If you’re a Yukon resident, you’ve no doubt walked, biked or skied the trodden path of the Miles Canyon trail. Perhaps you’ve observed the gradient of the canyon’s rocky columns, watched canoeists paddling from atop the suspension bridge, or glanced down at the emerald waters pulsing below. But have you ever had the firsthand experience of watching an artist portray their interpretation of the historic landmark?
If you haven’t, the Yukon Conservation Society’s annual Created at the Canyon event happening on July 14th and 15th will allow you to do just that.
This is the sixth year that the event, offered through the Yukon Conservation Society’s Guided Nature Hikes Program, has taken place. It features six local artists, each of whom will create an original work of art inspired by the culturally and ecologically significant landscape of Miles Canyon. The six participating artists are Shirley Adamson – painting and storytelling, Gorellaume – large-scale ink drawings, Anne Hoerber – encaustic (wax) painting, Françoise La Roche – tapestry and rug hooking, Helen O’Connor – paper making and sculpture and Sheelah Tolton – painting and sketch.
“The great thing about this event is that it provides people with a great opportunity to see the canyon through a different perspective – six perspectives in fact!” says Yukon Conservation Society’s Outreach and Communications Manager Julia Duchesne.
Duchesne and team made the artist selections this past week, which was no easy task with a large selection pool of new and returning artists.
While the event has showcased fantastic returning artists in the past, Duchesne says that this year, the society made the decision to feature emerging artists only, making for an exciting debut for the selected first time participants. The feature artists use a variety of different mediums – from paint, to sculpture, to rug hooking, to large scale drawing.
“We’re really lucky this year to have Ta’an Kwach’an and Kwanlin Dün artist Shirley Adamson,” Duchesne says. “She paints, beads, sews and will be sharing stories as part of the event.”
Duchesne says that the wilderness based event is special in that it provides artists with a space where they can explore and share their unique way of looking at the world with others.“Most people who live in the Yukon are appreciative and connected to nature, but the event allows artists the chance to sit down and work on art in nature, with an audience.”
During the free outdoor event, the public will have an opportunity to walk along the canyon trail to enjoy the views and interact with artists, who will be located within easy walking distance from the Miles Canyon bridge.
There will be two-hour interpretive hikes offered at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., stopping along the way to interact with artists and hear about their inspiration, or individuals can grab a self-guided map at the Yukon Conservation Society tent located at the Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge.
Following the two day event, there will be a launch party and month-long art exhibition in August at the Northern Front Studio, where attendees can meet the artists and purchase artwork if interested. Duchesne says that artists are so appreciative of this month-long exhibit as it provides a great jumping off point for sales and for future exhibits.
In this way, artists may gather inspiration or develop a style of working that might allow for further exploration and creativity. Duchesne gives the example of photographer and artist Pat Bragg who participated in last year’s event. Bragg took photos of Miles Canyon and embellished these images with beads.
“She received great feedback and then went on to hold an exhibition at Arts Underground after being inspired by the event,” Duchesne says.
Created at the Canyon will take place Friday, July 14th from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday July 15th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is available at the Miles Canyon parking lot or people can walk from the Chadburn Lake trails.
Daily hikes are also offered by Yukon Conservation Society at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday. These guided hikes take place from Miles Canyon to Canyon City and run from June through August 19th.
Funding for this project is made possible through the assistance of the Yukon Government Arts Fund and the Department of Tourism and Culture. “The best way to help conserve the beauty and landscape is to get people out into nature and to encourage people to enjoy nature in their own way,” Duchesne says.
“We want to meet people where they are and see what they are interested in. The more people care about nature and spend time in nature, the more it inspires people to get involved in conservation.”
For more information, visit www.YukonConservation.org or the Created at the Canyon’s page on Facebook.