Yukoners, you are the proud (or perhaps unaware) owners of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection (YPAC). The collection holds over 350 artworks in trust for you. The collection includes paintings, beadwork, weaving, textiles, sculpture and carving. Some of them are in storage, but about half the collection is always on display in public offices, for your viewing pleasure.
Curator Garnet Meuthing rotates artwork in this “gallery” about once a year, in the springtime when weather is more amenable to moving artwork.
But unless you have business in those buildings, you might not see the artwork on display. That’s why I’ve undertaken to write a series of articles about these artworks and their impact.
Hopefully they will inspire you to make short detours in order to see your artwork with your own eyes.
Many works are displayed in the Yukon Government Main Administration Building on 2nd Avenue. Ask the receptionist at the end of the main lobby (toward the glass doors) to let you into the cabinet and caucus area to view the pieces from the YPAC.
Other locations include the City of Whitehorse offices, Copper Ridge Place, the Yukon Liquor Corporation. Altogether there are about 20 locations around Whitehorse.
McDonald Lodge in Dawson City, J. V. Clark School in Mayo, the Haines Junction Visitor Information Centre (summer), the Municipal Building in Faro, as well as the Yukon Senator’s Office in Ottawa, all contribute wall space to our territorial “gallery.” Whitehorse locations often change, as offices move and word about the collection circulates.
A prospective showing space must have public access, adequate security for the artwork (like a reception desk), a wall free of visual clutter, and reasonable environmental controls for the artwork’s preservation. For example, in the winter it would be to stressful on a painting to hang it next to an exterior door.
Workers in the selected offices don’t themselves get to select which artwork they display. The intent is to rotate the collection fairly and evenly. That being said, Meuthing “makes certain allowances.”
In the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, much of the public traffic has First Nations connections, so she often features First Nations artwork there.
In the Respectful Workplace Office, she prefers to hang work that’s “not too heavy.”
She finds that vivid, larger works are welcomed in the seniors’ Residences, and if she can find something that has a personal relationship to one of the residents, she tries to hang it there.
The hallway at Copper Ridge Place has room for about twelve pieces. If residents have their own stories to tell about a given artwork it is a benefit both to themselves and to the community.
Works from our collection are also lent out for special exhibits.
A selection hung in the Yukon Arts Centre foyer for an evening arts presentation was offered to visiting delegates at the Arctic Council in October. Fifteen pieces were also loaned to the “Dà Ze Tsàn – From our hearts” exhibition at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.
This exhibit offers viewers a deeper understanding of the Yukon First Nations sewing and weaving traditions and featured Kitty Smith’s doll, Gertie Tom’s fire bag, and many other finely worked pieces from the YPAC.
It runs until March 31, 2014.