Memories of a Transmission lost in translation

Transmission Difficulties: The Dignitaries once had a place of pride behind my father's desk. My mother eventually sold it. Now we know why

Memories of a Transmission lost in translationFor her 97th birthday, I offered to take my mother to Whistler for the day, especially to see the new Audain Art Museum. She was ecstatic at the prospect, and especially eager to see the in-house collection of works by Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes – her two favourite B.C. realist painters. Mom was a…

Helen Keller’s birthplace stirs the senses

Museum honours ‘America’s First Lady of Courage’

Helen Keller’s birthplace stirs the sensesTUSCUMBIA, Alabama - The irony is striking. I’m free to tour the childhood home that was for a while her prison, though happily also the site of her liberation. I can hear birds she couldn’t hear, from somewhere in the magnolias and mimosas she couldn’t see. I can trace in an hour the life that…

Alabama museum pays tribute to the father of the blues

Visit the Alabama birthplace of W.C. Handy

Alabama museum pays tribute to the father of the bluesIt may be in St. Louis, Memphis and New York that W.C. Handy popularized the blues. But it’s in Florence, Alabama, that his musical journey began. Dubbed “The Father of the Blues,” Handy was born in 1873 in this city whose population is closing in on 40,000. The family’s two-room cabin, built of white poplar…

What does the future hold for Calgary’s Glenbow?

Should it become ‘a world-class public art museum’ or adhere to founder Eric Harvie’s Scottish interdisciplinary roots?

What does the future hold for Calgary’s Glenbow?After six years as president and CEO of Glenbow, Donna Livingstone is leaving to become CEO of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Glenbow board of governors chair Irfhan Rawji saluted her efforts at stabilizing the financial situation “and allowing us the opportunity to continue on our way to being a world-class public art…

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevant

The world of arts and culture offers lots of examples of gross expense and imported notions of what’s important. But there are alternatives

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevantHow are the National Post and the Globe and Mail doing in your neighbourhood? In Powell River, the big Toronto newspapers are on their last boomer gasp at the newsstands. In their place, piles of the weekly Powell River Peak and monthly Powell River Living fly off the counters and adjacent distribution boxes. The local…

The fine (and disappearing) art of handwriting

What does an illegible scribble say about the writer? Certainly more than it tells anyone trying to decipher those disjointed lines

The fine (and disappearing) art of handwritingI once worked with a man who took everything slowly. His coffee. His work. Even stuffing an envelope took a day and a half. It had to be just so. The man’s excruciating deliberateness in everything was annoying and seemingly pointless – except when it came to his handwriting. He carved museum pieces with his…

Turning an inner-city wasteland into a thriving cultural hub

How the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a bastion of contemporary art, resurrected a community and why others should follow its lead

Turning an inner-city wasteland into a thriving cultural hubIn 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened on the estuary of the Nervion River and immediately became the template for all new cultural institution architecture worldwide. Frank Gehry was the building’s visionary architect. His Spanish client was the Basque administration, along with new York’s Guggenheim Foundation. They sought to use architecture and contemporary art to…

Fundy Trail beckons you to get off the high-speed highway

The view along the Fundy Trail offers something at every compass point – crashing waves, rocks, hills, forests, waterfalls and streams

Fundy Trail beckons you to get off the high-speed highwayThis is the first of a five-part series on travel on Canada's East Coast. On my recent trip to New Brunswick, I finally drove the Fundy Trail and saw Fundy National Park. It inspired me to sell the province a new tourism slogan. The slogan, worth millions, is “Get Off The Road!” I’m also considering…

Using laughter to revive a struggling community

The National Comedy Center will open its doors on Aug. 1 in Jamestown, N.Y., the birthplace of Lucille Ball

Using laughter to revive a struggling communityIn a Western New York city of about 30,000 residents, a first-of-its-kind attraction dedicated to the art, history and social significance of comedy is set to open. The National Comedy Center will open its doors in Jamestown, N.Y., on Aug 1. More than US$50 million have already been spent in building the brand-spanking-new facility. It’s…

Rewriting our history won’t make it go away

Historical revisionists want to rename buildings, pull down statues and rename paintings. Leave our history alone, warts and all

Rewriting our history won’t make it go awayThe modern fashion of attempting to rewrite history appears to be gaining ground. Hector-Louis Langevin’s name no longer adorns his building in Ottawa, the statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax has been toppled. And now, the history rewriters are busily taking dead aim at the most famous Canadian of all – John A. Macdonald. The three…

Banksy, and art’s uneasy alliance with capitalism

The gift shop at the Toronto exhibit offers a swath of overpriced items. What would the ultra left-wing artist think of that?

Banksy, and art’s uneasy alliance with capitalismThere’s always been an understood link between art and capitalism. Even artists who reject the very nature of capitalism will still be part of this process, whether they like it or not. This includes the popular, controversial and mysterious graffiti artist known as Banksy. A product of Bristol, England’s underground scene, this person’s name and…

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic genius

And a full dose of air-conditioned museum comfort certainly doesn't hurt the appreciation of Picasso

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic geniusLast week, thousands of Montrealers began to experience what I expect will gradually become a new phenomenon in global art gallery visitation – viewing art to get out of the heat. The heat wave (CBC news referred to it as “a heat event”) really descended on the city on the previous weekend, with Saturday’s temperatures…

Giverny and Monet’s Gardens

Stop in Giverny at least for a few hours to wander among Monet's gardens and you'll feel like you've entered one of his paintings

Giverny and Monet’s GardensIf you love Impressionist paintings, why not plan a visit to Giverny, in France, and see Monet’s garden, flowers, pond and bridges for yourself? It’s been said the Impressionist art movement acquired its name from one of Monet’s paintings called “Impression, Sunrise.” Giverny was Monet's home during the last half of his life. He painted…