Thanks to everyone who came out to our Studio Open House at The Gallery/Art Placement and purchased a piece of our mural. Thanks also to everyone at Art Placement for their support of our project. The mural, entitled If we were a TV show, we’d have a place to work, completely sold out, raising over $3,500 for Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation in Saskatoon. We now have a new place to work (details to follow). Still waiting on the TV show.
Thanks to Nick Pearce and Michelle Berg for the great piece publicizing our mural project and fundraiser in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
The Gallery/art placement is pleased to host Betsy Rosenwald and Dawna Rose, who are using the gallery as their studio for the month of February. Betsy and Dawna invite you to visit the gallery on Saturday, February 26 from 1 to 4 pm to see the latest version of Journal of the Plague Year. Their mural on plastic will be available for sale at $10 per square foot during the week of February 28. First come first serve! All proceeds will go to support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation. The artists gratefully acknowledge SaskArts for their generous support of this project.
JOTPY is packing up our plastic for the fifth time since we lost our studio last June. Our studio in a bag moves to The Gallery/art placement for the month of February. Thanks to our partners, Ian and John, we are all Dexterized and ready to move in. This residency in a commercial gallery will be a first for us and for Art Placement. Stay tuned for how it develops! Thanks to everyone who has hosted us and supported this project thus far!
We’ve learned a lot from our recent experience as itinerant artists, moving from studio to studio while we search for a more permanent, affordable option. So in late December, we responded to a recent article in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix chronicling high downtown vacancies and the subsequent lack of people with a letter to the editor. If downtown Saskatoon needs people and we need space, why not work together?
From the StarPhoenix, December 30, 2021
Artists create a lively, active local scene that brings more people downtown, Donna Rose and Betsy Rosenwald write.
So, downtown Saskatoon needs its people back. How about making some of the vacant space available to artists at a reasonable cost?
We are two artists who have lost two studios in three years to development. Despite a high rate of commercial vacancies, we have been unable to find affordable workspace in Saskatoon. We are not alone and after years of consultation with the City of Saskatoon, the needle has not moved an inch toward finding a solution to this problem.
Saskatchewan artists get paid for their work, but most don’t get paid much. We work outside our art practices to earn a living. In Saskatchewan, the average employment income of artists is $22,800, compared with $43,700 for the overall labour force, a difference of 48 per cent. This is one reason why we can’t afford current commercial rents.
The arts are good for local businesses. Innumerable studies have shown that working artists and arts organizations are an effective tool to revitalize neighbourhoods, especially in the downtown core.
In addition to spending money at local shops and restaurants, artists create a lively, active local scene that brings more people downtown. They attend local events and shop at local businesses, which has a direct impact on our city’s economic prosperity.
It would benefit all of us to work together, whether through tax incentives to building owners or creating a network of available temporary and permanent spaces. Cities across North America have done this and reaped the benefits. Why can’t we?
Dawna Rose and Betsy Rosenwald
You can read the letter in its published format here: https://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/letters/letters-the-arts-can-benefit-downtown-businesses
Our previously pristine, plasticized white cube is now and active hub for political, social and creative engagement. It’s exciting to have big gallery walls to spread out, experiment with placement, and view our progress, and as Saskatchewan became the Covid capital of Canada, our work took on an urgency about the lack of government response locally. Along with the current local health crisis, Dawna continues to create signs depicting the many interconnected crises plaguing the planet; Betsy is working on a monumental dystopian cardboard altarpiece on the January 6th uprising in Washington D.C. called This is how democracy dies.
Click on the image below for a video tour.
On Saturday, November 6, we showed up with our signs for a demonstration at TCU Place in Saskatoon where Premier Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party were holding their 2021 AGM. We joined members of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and Concerned Citizens for Covid Action in protesting policies that have led to an out-of-control fourth wave of Covid-19 and the subsequent collapse of our healthcare system.
Thanks to the Ely Center of Contemporary Art in New Haven, CT, Maxim Schmidt (workshop coordinator), and artist/presenter Carla Goldberg for a fun and inspiring workshop, “Finding Opportunities Beyond the Gallery.” Carla and the other artist participants opened our minds to interesting possibilities for exhibiting JOPTY outside the box—everything from installations in moving vans and storage containers to local banks and sanitation facilities.