It Must Be Spring

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spring blnds richardson buildingThey’re up!  I walk through the ground floor of the Richardson Building almost everyday going to and from appointments and my various part-time jobs. spring blinds richardson building winnipegThey have these enormous blinds on all the high windows in the foyer area and they change with each season.  spring blinds richardson building winnipegEven if you never left the building you’d realize when a new season has begun because the former season’s blinds are gone and the new ones appear.  spring blinds richardson buildingThis morning it is nearly ten degrees below zero and there are snow flurries predicated but I know its spring because the spring blinds are up in the Richardson Building. Go and see for yourself! spring blinds richardson building
Note: With thanks to my brother-in-law Harvey for the idea

Other posts about Richardson Building Art……..

Tom Lamb

Seal River Crossing

North Watch

Tree Children

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Categories: Art, Buildings, Downtown | Leave a comment

Falling in Love

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I dare you to visit the space at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) devoted to the work of Elisapee Ishulutaq and not fall in love with her and her art.

Photo- Office of the Governor General of CanadaPhoto- Office of the Governor General of Canada

 Elisapee is 90 years old and last year she was made a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her artistic and community contributions. elisapee ishulutaq mural winnipeg art galleryOne wall at the WAG holds a bright and lively mural she made in 2014.  You can watch a video and look at photos of Elisapee getting out of her wheel chair, kneeling down and fearlessly starting to draw marks with her oil sticks on a long piece of paper to make her mural.

Photo - Winnipeg Art Gallery websitePhoto – Winnipeg Art Gallery website

 For five days she slid along the floor in her apron, seal skin boots and knitted sweater, with her wire frame glasses perched on her nose…

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Living In An Art Gallery

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Winnipeg is a breath away from Canada’s heart. I live at the city’s center in The Exchange District. In 1887 when wheat was prairie gold, savvy entrepreneurs organized a grain exchange and turned this area into a thriving business district. We own a condo in a century old warehouse built by hardware merchant and Winnipeg mayor James Ashdown.

Many of the Exchange District’s corporate residents have been devoted art patrons, so our streets are studded with larger than life public art pieces. I see three when I walk out my front door.

caribou crossing portage and mainStraight ahead eleven massive caribou ford a river. A trio scales the steep bank while the others battle for their lives in the rushing water. Their antlers sprawl like bony tree branches in silhouette against the downtown skyscrapers. The sculpture Seal River Crossing by Peter Sawatsky reminds me that my city stands on land that was once home…

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Parfleches For the Last Supper

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I interviewed artist Robert Houle when I worked as a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Robert Houle- Photo- University of ManitobaRobert Houle- Photo- University of Manitoba

“Look after this gift which has been given to you”.

Robert Houle’s mother offered her son that advice when she realized he was serious about painting. Houle is an Ojibway artist whose work can be found in many major museums and gallery in Canada. His Parfleches for theLast Supper are part of the Winnipeg Art Gallery collection.       

Jesus- Parfleches for the Last Supper by Robert Houle- Winnipeg Art GalleryJesus- Parfleches for the Last Supper
by Robert Houle- Winnipeg Art Gallery

  A parfleche is a decorated rawhide pouch which was used by people of Plains cultures to carry personal and sacred objects. “A seer or sage came to our family home on the Sandy Bay Reservation for each of my eight younger sisters’ naming ceremonies,” said Houle, speaking to me from Toronto. “I was…

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Assembling Sounds for Sounds Assembling

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bertram brooker sounds assembling 1928Does this artwork  remind you of a kitchen blender or a slot machine hitting the jackpot? I’m a tour guide at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and I’m taking an online course from the Museum of Modern Art in New York called Art and Activity.  art instructor momaIt introduces guides to activities they can do with children related to works of art. One of our assignments this week was to pretend we were disc jockeys. We had to come up with a collection of sounds to describe an art work and choose a soundtrack for it.  I used a piece from the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s collection called Sounds Assembling for my assignment.

bertram brooker sounds assembling 1928

It was created by Bertram Brooker. He moved to Portage la Prairie Manitoba in 1905 from England. He went on to manage a movie theatre in Neepawa, Manitoba. Later he became a prize-winning fiction writer, a journalist and the…

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Learning To Print

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martha street studio winnipegHow does printmaking work? Last week  I had the pleasure of attending a  workshop at the Martha Street Studio right near my home.
martha street studio winnipegLisa, one of the instructors at Martha Street, also works at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Along with the rest of the guides in the WAG’s schools’ program I got a chance to see first hand how art prints are made and also try my hand at printmaking.

martha street print studioLisa showed us the steps in the screen printing process. She had a portfolio of samples that illustrated all the different ways print making is used to design a whole variety of items. 

artist shows prints at martha street studioLisa showed us some of her own amazing print work,

printing at martha streetand then let us each try our hand at making a print of our own. 

lion printI was pretty pleased with my final product. 

A few days later due to a scheduling change I ended up leading a…

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What in the World is a Funnelator?

funnelator winnipegWhat is that thing? I’ve walked by this interesting object outside the Millennium Library many times in the last few months and I’ve taken quite a number of photos of it. But I didn’t know what it was.  I couldn’t find any kind of sign nearby so I went in the library where the friendly staff informed me it was a funnelator. 

winnipeg's first funnelatorWhat was a funnelator? I had to find out.  I discovered the funnelator is an initiative of the  CentreVenture development group. Although the funnelator just outside the library is the first one I’ve seen,  in a 2011 article in the Winnipeg Free Press CentreVenture CEO Ross McGowan said there will be dozens of funnelators downtown in the future. funnelator graham street winnipegAccording to McGowan these funnelators will be different sizes and colours and be used as media and information centers, heating stations or shelters from rain and snow.  winnipeg's first funnalatorAn article in the Metro in December claims this first funnelator will be a test case and only when it is working effectively will others be built.  CentreVenture spokesperson Tom Janzen said on CJOB radio that the funnelator at the library is more of an art piece, there for its aesthetic value, while other funnelators may have more practical applications. 

funnelator winnipegMade of metal, polyethylene or fibreglass the funnelators are copyrighted and are absolutely unique to Winnipeg. They were designed by a Portland firm called Commart. 

funnelator winnipegApparently during the week the JUNOS were in Winnipeg the Funnelator ran a thirty minute video loop by film maker Michael Maryniuk that featured local musical groups like the Lytics, Boats and my personal favorite Royal Canoe. 

The funnelator is certainly unique and will make a great conversation piece when I am showing visitors my neighborhood. At least now I know what it is. 

Other posts about interesting art downtown,,,,,,,,


A Mural For Bill Norrie

Why No Golden Girl?


Categories: Art, Downtown | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Trees at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Four art pieces with connections to trees are currently displayed in the sky lit foyer on the gallery floor of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Each sculpture is very different. barb hunt root dressRoot Dress by Barb Hunt is at the top of the stairs and draws the immediate attention of visitors. A group of high school girls on one of my tours discussed how they thought the dress symbolizes the way women are the backbone and roots of their families holding things together.

daphne by arpDaphne is by Jean Arp. Most of my touring students don’t know Daphne’s story and they are intrigued by the dramatic tale from Greek mythology of the beautiful Daphne who was being pursued by the god Apollo. Her father Laden was a river god and she begged him to help save her from Apollo. He did so by turning her into a tree.

poet by ossip zadkineThe Poet by Ossip Zadkine is a musician who is half tree and half person. Children have fun picking out all the tree parts on one half of the sculpture- the branches for his arms, the roots for his foot, the growth rings inside his thigh, the writing etched into the bark on his leg, the pruned branch on his calf and the leaves on his hands. The kids on my tours have pointed out lots of tree details I hadn’t noticed. tree of life

Tree of Life is by Cecil Richards. I tell the students who visit the gallery that many religions have a Tree of Life as a symbol for creation. Inevitably a child on the tour will suggest that the couple inside the tree is Adam and Eve and they share the Biblical story with us. I tell the kids that in Ancient Egypt there was also a religious story about a couple named Isis and Osiris who emerged from a tree. 

The presence and proximity of these tree pieces has made for an interesting addition to my tours and has inspired lots of comments and ideas from the children and young people who visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery. 

Other posts about the Winnipeg Art Gallery….

Up on the Roof Top

Landscapes For the End of Time

Lynne Cohen- Interior Scapes

Categories: Art, Sculptures, Winnipeg Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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