Dunlop Art Gallery’s educational programming

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A romantic candlelight bundle of flowers, yummy. Lon Christenson via Unsplash

I’m going to say something that’s potentially a little weird: the thought of a world without libraries keeps me up at night. Seriously!

If you don’t need much more than to check out the new Stephen King book, you might not realize all the crucial things that your public library system does for the community. They are pretty much the only place left in the world that you can go and not have to spend money. There’s almost always one within walking distance. Libraries are the heart of our communities, and I’m always excited to feature library programming here at the Carillon, most importantly because the more utilized and better attended library programs are, the better funded they will be!

That’s why I’ve always admired the work that Sarah Pitman does. Pitman is the arts educator for the Dunlop Art Gallery, a part of the Regina Public Library. If you’ve ever attended a Date Night, a Quick and Dirty Artist Talk session, or an Art School session, it’s likely one that she organized! There’s more to libraries than just books.

“[The] Dunlop Art Gallery and Regina Public Library help in fostering an inclusive community for lifelong learning,” Pitman says. “We offer free and open access to resources, community space where people and ideas meet, as well as programs and services that support literacy, curiosity, and discovery… We also work with local organizations such as Regina Open Door Society, Canadian National Institute of the Blind, and SaskAbilities to provide quality accessible educational arts programming to the community.”

Pitman notes that, due to the pandemic, the gallery tries to offer an in person and online option for every event. “We encourage folks to invite their friends and family from anywhere around the world to join them,” Pitman says. Other branches of the library also host workshops on building portfolios for job applications, writing, accounting, crafting, gardening, and much, much more!

In addition to being accessible for all, Pitman notes that the gallery has made it their mission this year to focus “on sustainability, using recyclable and easily accessible materials for several of our program offerings […] Often these materials are things that you can find lying around your home, like cardboard or recyclable plastics,” Pitman says. She adds that they “also offer supply kits to Regina residents, which are available upon request after program registration.” This way you don’t even have to worry about not having the right materials to participate!

I asked Pitman to break down the gallery’s mission and planning for their big events, and this is what she had to say:

Date Nights

This bi-monthly event was meant to be the central focus of this article, but the Dunlop just has so many other awesome things going on that deserve attention. At Date Night, participants are invited to “travel virtually around the world and learn about a variety of art topics and create an artwork in spirit of the program theme.” What makes these nights so unique is that they aren’t expensive or restricted only to romantic partners.

“Our Date Nights are not your typical romantic outing,” Pitman says. They are “geared for a variety of relationships!” The Dunlop “encourage[s] participants to invite their friends, family, or partners to join in the fun, and since we also offer this programming online, it is open to folks globally.” You don’t even have to be in Regina to participate!

The next Date Night is a “Mixed Media Botanicals” theme and takes place on Tuesday, February 15, from 7 to 8 p.m. in-person at Sherwood Village Branch and online via Zoom. In April, the theme is “Malleable Maquettes,” and is happening on Thursday, April 14, from 7 to 8 p.m. in-person at George Bothwell Branch and online via Zoom.

Art Experiments

These art-making sessions take place bi-monthly and are “not focused on perfection, but on the spirit of risk-taking.” The sessions are appropriate for all ages. “You never know,” Pitman says, “you might end up making good art in the process.”

There’s an upcoming “Stuffed Creatures” session that takes place on Wednesday, March 30, from 7 to 8 p.m. in-Person at Albert Branch and online via Zoom.

Art Adventures

In these bi-monthly sessions, “participants learn about a variety of art topics and create an artwork inspired by the theme, which are often STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) based activities.” This one is aimed at kids ages 5 to 12 and their guardians.

The next Art Adventure is the “Moving Picture Zoetropes” session on Thursday, February 24, from 1 to 2 p.m. in-person at Glen Elm Branch and online via Zoom.

Quick & Dirty Artist Talks

These are a part of an evening series of short talks by community artists, where “talented creators” come together to “talk about their inspirations and creative processes” in three minutes or less. As someone who has given one of these talks, I know the atmosphere to be fantastic and very welcoming. These artist talks are a great place to spend the evening!

The next one, which is part of the “Metamorphosis” series, takes place on Tuesday, March 8at The Artesian and online via Zoom, with doors opening at 7 p.m. According to Pitman, the lineup features “MELODNA, Regina Word Up, Creative City Centre, Regina’s Art Supply Exchange, and more!”

Global Beading Circle

Pitman describes this bi-monthly event as “a safe and open space for sharing culture, ideas, and art” for beaders everywhere! The next session is dedicated to working on beaded picture frames with Shelley Niro and takes place on Tuesday, March 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This event is only happening on Zoom.

Art School

This “is a program for emerging artists, that provides opportunities to connect with established artists in group discussions about professional art practice.” The main goal is to “[g]et feedback about your own artwork and learn how to advance your career through the advice of an experienced artist.” Those wanting to participate can contact wpeart@reginalibrary.ca to register, since the event has limited seats. The next workshop is happening Friday, February 18,and is facilitated by Shelley Niro.

If you’re interested in seeing what other programming is happening this year, Pitman invites you to check out the Dunlop (or the library’s) Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube. You can register for any events on the library’s website, reginalibrary.ca. You can also sign up for an e-newsletter from the site, if that’s your jam!

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