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Artwork Wednesday: The Birthplace of McGee and McGrew

Artwork Wednesday: The Birthplace of McGee and McGrew

With the Jim Robb’s Yukon exhibition coming to a close on August 23rd, this week’s Artwork Wednesday will feature his piece entitled The Birthplace of McGee and McGrew currently on display in the gallery.

A popular Northern poem as told by the bard of the Yukon, Robert W. Service, here Jim creates a mystifying composition illustrating the house where the iconic poems The Shooting of Dan McGew and The Cremation of Sam McGee were conceived.  Before his literary career, Service was an employee of the Imperial Bank of Canada and in 1904 he was transferred to the Whitehorse branch. Legend has it, that during a walk one Saturday night, Service overheard the lively sounds of the town’s nightlife drifting from a saloon. Inspired by the cacophony coming from the bars crowd, the verse “a bunch of the boys were whooping it up” was brought to mind. Instantly inspired, he immediately head to the bank to write down the line. In Jim’s piece, the artist depicts the silhouette of Service sitting in the bank window burning the midnight oil completing The Shooting of Dan McGrew.

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.

It was only a short while later that Service heard a story from a Dawson miner about fellow who cremated his companion after a long cold journey. Once again inspired by the fantasy of the North, Service was taken by the tale and embarked on a walk through the forest where he composed The Cremation of Sam McGee. These poems along with a small selection of others all inspired by the Yukon were published in Service’s book of poems titled Songs of a Sourdough in 1907.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Sam McGee's cabin

This photo shows the cabin of Sam McGee where it was orginally located on Elliot Street between Third and Fourth Aveune in Whitehorse. Today, the cabin is maintained and held on the MacBride Museum site. While Service describes Sam McGee as a prospector from Tennessee, this is merely a testement to the elaborate imagination of the poet. The real Sam McGee was in fact a buisness man, who operated lodgings at Canyon Creek, orginally from Ontario and arrived in the Yukon in 1898. Service ultized the rhyming properties of McGee's name, and excersiced his poetic license in re-creating the Dawson miner's story. 

Service's cabin in Dawson City

Robert W. Service

Read The Shooting of Dan McGrew here, and The Cremation of Sam McGee here. Also, to learn more about Robert W. Service's career and life in the Yukon visit here

Artwork Wednesday: Red Feather Saloon

Artwork Wednesday: Red Feather Saloon

This week's Artwork Wednesday is dedicated to Jim Robb's Red Feather Saloon, currently on display in the Jim Robb's Yukon exhbition. Done in his traditional style, Jim depicts the original Red Feather Saloon which stood in Dawson City. Once again, the artist has been able to capture a part of Yukon history which no longer exists in the form in which it is depicted. Deemed a historic site in 1991, the Red Feather Saloon was completely rebuilt in order to preserve its presence in Dawson City, the only original components of the structured that have been retained are the outside planks. Currently, the Dawson City Liquor Store is located in the replica of the saloon which remains in the exact location it originally did during the Klondike Gold Rush. 

Photo from On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City

Photo from On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City

Much like Jim Robb, Frederick Caley was a patron of Yukon hertitage and an advocate for many structures in Dawson City which are now deemed historical sites. Caley was born September 4, 1904 in Wilham, Essex, England and arrived in the Klondike region in 1922 at the age of eighteen. By 1941, Caley had purchased his first business, the old Palace Bakery and opened a grocery store.  Caley continued to purchase old buildings, preserving artifacts, remnants of businesses and any other material he appreciated for its emodiment of the history of the area. Many of these structures are now maintained by Klondike National Historic Sites and Parks Canada, including the Red Feather Saloon. To recognition Caley's contribution in preserving Yukon history, he received the Yukon Historical & Museums Association Heritage Award in 1981, the Commissioner’s Award in 1982 and was inducted in to the Yukon Prospectors’ Association Honour Roll in November 1989. Similar to Caley, Jim also shares this passion for preserving Yukon culture and history and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2003. 

Photo from On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City

Photo from Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada

The Red Feather Saloon is one of five Dawson City locations listed in the Jim Robb's Yukon Hunt contest! Photograph yourself with a listed structure to be entered to WIN a signed Jim Robb print! To learn more about the contest click here, or view the interactive map with more historic structures in both Dawson City and Whitehorse. 

For location and hours of operationhere

SOVA On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City PDF avaliable here.  

Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada website

Jim Robb’s Yukon Hunt!

Jim Robb’s Yukon Hunt!

Contestants must be photographed with 5 of the structures or locations to qualify
 Selfies are encouraged!
 Please make sure your photo is accessible! We want to see your pictures!
Tag us and use #JimRobbsYukon to be entered
 Need some clues? Check out the map of where you can find both Dawson City and Whitehorse locations

Whitehorse Locations
• Swanson House – 511 Jarvis Street
• Log Skyscraper – 208 Lambert Street
• Front Section of Pioneer Hotel – Shipyards Park, also known as the Hatch House
• Gold Rush Inn – 411 Main Street
• Yukon Arts Centre – 300 College Drive
• Former location of Regina Hotel –  Canada’s Best Inn parking lot
• First Avenue, Whitehorse in the 50's – Horwoods Mall,  view from what is now the Edgewater, looking towards Baked on Front St and Main St.
• SS Klondike- 10 Robert Service Way
• Telegraph Office- Housed in McBride Museum, 1124 Front Street
• CKRW- 4103 4th Ave
• Norcan Motors- 213 Range Rd

View larger map

Dawson City Locations
• Bombay Peggy's- 2nd and Princess
• Dawson City Fire Fighter Museum  (Old Dawson Fire Hall)- Front Street and Duke Street
• Strait's Auction House/ Guns and Ammunition Shop- 3rd and Harper Street
• Red Feather Saloon- 3rd and Princess
• Palace Grand Theatre- 3rd and King

View larger map

To enter on Facebook, tag Yukon Arts Centre and include the hashtag #JimRobbsYukon

To enter on Twitter, notify us by tagging @YukonArtsCentre and include the hashtag #JimRobbsYukon

To enter on Instagram, notify us tagging @yukonarts and include the hashtag #JimRobbsYukon.

Some of Jim's Yukon!

The Goldrush Inn, Whitehorse

The Red Feather Saloon, Dawson City

CKRW, Whitehorse

Strait's Auction House, Dawson City

Log Skyscrapers, Whitehorse

Artwork Wednesday: Jude Griebel

Artwork Wednesday: Jude Griebel

This week’s Artwork Wednesday is dedicated to Jude Griebel’s works from his book “Footsteps in The Macaulay House,” inspired by his Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC) residency. The three pieces “Shadow-like things, out of the corner of my eye,” “Last night I had another visitation” and “I suddenly stepped into a dark forest in which I was uninvited,” are currently on display in the Locate exhibition. Focusing on themes of psychology and transformation, Griebel’s haunting visuals are inspired by ghost stories from the Macaulay House where the artist completed his KIAC hosted residency. It was an ideal subject matter as Griebel’s work is, in his words, “continually an interplay between the imagination and the physical world, and depicts instances in which these two spaces overlap.”

Located in Dawson City on Princess and 7th Avenue, the Macaulay House was originally the home of the first mayor of Dawson City before finally becoming property of Parks Canada. At one point in its history, the building was developed by the Yukon government as a household for troubled youth, and was temporarily the home to young Daniel Hummel who would later be convicted for murder. Griebel became interested in the rumoured paranormal presence and was accepted by KIAC to complete his project in 2007. In his publish book “Footsteps in The Macaulay House,” Griebel illustrates the ghost stories associate with the house and describes tenant experiences.

Griebel corresponded with past artists and collected their encounters. These three exhibited works from Griebel’s book reflect these accounts of shadowy figures occasionally scene by resident artists. “I suddenly stepped into a dark forest in which I was uninvited,” depicts one account described as a ‘heavy feeling, like having to push through brush in a forest.’ Through experiences such as these, Griebel came to realize the two most commonly referenced sites of supernatural presence in the house were the staircase and two upstairs bedrooms. The rocking chair depicted in “Shadow-like things, out of the corner of my eye,” is a known fixture found in one of these bedrooms. Done in oil on paper, Griebel’s stylistic choice in using golden hues emulates the feeling of melancholy that many of the residents spoke of. Compositionally, the perspective of each work positions the viewer to feel as though we have suddenly come across the figures ourselves. Griebel achieves this through focussing his shadowed figures in full light, as if a door has swung open to reveal the unanticipated guests.  While many did not have such vivid experiences such as these, the consensus from Griebel’s correspondence was that the Macaulay House held an unnerving presence that left its residents tense.

To learn more about Jude Griebel, visit the artist’s website here.
For more information on KIAC residencies visit here

KIAC Youth Art Enrichment Student Exhibition 2014: Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery

KIAC Youth Art Enrichment Student Exhibition 2014: Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery

Artwork created by the talented young students of KIAC's Youth Art Enrichment program. From March 7th to 28th, 2014.

Since 2001, the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture (KIAC), in collaboration with the Department of Education, has offered a series of enrichment courses for students across Yukon who demonstrate exceptional artistic ability and interest.

Every November, 48 students between grades 8 to 12 travel to Dawson City for a week to take part in specialized art instruction with practicing, professional artists. In 2013, students chose one of four possible courses: 

Collage and Mixed Media with Meshell Melvin
Portrait Drawing and Painting with Suzanne Paleczny
Improv Intensive with George Maratos
Digital Photography with James Whitehead

As well as intensive art training, students are involved in other art-related activities during their stay in Dawson City, including touring the Yukon School of Arts, meeting KIAC’s artists in residence and discussing future career options with their mentors.

Following these workshops, an exhibition is held every year at the Robert Service School in Dawson City, and Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse to highlight the work created by these talented young artists. Additionally, two pieces are purchased by KIAC to be added to their permanent youth art collection, which is currently on exhibition in Dawson City at the Bonanza Recreation Centre, in the City of Dawson Office and at KIAC.


The Yukon Arts Centre is honored to once again host KIAC's Youth Art Enrichment Student Exhibiton, and would like to thank the young artists who contriubted their artwork to this year's exhibition: Julia Allen-Sernes, Alissa Anderson, Emily Anderson, Ashton Arcand, Julia Balderas, Zackery Bartholomeus, Alyssa Blanchard, Akilah Bolton, Brittany Brown, Adriana Brunet, Alyssa Budzinski, Audrey Cherrier-Burnette, Sarah Cardinal, Brandon Crawford, John Dagostin, Keenan Davis, Alexandria Duchaine, Melanie Eckenvogt-Brewster, Nicole Favron, Marlee Firth, Camilla Gaw, Kyla Giesbrecht, Emily Grantham, Micah Hildes, Olivia Holmes, Victoria Holmes, Asia Hyde, Travis Istchenko, Annie Johnsgaard, David Johnston, Melanya Kyikavichik, Sheila Kyikavichik, Jared Leary, Mallory Lipscomb, Annelise Lundgard, Sarah Ann Maningas, Aislinn McManus, Colin Milne, Chontia Murphy, Clara Reid, Violet Robert, Kristy Sibbeston, Finley Sparling, Bambi Stewart, Jen Titus, Ryan Titus, Danielle Van Bibber, Asia Winter-Sinnot, Adrian Woodhouse and Nylan Zalitis.            

This unique program is made possible through generous funding from the Yukon Arts Fund, Youth Investment Fund, Department of Education, Canada Post Community Foundation and Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, as well as the support of local businesses and cultural organizations in Dawson City.

For more information regarding the program, please visit KIAC’s website