Larkin Schmiedl's Blog

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The Art We Are making news

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Christina Grono, owner of The Art We Are, was interviewed by CBC's Rebecca Zandbergen on Radio West live Mar. 2 at The Art We Are. Photo by Larkin Schmiedl.

The Art We Are is a colourful local coffee shop, restaurant and art gallery that strives to be a community hub for music, art, relaxing and making connections.

Owner Christina Grono was interviewed on site this past Friday Mar. 2, by CBC’s Rebecca Zandbergen of Radio West.

Grono described some of her philosophy behind the café on air.  “Everyone is welcome.  I just felt that if people could express themselves in a safe place, it spreads creativity and helps growth and helps community.”

“In my travels and going to other cities I felt like we needed a place where people could create community, where they could come at all hours and be able to just feel like they could come and read their book, and be here for eight hours if they wanted to be.”

The Art We Are is quite a unique business in Kamloops, both in terms of how it looks, and how it actually feels.

As part of my project on this food blog I’ll be interviewing Grono this Wednesday.  I’ll be looking at her philosophy behind her business, and how it coincides with the type of food The Art We Are uses.

I’ll be talking with her about some of the ethical issues that arise for her as someone who is both a conscientious consumer while also being constrained by the limits of running a business.

Stay tuned for more information on the interview coming up.

Christina Grono of The Art We Are interviewed by Rebecca Zandbergen of CBC's Radio West. Photo by Larkin Schmiedl.

Written by larkinschmiedl

March 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm

TRU art gallery experiments with community building

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Larkin Schmiedl: Omega Contributor

If you visited the TRU art gallery in Old Main last week, you likely noticed a very unique exhibition.

Openwork, curated by third-year visual arts student Emily Hope, transformed the gallery into a workspace in the midst of an art installation. It ran from Jan. 26 to Feb. 4.

Students from many different disciplines gathered on the comfortable couch, chair and benches in a corner of the gallery.

Knitting, embroidery, sewing and other fibre arts made by current and recent grads of the visual arts program, and their mothers and grandmothers, were displayed alongside found objects.

Hope explained that traditionally, fibre crafting has a strong history of community-building, and her aim was, “that the same kind of thing would happen [here]—and it did.”

“Knitting’s probably the thing that most people decided they wanted to learn,” she said.

The gallery contained a sewing machine, bins of fabric, a knitting machine and a bookshelf full of instructional manuals, all of which visitors were welcome to use.

Sculptures and displays sat on the floor, atop shelves and pinned to the wall.

Visual arts student Hugo Yuen sat in the gallery and knitted a wool tie, which was then displayed as part of the exhibition. It was his first knitting project.

CBC radio played quietly beside visitors while they drank tea and coffee and shared in the many snacks in the gallery each day. Visitors chatted and shared skills with one another.

“It’s first impressions—often it’s the first minute in a gallery that determines your level of comfort,” said visual arts instructor Marnie Blair.

“If you can become comfortable in one gallery space,” Hope said, “then you can become comfortable in other gallery spaces.”

One of Hope’s other aims was to break down people’s hesitation and the feeling that they don’t belong or don’t have the education to be in an art gallery. Visitors remarked on how comfortable and relaxing the space was.

Hope estimated that an average of 40 people came through the gallery each day, and that about 10 people spent time regularly in Openwork.

See on The Omega’s website:

Written by larkinschmiedl

February 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

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