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the art pal project

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the art pal project

With the support of ArtStarts' Creative Spark program, I've put together a variation on Pen Pals for a group of grade three students. Two groups actually, one here in Golden and the other in New York. My aunt, Annie Coan, is an inspired art teacher in the Bronx, and she was game for sending letters and artwork back and forth between the two classes. On this end, grade three teacher Linda Poon was fully on board. And so, the Art Pal Project was born. 

It's been great to pop in to Ms. Poon's class here in town a few times, and the experience was made even richer by fitting in a quick trip to NYC in February. I met all the Bronx kids, together we recorded video messages for their pals, and then [not surprisingly] I made a portrait of each one. To say the BC kids were thrilled to get these photos of their new friends might be an understatement. 

Maybe this experience will fade into the blur of childhood memories for these kids. But I like to imagine that a few might just stay in touch over the years, that maybe these are the seedlings of lifelong friendships. 

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ebe's garden

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ebe's garden

I put together a grant proposal earlier this year, hoping to get funding to document some of the regular vendors at the Golden Farmers Market, vendors like Ebe's Garden. It didn't come through. But the interest in creating these images survived the rejection. So one evening a couple weeks ago I drove down to Parson, wound my way up a cool dirt road along a creek, and arrived at Ebe and Ingrid's patch of paradise. These two put many hours in over the summer months, planting and weeding and harvesting and vending. From behind the lens it seems an idyllic lifestyle, simple and satisfying with the rewards of a community rejoicing in beautiful local food and the promise of winter escape. They shut it all down when the cold comes along, load Loki the dog into their truck camper, and head for Baja.

This is what I would call The.Good.Life. And what many people around here would call Really.Good.Food.

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pedestrian bridge exhibit

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pedestrian bridge exhibit

The images from the Kicking Horse in Me project will be coming down tomorrow. The response was quite positive, and it was encouraging to see that vandalism didn't join the party. When we hung them on the pedestrain bridge a month ago, I suspected that they may not survive the first night, let alone a full month. The fact that they did survive without being ripped down or defaced is a strong sign that the town of Golden is ready for more outdoor exhibits of artwork in public places. This excites me.

There were a few things that I really enjoyed about showing these pieces in an unexpected venue. The first was spending long stretches of time on the bridge, both putting up and taking down the exhibit. It's a heavily used bridge, by locals and tourists alike. So many faces passing through of all ages. The second thing I loved about the show was seeing the river not only behind the prints, but also reflected in them across the bridge. At this time of year the Kicking Horse is a vibrant blue, and the colors bouncing off the black and white prints was a lovely contrast. And third, it was a great pleasure to spur others to consider alternative exhibit spaces. A few folks out there seemed inspired to show their own work outside of regular galleries, and I hope they will. 

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the kicking horse in me

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the kicking horse in me

I've spent a good bit of time ensconced in river communities over the years, first as a raft guide, later as a kayaker. Always had an affinity for the people drawn to rivers, and for the lifestyles they value. Although my time on the river has waned a bit since moving to Golden, I'm most pleased to be in a community that has a rich and lively river culture. But I fear that many people in this town are unaware of that lively culture, that it is overlooked, and certainly not nourished. 

So I put together a little grant application for a project documenting some of the people that make up the river community on the Kicking Horse, one of the most heavily used rivers in BC when it comes to commercial rafting. I was fortunate enough to be granted support from local organizations including the Golden District Arts Council, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, and Columbia Basin Trust.

My timing may not have been ideal, throwing a personal project on top of an already busy summer schedule, but the portraits have been shot, the prints have been made, and the show will hang next week. I've chosen an unusual venue for the exhibit, one that is most appropriate to the subject matter. The show will be displayed on the walking bridge over the Kicking Horse for three weeks, with a small opening reception on September 7. 

A special thanks to Jon Wilsgard at the Town of Golden for his support in hosting the exhibit on town property. 

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work exhibit | banff

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work exhibit | banff

I showed my series of construction worker portraits finally. In the Other Gallery at the Banff Centre. I couldn't have hung it any closer to where all these guys were working unless I put the exhibit in the constrcution zone. I was really hoping they would come and see what turned out to be lovely prints of their portraits. Not so much. A few came, but it wasn't the meeting of construction worker and art gallery that I was hoping for.

I did not show this image, although it is my favorite from this series of work. I stuck to the black and white format for all the photographs in the show. Spencer and Tyler Rule. Brothers.

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