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2021 Moving Forward

A year ago I opened a show at Arts Underground called 'Spring is for the Birds'. At the opening we all hugged, shook hands and gathered in tight groups and talked about our latest travels. About a week later the gallery closed up, the next shows planned got postponed or cancelled and I wondered what I was going to do next?

In this period of time, when everything seemed so uncertain, folks stepped up with new ways to share and support each other. In our community, folks got out for walks and greeted each other at a distance on the streets and trails. It was a time when we made efforts to cheer up friends and strangers with pictures in windows, random outdoor performances and celebratory parades. At the end of our driveway I hung up my own tribute to the healthcare heroes and started a sharing shed for the children who walk in our neighbourhood. I am happy to say that the art world has continued to move forward in the Yukon and the sharing shed, book box and healthcare mobiles continue to be enjoyed by young and old.

With true Yukon Loyalty, the folks of the territory have stepped up to support small businesses and the arts by shopping locally. Many innovative ideas have been put in place to continue providing opportunities for artists to create and share their work and for the public to enjoy some culture. Yukon Artists at Work began the 'Artist in the Window' Series in conjunction with Arts in the Park. Artists took turns setting up and working in the gallery window, where people could see and watch from a safe distance. The Yukon Conservation Society continued their annual 'Art in the Canyon' outdoor arts weekend, ensuring social distancing took place. There was the 'Seen from Afar' Plein Air Festival in which artists worked in an isolated location and shared photos and videos online and which culminated in an outdoor exhibition of the work.

Even I, eventually, gave in to technology and taught a zoom drawing class to Girl Guides in Calgary. Of course, we are very fortunate in the Yukon. We live in a place where isolation is normal. Vaccines came quickly to everyone who wanted them. We had very few cases of COVID in our territory and they were able to be contained and we only had one death. On top of all that, we have a lot of beautiful countryside to explore and with no tourists from outside to share it with,

plenty of solitude. As I watch the news of the rest of the world, I am super grateful for what I have. I do miss my family members who live outside the Yukon though.

This summer is looking like it may be another Yukon only summer. I am excited to find opportunities to share art with Yukoners, but I am also looking forward to times when we can greet out of territory visitors again and share our beautiful and special territory with them.

In the meantime, I have some work showing in Kamloops at the Smorgasbord until April 30th and I will continue to look for more ways to share my art with the rest of the outside world. I will also be sure to take time to spend in the great outdoors camping, hiking, canoeing and sketching.

I hope that you will also stay safe, enjoy the sunshine and be happy creating!


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