Jason Avery, Dawn White Beatty, Judi Burgess, Kelly Jonathan, Kathy Cope, and Marla Panko.
I worked as an acoustic guitarist in the mid to late seventies and played
loud electric music until the middle eighties. In spite of this I remain a
good listener, a requisite for the Artists at the Centre approach.
I am a self-taught artist and have exhibited locally. I have worked with
assemblages of materials, constructions, carving, hand beaten metal, and
photography. I am earnest and curious and therefore completely at the mercy
I am learning every day. It has always been so for me. With any luck, it will
As a visual artist I explore themes of transformation, memory, history and
spirituality in the landscape, aware of the ways in which environment
teaches, guides and speaks. I try to hear the messages and use these in my
work. I work in mediums of mixed media drawing, sculpture and drawing
assemblage, papermaking and book structures, pastel and experimental drawing
media. I also write poetry and text fragments that I include in my visual
works. I have worked for twenty-five years in the Hamilton arts community as
an exhibiting visual artist, writer, arts educator,
designer and for the last ten years as a curator of art exhibitions. My
exhibitions include 'Intimations', Art Gallery of Hamilton, 'Boreala', McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg, and 'there and back again', Soho20 Gallery,
My life as an artist depends on making a vast well of time available for the
exploration, the long search and the gathering necessary for artistic growth.
The journey and the process are crucial aspects to me, and the final form of
the painting or drawing or sculpture represents only a small portion of the
total wonder and learning that happens each time I make a piece of art. As a
participant in the Artists at the Centre project I have joyously discovered
that the journey/process and the gift of time are also important elements of
the Reggio Emilia Approach.
When teachers, artists, children and families are all
working together to provide an environment of adequate time for discovery and
access to the needed research materials, the magic of discovery and learning
happens. It is my privilege to be present to enable and encourage this
process by introducing materials and techniques that facilitate the
exploration and learning. Collectively we strive to recognize and cherish the
'hundred languages' of expression employed by the children.
Watching a drawing take form as the story of it is being told out loud, the
drawing and the story spiralling out from the
imagination of a child, is a precious gift. Being invited to share a child's
world of imagination and wonder, having time to explore the materials and
methods of art-making that facilitate the learning, taking time to meander
off of the pathway, through the forest, under the sea, up and away into
space…wherever the imagination and curiosity of the child leads- all are such
valuable moments! Time for fun in the learning and time for serious and
respectful consideration of the work of children; this is the magic that
happens. Although I am able facilitate it through guidance with art
materials, they really direct the entire journey, learning to find their own
answers through hands-on exploration. The children are my teachers. They
develop creative thinking and fearless exploration techniques as they study
the world around them and define their individual places there. They learn to
be learners and to be teachers, and to mine deeply the rich veins of
knowledge available to them and they know that their discoveries are valued.
We are able to come back again and again together, and revisit that moment of
learning, to build upon it test it and reinforce it through related incidents
and provocations, weaving ever-larger webs of learning. We have time to build
trust and friendships and safe spaces for exploring and celebrating the inner
worlds that are the places of children and of art.
been a visual artist for many years (Honours B.A. in Art & Art History, McMaster University)
and exhibit my work in solo and group exhibitions in Hamilton and surrounding
areas, as well as creating privately-commissioned artworks. I am a both a painter and sculptor. I paint in
two-dimensions, and on three-dimensional found objects (eg:
furniture, boxes), and more recently I incorporate painting into mixed media
In my art practice, I like to capture glimpses of imaginary worlds, taking figurative/objective elements of my mind's eye into a
realm of the fantastic. Through the evolving imagery, visual stories unfold
that achieve an air of contemplative mysticism.
My past art-related work experience lies in
Arts Administration (Carnegie Gallery, Dundas and
Hamilton Artists Inc.), then the co-organization of two "Art Clubs"
at elementary schools, funded by the Ontario Arts Council (2006-07), Hamilton
Community Foundation (2008-2011) and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School
Board (2006-2011) and Catholic School Board (2006-07)).
Recently (2014) I was awarded an Artist in
Education grant through the Ontario Arts Council, and with additional
assistance from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, I am
facilitating mixed-media sculpture workshops in several local Elementary
The experience of working with very young
children through "Artists at the Centre” has been an eye-opener for me,
using visual languages as a key to the kind of learning that
"sticks". The "languages" become a springboard to
learning from exploring/nurturing relationships, scientific exploration,
encouraging dialogue and communication, to the act of self-expression. To
'share" the process of learning through listening to children,
collaboration with teachers and parents, and through documentation provides
such a rich backdrop upon which memorable and joyful learning experiences
stem. Although I have been participating in this project for 7 years, I am
still in awe of the capacity for learning young children possess, their
intrinsic intelligence, and I marvel at the day-to-day lovely surprises which
this type of co-learning brings. The
philosophy inspired by Reggio Emilia has consequently affected the way I
think, live and work.
Graduate of Queen’s University
Lifelong weaver and textile artist
Working with children for over 30 years as an instructor
at the Art Gallery of Burlington and the Dundas
Valley School of Art.
Most recently as an artist with the Artists at the Centre
project. Having been part of the 2-11 Canadian Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, I was
able to see first-hand the innovative and progressive view of working with
children and educators, influencing my practice as an instructor and an