It is all original art and none of it existed before last December.
So, the creative process took place during the darkest days of a Yukon winter.
And that, says Tara McCarthy, is the whole idea behind Dark Days.
It is a visual art/performance show taking place at the Old Fire Hall until Saturday, Feb. 28.
As a member of Red Wagon Union, the producers of the show, McCarthy says she was there when fellow members Morgan Whibley and Joseph Tisiga discussed the need for another art show of original works.
Acknowledging that Whitehorse already has lots of art shows, they followed their “why not?” attitude to spark new creations with the added challenge of establishing the theme of “dark days”.
“Dark days can be interpreted as ‘loss of light’ or it could lead to commentary,” says McCarthy, taking only a second to come up with an example, “… the recession.
“It was just a reason to create and artists are thrilled with the opportunity to create something new.”
Of the 15 artists/performers who were chosen, McCarthy says she was not aware, one week out, of what will end up on display.
She did have a view into the creative process of poet Michael Reynolds. When his original idea of creating an audio of wintertime experiences in the North did not work out as he had hoped, he considered intertwining his poetry.
McCarthy says just a poem by Reynolds would have been fine, but then Reynolds got excited about another idea and will now hang pages of a work-in-progress across the Fire Hall floor on a clothes line.
By viewing each page, people can see how a polished poem emerges and perhaps gain insight into how Reynolds processes his thoughts.
This is all speculation because, “I can’t describe it,” says McCarthy. “We haven’t seen it and it is so exciting.”
A little more is known about Jessica Vellenga’s project because she submitted a “gorgeous proposal”.
The Yukon Arts Centre Gallery intern is experimenting with textiles to describe her thoughts of her first winter in the Yukon.
One interesting trend is developing and that is the collaboration between those you would not expect.
For instance, bluesman Ryan McNally, a traditionalist, has teamed up with alternative musician, Kyle Cashen, who experiments with familiar and unfamiliar sounds from found objects.
Then there is Gary Bremner, a local electrician who also has a photography business, who built a bird cage with his trade’s copper wire for Fiona Solon’s crocheted owls.
The piece is called, Caged Clarkes.
“People know Fiona as a singer and from producing Varietease,” says McCarthy. “But little do they know that she crochets.”
Another collaboration – Whibley’s photography with Tisiga’s art – will go to the highest bidder of a silent auction.
It will be decided in the final hour of the Art & Jam Finale Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m.
That day, there will be various performances of spoken word, guitar and other acts to celebrate the “coming out of winter”.
Thursday and Friday nights, Feb. 26 and 27, there will be performances written for Dark Days starting at 8 p.m. The doors will be open at 7 p.m. so that patrons can view the visual art.
Admission is free for those who want to just see the visual art and just $5 for those who want to stay for the stage performance.
“There’s no money to be made here,” shrugs McCarthy. “We just want to pay the rental and give the performers something.”
The silent auction proceeds will be distributed to the artists and performers, too.
Helping them is a donation from Wines By Design and another $5,000 in support from the Yukon Arts Fund. And food has been donated by Alpine Bakery and Umbellula Café.
Raising money for their own good causes will be Learning Disabilities Association of Yukon, Yukon Quest and Teaching English as a Second Language in Canada. Each will take turns running a cash bar at the event.
As much as McCarthy and the other members of Red Wagon Union – Tommy Aird, Whibley, Cashen and Tisiga – haven’t seen much of what was created for Dark Days beforehand, it suddenly became real when they saw the poster for the first time.
“Yeah,” said McCarthy, “this is real.”