Hello, my name is Tom and I am the new Community Engagement Intern here at the Museum of Inuit Art! I’ve been volunteering as a docent with MIA since August 2014. As a docent, I have had many wonderful opportunities to gain community engagement experience and I’m hoping to expand on that during my internship. Aside from my public docent tours that lead visitors through popular themes in Inuit art, stylistic differences across the Canadian Arctic, and the various types of material used to create the art, I’ve also assisted with several special events – you may have seen me during March Break and Winterfest! I’ve also had the opportunity to deliver MAP Family Saturday programing where I’ve visited Toronto Public Library branches and brought out museum artifacts from the museum’s Educational Collection for Hands-On sessions, played traditional Inuit games and led art activities so visitors could bring their own piece of art back home. I’ve also been attending a Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming College over the course of the past year. This program helped me develop a solid foundation of knowledge upon which to build my museum experience. While the program involved all sorts of work including care of collections and exhibition development, I’ve always had a strong interest in working with the public. When I needed to seek out a placement for an Internship for the MMC program, the MIA stood out to me both due to my cherished experience with the museum as well as the fact that I knew it had a lot of community programing coming up over the spring and summer. I was very happy that the Museum was willing to host my internship, and am excited to have the opportunity to develop my skills during my time here. I am really excited to be a part of the MIA team, thanks for having me! – Posted by Tom E., MIA’s Outreach Intern
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.
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
Do you love to sew? Would you be interested in volunteering your time to the creation of a community-generated art piece?
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