A Celebration of Lives Lived and Lives Dreamt Of

Press Release
March 17, 2002

A Celebration of Lives Lived and Lives Dreamt Of
An artistic look at the inner worlds of seniors and children

The Avenue Road Arts School, in collaboration with the Symes 55+ Centre, Dennis Avenue Public School, and Ottawa artist, Jerry Grey, will be mounting an exhibit at BCE Place from March 18 to April 5, 2002, entitled: A Celebration of Lives Lived and Lives Dreamt Of. The show will combine the artwork of seniors, children and a professional artist who has created a series of portraits of old people entitled Rare Spirits: A Personal Tribute to Vintage Elders.

Purpose
The purpose of the show will be to draw attention to the inner resources of remarkable senior citizens and, at the same time, celebrate the inner life of children as depicted through representations of their dreams. These two groups have much in common and we can all learn a great deal from their artistic expression.

Intergenerational Activities
The show will afford many opportunities for children and old folks to come together in a meaningful way. The launch of this exhibit at BCE Place will include a performance by an intergenerational choir consisting of members of the Symes 55+ Centre and Grades 4 and 5 children from Dennis Avenue Public School (an inner city school). For the last three months a teacher from the Avenue Road Arts School has been working with the children and seniors to prepare for this event. Even before the two choirs join together, they will participate in writing letters to each other and will therefore connect in a significant way.

As part of the show we would also like to offer weekend hands-on art activities appropriate for both seniors and children so that they could work side by side on producing their own creations. Crayola Canada will provide materials for these activities.

The Artwork
The children’s work will include pieces from the first exhibit of the Avenue Road Children’s Art Gallery, entitled What Children Dream Of, which recently opened at the CBC building on Front Street. The BCE show will include many additional works created by children from Dennis Avenue Public School and students of the Avenue Road Arts School. The seniors’ work represents the culmination of a project that the Avenue Road Arts School has undertaken in conjunction with the Symes 55+ Centre, a drop-in facility for the ‘well elderly’ in one of the highest risk areas of the city, near St. Clair and Jane Street. They have created a Cloak of Many Memories which they have been working on for several months.

Renowned Artist Jerry Grey
Ottawa-based artist Jerry Grey’s portrait series – Rare Spirits: A Personal Tribute to Vintage Elders has been exhibited to great critical acclaim in Ottawa and Vancouver. It includes both black-and-white and colour pastels of many distinguished senior Canadians, including Bill Reid, Doris Shadbolt and Louis Rasminsky. The show is a remarkable expression of the depth and resourcefulness that comes with aging.

Venue
Because BCE Place is such a heavily trafficked area (20,000 per day), we see this as a wonderful opportunity to give people in the business world exposure to the artwork and inner lives of children and seniors in a thought-provoking, engaging manner.

Avenue Road Arts School History and Mission
The Avenue Road Arts School was founded in 1993 with the purpose of offering high quality experiences in the arts to people of all ages in a relaxed and congenial environment. The school has grown from 200 students in the first year to more than 1,000 students at this time. In 1995, the school established a charitable organization, Arts for Children of Toronto, which raises money to provide scholarships to children to attend classes at the Arts School and to fund projects designed to have a positive impact on large numbers of children. To date, several hundred children have attended the school on scholarship.

Previous Exhibits
The last show that the Avenue Road Arts School mounted – a Millennium Project entitled Walking in the Shoes of the Masters; Children Look at Art Through Time, was initially presented at Metro Hall. After a successful ten-day stay, the show was invited to the Atrium of BCE Place. The school has been invited back to BCE Place with carte blanche – this time for three weeks. The last exhibit was sponsored by The Toronto Millennium Fund, the Toronto Community Foundation, C.A. Delaney Capital Management, the Edward Bronfman Family Foundation and Gluskin Sheff + Associates.

This exhibit will have a positive impact on large numbers of people – both participants and observers. It’s an exciting opportunity to promote the value of the artmaking experience in a new context, as well as to showcase the remarkable work of young and old alike.

For further information, contact Lola Rasminsky at: (416) 961-5343 or by email at: lola@avenueroadartsschool.com

The Galleria is open to the public from 8 am until midnight every day, March 18 to April 5, 2002. Admission is free. BCE Place, 181 Bay Street, Toronto.

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