Tag Archives: public program

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

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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.