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Behind the Scenes with YAC Staff: Jessica Vellenga

Behind the Scenes with YAC Staff: Jessica Vellenga

Jessica Vellenga (left) and Casey Lee (right) of Yarn Bomb Yukon, yarn bombing the DC-3 airplane. Photo Credit: Kyle G Cameron

 

Jessica Vellenga, curator of the summer exhibition ‘Jim Robb’s Yukon’, has a passion for both community and art, and works tirelessly to connect the two.  This aspiration is most evident in YAC’s public programs. Has your child created a masterpiece at a Kids Kreate Workshop? Presented their artwork in the Youth Gallery? Have you shown your own art in the Community Gallery? Attended an art talk, lecture, tour, workshop, class or event? If you said yes to any of these, then you have benefitted from Jessica’s persistence and passion for promoting culture in our community. As Visual Arts Community Engagement Coordinator for the Yukon Arts Centre, and an artist in her own right, Jessica is focused on bringing art outside the Gallery, and inspiring individuals and groups to be curious and creative. 

With such a pivotal role at YAC and within our community, we thought it was about time that the public get to know Miss Vellenga, so we talked with Jessica about her long time love affair with the arts.


DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO AT THE YUKON ARTS CENTRE IN FIVE WORDS OR LESS.
Connect people with art.

WHAT IS A VISUAL ARTS COORDINATOR?
A job which allows me to work on many different projects, with the main goal of encouraging the public to engage with visual arts at the Yukon Arts Centre through a variety of programs.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?
Curation of the Community & Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery, public and school tours, planning Kids Kreate – our free family art class, creating community art exhibits, organizing our resource library, social media promotion of YAC Gallery, shipping and receiving, artist liaison, working with community partners to develop art experiences, exhibition planning and installation, writing grants and budgets.

WHAT IS THE MOST EXICITING THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Always being involved in the creative culture of the Yukon community, but also meeting and working with national and international artists. 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS CAREER?
I’m a practicing artist and started working in galleries to better understand how to make and market my art.  My first gallery job was learning to frame and sell artworks and from there my cultural career has continued. I’ve worked for artist run centres, public art galleries, commercial art galleries, on public art projects, and contracts in collections management in both Ontario and Yukon.

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING PREPARED YOU FOR THIS POSITION?
I have my B.A. in Fine Art, with a minor in Art History, specializing in contemporary art from McMaster University and the University of Leeds, UK.

MOST MEMORABLE SHOW/EVENT/EXPERIENCE YOU’VE WORKED ON.
Yarn Bombing the DC-3 airplane with the Yukon Transportation Museum and Yarn Bomb Yukon was definitely a highlight!

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT/JOB?
This is it!  It’s a perfect balance between my career as an artist and cultural worker.

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!
 

Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery Opening

Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery Opening

The Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery is pleased to announce an exciting new presenting partner: beginning this summer, YAC will be welcoming Yukon Electrical, an ATCO Company as presenter of both our Youth Gallery and Kids Kreate program! Come join us at the Yukon Arts Centre next Thursday, July 4th, as we celebrate the newly-named Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery, and unveil its inaugural exhibition, works from the Illuminate Youth Art Contest.

RECEPTION:
Thursday, July 4, 2013
5:00 - 6:30pm

Catering provided by Yukon Electrical.

Family-friendly event - everyone welcome!

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:
Illuminate Youth Art Contest
Co-presented by Adäka Cultural Festival, Yukon Electrical and Yukon Arts Centre

During the Adäka Cultural Festival, youth aged 6 to 18 were invited to create illuminating original artworks inspired by First Nations arts and culture. The resulting pieces will be displayed throughout July in the Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery. Prize winners will be announced at the opening reception. Come out and get inspired!

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

       

Get Animated!

Get Animated!

Our next Kids Kreate is a special one. We are partnering with the Yukon Film Society and the National Film Board (NFB) to present Get Animated! Kids Kreate. Get Animated! is the NFB’s annual cross-Canada animation celebration, bringing you some of Canada’s finest animated films. 

Workshop

This Sunday, October 28, local filmmaker Andrew Sharp will be teaching us the basics of stop-motion animation, and we’ll even have the chance to make our very own short animated films! The workshop is free, and video equipment, plasticine, and other supplies are provided. 

Workshop for Kids age 10+: 12 - 3 pm
Workshop for Kids age 5-10: 1 - 3 pm

Registration is required as space is limited.  Contact Katie at 667-8460 or gallery2@yac.ca to register.

Please note: all children must be accompanied by an adult!

 

Film Screenings

While you’re in for the workshop, be sure to visit the mainstage theatre for some free, family-friendly NFB film screenings!

Sunday, October 28
12 PM: FAMILY PROGRAM "Not So Scary Stories" (5+) (39 min)
"Not So Scary Stories" program of animated films features the quirky tale of a six-year-old who collects sounds, along with a colourful and charming fairy tale—perfect for children ages five and up.

1 PM: FAMILY PROGRAM "Friends and Monsters" (10+) (37 min)
"Friends and Monsters" is for the 10+ crowd, with films about a very unusual set of twins and the unsettling experience of being in a new school.

Check out the full program details on the NFB website.

And if that’s still not enough family fun for you, stay on for our 3pm ticketed screening of The Wizard of Oz! The one and only 1939 classic for all ages! See it in high definition on the big screen. Get your tickets here.

See you soon!

Culture Days 2012

Culture Days 2012

It’s Culture Days in Canada! On September 28, 29 and 30, culture is taking over from coast to coast to coast, and dozens of spots around Whitehorse will be offering Yukoners an incredible variety of fun, FREE activities.

With free museum visits, trolley rides, live music, family-friendly art-making activities, artist demonstrations and studio tours, book readings and spoken word performances, and Doors Open events at historic sites across the city, there’s something to pique the interest of every kind of culture lover.

At the Yukon Arts Centre Art Gallery, we’ll be hosting a very special Culture Days Kids Kreate session. On Saturday, September 29 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, local artist Helen O’Connor will be teaching us the traditional art of wet felting. We’ll also be taking inspiration from the colourful fibre art of Louise Hardy, on view all day in our Public Gallery. (All welcome - Kids Kreate is drop in; all kids must be accompanied by an adult!).  Kids Kreate is generously sponsored by Lotteries Yukon.

If you’re downtown, stop and visit the Old Firehall and get to know the cultural community of Whitehorse. From 12:00 to 5:00 on Saturday, there will be great activities for the whole family including: live music, face painting, the Cultural Expo, a market by the Potluck Co-op Society, and lots more. Doors Open Yukon will give visitors a chance to visit local historical sites all weekend, free of charge. And for the curious, our famous Mystery Tour will be departing from the Old Fire Hall at 11:50, 1:40, and 3:30. Each tour is under two hours and will give tour-goers some fascinating behind-the-scenes looks at a number of cultural destinations across the city.

While you're out exploring the city, keep an eye out for Bright Spots:


 

Venues displaying these stickers are Culture Days destinations, open to the public and offering great events! You can access the full list of events for the city here. With so much to do, why not plan your weekend using the handy My Culture Days tool? Sign up and you can create, print and share your own personal event schedule so you don’t miss a moment of fun.

See you there!