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    Shu Cheng (Shawn) Zheng features his distinctive style of making marks in Chinese..
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    • Friday, 21 Feb 6--9: Wine & cheese, entertainment by recording artist Katie..
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  • TRAVEL EXHIBITION

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  • ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) 2020

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    Location: Mississauga, ON

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    Fusion Art is now accepting entries for the 9th Artist Spotlight Solo Art..
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  • Call for Art - 11th Annual

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    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call for Art - 4th Annual Colors Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 4th Annual Colors online art competition. For this..
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  • Marlene Kawalez and Corynn Kokolakis

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. March..
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  • Jane Selbie and Joseph Farrugia

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • Dianne Davis and the WAP Collective

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • “Grey” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline February 28, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Grey surrounds us, sometimes in surprising ways. In beach pebbles, a..
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  • on thin ice Polar Bear Art Exhibit

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    On thin ice is a solo exhibit of polar bear portrait paintings by..
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  • Support the Worldwide Art Community | Participate in 6x6x2020

    Location: Rochester, ON

    Hello Artists in Canada, We want YOU to participate in 6x6x2020! Let your creative..
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  • Olivier Du Tre: New Works

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    January 7 to February 29, 2020 At HUB@302 302-1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary, AB..
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  • WAAH 124th Juried Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton

    Location: Hamilton, ON

    Who:  The Women’s Art Association of Hamilton (WAAH) at the Art Gallery of..
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  • The Indian Contemporary Art Competition

    Location: New York, NY, ON

    The Indian Contemporary Art Competition (ICAC) aims to discover and promote talented artists..
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  • The Loft On King Street

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Loft On King Street is one of the most unique private event..
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  • Overzealous Fine Art Exhibition 2020 Call for Entry

    Location: Toronto (GTA), ON

    Submission Deadline: Sunday, March 1st, 2020 -- Exhibition Dates: March 30 – April 18,..
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  • VOYZX Exhibition of Contemporary Surrealism

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    VOYZX Exhibition of Contemporary Surrealism 2020 is an annual international art exhibition, dedicated..
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Canadians at the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea, Part II of III

By Mary-Lou Ashton March 15, 2004

} Canadians at the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea Quatra Edizione, 2003, Part II of III. By Mary-Lou Ashton So, what is it like to exhibit in an international art show? As with all very large productions, there are pros and there are cons. Most found the experience worthwhile (myself included) with comments like: "I think the concept of artists from around the world showing under one roof is powerful" - Ken Curley "I very much had a great time and met some wonderful people both within the art community and external to the art community: for all this I'm deeply appreciative and recognize that I've had a once in lifetime kind of experience" - Jim Pescott "I enjoyed meeting artists from other parts of the world and also my fellow Canadians......delighted by the camaraderie and a bit surprised that the artists supported one another so well" - J. Mac "It will take at least 2 years to digest and consolidate my experiences; I expect to go again, maybe in 4 years" - Sandra Bray "The opportunity to interact with artists from around the world, for me, was PRICELESS. I developed many friendships in the two weeks that will last a long time. Being able to communicate with these people now and talk about art and the gallery scenes around the world has been inspiring" - Bill Hoopes "panel of critics Barbara Rose and Dore Ashton in particular as well as the invited guest David Hockney is a sign that the biennial is getting better and receiving more acclaim" - Kent Senecal "liked the openness without preconceived ideas which would exclude those artists who are not well known internationally and are independents......opportunity to view art from around the world, meet and befriend artists from other countries " - Barbara Mercer "meeting artists from the 72 countries that were represented was a feast for the eye as well as the mind......Bringing relatively unknown artists from around the world together with many well-known artists, enables us to learn and appreciate the diverse ways of communicating through art. If someone is to understand our perspective we must also take the time to appreciate theirs and in this process we learn and grow not only as artists but as human beings." - Danuszia Mordasiewicz "Since I did not travel to sell, only to internationally show my work, to talk to people, to LEARN, enjoy and bring back to Canada experiences and knowledge which I could pass on, I got my money's worth out of this Florence Biennale with its "Live and Let Live"-philosophy and its "DIALOGUE AND DIVERSITY" motto" - Rosi Jory "I networked with many artists from all over the world ---- organizing a group show with some of the artists ----- played close attention to how the other participants promoted themselves and put together there portfolios-------- some truly exceptional entries that I was pleased to get the chance to experience" -Stéphanie Bush "WOW factor: for we were lucky enough to do it and meet so many artists and maybe the real prize was what we as individuals took away with us" - Christopher Leach (representing the UK). Jackie Cytrynbaum with her prize winning photographs of the Florence Metro; courtesy of the artist: www.collections.ic.gc.ca/waic/jacytr/jacytr_e.htm Each participant received a copy of the hardbound catalogue which weighs 10 to 12 lb: " was something to take home!" - Rosi Jory "catalogue of work shows some fantastic art work" - Ken Curley "In all fairness to the organizers, the catalogue was flawlessly produced and must have been a huge undertaking." - Helen Lucas Addresses and email addresses were not included and possibly reflects a policy not to publish personal information and that contact with the artist should be made through Arte Studio. Mailed later was a CD-ROM of the event, showing images of art on the grounds of the Fortessa da Basso and in the streets of Florence, the exhibition space, as well as presentations, and interviews with artists----a keepsake. Reaction to the quality of work varied and for a show this size it would be unlikely for all comments to be favourable, but: "some truly exceptional entries that I was pleased to get the chance to experience" - Stéphanie Bush "Saw some excellent, thought provoking and evocative art by obvious professionals. However considering we had been chosen by art critic and historians I was aghast by some of the other things" - Wally Ballach "my favourite pieces were the political art. They conveyed strong universal messages about war, peace, the role of women and the issures affecting our world" - Danuszia Mordasiewicz "John Spike and Matty Roca, members of the International Jury which selects prize winners, provided the artists with impromptu critiques: 'pleasant bonuses'" - Susan Johnson "I was one of the people who inherited the "list" with all the names of the people who wished to be critiqued by Dr. Spike....... This very THIRST to be judged and valued was simply amazing. Dr. Spike,......freely and spontaneously gave of his time, day after day.......he had the guts to admit that he was not knowledgeable in all fields, that he was only Western-culture trained and still had to learn how to become literate in the modern multiplicity of cultures" - Rosi Jory "it was Dr. Spike's critique which contributed to giving this whole experience the highlight of my life as an artist-thus far." - Barbara Mercer Critiques of artists' work by John Spike. Courtesy of Rosi Jory; www.saintjohnartclub.com/artists.html Many comments indicated that the number of visitors to the show were not near the numbers quoted for the 1999 exhibition (40,000) and artists' estimates suggested about 10,000 visitors. "My feeling of the show was that it was held at a bad time of year and it would probably draw more people in a different season........disappointed but not surprised by the lack of attendance." - J. Mac That it takes place prior to Christmas has it pros and cons: a chance to visit Italy in its off season is a plus. In an already heavily populated city with narrow streets, packed with bicycles, mopeds, mini cars and buses, an exhibition in the summer would make seeing the sights much more difficult; while in the winter season, line-ups and jostling are greatly reduced: "How wonderful it was to be in the Palazzo Vecchio with not another soul in sight ( it was early in the morning). I had the whole palace to myself and took my time looking and photographing without being jostled by the hordes, as is usually the case" - Wally Ballach Many Southern Ontario studio tours take place in the fall in an attempt to promote tourism in the off-season. It is difficult to know if world events affected attendance. Again, a southern Ontario example, tourism in 2003 had fallen significantly with estimates of as much as 40% with blame being place on the aftermath of the Iraq war, and SARS, as some of the factors. On the other hand, holding the event in a non-tourist season will likely decrease the number of visitors. Some artists felt that the fees were fair while others found them too high. The entry fee was 1800 Eurodollars; 1500 fee + 300 V.A.T (a 20% tax). Comparing the Florence Biennale fee with the fee for the Toronto Art Expo to be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) in March and based on a conversion rate of 1.61 Canadian for 1 eurodollar: the biennale is more expensive for the allotted space. On another comparison level, at the MTCC, the artist rents space but is responsible for the rest: displays either rented or owned, electrical power which must be rented, auxiliary lighting (almost required), rented or owned, and other booth furniture, while at the biennale, the artist or the shipper simply had to hang the art. If one considers that a can of cola was 3 euro ($4.80 Cdn) in a snack bar compared $1.00 in the same sort of eating establishment in Canada, it might just be said that Europe is expensive. But perhaps the opportunity to exhibit on an international stage outweighs what many, but not all, Canadian artists thought to be high costs. Lilian Broca discussing her prize winning mosaic with John Spike. courtesy the artist; www.lilianbroca.com Thoughts on organisation seemed to depend on the experience of the artist: "it was very positive experience for me.........I did not expect anything and since it was my first exhibition I was happy that they looked at my art and decided it is good enough to be shown there" - Nel Kwiatkowska "show was remarkably well organized, given the number of languages and artists present" - Sandra Bray "The organizers deserve my BRAVO for their expertise, soul and guts.........also admired the Arte studio secretaries, their speedy pre-Biennale email replies, their competence, cheerfulness and efforts to overcome fatigue during the Biennale, their Post-Biennale taking care of things" - Rosi Jory "Once the exhibition was up it looked organized. I understand the fault for the show not being hung on time was due to another event not vacating the premises until the day before" - Helen Lucas "I mostly have excellent comments about the event, except for the set up and set-off." - Antoine Gaber "found the organisation to be good considering the enormity of the event" - Barbara Mercer "I didn't have any problems with the organizers, found (the secretaries) very pleasant and helpful" - Carol Taylor Other artists were moderately to highly dissatisfied with the organisation of the event. However, considering that the previous exhibition overstayed its time by a day, it meant that the technical committee of Arte Studio, in charge of set up, had one day instead of two to prepare the exhibition panels and displays for over 600 artists in the Central Pavilion. Gordon Becker's prize winning sculpture. Courtesy of the artist. www.gordonbecker.com Many artists were disappointed in the lack of government funding especially since this exhibition was designated a cultural event and not an art sale although sales do take place. One Canadian withdrew from the exhibition because of the lack of funding and in doing so lost his deposit (a photograph of his work was still published in the catalogue). There were 3 private sponsorships and 3 government grants. The New Brunswick Arts Council funded two artists, Carol Taylor and Rosi Jory, and Canada Council for the Arts sponsored a third, Gordon Becker. When a comparison is made, of 237 Americans, 49 were sponsored giving a ration of 5:1; while 37 Canadians, 6 were sponsored giving a ratio of 6:1. It would seem other artists in other countries had difficulty finding sponsors. The majority of the negative comments were directed to show organisation, and the handling of the artwork by the shippers. Some felt that the maze type displays which in some sense provided visual variety were detrimental to the actual viewing of the art. In general, in the words of Ernestine Tahedl, the Biennale "met expectations in some way but could be improved". Several artists including myself expressed concerns that the show was too large, but: "I agree that it is huge but the opportunities are also big. I am aware of several artists that got some contracts with Galleries in Milan and other places as well" - Antoine Gaber But then, there is Florence!!! The words of Helen Lucas sum up the general opinion: "Florence is, for an artist, this most exquisite city in the world. To visit its museums, treasures, churches, to walk its streets, to come upon things like Dante's home - to do all of this with few tourists to compete with - was well worth the trip. I treasure my memories of Florence". ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004 Mary-Lou Ashton View Mary-Lou's artwork on her website: www.artistsincanada.com/mashton.