Date: Family Guide Release: Fall 2021 Writing Workshops:From 2-4 PM on February 17, March 17, April 14 and May 19, 2021
Partner: The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto Writers Collective
Location: Family Guide Past Archives: https://www.thepowerplant.org/ProgramsEvents/Programs/Power-Kids.aspx
Writing Workshops: https://www.thepowerplant.org/ProgramsEvents/Programs/Other-Programs/Virtual-Writing-Workshop-(16).aspx
Project Members: Melissa Mertsis and Christina Ugge
Our exhibition project, in collaboration with the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and the Toronto Writers Collective, consisted of two main parts. The first part of our project included the development of an eight-page Family Guidefor the Fall 2021 Miriam CahnexhibitionME AS HAPPENING, including various activities and interactives for family audiences and children aged 7-12. The second part of our project included the creation and facilitation of four Creative Writing Workshops in collaboration with the Toronto Writers Collective, presented to the public from February to May 2021. These workshops featured various artworks by Howie Tsui and Nathan Eugene Carson, both of whom are currently on display at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.
Based on Swiss contemporary artist Miriam Cahn and her upcoming exhibition at the Power Plant titled AS HAPPENING, we developed an eight-page Family Guide for visitors to use while they visit the exhibition either in-person or online. This guide has been created for family units with children ages 7-12 and is intended to increase engagement and interactivity with artworks in this exhibition. The guide contains several activities including observation questions, an I-Spy challenge, critical thinking and creativity exercises, as well as a take-home writing prompt. We developed the content and visual layout of the guide and will further collaborate with a professional graphic designer for the official design of the PDF & print version that will be released in Fall 2021.
In addition to the Family Guide, we also created and helped facilitate four creative writing workshops in collaboration with the Toronto Writers Collective. Two of these workshops highlighted artworks by Hamilton-based artist Nathan Eugene Carson, and the other two focused on artworks by Vancouver-based artist Howie Tsui. Both Nathan Eugene Carson and Howie Tsui are currently on display at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. These workshops introduce various themes, concepts, and artistic processes present in Carson and Tsui’s artworks that are further solidified for participants through prompt-based creative writing exercises. Our responsibilities included choosing artworks, researching the artist, developing writing prompts, and designing the presentation slides for the workshop. Additionally, we acted as arts educators during the workshops, explaining the artists’ practices and guiding participants through visual thinking strategies, before revealing the daily writing prompt. These workshops are based on the Amherst Artists & Writers Method, promoting a safe and open space for participants to write, explore, share, and learn.
We would like to thank our collaborators at The Power Plant and Toronto Writers Collective for their support, flexibility, and encouragement throughout the development of the Fall 2021 Family Guide and the Writing Workshops. Our project underwent various transformations due to COVID-19, and we thank our supervisors for their quick thinking, adaptability, and ongoing support while our project pivoted throughout the semester. We have endless gratitude to our professor Dr. Agnieszka Chalas, and our Teaching Assistants Camille-Mary Sharp and Haley Bryant. Thank you to these three wonderful individuals for their encouragement, empathy, and support throughout every step of our capstone project. Finally, thank you to the artists, Howie Tsui, Nathan Eugene Carson, and Miriam Cahn, without whom we would not have had the art to share or stories to tell- we are privileged to have had the opportunity to share the work of such brilliant creators.