Tag Archives: art

Back from Africa

Art Building Children’s Dreams is an organization that provides financial assistance to schools and families at risk, by using children’s art to raise funds for their education and community development.

As part of the twelve volunteer Canadian team, I went to Tanzania to be an art teacher. I designed a mandala for the students to paint. Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘lotus blossom’ and cultures from all over the world draw them. As well as an art form, the mandala is about the process of healing.

The Tanzania Mandala was designed with images that would be easily recognizable by the children and for their specific meaning. The torch is Tanzania’s symbol for freedom. The butterfly personifies transformation and willingness to change. The elephant represents strength and patience. The Baobab tree exemplifies shelter, food, water and fire.

Amedusi wants to be a doctor. He is 13 years old. He lives alone, sleeps in the home of his deceased parents and goes to his grandmothers for food. It is difficult for me to fathom this type of life and imagine his dream as a reality.

Working with these children taught me to be with what is. Limiting my thinking of a situation as difficult is grounded in a belief that promotes judgement. This belief system requires something to be ‘ugly’ for us to recognize beauty.

The giraffe doesn’t think that that rhino is more beautiful or uglier than it is. They are devoid of judgement. The children of Tanzania taught me to be more aware of compartmentalizing everything as good or bad; right or wrong.

I became the student, and with this new perception, I can view John as the healer he wants to be and offer encouragement without attaching an outcome.

Artcures Inc. will soon have prints of painted mandalas available suitable for framing with proceeds donated to ABCD.

Visit www.artcures.ca for more information.
Herbert Pryke is founder of Artcures Inc. an Aurora based non profit organization that believes in the power of art to restore, repair and renew.



Mentorship in Motion

I’m honoured to be asked to participate in the 2nd annual Arts Exposed York Region Arts and Culture Conference, November 2 and 3rd at Seneca College, Markham.

I will be on a panel sharing my views of the importance of collaboration.


noun 1. the action of working with someone to create something.

Mentorship in Motion is a collaboration of professional artists and young people living with a challenge. It’s happening here in York Region.

I am one of the artists in this 1st annual six team project. It has been a humbling experience.

At first introductions, Michael and I shared one thing. We were both diagnosed with cancer. The difference between us is Michael is going into Grade 11. My trek with cancer is finished; Michael is still on his journey. We have been working together on a 36 by 36 inch wooden panel.

The artwork from each team is complete. Each artwork is completely different; each very special. This exhibit will open at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on October 26th at a special event; The Power of Art. The original artwork will be unveiled, the artists present to speak about their experience and to sell signed limited edition prints of their artwork. Proceeds from the sale of these prints will be donated to a charity of each teams choice. These include: Dramaway, SickKids, Geneva Centre for Autism, KC’s Cancer Cushion Fund, Bereaved Families of Ontario – York Region and the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness.

When motives are authentic enthusiasm builds. Artists from across York Region have been donating their original artwork as door prizes for this opening event. Imagine, for the cost of a $50 ticket, you view the exhibit, be entertained by Joanna Grace on piano, Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra Flute trio, Steppin’Out Theatrical Productions and then take home an original artwork.

The collaboration continues. During the event Anna Stanisz, Programs and Education Curator for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will have an announcement.

The Mentorship Exhibit will on tour for three months. To purchase tickets to the opening event, read about our mentorship teams and view the tour schedule, visit www.artcures.ca

No doubt I’ll be talking about the consequence of collaboration to reach more people in our community and share the importance art has to restore, repair and renew.

Dedicated, Passionate Volunteers are what make good things happen in Communities and in the Arts!

When people decide to help create something wonderful together for their community and the arts it makes a difference.
The Aurora jazz+ Festival began as a one day trial in conjunction with the Aurora Farmers Market back in 2009.  Given its success, the next year it grew to a 2 day event and finally in 2011 we had a full-fledged 3 day festival in Town Park with over 6,000 patrons, 2 stages, 20 food vendors, booths, 28 musical acts, 20 visual artists and so much more.

Happily all this community effort by dedicated Board members and hundreds of volunteers has brought this festival recognition as one of the Top 100 Festival/Events in Ontario  by Festival & Events Ontario: 

Such recognition and achievement supports the artists, musicians and our culture, while stimulating tourism and economic development in York Region
making the festival site a destination location!  A big spotlight is now on the Aurora jazz+ Festival for 2012!!  Thanks to all our dedicated volunteers,
sponsors, entertainers and artists.

Please join us for the 2012 Aurora jazz+ Festival – August 3 – 5 Town Park www.aurorajazzfest.com for more information.

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Know your rights

 In the age of unoriginality and plagiarism, it must be a nagging thought in the back of every artist’s mind. What if someone infringes on my intellectual property? The recent news that Apple Computer is trying to deal with problematic fake retail outlets in China just shows that even the biggest of them all becomes a target.

Recently I’ve been exposed to a little infringing of my own, but after subscribing to a visual artists’ legal clinic, I found that I have intellectual property powerhouse, Torys LLP waiting in the wings.

The Canadian Copyright Law is fairly cut and dried. Basically, when an artist creates a piece of work, they own first copyright. You can even register that copyright at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), however, if your creation is digital it automatically is date-stamped with a embedded creation date. Make sure all of your work has a © copyright symbol on it with the publication date.

I was surfing the internet lately and came upon a search engine called Copyscape. This tool uses the power of the major search engines to find infringing content. By entering my personal website domain, I found that an artist in Eastern Ontario had copied my profile text word for word. The search algorithm looks for the oldest version of text and compares it with indexed sites. Usually this kind of situation sorts itself out with a simple cease and desist order. Further action will require my legal counsel. Every page on my website has a © symbol on it with All Rights Reserved to me. Protect your website images by not making them too large. Web-ready files are too small and pixelated to enlarge for reproduction. There are scams out there whereby the artist is asked for the rights to reproduce your art for wallpapers. Invariably the artist is asked for a high resolution image. By giving this image up, unruly people will print and produce your work for money that you never see. Remember, if its too good to be true, don’t do it.

For professional graphic artists, the Canadian copyright laws also protects your intellectual property rights for volunteered ‘pro bono’ creative work. The key is that when no payment has been made, or no rights have been transferred, you own first copyright. If however you created something in the employment of a creative business, you do not own the copyright. This also affects writers and performers.

The Copyright laws were to be amended before the latest Federal elections to protect digital recordings, the use of digital players and more. You can visit the CIPO website to view Bill C-42. You can also learn more about other rights concerning your art.

The bottom line is to protect the integrity of ownership by using the © on everything you do, and take action on any infringements of your rights.


Putting a price on Art

I was recently having a chat with a fellow artist and we both shared a similar view that most people don’t put much value on art these days.

Two things in particular have contributed the demise and de-valuation of commercial art – the recession and the internet.

The recession has hit many businesses hard with budget cuts and funds for better creative has suffered. The internet, although it has exponentially increased resources and exposure for art and artists alike, has also reduced their value. Because people can go online and download services, they don’t want to pay fair price to a talented, qualified professional right in their own backyard.

The unwillingness to pay fairly for art is wide spread. The market simply is encouraged to demand cheap prices for the same quality of work that was readily paid for years ago. The “I can get it cheaper” thinking has been the norm for a while now and yes, you can get it cheaper. There is always going to be someone willing to give his or her talent away out there but where is the lasting value?

We have bought into the good life for nothing mentality but it seems to be focused on the arts. Creativity and artistic expression is subjective in many ways but if it is to be purchased and marketed then shouldn’t it be valued fairly?

Business and society really needs to start or re-start respecting the arts.

A society that does not respect art and culture is morally bankrupt and is doomed to be an empty machine that cranks out joyless, cogs that leave no legacy. The price society pays is a big one.

We need to re-evaluate the arts in our society because right now the value is too low.

Making Art


Herbert Pryke

By: Herbert Pryke

Opinions about art keep changing; not only today, but throughout history. The History of Taste – which is part of the History of Art – is a continuous process of discarding established values and inventing new ones. It is impossible to measure the merits of works of art as a scientist measures distances.

Art is imagination and has no boundaries. Art is the creative process of our imagination and our attempt to give it form. The hand tries to carry out the commands of the imagination and puts down a brushstroke. The result may not be quite what had been expected from the mind; partly because the image in the artist ʼs mind is constantly shifting and changing, so that the commands of the imagination cannot be precise.

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