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Artist-led Public Programs

September 1, 2020 - March 4, 2021


Year 2020 Organized by MSVU Art Gallery

In March 2020, MSVU Art Gallery closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gallery remained closed for the duration of 2020 and into 2021. To stay engaged with audiences and community despite the Gallery’s closed doors, an open Call for Proposals for artist-led, community-based public programs was published and circulated. Of the thirteen programs that were selected, some took place in person (outside in public spaces, with safety precautions in place) while others were online. The projects featured here are the result of programs that included digital documentation or creative online components. More information about these and other past programs can be found in the Programs section.

A series of collaborative conversations with artists and facilitators led by denirée isabel and Camila Salcedo, Navigating Connections focused on identifying, naming, and exploring individual and collective responses to, and relationships with, emotions. The series culminated in a collectively compiled visual encyclopedic resource of emotions and feelings. As described by Camila and denirée, “Through discussing our emotional intelligence together, we created an ongoing network of community organizers, better equipping ourselves to support each other.”

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With an attentiveness to varied experiences of home and housing, Dream House, an online series of drawing workshops with Tee Kundu, asked participants to imagine how the concept of home manifests itself in reality and fantasy. Participants experimented with collaborative and individual drawing exercises, which were paired with conversations about personal histories and geographies, exploring how these experiences might intersect with others. The resulting drawings were then adapted by Tee and rendered by Kara Van Muyen into an interactive digital installation.

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In this Queer Memoir Comics workshop series for participants who identified as 2SLGBTQ+, Fern Pellerin paired a short introductory course in queer memoir comics with guidance on technical skills in comic-making. Participants created short comics about themselves, their lives, experiences and memories; some of the resulting comics were compiled into a short anthology.

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The task of protecting oneself online can be daunting and time-consuming. Riffing off of the buzzy language of online DIY self-care, Connect to Protect was a light-hearted workshop led by Sage Sidley that provided participants with tools to protect their data from being tracked by social media giants. Participants were calmly led through step-by-step procedures on their devices to detox their data and prevent further personal data from being collected. A recording (with closed captions) of the performance-based lecture is available on the Connect to Protect site. The program was presented in partnership with the Centre for Art Tapes.

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Balad’arts: Wandering with Art was a monthly series of French language walks in the Hydrostone area of Kjipuktuk (Halifax), facilitated by artists Sophie Pilipczuk and Jessica Winton. Over the course of each hour-long walk, the group discussed themed aspects of the neighbourhood and responded to the environment using different creative mediums in the public space. Sophie and Jessica documented the series with images, audio and participatory art. The program was presented in partnership with Alliance Française Halifax.

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