Blog / Archives / March 2015

Yukon Government Arts Section: Open Call for YACC Board Member Nominations

Yukon Government Arts Section: Open Call for YACC Board Member Nominations

The Yukon Government Arts Section is collecting applications from people interested in joining the Yukon Arts Centre Corporation Board of Directors (YACC). The deadline for these nominations, using the Official Nomination Form, is Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Yukon Arts Centre Corporation has a territory-wide reach and provides access to the arts for all Yukoners and visitors. The YACC strives to create transformative experiences, inspire meaningful and inclusive conversations, foster creativity and artistic potential for patrons of all ages and backgrounds, and support cultural understanding, diversity, and a vibrant cultural and creative sector.

The Yukon Arts Centre Corporation operates with a twelve member board of directors appointed by the Minister of Tourism and Culture for three-year terms. The board oversees the Centre’s mandate which includes the presentation and development of performing and visual arts, as well as arts education and cultural sector development. Members of the YACC board bring a variety of artistic, administrative, financial, and operational skills to the table, as well as diverse perspectives that represent all areas of Yukon life; their common characteristic is their dedication to arts and community development.‘As a past member and Chair of the YACC Board I encourage all who have an  interest in the development and presentation of arts in the Yukon to give consideration to submitting their names for appointment to this Board,’ says Patrick Michael, former chair of the YACC Board of Directors. ‘The arts are essential to the character and the well-being of our territory and the YACC Board, through its governance of YACC, has a vital role to play in the ongoing development and presentation of those arts.’

If you would like to contribute your voice to this board, or know someone who would, please complete and submit the Official Nomination Form to the Arts Section. You must have a nominee`s consent before submitting a nomination.

For further information, or to submit completed forms: Phone: 1-800-661-0408 ext. 5264 or 667-5264 Email: Mail: Arts Section, Box 2703, Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6 Drop off: 100 Hanson Street, Whitehorse

For more detailed information, contact Al Cushing, CEO, Yukon Arts Centre Phone: 667-8577 Email:



Joe Sims, 2015


Foundation Year Students from the Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA) created an imaginative and eclectic collection of drawings for their annual student art exhibition in Whitehorse.

Disconnection features the collaborations and independent work of the SOVA visual arts students, who explored several techniques of drawing using a variety of media.  Wrapped along the walls of the Community Gallery are the two projects students completed this year.

The first collection of drawings consists of independent musings on obituaries from across Canada printed in newspapers and online. Students were tasked with representing a deceased individual with whom they had had no connection with in the person’s lifetime.

Jon Vanneste, 2015

Maxwell Simms found a challenge in relating to the individual as the style of the obituary tends to be “flat, vague [and] obscure”. Techniques of drawing such as smudging were used to express this unease.

Maxwell Sims, 2015

Across the next wall is displayed a series of exquisite corpse style drawings. This fun and playful method was enjoyed by 20th century surrealist artists, and can be manipulated using images or words.  To create these collaborative pieces, artists connect with the drawing using a few vague visual clues left by the last artist.

This group exhibition includes work by Isabel Burgwin, Robin Henry, Courtney Holmes, Ben Lamarche, Andrea Pelletier, Joe Sims, Max Sims, Jon Vanneste and Carly Woolner.

Don’t miss your last chance to see the engaging exhibition Disconnection in the Community Gallery of the Yukon Arts Centre! Disconnection remains on display until March 31, 2015.



On March 11th, 2015, the Yukon Arts Centre presented the Kaha:wi Dance Theatre`s TransMigration to a packed house. This inspiring presentation of dance, music and design celebrates the artwork of iconic Ojibwe shaman-artist Norval Morrisseau (1932-2007).

Known as the `Picasso of the North`, Norval Morrisseau is a celebrated Canadian First Nations visual artist. His style is iconic -It is characterized by stylized X-Ray articulations revealing the inner anatomical features of the figures, bright colours, pictographic depictions in profile and bold black outlines, and initially used traditional materials such as birch bark. This style founded The Woodland School of Art, which would later influence three generations of aboriginal artists.

Norval Morrisseau at the McMichael Canadian Collection, 1979 Photo by Ian Samson, McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives

Morrisseau was raised by his grandparents in Northern Ontario, where he taught himself painting, printmaking and illustration. His grandmother`s Catholic faith and grandfather`s Midewiwin teachings from the Anishinaabe culture would come to be a huge influence on the iconography and motifs of his paintings. Later, Morrisseau would study holistic Eckankar spirituality, which would again influence his work.

Totem figures like the bear, thunderbird, snake, turtle, and demi gods, shamans, children and plants are the recurring subjects of Morrisseau`s paintings. This iconography, traditionally incised on birch bark or on the rocks of the Canadian Shield were taken from the spiritual world of the Anishinaabe and passed on through ancient mythology and the personal dreams of the artist, who created a unique visual language of symbols and colors.

Serpent, 1970, Acrylic, 24 x 36`
Photo Courtesy of Mayberry Fine Arts

Morrisseau`s symbols are modern and spiritually diverse, yet still celebrate the oral traditions of the Anishinaabe, a paradox that only makes Morrisseau`s oeuvre more intriguing.


Three Gulls, 1972, Acrylic, 35.57 x 31.75`
Photo Courtesy of Mayberry Fine Arts

Morrisseau`s early style was characterized by subdued earth tones and colors. Later on, his style would develop to intuitively explore bright colors which expressed his personal charisma and optimism.  He has been described as a `colourist` who, like Henri Matisse, used intense colours in his paintings which took on a dominant feature in his work.

“The world in which we live in is dark, and it’s even getting darker…It needs to be brighter.”
—Norval Morrisseau

Untitled, 1971, Oil on Paper, 62.5 x 32`
Photo Courtesy of Mayberry Fine Arts

While celebrating the spirituality and culture of the Anishinaabe, Morrisseau also broke with this same tradition by disclosing their sacred teachings pictorially. This modernist approach to Anishinaabe spirituality was new to the world and significant in his artistic career. Following this, Morrisseau became an Anishinaabe shaman, a spiritual healer who relieved suffering through the powerful medicine contained in the iconography of his paintings.

"I am a shaman-artist. Traditionally, a shaman's role was to transmit power and the vibrating forces of the spirit through objects known as talismans. In this particular case, a talisman is something that apparently produces effects that are magical and miraculous. My paintings are also icons; that is to say, they are images which help focus on spiritual powers, generated by traditional belief and wisdom. I also regard myself as a kind of spiritual psychologist. I bring together and promote the ultimate harmony of the physical and the spiritual world." 
--Norval Morrisseau, in Lister Sinclair and Jack Pollock, The Art of Norval Morrisseau (Toronto: Methuen, 1979)

You may also know Morrisseau by his Anishnaabe name `Copper Thunderbird`. This title was given to him as a child during a traditional healing ceremony by an Anishnaabe Medicine Woman.  We can notice Morrisseau`s signature in Cree syllabics on `Self Portrait`, a characteristic he repeated on all of his works after 1957. 

Self Portrait, 1980, Acrylic on Paper, 32 x 24`
Photo Courtesy of Mayberry Fine Arts


Carl Ray (1943-1978) was a First Nations artist who was a contemporary of Morrisseau`s and was influenced by the Woodlands Style.  Morrisseau`s large scale collaboration with Carl Ray for the `Indians of Canada` Pavilion at Expo  67  in Montreal is shown at the end of this video. This mural represents both Anishinaabe and Christian teachings and brought great exposure to both artists and to the Woodland School of Art.

Creation, 1970, Acrylic on Paper, 20.75 x 14.25`
Photo Courtesy of Mayberry Fine Arts

Morrisseau achieved many significant landmarks in his artistic career, and received several accolades including a membership to the Order of Canada in 1978, the first ever First Nations Solo Show at the National Gallery of Canada in 2007 and acknowledgement as Grand Shaman by the Ojibwe in 1995.

His work can be found in several prominent national and international collections, including the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

The Kaha:wi Dance Theatre wrapped up a stunning performance at the Yukon Arts Centre last week to travel onto Vancouver for upcoming performances at The Cultch. We loved this celebration of Morrisseau`s work and encourage all those who appreciate the Woodlands Style to see it!

Artwork Wednesday: Selkirk Elementary School

Artwork Wednesday: Selkirk Elementary School

The March ATCO Electric Yukon Youth Exhibition is teeming with colorful and creative art projects, brought to us by the Selkirk Elementary School Grades 6 and 7 classes.

Students were engaged with many experimental art projects this year, and worked with many different materials. The artwork on display uses textiles, watercolour, spray paint, yarn and acrylic paint to complete five different series.

The collection of intricately woven recycled garments in the shapes of bowls and cushions uses the ancient techniques of finger weaving, lacing and knotting. The students explored the cultural histories of weaving, while testing some of the methods themselves. The end results are very beautiful- the patterns are multicolored and bright, and the designs interesting. 

Selkirk Elementary students also explored some key concepts of art theory in preparation for this exhibition. Primary colours were used to paint a series of twenty five abstract forms on paper with thick black linear design.

Portraiture was explored in a fun and unique way, by outlining full body silhouettes of the subject on paper, frozen in dynamic poses. The portraits were then filled in with paint, glitter and collage elements, and floor to ceiling backdrops were created with organic designs made with gold spray-paint.

With watercolor paint and collage the Selkirk Students experimented with landscape painting, bringing many distinctly Yukon landscapes to life with representations of northern emblems like the Inuksuk, log cabins and the Northern Lights in the iconic style of the late Ted Harrison.

The Selkirk Elementary School students did an amazing and very impressive job creating a dazzling exhibition for the ATCO Electric Yukon Youth Gallery this month. The Yukon Arts Centre congratulates all of the artists for their hard work and beautiful creations.

Three Visual Artists Selected for the 2015 Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program

Three Visual Artists Selected for the 2015 Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program

Le Francais suit l'Anglais


Three Visual Artists Selected for the 2015 Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program

Unique program allows artists to interact with visitors while pursuing their art

March 5, 2015 Whitehorse, Yukon   Parks Canada Agency/Yukon Arts Centre/US National Park Service

Today, Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament for Yukon, together with the Yukon Arts Centre and the US National Park Service are pleased to announce the artists chosen for the 2015 Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program. The Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program provides three visuals artists the opportunity to combine their love of the outdoors with their artistic abilities while interacting with visitors on the iconic Chilkoot Trail. In its fifth consecutive year, the program invites selected artists to hike the famous Chilkoot Trail, passing through Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park (Alaska) and Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site (northern British Columbia). Three artists are chosen – one from Canada, one from the United States and one regional (Yukon or Alaska) - to participate in this cross-border creative journey.
Representing Canada is Michelle Latimer, who will be hiking the trail end of July beginning of August. Artist Kevin Curry was selected as the USA representative, and will be hiking end of June – beginning of July. Yukoner Heather Callaghan will be on the trail mid-July as the regional artist.

Quick Facts
• Michelle, Kevin and Heather were selected among 108 applicants.
• Every year, an average of 2300 visitors hike the Chilkoot Trail, from June to the beginning of September. In Yukon, Parks Canada sites see as many as 65000 visitors per year.
• Present-day hikers take an average of four to five days to complete the trek. With support from Trail staff and from a friend or family member of their choice, these artists will interact with hikers, make art, and soak in the natural and historic beauty of the Trail, for two weeks.
• During summer 2015, stay tuned for Chilkoot Trail Artists in Residence Talks, in Skagway and Whitehorse.

“Our Government is pleased to welcome this year’s artists on the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site and we look forward to the art that the Chilkoot experience will inspire. Through this program, the public has a unique opportunity to see the famous Chilkoot Trail – once trod by Tlingit First Nation traders and Klondike Gold Rush stampeders – through the eyes of these outstanding artists.”
Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament, Yukon

“We are pleased to support this program in its fifth year, as we have found that it enriches the experience of the visitors who encounter the artists along the trail as well as all those who get to enjoy the artwork afterward. This program is another important part of our long term partnership with Parks Canada in protecting the internationally significant resources of the Chilkoot Trail and providing for an inspirational visitor experience.”
Mike Tranel, Superintendent, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park USA

“The Yukon Arts Centre is pleased to partner with NPS and Parks Canada to bring art to the Chilkoot Trail. The Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program has been a transformative experience for past artists and it is sure to be again this year. We are excited to see how the 2015 artists will unite art and innovation with the amazing historic and natural landscape.”
Mary Bradshaw, Gallery Director, Yukon Arts Centre

Related Product

Backgrounder: 2015 Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program Artist Biographies

Associated Links

Katie Newman,
Marketing Director
Yukon Arts Centre

Stella Patera,
Public Outreach Education Officer
Parks Canada


Trois artistes visuels sélectionnés pour l'édition 2015 du programme d’artistes en résidence de la piste Chilkoot

Un programme unique permet aux artistes d'interagir avec les visiteurs tout en poursuivant leur travail artistique

Le 5 mars 2015  Whitehorse (Yukon)    Agence Parcs Canada/Centre des arts du Yukon/US National Park Service

Ryan Leef, député du Yukon, ainsi que le centre des arts du Yukon et le US National Park Service sont heureux d’annoncer aujourd’hui le nom des artistes choisis pour l’édition 2015 du programme d’artistes en résidence de la piste Chilkoot. Le programme d’artistes en résidence de la piste Chilkoot permet à trois artistes visuels de conjuguer leur amour du plein air et leurs talents artistiques, tout en interagissant avec les visiteurs de la piste Chilkoot, un lieu emblématique. Pour la cinquième année consécutive, des artistes sélectionnés sont invités à parcourir la légendaire piste Chilkoot, en passant par le parc historique national de la ruée vers l'or du Klondike (Alaska) et le lieu historique national de la Piste-Chilkoot (nord de la Colombie-Britannique). Trois personnes sont choisies pour participer à cette aventure créative transfrontalière : un(e) artiste canadien(ne), un(e) artiste américain(e) et un(e) artiste de la région (Yukon ou Alaska).
Michelle Latimer représentera le Canada. Elle marchera sur la piste entre la fin juillet et le début du mois d'août. L'artiste Kevin Curry a été sélectionné pour représenter les États-Unis et rejoindra la piste fin juin–début juillet. Heather Callaghan, une artiste originaire du Yukon, arpentera quant à elle la piste à la mi-juillet.

Les faits en bref
• Michelle, Kevin et Heather ont été sélectionnés parmi 108 candidats.
• Chaque année, environ 2 300 visiteurs parcourent la piste Chilkoot entre juin et le début septembre. Parcs Canada accueille jusqu’à 65 000 visiteurs par année, au Yukon.
• De nos jours, les randonneurs parcourent généralement la piste en quatre ou cinq jours. Avec le soutien du personnel de la piste et accompagnés d'un ami ou d'un membre de leur famille, ces artistes passeront deux semaines à échanger avec les randonneurs, à créer des œuvres d’art et à s'imprégner de la beauté naturelle et historique de la piste.
• Au cours de l'été 2015, ne manquez pas d'entendre les artistes du programme d’artistes en résidence qui donneront des causeries dans les villes de Skagway et de Whitehorse.

« Notre gouvernement est heureux d'accueillir les artistes de l'édition 2015 du programme dans le lieu historique national de la Piste-Chilkoot, et nous avons hâte de voir les œuvres d'art qui naîtront de cette expérience. Grâce à ce programme, le public dispose d'une occasion en or de voir, à travers les yeux de ces artistes remarquables, la célèbre piste Chilkoot qui fut jadis foulée par les commerçants de la Première nation des Tlingit et les prospecteurs de la ruée vers l’or du Klondike. »
Ryan Leef, député du Yukon

« Nous sommes heureux de soutenir ce programme qui en est maintenant à sa cinquième année. Nous estimons en effet qu'il permet d'enrichir l'expérience des visiteurs qui rencontrent les artistes sur la piste, ainsi que celle des personnes qui peuvent admirer les œuvres d'art par la suite. Ce programme constitue un autre aspect important du partenariat de longue date que nous avons établi avec Parcs Canada en vue de protéger les ressources d’importance mondiale de la piste Chilkoot et d'offrir une expérience attrayante aux visiteurs. »
Mike Tranel, surintendant, parc historique national de la ruée vers l'or du Klondike (États-Unis)

« Le centre des arts du Yukon est fier de s'associer au US National Park Service et à Parcs Canada pour que l'art prenne vie sur la piste Chilkoot. Le programme d’artistes en résidence de la piste Chilkoot a permis de transformer la vie des artistes des éditions précédentes, et ce sera à coup sûr encore le cas cette année. Nous avons hâte de voir comment les artistes de 2015 parviendront à allier l'art et l'innovation à ce splendide paysage historique et naturel. »
Mary Bradshaw, directrice de la galerie, centre des arts du Yukon

Fiche d'information : Biographies des artistes participant à l'édition 2015 du programme d’artistes en résidence de la piste Chilkoot

Liens connexes

Katie Newman
Directrice marketing
Centre des arts du Yukon

Stella Patera
Agente, éducation du public et diffusion externe
Parcs Canada