Beaulieu
Much of my practice involves the exploration and utilization of new and unique material processes. As a sculptor it has become self evident that my practice leans towards an exploration of the physical world through this material handling, which informs my work and contributes to its inventiveness. Many of the materials I use are direct metaphors for the ideas I’m exploring.
One of the reasons for doing this body of work was to meet a challenge I put to myself of working on a small scale. For years I’ve done large-scale works and numerous attempts to work small produced unflattering results. As a formal process, taking something with its origins in the microscopic world and rendering it much larger than life, corrected this problem.
The display format was designed to mimic the laboratory aesthetic of Petri dishes and microscope slides. Each element exists separate from the others. While pulling things apart and examining their constituent components is a completely valid form of inquiry, with 50 to 100 trillion cells in our bodies, (nobody really knows) that are all alive and playing their role, the irony is that our constituent whole is even more complicated.
Bodily Functions will be exhibited at ARTsPLACE Gallery in Annapolis Royal NS, May 15 – Jun1 19 2011
Bodily Functions is an ongoing series of small scale works dealing with the physical make-up of our bodies as a collection of individual cells, organs and systems. The body has been a continual subject of my practice and these works try to re-imagine ourselves by looking at the ecosystems, the strange wildness contained within our physical forms. The works are deliberately tangible reinforcing the notion that our place in the physical world is defined by our own physicality and our sensory perceptions of the physical. These pieces are inventions, intended as metaphors and also an examination of the metaphors we assign of our organic existence, the essence of our biological make-up and the processes that occur, from infection to respiration to circulation to degeneration to regeneration; all events that occur within ourselves and the larger social context in which we live.
written by Gail Hodder
So, here we are, all friends, at our local watering hole; The Al!bi Lounge. Five visual artist hovering at the beginning of the evening. Excited with the anticipation of the night to come. In the next several hours we will not only get to talk about our artwork, but people will witness the process and the craziness that partakes to achieve the end result.
A shot of tequila is decided on. Celebratory and calming. We set up our easels, our paints and other relative flotsam. Computer and projector, wire and tools, plasticine and palettes. Each of us thinking of something clever to work on and claiming our space at the Lounge. The dance floor is a consideration. There must be room for dancing!
We begin our artmaking. Some more hesitant then others. Showing our art in public is normalcy, creating in public, not so much. But our audience is interested and approach with inquiries. As I make inquires back, I find out that most are art enthusiasts themselves, interested in learning more. Questions of materials, sources, schools, techniques. Others ask familiar skeptical questions, “What is it?”, “Why?” Our answers are practiced. We make them feel at ease with their skepticism.
The night ensues with more wine and more audience and our artwork takes shape. We slip into a comfortable rhythm of greeting our friends and acquaintances who have come out to encourage us. We pause to explain or chat. We own this place for the evening. We have become the performers.
Dancing breaks out as the DJ continues to spin his techno, hip hop, funk. The beat and energy is contagious. It’s getting late now. Our energy doesn’t waiver, but is only heightened. When the lights come on and the end is threatening, we drop our art making implements and join the dancers. They seem surprised, but we are well on our way to catching the groove and we blend in, in an arm flailing, hips swaying, belting out the words celebratory dance. Wahoo’s all around when the music stops.
We discuss when we might perform our art-making again.
We leave exhilarated wanting more and more and all the time.
Wishing the night not to end.
*** check out what city nights is all about here! Don’t forget to sign up for our next event by April 10th!
written by Becka Viau
On Feb 22nd an informational forum was held at The Guild to discuss the potential transfer of the ownership of the building from the PEI Arts Council to the current facility managing non-profit ARS LONGA.
Not very many people were in attendance, however there were representatives from the PEICA and ARS LONGA board of directors as well as federal, provincial and municipal elected officials in attendance. The crowd was small but the questions and points raised were essential to growing the conversation around the evolution of the Guild as an artistic space in the Community.
Many perceive the Guild to be continuously growing and succeeding. Accomplishing substantial recognition in the arts industry, the province and the city, and really compared to 10 years ago the Guild is doing great!
So why change something that seems to be going so right?
First of all the building is OLD and repair and maintenance costs are overwhelming, and in some instances crippling to the arts programming the Guild strives to provide. The roof is in desperate need of repair and the boilers need to be replaced. These cost are far above what is available through current eligible funding. For me this is a scary fact. If the boilers were to stop working and the Guild and the PEICA had to cover the cost of such repairs the funding and programs currently provided would essentially have to stop.
So why is the Guild not eligible for the big federal dollars allocated to infrastructure?
It is really this simple: The PEICA is a fund delivering organization that owns the Guild building… but as a government money distributor they are not eligible for infrastructure funding. Plain and simple.
ARS LONGa is the facility manager but they do not own the building. If they did own the building they would be eligible for the Heritage/ACOA dollars that would ensure the sustainability of the physical building.
In conclusion, it is a fact that the federal government has changed the way in which they distribute funds to provincial and community organizations. The PEICA may have been eligible for the federal monies 10 years ago, but things have changed. It is time for the artistic community to acknowledge the governments funding requirements and work together to evolve the Guild into a sustainable space for artists on PEI.
With that said there are some issues that need to be considered before any deal is signed off on.
Currently the board for ARS LONGA is made up of 2 city representatives (meaning 2 residents of Charlottetown, not city officials) 2 representatives of the Province of PEI (meaning two residents of PEI that are appointed by the provincial government to the board) and 2 representatives from the PEICA (meaning the PEICA board appoints two of its members to the ARS LONGA board.) Will this board structure change if the ownership of the building is transferred from the PEICA to ARS LONGA?
Democratic process is extremely important to any organization that was created to serve a membership. Currently there is not much democratic process found in the structure of the ARS LONGA board. I think that their governance needs to be revisited and reworked to ensure that Island Artists have a direct voice in the workings of the Guild. For me it seems like the only way of ensuring the Building remains a grassroots art space.
Is changing the structure of the ARS LONGA board to include representatives from other Provincial arts organizations that carry a membership a better way? Is it fine the way it is with a few concessions?
I believe that it is time to work together to help evolve the Guild into a truly sustainable arts space in Charlottetown. A good way to start this process is for people to ask questions, suggest creative solutions and tangible workable solutions. The Guild and the PEICA have to change in order to keep up with the changes in public funding. So lets put our collective creative brains together and think of this as a positive opportunity to build something strong, sustainable and for us!
*** you MUST be a member of the PEICA to vote on this issue . for more information about PEICA membership see HERE
The PEICA Chair, Dr. Greg Doran, has invited members with ideas and/or concerns to write to him at any time at the address firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOME EXTRA INFO!! You can visit the PEICA info page HERE … you will find the governance documents from ARS LONGA some more info on the history of the Guild, building information, and a statement about this deal proposal by ARS LONGA
two songs.one take. a new session every wednesday watch them here “Small Town Sessions is a project aimed to celebrate the incredible artistic energy that is fostered by a small place, like Charlottetown. It isn’t always natural talent that creates wonderful artwork but the community and environment that nurtures it,” -Becka Viau for more info visit here this town is small would like to acknowledge the support of: PEI Community Cultural Partnership Program of the Tourism, Culture and Libraries Division of the P.E.I. Government, and the Island Media Arts Coop for their support towards this project.
Written By Becka Viau
The scope of this designation was announced today, and I have to say there is a lot happening in a very short amount of time. The Cultural Capital program will kick off during the ECMA awards and conference week in April and artists, organizers, and community partners will be busy busy busy until January 2012.
Some exciting highlights that were announced this morning are:
1. Cultural Captial Launch – A Sound Celebration
The East Coast Music Association (ECMA) in partnership with the City
of Charlottetown – a designated Cultural Capital of Canada – Symphony Nova Scotia, and Music PEI will
present ‘A Sound Celebration’ to officially kick-off East Coast Music Week 2011 and formally launch the
2011 Cultural Capital of Canada programming.
‘A Sound Celebration’ will feature solo and collaborative performances by Symphony Nova Scotia under
Music Director Bernhard Gueller and Resident Conductor Martin MacDonald, and Prince Edward Island
artists Jenn Grant, Meaghan Blanchard, Paper Lions, Richard Wood and Vishtèn.
The concert will take place in the Confederation Centre of the Arts’ Homburg Theatre on Thursday, April 14
at 8:00pm. Tickets are available for purchase at the Confederation Centre’s box office or online at
www.confederationcentre.com. A limited amount is also available via ticketpro.ca.
*** a great part of this initiative is that the artists working with Symphony Nova Scotia will have charts of their music developed that can translate to other symphonies around the world.
2. ECMA Arts Linkages Program -Art @ Night - Supported by the Cultural Capital Designation, and IMAC
This program will showcase artwork by local and Maritime multi-media artists in vacant storefront windows
around downtown Charlottetown during evening hours. Local and Maritime multimedia artworks will be
presented for free to the public in various storefront windows. To view the call for submissions please visit here.
3. Pen & Inkling Festival and other Literary Events
Coordinated by the Prince Edward Island Writers’ Guild, a series of events and initiatives celebrating and
supporting literary arts in the Cultural Capital: Introduction of French student submissions accepted for the
Island Literary Awards; an extensive Writers in Schools program connecting published Island authors with
students in the two Charlottetown families of schools (30 school visits); and a compelling Literary event,
the Pen & Inkling Festival, featuring workshops, readings, the Island Literary Awards, songwriters’ circle,
lectures, book launches, exhibits, and guest reading and lecture by one of Canada’s leading Native authors.
(September 30 – October 2, 2011)
4. Film & Interactive Digital Media Productions – “Through my Eyes” Legacy Series
In partnership with the Island Media Arts Co-op, the Island Film Factory and the Interactive Media Alliance,
the City’s Cultural Capital of Canada programming will support production of five new short film and
interactive digital media works from local creators, featuring the designation theme and reflecting
Charlottetown. These works will become lasting documents of Charlottetown’s cultural identity and
creativity. The selected projects will be announced at the Island Media Arts Festival in May, and presented
at a special screening event in the fall – potentially as an opening or closing event to the Pen & Inkling
5. Young Company!! – Confederation Centre
A brand new Young Company production, The Talking Stick, respectfully telling our First Peoples’ stories, using music, dance and spoken word to remind all people of the great diversity and surprising commonalities of our First Nations communities. Aboriginal and First Nations students from every province and territory are invited to audition for the twelve roles with the expectation that P.E.I. students will show great interest and pride in the production.
This is a great opportunity to showcase the amazing cultural community in Charlottetown and to build sustainable partnerships and initiatives that will continue to benefit Island artists in the future. Exciting.
*** this article can be found in the Spring Edition 2011 of Visual Art News magazine which can be purchased here.
This Town is Small, Inc.
by Mireille Eagan
Bureaucracy is one side of a two-sided coin, John A. MacDonald on one side, and from the other side of reality, what voice of poetic aspiration calls? This is the curse of the artist-run space.
- AA Bronson, The Humiliation of the Bureaucrat
“Why have an artist-run centre? Because there isn’t one. There isn’t one here. It’s that simple,” states Becka Viau. “Basically, as soon as we get our ‘boots,’ we’ll start walking around. We have to be strategic in our presentation. So far we’ve incorporated, created a business plan, developed a balanced board. But, we need to learn business speak, need to be good at the game, or they’re not going to let us in easily.” She starts singing in a low voice while dancing: “and what do we haaave? The communitaaay. They’re our cape, and we are wearing the boots of our business plaaan.”
Becka is one of several artists, writers, and musicians that have come together under the moniker of this town is small, a collective that has made great strides toward bringing an artist-run centre to Prince Edward Island in only a year. Developing projects through collaboration between genres, this town is small has hosted several art and music events, runs a well-oiled blog with submissions of art and writing from the local community, and is now ready to begin creating sustainable partnerships with other local non-profits in the arts sector. However, their goal long term is a space– a physical space for exhibitions, musical performances, studios, education.
The lack of an artist-run space is poignantly felt on Prince Edward Island. The Confederation Centre Art Gallery is the only institution that pays artist fees for the exhibition of work. Although they regularly incorporate local artists into programming, the payment for a solo show barely dents an artist’s living expenses. In addition, the price and paperwork for getting one’s art off the island are often formidable. Lack of shows means one cannot readily apply for federal funds– a depressing circle. A properly funded artist-run centre would be in the position to provide artist fees, as well as provide an essential counterpoint of creative conversation with what the CCAG is able to offer.
Several attempts have been made on PEI to establish an artist-run centre, and each has had their particular difficulties. The first official centre, the Great George St. Gallery, closed down in the nineties despite an impressive history of exhibitions. With interest toward supporting their local artists, they increasingly operated like a commercial gallery and as a result lost their Canada Council funding. From 2000 to 2001, a social/drinking group of artists and writers called the Friday Artists ‘Round Town Somewhere (or FARTS) organised several shows in the Gallery at the Guild, received provincial money for programming, and were able to pay artist fees. However, with little sustainability in terms of staff, the group’s efforts dissipated.
In the past few years several new collectives have appeared. Peake Street Studios is a modest but vibrant project based in the home of Donnalee Downe, one that regularly shows group exhibitions with work by members (and who recently organised an inter-provincial art exchange with its members, Gallery Connexion, and Eastern Edge Gallery called Out of Purgatory). Other examples of organised art spaces include Ampersand (a coffee bar, t-shirt shop, exhibition space, and hang out for the younger creative crowd) and the recent addition of MUSEartspace. None of these locations can or could pay artist fees, instead offering a more commercial presentation.
For this town is small, it’s going to be a long haul, with delicate balance at every intersection. Artist-run centres in Canada are supported through government grants at federal, provincial, and municipal levels, but money is difficult to obtain currently. For most funding bodies, a collective must have completed about three years of programming where they pay artist fees– not easy.
Yet, without a physical location and almost no funds, this town is small has managed to work with other venues on various projects. The most recent, “Iris Mercurial: The Passage of Night” at the Alibi Lounge, saw a substantial group of local artists donate their various talents to produce an evening of living sculptures, poetry, and video. Future plans include Small Town Sessions, with the online presentation of eight informal performances by local musicians be recorded in alternative venues such as rooftops, churches and living rooms. After that, there’s talk of organising a festival.
It’s a remarkable string of successes, raising questions of practicality and the benefits of being light on one’s feet: does this town is small actually need a physical space? Even as most artist-run centres move into their second and third decade of operation, the “problem” of space is continual. Some centres own their premises, some benefit from controlled rents in buildings provided by their city or province. Many are constantly moving at the will of their city’s real estate market. In the Maritimes, Gallery Connexion has obtained a location after a year of transience, their long term space lost after a major flood. Khyber ICA engages in an ongoing struggle to save their location in downtown Halifax. Eyelevel has had to move regularly due to rental costs.
These difficulties are not new, and as a result the notion of decentralised activity has always been in play. Mail Art is just one example that has regularly dotted the artist-run landscape as a lightweight method of sharing work across provincial and national boundaries. It is also common to find artist collectives that move spaces as provided, such as The Upstairs Apartment Gallery in Halifax, who began by conducting exhibitions in a bachelor apartment. With the sale of their regular building, the collective no longer has a fixed location, and moves to whatever location is offered by volunteers.
As mighty as it is, the future of this town is small critically depends on its ability to work with “boots” and “cape,” business and community. A permanent location would allow the collective to stabilize their operations, to provide support to its local community through promotion and education. However, its eventual form rests inextricably with that same local community. This has been the case with every artistic endeavour throughout the history of grassroots initiatives, because really, every town is small.
Mireille Eagan is a freelance curator and writer based in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
For more information on This Town is Small, please visit thistownissmall.wordpress.com
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