I forgot about this video! One of my first “art documentaries” – it gets funnier but not easier. Description below:
Two goofballs from Toronto decide to travel to Montreal and keep a video diary of their exploration of Nuit Blanche 2010, following the “Art Souterrain” route of contemporary art in the subway tunnels and public halls underneath Montreal.
I was at a cottage in the Gatineau Hills last week. Surprisingly cool and misty weather, so I decided to “pop” into Montreal for a few days and check in on some of my favourite galleries and artists. I was sure glad I did, not only to be able to hang out with my friend, artist Andreanne Hudon but got to meet and eat Taiwanese food with artist and curator Edwin Janzen. I also happened upon many exhibits for the “Extreme Painting Festival 2” – during my time at CA I discovered this school of work and saw some amazingly lush and layered surfaces. This stuff was a bit more street art styles I think, more figurative in a way. See what you think below.
Well, that was the big art day in Montreal. Was it worth the almost 2,000 kilometers and 20 hours of driving? Absolutely. It’s Montreal. I can’t think of many people who have lived there and wouldn’t want to again. Many of the artists are very inspiring and I really lucked out seeing much of the extreme painting festival. When I am able to paint again in the studio for a sustained period, I know this trip will affect my work.
It was a cold and windy evening…
This heritage worthy building we fought for is now in mid-demolition and I am not sure how much longer there will be any structure left. It really was suddenly cold and windy, but I felt the urgency to document this last stand of one of the last of the great Barton Village classic buildings.
This is pretty raw footage of me walking around the building. I do make a brief statement at the beginning, but this is for reference for … future use. Hopefully, we’ve made a difference overall in Hamilton for other communities going forward.
Sanford Avenue School was a very special heritage building, built in 1932 during the great depression. One of the gems of a notoriously poor neighbourhood, this is the sort of structure that is attractive for a very wide range of opportunities including a college, a community centre or health facility. Despite well documented flaws in the public consultation process and the demolition / heritage process, the HWDSB, the City of Hamilton and then the Government of Ontario failed the future interests of the Barton Village community and allowed the first 100% steel framed building in Canada to be sold as scrap. No public interest from developers was allowed to be entertained.
For the record, below is a list of trustees who voted to allow Sanford Avenue School to be demolished, and not to allow any alternatives to be presented by private or non-governmental organizational interest. Also included on this list of “Heritage & Community Shame” are the City and Provincial elected officials without whose express support and approval this tragedy could not have happened.
At the time of this posting, there is no secured funding or concrete plans for any development of the site into a park, soccer field or Recreation Complex expansion. The most frustrating part for most of us? There would of been enough room for all of this if they had agreed to re-arrange parking instead of demolishing this beautiful structure that would have served nicely economic tool for revitalization. There is a need for new leadership in Hamilton, and the following elected officials should not trusted with public office again:
Ward 3 Councilor
Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Chair
(Former) Liberal Education Minister
See also http://hamiltonsusualsuspects.blogspot.ca/?m=1 for more photos and discussion
Here’s the entire 332 photo roll of some of my favourite work I took over two days at this year’s Toronto International Art Fair. For now, I am presenting this as a giant slideshow until I am done “dripping out” this series, work by work and with proper links and some notes, on my ALP project website. That should take a couple of weeks, at least.
A walk through in photos and audio commentary of Hamilton’s Barton Village, where I live. Looking for art and at derelict storefronts, one realizes there is a lot of potential for this to be an area where galleries / studios could thrive. Amazed that one of the most widely acknowledged poor neighbourhoods of any major Canadian city is only 45 minutes away from downtown Toronto.
For me as an artist living in the area, this slideshow is a record of a time and place to refer back to as the neighbourhood changes.
Commentary by Chris and Jen (dumb critics) as we discuss the state of the area, the local BIA and artists working in the community.