Artfest Kingston is delighted to welcome Artistic Futures to our Canada Day Weekend show in City Park. Artistic Futures provides support to Kingston area artists with special needs in developing independent art practices. Working with a professional artist mentor, emerging artists get one on one support in developing the studio skills and routines that allow them produce and exhibit their work.
It is well known that art making can provide therapeutic benefits, but for certain individuals it can become a genuine life skill, offering direction, a sense of pride and purpose. It allows special needs adults to contribute to their communities and potentially become a source of income for them. This unique program strives to be a leader in promoting inclusiveness and diversity in the arts and offers a possibility for individuals who are too often assumed to not have the potential for a professional occupation.
Artworks by Nicolas Steiner Bell, Keifer Blight and Hayden Kaack will be on display and available for purchase at this year's Artfest Kingston. All proceeds from art sales go directly to the artists and their families. Please support this new and vital program that helps these emerging artists get started.
About Nicolas Steiner Bell
Nicolas Steiner Bell is 32 years old and lives in Kingston, Ontario. Nicolas loves the natural world and has always responded to spatial configurations and colour. Nicolas’ tendencies toward color field painting combined with his boisterous brush work has developed into complex compositions- at times featuring recurring motifs such as line and shape configurations, at other times more ‘all over’ compositional formats. These opposing approaches lead to work that falls somewhere between abstract expressionism and minimalism- a disjunct that gives his work an energy and truly vibrates with his own personal character. Recent works have incorporated spray techniques which are bringing new directions and possibilities to his paintings, offering a lightness that contrasts the heavy application of paint in his other works.
About Keifer Blight
Keifer Blight is 23 years old young and lives in Harrowsmith, Ontario. Keifer was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. Although spoken language has always been challenging for him, he revels in the visual world. His art is an ongoing exploration of that world, exhibiting exciting talents and abilities. In the two years that Keifer has worked with Artistic Futures is work has gained increasing levels of complexity as he develops ever richer sensitivity to colour. His subtly varying compositions- largely linear bands of overlapping transparent colour- combined with resonant colour relationships open windows into his mood and create simple, elegant and very atmospheric abstractions which are at once very unique and contemporary while conjuring elements of great modern abstract painters such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Recent works have incorporated spray techniques which are bringing new directions and possibilities to his paintings. Breaking from his linear works, these abstractions are amorphous and introduce an openness to natural processes outside the controlled and methodical approaches that he gravitates towards.
About Hayden Kaack
Hayden Kaack is a 23 year old living with autism and Artistic Futures’ newest artist. He is a keen observer of his natural environment and is most in his element when in the water which finds its way into his work through his fluid and energetic mark making. Hayden’s approach to painting swings between reflective restraint and exuberant, joyful outbursts with brushes, rollers and palate knives- leading to exuberant and dynamic abstract works that capture the spirit and energy of this very expressive individual. While Hayden struggles with speech he is rapidly finding his creative voice and gaining confidence as an artist. In the months since Hayden joined the program he has gained independence in his work and moved from frustration and appeals for direction to ecstatic engagement.
About Artistic Futures
Gabriel Deerman has been facilitating art sessions for young adults and adults with special needs (primarily Autism) since 2014. The program has now expanded into Kingston at The Tett Centre where three participant artists work with Garbriel. Program participants who have worked with Gabriel have gained confidence and independence in their studio work and have shared their talents and vision with the community through public exhibitions. Gabriel worked with participants and their families in planning and curating an exhibition at The Tett Centre in 2017.
Having a truly inclusive arts community must include the support needed by potential artists in getting started and navigating the complexities required in establishing a successful arts practice. This begins with studio work but includes planning exhibitions, documenting work, creating websites, submitting to calls, writing proposals and the myriad of tasks a professional artist must do in addition to creating new work. This program strives to start with the art and assist in the journey that artists with special needs must venture in the establishment of a visual arts practice.