Blog / Archives / April 2014

Behind-the-scenes: Meet Erin Corbett

Behind-the-scenes: Meet Erin Corbett

Erin Corbett (far right) in the YAC Lobby, post-show.

The YAA Awards have officially landed! Celebrating awesomeness in local arts and culture, the YAA Awards is a community-generated online poll where anyone can nominate and vote for their favourite arts events and festivals in each community through the Yukon.

Yukon artists, presenters, venues, volunteers and art lovers are all encouraged to submit  their events. Nominate something you made, or something you love! Nominations will be  accepted from Monday April 28th to Sunday, May 11th, after which a compiled poll will be  sent out for public voting!  For more information about the YAA Awards and the nomination  or voting process, please visit this page.

The Yukon Arts Audience Awards is the AWESOME brainchild of Yukon Arts Centre’s very own Erin Corbett.  A keen supporter of the arts in every format, Erin is constantly searching for new ways of engaging and enlivening YAC audiences and the community at large. Her dedication to an endless number of initiatives are matched only by her joy and enthusiasm in making meaningful and memorable experiences for the public and her peers. As Programming Associate at YAC for the past three years, Erin helps organize the performing arts season in the theatre. Last season alone, this included "Spin", Martha Wainwright, "Danse Lhasa Danse", Hawksley Workman's "The God That Comes", "Body 13", TJ Dawe’s "Medicine" and "Terminus", among others - oh and she was also a co-producer of the Pivot Festival and organizer of the Skeleton Parade.  Assured in her tireless AWESOMENESS, we thought we’d let the public in on all she does, and chatted with Erin about her interests and inspirations:

What is the most exciting/favourite thing about your job?

I love working with different artists from all over Canada, and abroad, and being exposed to some of the coolest touring performances. Before I started working at YAC, I only went to dance and music shows and now I’m hooked on live theatre as well. Working at YAC has made an immense impact on how I watch shows. Working in performing arts has been perfect because it satisfies my artistic appetite, and gets me out doing all kinds of things every day.

How did you get into this career?

I studied fine arts and have always been into organizing events. Whether it was extravagant parties, a youth conference or a music festival – I have a love for people and bringing them together to enjoy shows, especially challenging ones.

What are some interesting past jobs that you’ve held?

I used to teach video art to youth, worked as a bike mechanic, painted houses and was the Assistant Producer of Frostbite Music Festival in 2011.

What led you to the Yukon?

I had an absolutely wonderful and supportive Art Teacher at my BC high school. At the time I wanted to be a high school teacher, and she told me that it would be next to impossible to get a job in BC. She told me to check out the Yukon to get some work experience first. While my dream job changed, I followed her guidance to the Yukon and now consider it home.

Most memorable show/event/experience you’ve worked on?

Wow. It’s hard to name just one. Ride the Cyclone was one of the most memorable because it showed me that Musicals are AMAZING – and the cast/crew were a wild and inspiring bunch. Impromptu Splendor with Colin Mochrie was special because we I loved watching how they worked not only the crowd, but also performed with 10 local improv actors. In a similar situation we had 80+ volunteers for You Should Have Stayed Home: A G20 Romp and there were so many passionate conversations inspired by the show. One night I found myself babysitting some very intelligent kids so that their parents could perform in the play. Then there was this year’s Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival Presented with the Yukon Arts Centre which had awesome artists, but was also an awesome team to work with.

What are you passionate about?

Other than making shows happen I’m still super passionate about making things – be it weaving a basket, building a skeleton puppet, drawing posters and many other things – I just can’t stop making things.

Remeber to nominate/vote for your favouirte Yukon art event to win a YAA Award! For more information, click here.

Outsider influence inside ‘The Rose Parade’

Outsider influence inside ‘The Rose Parade’

Rosemary Scanlon, Macro Garden (detail), 2014. Digital Wallpaper. 

There are a number of notable stories in the art-world about posthumous success:  the outsider, whose artistic talent went unrecognized in their own lifetime. Perhaps the stories appeal to our sense of justice – a sort of vindication for the overlooked. Perhaps, some identify with a shared sense of despondency and insignificance. Or possibly, these tales inspire resolve and hope in our own hidden talents. Whatever the psychology behind our fascination, the tragic posthumous fame of figures like El Greco, Vincent van Gogh and Arthur Pinajian linger in our collective memory.

This Sunday, April 27th, the Yukon Film Society and Yukon Arts Centre will introduce our audience to another of these figures with the film. "Finding Vivian Maier". This documentary details the life, discovery and subsequent celebration of Vivian Maier – a lifelong nanny from Chicago, Illinois with a private yet consuming passion for photography. Just before her death in 2008, Maier’s photographic legacy was discovered through the auction sale of her abandoned storage locker.  Her candid portraits of Chicago and its people have solidified her as one of America’s most influential street photographers.In addition to this enthralling film presentation, we also encourage you to visit Rosemary Scanlon’s exhibition, ‘The Rose Parade’, whose work is notably influenced by the artistic legacy of another outsider and figure of posthumous success: Henry Darger.

Henry Darger, Untitled (Spangled Blengins). Watercolour, pencil and collage on paper. American Folk Art Museum.

Henry Joseph Darger Jr. (April 12, 1892 – April 13, 1973) was a reclusive writer and artist, who worked as a custodian in Chicago, Illinois. Only after his death did landlords discover his 15,145 page fantasy manuscript, entitled “The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion”, along with several hundred drawings and watercolour paintings illustrating the story. Much like Vivian Maier, Darger’s life has been documented in the 2004 film "In the Realms of the Unreal”, which re-established him as one of the most famous figures in American outsider/folk art.

Henry Darger, Untitled. Watercolour, pencil, carbon tracing, and collage on pieced paper. American Folk Art Museum.

Much of Darger’s work illustrates idyllic Edwardian interiors and flowered landscapes populated with fantastical creatures and children (modelled on popular caricatures such as the ‘Coppertone girl’).  Through an intricate organization of compelling characters and ornamental elements including luscious floral bursts, Darger creates panoramic otherworldly scenes.  His unique style of mixed media collage incorporates magazine, newspaper and children’s book clippings either traced or directly pasted into his elaborate watercoloured illustrations.

Rosemary Scanlon, Manhole, 2012. Watercolour.

Echoing Darger’s detailed designs, Scanlon’s watercolours portray similarly strange scenes, populated with iconic figures and whimsical creatures in familiar yet equally foreign Northern landscapes. Scanlon also incorporates floral patterns and religious/cultural iconography into her mixed media collages, although her use of digital media and the cultural significance of borrowed symbols speak much more of contemporary trends and technology. 

Rosemary Scanlon, Wrestling (detail), 2014. Watercolour, gold leaf.

Both Darger and Scanlon’s artwork burst with shared whimsy, regaling the viewer with weirdly wonderful scenes and stories. We urge you not miss your opportunity to experience Scanlon’s uniquely “humorous and mildly unnerving” work in ‘The Rose Parade’ exhibition, showing for only two more weeks at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery!

For more information about Rosemary Scanlon and her work, please visit her website.

Meet the artist: Helen O’Connor - Part 2

Meet the artist: Helen O’Connor - Part 2

Helen O’Connor’s exhibition 'Salutation' has certainly inspired unique ‘salutations’ from our visitors, be it an interpretive dance by local dancer Monique Romeiko around and between 'Singing Stones', or spontaneous yoga poses beneath the solar mobile, 'Sun Salutation'. 


Stills of Monique Romeiko's interpretive dance during the opening of 'Salutation'.

Youth seem especailly bewitched by Helen`s paper forms, and enjoy guessing each household object in 'Objects of Memory' or replicating the boulders of Singing Stones in what has been aptly dubbed "rock yoga".

'Objects of Memory'

Having witnessed these beautiful responses to her artwork, we asked Helen:

What is the most memorable response you’ve experienced to your work?

During the opening Monique Romeiko’s little boy, Iza, dove into the sand with both hands and two toy trains. 

Iza and 'Thomas' amongst the sands of 'Singing Stones', c/o H. O'Connor

Helen`s public engagement reaches far beyond her exhibitions; she also hopes to inspire future generations of artists through arts education: "Teaching art has always been a big part of my life and practice. I love to teach artistic technique to give kids tools for expression and discovery. I see the potential and endless creativity of each and every child, teen and adult. I have been an artist/teacher in the Yukon's Artist-in-the-School and Arts Ed-venture program since 1991. I was involved for many years as well with the international Royal Conservatory of Music program 'Learning Through the Arts' ". 

The Yukon Arts Centre has been lucky enough to have Helen teach our Kidz Kreate workshops, a free family hands-on gallery tour/art experience, for over ten years. For our last class of this season, a large group of eager youngsters enjoyed the particular privilege of learning papermaking from the paper aficionado herself - squishing and squelching pulp into one-of-a-kind pieces of handmade paper.

Helen`s talent and passion for teaching is apparent, and her expertise as an artist reflects in the variety and vibrancy of artwork created by our creative 'kidz': "What a wonderful opportunity for young people and their families to experience original art from all genres that may have travelled from another area of Canada or beyond and then to be able to create their own works of art with a supporting artist."

Helen (centre) discussing her exhibition during a Kidz Kreate workshop.

The Yukon Arts Centre would like to thank Helen – and all the young artists - for another fantastic Kidz Kreate season. See you next September!

In the meantime, continue your artistic enrichment by visiting Helen`s exhibition 'Salutation' until May 10th in the YAC Public Art Gallery. Exhibition catalogues now available!

Help Wanted: Gallery Arts Administration Intern

Help Wanted: Gallery Arts Administration Intern

Gallery Arts Administration

30 weeks (September 2, 2014 – March 31, 2015)

Full time - $18.06 / hour (plus $0.72/ hour for health benefits)

The Internship will offer a 30 week work opportunity at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery in presenting/developing visual art exhibitions, managing art programs, and working in collection and arts administration. S/he will be responsible for the promotion and administration of the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency call for submissions, ensuring timely responses to artist applicants, a well-organized jury process, followed by contracting the selected artists. This job will also include event planning and coordination for special public events, workshops and community engagement through Culture Days, art talks, and visual art events. Hands-on experience will be gained through working on exhibitions, events and education programs as part of the Gallery Team at the Yukon Arts Centre, with our programming partners in the community and directly with local and visiting artists.

A knowledge and understanding of the emerging artist community in the Yukon will be beneficial, as will the candidate's intention to build a career in the growing cultural industry sector. A passion for the arts, and a love for engaging the public via social media, on-site tours, written text etc. is key to this position.

Requirements: This position is funded through Young Canada Works and the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) which states that students must be recent graduate who has graduated from college or university within the last 24 months at the start of employment; are between 16 and 30 years of age; legally entitled to work in Canada; and not be working 30 hours or more at another job. Students with disabilities, Aboriginal students and students who are members of a visible minority are encouraged to apply.

Applications may be submitted by July 11, 2014
Preferably by e-mail to Gallery Director, Mary Bradshaw,
Or by mail to Box 16, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 5X9
Or dropped off at the Yukon Arts Centre, 300 College Drive, Whitehorse

Behind-the-scenes with Volunteers: Lynn LeBarge

Behind-the-scenes with Volunteers: Lynn LeBarge

City councillor Betty Irwin (l) and Lynn LeBarge (r) at the 2013 Volunteer of the Year awards held by the City of Whitehorse.                                                                               

The Yukon Arts Centre is blessed to have an outstanding crew of over 100 dedicated volunteers that share our passion and commitment to arts and culture in the Yukon.  These amazing individuals take time out of their own personal schedules to assist with countless events, programs and performances. In fact, much of what YAC does can only happen through their enthusiastic participation.  We thought it was about time that we shared our awesome volunteer team with the public; and what a better time to premiere our ‘Behind-the- Scenes with Volunteers’ than during National Volunteer Week!

National Volunteer Week (April 6 – 12, 2014) is an annual celebration of Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.  The City of Whitehorse honoured its own volunteers this week by asking organizations to nominate candidates for ‘Volunteer of the Year’.  YAC’s  nominee, Lynn LeBarge, has been part of the Arts Centre team for over 19 years. She is also the creator of the Volunteer Voucher Program, which allows volunteers to donate their complimentary ticket vouchers to deserving local organizations. So far, thanks to Lynn’s great idea, Kaushee's Place (Yukon Women's Transition Home) has received tickets on behalf of our ever generous volunteers.  On the eve of her award, we chatted with Lynn about her experiences and the impetus behind her extensive volunteering.

What do you do as a volunteer here at YAC?

I am on a Front of House team. I usually work Coat Check, but have also ushered several times.  I can't read the tickets without my glasses, though!

You have been a volunteer at YAC for over 19 years. How/Why did you decide to volunteer here specifically?

I really enjoy live theatre, and the chance to see performances while doing something good for my community really appeals to me. 

What other organizations or events have you volunteered for?

I am currently a volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada as a Spark Guider.  I am completing my 38th year with GGC (as a girl and adult).  I help the Ladies of the Eastern Star fold bandages for cancer patients.  I knit blankets, hats, scarves and mittens for places like the Pediatric Unit at the Hospital, Kaushee's Place, and anywhere else where children may be in need of comfort.  I was a volunteer with the Klondike Road Relay for 22 years, working at a checkpoint, usually in the middle of the night.  I volunteer with the Terry Fox Run every year.  I was involved with Yukon Women In Trades and Technology since their founding in 2000, serving on the Board of Directors until a couple of years ago.  I am still a member but not quite as active right now.  I was the chair of the Mascot Committee for the Canada Winter Games and worked for 1.5 years prior to the Games recruiting and training mascot performers, as well as performing in the costume myself.  I volunteered every day of the Games for about 12 hours per day to keep the Mascot Program going strong.  I was a volunteer for the Arctic Winter Games in 2012, working in the Public Relations area.  This isn't an exhaustive list, but it does hit the highlights!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time – if you have any spare time that is?!

I enjoy reading, watching movies and walking.  I also have cats and enjoy spending time with them.  I make my own greeting cards and do a fair bit of sewing as well.

What did you do prior to becoming a volunteer?

I have always been a volunteer, since I can remember.  My father was very committed to his community, and passed that along to me.  I can't imagine my life without volunteer activities.

Your favourite thing about the Yukon?

I love living here!  It is such a vibrant community, while at the same time being very relaxed and friendly.  The scenery is beautiful and the unending hours of daylight in the summer charge up my internal batteries to keep me going through the long winters.  My community gives me so much enjoyment that it only seems right to give something back that helps others enjoy it as much as I do.

If you are interested in getting involved in our community, check out Volunteer Bénévoles Yukon.

Want to join the Yukon Arts Centre’s volunteer team? Visit this page for more information.