Art for artists’ sakes

The Yukon has plenty of artists who don't make a lot of money. It can be tough for them to make ends meet. But when a personal tragedy forces them to stop working, it can be impossible.

The Yukon has plenty of artists who don’t make a lot of money.

It can be tough for them to make ends meet. But when a personal tragedy forces them to stop working, it can be impossible.

“Most artists live on the poverty line, and without the social safety net that many of us have,” said MJ Warshawski.

Six months ago, Warshawski, owner of Coast Mountain Sports, and her friend Harreson Tanner, a local artist, began working on a solution to the hard-luck problem.

They’ve formed the Yukon Artist Relief Fund.

“When an artist has a personal tragedy or a serious illness, they can apply for what we’re calling bridge financing,” said Warshawski.

These funds exist in other parts of the country, but until now there hasn’t been anything like it in the Yukon.

It’s something Tanner has wanted to do for years.

When he helped start the co-operative Yukon Artists at Work almost a decade ago, it was one of the corner stone ideas, he said.

But up until now they’ve been limited to helping when they can.

“Over the past eight or nine years we’ve had to have fundraisers for artists that have been injured in a car accident or had a heart attack, but it’s such a kind of frantic knee-jerk reaction,” said Tanner. “We always felt that as a co-op there should be some legacy, some money available so that when something does happen there is no panic.

“We don’t want to make it hard to get,” said Warshawski. “It’s the easy money to float you to get the hard money.”

“If a guy’s had a heart attack and he’s lying on his bed and he’s worried about whether or not his mortgage is getting paid, he can apply and it’s a very simple process,” said Tanner. “It’s going to be a good thing to bridge the gap for the long term alternatives that are available.”

To get it up and running, they are hosting a fundraiser, Canvas Confidential, this Saturday at the Old Fire Hall.

In December, 60 blank canvases were distributed to artists. Of those, 51 were returned as original works of art.

All these pieces have been signed on the back, and the artists have been encouraged to break away from their personal style. “Right now it’s all under wraps, so we can preserve the identity of the artists,” said Warshawski.

At Saturday’s benefit, you’ll find two tiers of supporters.

Attendees who bought the more expensive “Art and Fun” tickets will have their names drawn to select a work of art to take home. The rest won’t have a crack at the art, but they can enjoy live Jazz music from Trio Du Jour and three wine tasting tables.

“At 10 o’clock, we’ll unveil who created what art,” said Warshawski. “You may own a piece that’s worth more than your ticket price, or maybe not, but you had a great evening and you supported a good cause.”

The Yukon arts community has always been very generous in donating works of art to fundraise for various causes, said Tanner.

“In this case, the recipients of the money will be the artists when they most need it,” he said.

“I think we’ve got the seeds of an annual event here,” said Warshawski. “It should be a fun evening and it’s a chance to dress up.”

“I’m wearing a tuxedo,” said Tanner.

Tickets can be purchased at Coast Mountain Sports. Art and Fun tickets are $175 apiece. General admission Just for Fun tickets are $75.

As of press time, there were only 12 Art and Fun tickets still available.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read