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Artwork Wednesday: Amzie and the Camp Raven Campers

Artwork Wednesday: Amzie and the Camp Raven Campers

On Thursday, August 6th at 6:30, visit the ATCO Electric Yukon Youth Gallery for the opening reception of Creative Summer. This show will highlight the talented works of the Camp Raven campers, and 8 year old Amzie Cooke-Goodall. Amzie is such a captivating character, we decided to get a closer look into his creative process, as well getting to know more about Camp Raven from Amzie’s mom, Lian Goodall.

Getting to know Amzie.

Creative. Crazy. Destructive. Explosive. Dangerous.

One day I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t watch TV. There was a pencil and paper that had some tax bills on it that my mom and dad were working on, and I drew all over it. Then I couldn’t watch TV.  Well, it sounds good.

I just know. I feel good, but if it’s a piece of paper that I don’t get to keep, I don’t feel that good.

Buy a mansion. Then, I would buy a ‘paper-turning-real’ machine so I could turn my drawings real. But then the world would be a crazier place and turtle-dragons would roam Africa.

Because it expresses yourself in lots of ways—how you’re feeling, what you’re doing… that kind of stuff.
It can be whatever you want it to be. Who cares if it’s pretty? I’m a destructive ball of mayhem. I can make cool pictures because of my twisted mind (evil laugh.)

Everything else needs rules. Art doesn’t.

Learning Disabilities Association of Yukon (LDAY) hosts a summer camp, Camp Raven. These campers will be showing their work alongside Amzie. We spoke with Lian Goodall to get a sneak peek into Camp Raven and got insight of being Amzie’s mom.

Camp Raven is a day camp run by Learning Disabilities Association Yukon during March Break and the summer. Since Amzie was five (he is now eight) we have found it a welcoming place that challenges, is non-judgemental, and truly inclusive.

Lots of trips to local attractions! There’s Beach Day, science experiments, cooking and hands-on arts and crafts. I think it would be shorter to list what summer activities they don’t do. There is a high ratio of counselors to campers, and, perhaps I might add that in our experience, behavioural differences are no a sinful, but something to work on.

Amzie had been drawing tiny pictures since he was little. Despite quite a number different labels, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, developmental coordination disorder and sensory processing disorder, he has always had a pencil in hand. These challenges get in the way of making art smoothly, of getting the art in one’s head out the way one sees it. It also makes it difficult to do art in a group setting (i.e., at school).
Having different abilities might be part of why Amzie’s art is not ‘pretty,’ nor ‘polite.’ We expect, it seems, children to draw unicorns and butterflies, and colour sweetly for hours. That’s great if you can, and if you want to. Amzie’s art has always explored an opposite view of the world.

This year, our out-of-the-house art experiences have been at two ends of the poles. In some places, Amzie’s creativity was not accepted because it was literally black (not rainbow-y or Christmas-y green).
We appreciated the ATCO Kids Kreate Sundays, because Helen and her team ALWAYS welcomed and saw the positive no matter what!
When I read that there were some availabilities for shows at the ATCO Electric Yukon Youth Gallery, I immediately contacted Jessica. I thought that probably Amzie is not the only child with different abilities who has been under-encouraged when it comes to art I contacted Camp Raven, who happily agreed to help us fill a hall.

The campers have made a lot of 3-D works, such as t-shirts. Some surprises are still under wraps!
I am more familiar with Amzie’s work as I am his parent (and don’t work at Camp Raven). Amzie has made some found sculptures with rock and road tar (i.e., the Elvis Rock). He’s done some comic strips and a long series of collages. He has also crafted some collages with plants. And then there’s the Boobasaurus.

It gives voice. It helps your insides be heard.
I am not an artist, I am an author. I know how important it is to honour one’s creativity and to have it honoured once you have released it.

We hope you come enjoy the show: it’s a wild ride!

Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 12 pm to 5 pm
Closed Sunday
Open for theatre performances.

Crossroads presented by Blood Ties

Crossroads presented by Blood Ties

Crossroads is an exhibition brought by Blood Tie Four Directions Centre. The exhibitions features the works of results of a workshop from individuals at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, bringing awareness to World Hepatitis Day held on July 28th, 2015.

Blood Ties Four Direction Centre has made a strong stance in community engagement in assuring health and social equality for all. Blood Ties encourages communication, education, and promote self-help, counselling and therapies, and confidentiality, and work to eliminate discrimination and stigma. We are enlightened by Blood Ties goals in the Crossroads exhibition.  Blood Ties Four Directions Centre mission is to “eliminate barriers and create opportunities for people to have equal access to health and wellness and to live in our community with dignity” and we can see that mission stands strong in the Yukon Arts Centre Community Gallery.

On display are drawings and paintings created by artists who have experience with incarceration. Each artist depicts their own experience, feelings, understanding of the connections between Hepatitis C and incarceration.
In the intimate show, you see moments of inspiration, acceptance, and empowerment. You are confronted by the truth of the artist.

We spoke with Executive Director of Blood Ties Four Directions, Patricia Bacon, to get a closer look into the Crossroads exhibition.

How did Crossroads come about?
Our agency wanted to do something memorable to mark World Hepatitis Day (July 28). We work frequently with the people who are incarcerated at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre by way of providing education and prevention in HIV and Hepatitis C, as well as support services to people who have HIV and/or HepC at the jail. One of the things we noticed was that many of the people at the jail had wonderful artistic talents and abilities. Part of our work is reducing discrimination and stigma and one of the ways to do that is to help people see the whole person – not just the person’s “status” (e.g. a person in jail or a person with HepC). Having an art show is a great way to do many important things: 1) showcase the wonderful talents of some of the people in jail; 2) to reduce stigma and help the layperson see the whole person not just an “incarcerated” person; 3) to start a conversation about the interconnections between being in jail and Hepatitis C. Rates of hepatitis C are between 20 to 30% in Canadian jails and prisons. So it is important to acknowledge that and talk about it.

How was the project executed with the artists?
The project started with our Health Education Coordinator visiting the people in jail and providing them with prevention education about HepC and also discussing with them the stigma and discrimination that is often experienced by a person who is HepC positive and those similarities to the stigma experienced by people who are in jail. Then she introduced the project concept and invited anyone in the jail to participate. Blood Ties was able to provide the artists with art supplies and a small honorarium for their pieces. We are grateful to AbbVie Inc. for their unrestricted educational grant to make this event possible. 

What was the response (staff and/or participants, etc) in doing art to reflect?
The response to the invitation to submit art work was really terrific. We weren’t sure how many people at the jail would be willing to participate. We were very happy that in the end we are able to showcase 10 artists and a total of 13 pieces.

Why the title Crossroads?
Crossroads: Connections between Hepatitis C and Incarceration is a great title – we think – because we wanted something that talks about the intersectionality between two very stigmatizing conditions: living with hepatitis C and being in jail. Both of those conditions carry huge stigmas and can lead to feelings of defeat, despair, hopelessness, and anger. They can also move an individual to a renewed sense of purpose, empowerment and dignity. Also, many of the behaviors that have led to a person being infected with hepatitis C are the same behaviors that land them in jail namely illicit drug use. So it’s important to talk about that intersection as well.

It's your last chance to view Crossroads at the Community Art Gallery, the show ends August 2nd. 

Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 12 pm to 5 pm
Closed Sunday
Open for theatre performances.

Together for the first time

Together for the first time

On July 28th, Wendy McNeill will perform at the Old Fire Hall, along with local artist, Sarah MacDougall.

Wendy McNeil resides in Europe, however her roots stem from the Canadian prairies. You can tell the dusky fields of endless land and skies may be Wendy’s inspiration. McNeill’s song writing has been described as “prairie-gothic”. While her lyrics are captivating the music has been described as off-kilter accordion waltzes, that of dreamlike folk tales, and of like cabaret style confessionals.

Wendy McNeill’s newest body of work is titled One Colour More, which highlights the stories of unsuspecting heroes taking on the role of the story teller. The mode of each song varies from character to character. However, you won’t miss a sprinkle of mischievous humour within the lyrics. Each song in One Colour More tells stories of a variety of people, and creatures (and accordions) finding peace in a new place, a theme of immigration and discovery.

Wendy McNeill will be sharing the stage with our very own Sarah MacDougall. Sarah was born in Sweden, and now resides in Whitehorse. This year, Sarah has been nominated for ‘Best Solo Roots Album’ for her newest album Grand Canyon. The songs on the album are about identity, love, fear, hope, growing up, rootlessness, and forgiveness. They are written from the point of view of the hopeful outsider, trying to figure out their place and make sense of the world.

It’s going to be a beautiful occasion to watch these thoughtful artists preform together for the first time; both sharing wispy and soulful voices with lyrics that are heartfelt and endearing.

Wendy and Sarah preform at the Old Fire Hall Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 at 7:30 PM.
Tickets: $25
Available at: YAC Box Office (867-667-8574), Arts Underground

Artwork Wednesday: Demo Days

Artwork Wednesday: Demo Days

Demo Days feature’s free artist demonstrations and talks . Come by to meet local artists, discuss their work, and try your own hand at creating craftwork with Yukon Arts Centre staff. Demo Days celebrates the Found, Forged & Fused exhibition, A survey of handmade works from the Yukon Permanent Art Collection. Exhibition runs from June 4 to August 29, 2015

During the summer months, July and August, something is brewing at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Gallery. Wednesday’s are artist demonstrations and talks, as well as talk and try with Yukon Arts Centre staff. The artists doing demos are featured in the galleries summer show, Found, Forged, and Fused. Meet artists Lena White, Helen O’Connor, Brian Walker, and Ann Smith for Wednesday demonstration days. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to discuss artist’s works and watch the creation in progress. 

Drawing from First Nation & Inuit art, artist Lena White already paid us a visit on July 8th. Lena created a very inviting atmosphere with her display of beads, hides, baby slippers, and smiling dolls. It was very soothing to sit in the gallery full of Yukon made art, talking to Lena as she masterfully sews a pair of baby slippers. Lena’s dolls and animal scene, Juk Juk, is featured in Found, Forged, and Fused. The dolls depict a mother and a daughter scene out for a dog sled ride. Seeing the bucket of beads on Lena’s work table, you can expect nothing less than her work to be beautifully decorated with precision and care.

Lena White making baby slippers. 

Visiting next at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Gallery is Helen O’Connor on July 22nd.In the Found, Forged, and Fused exhibition, Helen has a handmade book titled Red Book of Annaghmakerrig. Known for her works with paper, Helen created the Red Book of Annaghmakerrig with hand tool leather, handmade paper (with flax, hemp, and nettle), encaustic, inks, laser print, and gouache. Helen talks about paper with a passion and you can see that reflect in her work. Each page has been carefully made. Some pages have poems, others have leafs, and images. Visit and discuss Helen O’Connor’s work on July 22nd, 2015 at 3:30pm to 6:30pm.

On August 19th, expect to see Brain Walker and Ann Smith’s smiling faces during their turn at the artist demo days. Ann’s name is synonymous with the weaving of Raven’s Tail regalia, robes, aprons, and bags. Ann refers to herself as a contemporary weaver whose work is based on traditional knowledge. Brian Walker creates copper masks, bowls, and ceremonial pieces. Brian began using copper as an art material because of its ancient connections to Yukon history.  Visit Brian and Ann during their artist demonstrations.

Try it for yourself!  The Yukon Arts Centre staff are hosting a Talk and Try, so you can learn some craft skills and create some projects. Today, July 15th, the Yukon Arts Centre Staff will be demonstrating how to do weaving at 1:30.

Yukon Arts Centre Staff getting ready for the weaving demonstration.

Talk & Try with YAC Staff 1:30 – 2:30pm
July 15 – Weaving
July 29 – Beading
August 5 – Dolls
August 12 – Bookbinding

Artist Demonstrations & Talks 3:30 – 6:30pm
July 8 – Lena White
July 22 – Helen O’Connor
August 19 – Brian Walker & Ann Smith
Demo Days celebrates the Found, Forged & Fused exhibition, a survey of handmade works from the Yukon Permanent Art Collection.
Exhibition runs from June 4 to August 29, 2015

Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 12 pm to 5 pm
Closed Sunday
Open for theatre performances.

Cover Image: Maureen Morris. Winged Owl, Moose antler, deer antler base, 2014. Photo courtesy of Government of Yukon.

Call for Participation!

Call for Participation!

Everyone is encouraged to get involved – whether you are a professional or amateur cultural creator (artist, artisan, educator, animateur, historian, curator, choreographer, architect, designer, to name a few), municipality, library, group or organization in an urban, suburban or rural community – you can play a part in Culture Days.

This is an open invitation for all individuals, organizations, groups and municipalities to register free interactive arts or cultural activities in your community during Culture Days, September 25, 26, & 27, 2015.

2014 Mystery Tour: Behind the scenes of The Yukon Arts Centre.

Not organizing an activity? As a member of your community, you play a key role in showing artists and cultural organizations that they matter. Whether you are already an active participant in arts and culture or curious to discover new opportunities within your creative community, Culture Days is the perfect occasion for you!

There is no fee to register. If you want to register a free participatory or interactive arts or cultural activity during the upcoming fourth annual Culture Days weekend, register it now!

Check out the Culture Days Participation Guide to learn more about how you can present an activity and other ways to get involved.

Visit Yukon Culture Days to see the events already registered for this year.