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Worldwide Knit in Public Day!

5 Jun

IMG_3376   MIA front lobby podium covered in crochet hexagons to celebration of Worldwide Knit in Public Day.

June is a pretty big month here at MIA. This coming Saturday we will officially be reopening our doors to welcome in brand new exhibitions featuring even more examples of art styles, materials, and themes. We’ll also be celebrating National Aboriginal History Month with fun games and prizes AND we’ve just launched another community based project with local Toronto knitting groups (including the Bissell Bombers) as part of  World Wide Knit in Public Day!

For those unfamiliar with WWKiP Day, it all began back in 2005 when Danielle Landes gathered together a group of knitters. Rather than perform this traditionally solitary practice alone, they created an opportunity to spend some time together and really get to know their neighbors. That desire for human interaction and creative outlet inspired others to join and over the following years a simple day of knitting has turned into a global public art movement.

This Saturday and Sunday, MIA will be hosting knit inspired programming in our newly renovated space. From 12-4 visitors can join our Arts Assistants who will be giving demonstrations on the several different methods of pom pom making and how to create a bracelet with needle-less knitting techniques.

Special community exhibition case be prepared for visitor contributions as a part of Worldwide Knit in Public Day celebrations.

All of these yarn creations can be tokens of a fun day spent knitting out in public, or you can have them displayed in our special exhibition area. For the entire month of June, MIA has dedicated a public curated space to showcase the unique talent within the community. Those who wish to participate by bringing supplies and taking part of our Knit in Public activities receive FREE admission.

Hope to see all you crafters this weekend!

- Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Updates from Week 2

10 May

The second week of internship has just flown by. I’m already at the halfway point and thus far, my experience at the MIA has been really positive and fulfilling. All the research time I’ve put in has rewarded me with great ideas for teacher resources (some of which I hope to use myself in the future!).

While I haven’t had as much time to delve into hands-on activities at the museum, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do so this Saturday, May 11th, as part of MAP Family Saturdays at Toronto Public Libraries (TPL)! MAP (Museum + Arts Pass)  allows families (2 adults and up to 5 children)  to explore many of Toronto’s best cultural and artistic sites for free! You can request a pass for you and your family at any TPL branch.

MAP Family Saturdays at TPL

This Saturday, however, I’m bringing the museum experience directly to Downsview Public Library (2793 Keele St. at Wilson Ave.) for kids’  hands-on activities They’ll have a chance to see and touch some museum artifacts, play a few traditional Inuit games, and make their own clay sculpture. It should be a great time for kids, parents, and art lovers alike, so if you’re in the neighbourhood, come on by!

- Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Explore the Realities of Living in the Modern Arctic this March Break at MIA

3 Mar
Inuit community of Pangnirtung

Inuit community of Pangnirtung

This March Break the Museum of Inuit Art is exploring the realities of living in the modern Canadian Arctic through four interactive stations (one to represent each Inuit land claim area in Canada) located throughout the museum.

Every family will be issued a passport to explore the Museum of Inuit Art in new, multi-sensory ways while challenging perceptions of the Arctic.

Activities to enjoy:

  • Get hands on with our teaching collection at our feel-box station. Learn about properties of the materials being used by Inuit artists and how this impacts the art being produced in the Arctic today.
  • Can you dance like a polar bear or run like a muskox? Show us your moves while learning animal names in Inuktitut in the Museum of Inuit Art’s version of ‘Simon Says’.
  • Learn about the differences in food costs and diets in the Arctic and Southern Canada at the MIA land claim grocery store.
  • What makes your neighbourhood unique? Make comparisons between your community and those in the Arctic. Through exploration of prints and postcards, learn about population size, temperature, and infrastructure available in Inuit communities.

As you complete the activities, be sure to get your passport stamped! If you have your passport stamped at all four interactive stations, you are eligible for a $5 discount on a family membership. Your name will also be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift certificate from Loblaws-Queens Quay!

DATES: March 9 to March 17
TIME: 12 PM to 4 PM
PRICE: Free with Museum Admission (Adults $5, Students/Seniors $3, Children 12 and under FREE)

We are still looking for volunteers for this event. If you are interested in lending a helping hand, please email volunteer@miamuseum.ca.

-Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator

Family Stories Through Wallhangings

10 Feb

A little girl learns how to sew with plastic needles and a foam board.

As a public institution, we are always looking for new ways to really engage with our community and get to know our visitors. We publish Playing Favourites blogs where visitors explain what attracted them to certain works of art, we live Tweet during speaker events and artist demonstrations, we’ve also recorded video interviews so artists can personally interpret their own work and give a first hand account of experiences and motivations.

And while we think we have done a pretty solid job in terms of writing and speaking, this upcoming Family Day is going to emphasize telling a narrative through hand crafted imagery.

Beginning Feb 16th-18th MIA is pleased to host a series of family programming revolving around the exhibit Stories From my Grandmother: Irene Avaalaaqiaq, in order for families to tell their stories through wall hangings.

Facilitated by our fantastic group of Arts Assistants, as part of museum admission visitors will be able to construct wall hangings that represent a favourite trip, fond childhood memory or any other story they feel represents an important family memory. Plastic sewing needles and yarn help make the experience fun and safe for the younger family members and everyone can take the hangings home to proudly share with friends.

To inspire budding artists, we’ll be displaying a few of the wall hangings we have in our collection and complimentary admission lets visitors explore the museum to find our textile exhibition featuring more works by Irene Avaalaaqiaq.

We’re also going to be creating a larger, collaborative textile-based wall hanging that encompasses community involvement and revolves around the theme of community and how family connects us. Individuals can contribute a piece to this wall hanging by cutting out a design from available fabric provided by King Textiles. Staff and volunteers will embroider the pieces onto the wall hanging so you don’t have to worry about threading tiny needles or poking your fingers. (If you’d like to volunteer, be sure to check out our past blog).

This collaborative piece will be on display in the museum throughout Heritage Week (Feb 19-24) and for those who don’t see themselves as  the sewing sort, they’ll be able to write their own comments and reactions next to the piece on our paper covered walls.

So put your thinking caps on, grab some family members and start reminiscing about those good ol’ times! We’ll see you for Family Day fun!

Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Dancing Bears and Downward Dogs

4 Feb

Yoga promotional banner
Many of the visitors who have taken advantage of our docent-run museum tours, may have witnessed an impressive physical feat captured in stone.  The Dancing Bears we have on display in our collection are excellent examples of Pauta Saila’s artistic talent because these large, heavy bears balance themselves ON ONE FOOT!

I don’t know if you have ever tried to stand on one leg for any length of time, but personally I can easily tip over from the faintest breeze. And anytime I take a school tour past these sculptures I try to strengthen whatever muscles I have and beat my balance time (my record is 40 seconds and the kids always beat it FYI).

This little activity has spawned a few other games and fun facts, like our SCVNGR challenge where you take a picture of your best dancing bear pose for some online points, or “Did you know” polar bear trivia about how they walk with their toes pointed outwards and slightly to the side.

As of this past Sunday, we took it one step further and actually introduced a brand new public program in partnership with Moksha Yoga Danforth. Under the instruction of Megan Hoskins, MIA staff and volunteers piloted a yoga class inside the museum and right next to the famous dancing bears. Being surrounded by art, seeing the sun rise over the water outside our windows, and gently moving into the different stances was so incredibly relaxing I started to wonder why I hadn’t gone to yoga classes earlier.

While I won’t go so far as to call myself a yogi quite yet, that quite meditation time and learning more about muscles I’ve left unnoticed is something I am definitely interested in continuing. And with the successful pilot, the museum is going to repeat this invigorating experience!

For the remainder of February, Instructor Elenanor Berenson will lead an addition session from 8:30-9:30am in the MIA Pedestal Gallery. Admission is $10, or $8 for students and members.

Anyone who is interesting in participating can register here and is reminded to bring their own mat (and blocks if you prefer to use them for certain poses).

I’m confident that Megan’s helpful hints have already helped my balance issue, but just to be safe, I won’t be offended if we’re not mat buddies haha!

Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Moksha yoga instructor in front of the contemporary inuit art case.

Calling all Sewing Enthusiasts in Toronto!

24 Jan

Do you love to sew?  Would you be interested in volunteering your time to the creation of a community-generated art piece?

Sewing

“Sewing” by Flickr user Mundoo. Used under Creative Commons License.

The Museum of Inuit Art is busy at work developing our public programming for Family Day during which we will be creating a collaborative art piece in the museum.  A wall hanging will be made by the public based on the theme of community and how family connects us. Individuals can contribute a textile piece to the wall hanging by cutting out a design from available fabric scraps. But to do this, we need your help!

We are looking for people to be onsite at the museum on February 16 to 18 from 10 AM to 6 PM to help sew and/or embroider public submissions onto the base of our wall hanging. This community-generated art piece will then be put on display in the museum for the remainder of Heritage Week (February 19 to 24)!  

This idea is inspired by an exhibition currently on display at MIA entitled Stories From My Grandmother: Irene Avaalaaqiaq, which showcases Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) artist Irene Avaalaaqiaq’s personal and narrative style as demonstrated in her wall hangings, drawings, prints and beautiful amauti construction. Inuit wall hangings represent an authentic textile art form with an emphasis on inventive composition and expert technique.  Irene has stated that: Whenever I see my wall hangings they remind me of my life. I always remember my grandmother and the stories and legends she told me.

Did you know?
Wall hangings or neevingatah means “something to hang”. In traditional Inuit culture, women were highly regarded for their sewing abilities because survival of the entire family depended upon having expertly crafted clothing for the extreme Arctic weather. Wall hangings were created from leftover clothing scraps, using duffle as a base or background and felt pieces sewn on top to create a decorative design. Today, the tradition continues with skilled artists using brightly coloured fabric, beads and textiles to create distinctive and striking artworks.

We look forward to celebrating this art form through the completion of Toronto-made wall hanging!

To be a part of this exciting initiative, please email the date and time you are available to come sew at the museum to Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator at miamuseum [at] gmail [dot] com.

-Posted by Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator

Construction Heads Up Part 12: Temporary Intersection Closure

20 Jan

Queens_Quay_construction_2_M

Unrelated to the recent construction that has been taking place outside of the museum, we have an important notice about additional road work to keep in mind when making travel arrangements.

There will be a partial intersection closure at Spadina Av./ Lakeshore Blvd. and the Gardiner Eastbound off-ramp between January 19th and January 21st.

Pedestrian access will remain open at all times but below are access routes available during this portion of the construction.

VEHICLE:
Lakeshore Blvd (eastbound)

  • one lane straight through the intersection will be open

Spadina Ave. (southbound)

  • one lane straight through the intersection will be open
  • right-turn Gardiner Expressway/ Lakeshore Blvd. on-ramp will be open

Gardiner Expressway (eastbound) off-ramp at Spadina Ave.

  • one lane will be closed

TTC SERVICE

  • replacement bus service from King Street to Queens Quay Loop will continue to operate
  • northbound buses will detour from Lakesore Blvd. to Rees St./ Bremner Blvd. from January 19-21

And to update you  on how the Queens Quay revitalization has been coming along, we have news that the major demolition and repaving of the TTC corridor is complete however,  Westbound traffic is being diverted to the north, centre or south travel lanes depending on the type of construction required along the corridor.

Bay Street to 55 Harbour Square

  • Traffic will remain on the south side of the street to accommodate Toronto Hydro (PLP) crews who continue to work in the north lanes. Local traffic for 10/20 Bay Street and the EllisDon construction site will be permitted through this work area.

55 Harbour Square to Robertson Crescent

  • Traffic has moved to the centre of Queens Quay. Please note that the TTC bus stops at York Street and Lower Simcoe Street are now located in the centre travel lane. A special loading/unloading area has been created for each stop using concrete jersey barriers and a designated walkway from the signalized intersection provides safe access to the bus stops.

Rees Street to Spadina Avenue

  • There will continue to be a single lane of westbound traffic (on the north side of the street) in this area.The TTC bus stop just past Rees Street will remain on the northside curb and sidewalk.

And as always, you can steer clear of the cars by following our pedestrian directions or check out the original construction notice here for detailed information about what stage the work is in and what to expect in the coming weeks.

Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

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