#USEmbassyInLondon; #AwardOfExcellence; #CTBUH; #OBD; #SustainabaleInnovation
United States/Canadian-Media: The new U.S. Embassy in London was honored with a 2020 Award of Excellence Winner in the Best Tall Building Under 100 Meters category by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), a leading international organization in the field of tall buildings and urban sustainability, US Department of State reports said.
CTBUH. Image credit: Facebook page
Alongside other projects around the world that have contributed to the advancement of tall buildings and urban environments, CTBUH honored the U.S. Embassy in London and will officially present the award at the 2021 Tall & Urban Innovation Conference in May.
The building was designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm Kieran Timberlake and constructed by B.L. Harbert International and incorporates multiple energy conservation strategies, including daylight-responsive lighting and shade controls, passive and active chilled beams, efficient mechanical systems, and combined heat and power generation.
Recognized for its exceptional environmental leadership and energy-efficient design, the Embassy showcases the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ (OBO) commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable innovation.
Harnessing of renewable energy is done through the use of photovoltaic technology and ground source heat pumps, which use energy from the earth to heat and cool the building.
Representing the best of U.S. architecture, engineering, and technology, the Embassy sets a new standard for the design of diplomatic campuses overseas.
Since the start of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program in 1999, OBO has completed 164 new diplomatic facilities. OBO currently has more than 50 active projects either in design or under construction worldwide.
OBO provides safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and that support U.S. diplomats in advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad.
#TextBasedCommunication; #VisualCommunication; #Covid19Pandemic; #Design; #VisualImages; #SharedSenseOfHappinessAndWellbeing
Editorial: Creating a Better Today
Sarah Bay-Cheng, Ph.D.
Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
In 2020, the shift from text-based communication to visual design accelerated. Since COVID-19 emerged in Canada, video conferences have replaced meetings and social media consumption increased as people connect by exchanging shared images. Over 50 billion photos have been uploaded to Instagram. The effects of the pandemic have been challenging, but this time has also demonstrated extraordinary new opportunities – and needs – for creativity in society.
Sarah Bay-Cheng, Ph.D., Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Even before COVID, trends toward visual communication could have been seen in diverse areas ranging from health care to public spaces. Effective communication through design and visual images has become important not only for sustaining pandemic-era social connections, but also for future well-being. Today, health officials agree that visual communication and design are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and may be key to tackling the world’s most pressing problems.
As the Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) at York University, I have seen up close how art and design faculty and students create use their skills to create positive change in their communities. In our Bachelor of Design program, for example, Dr. Shital Desai guides students through a program to tackle real-world problems in health care by designing more effective processes for patients to understand and access their care. Most recently, she collaborated with colleagues in Australia and Germany to design better training models for CPR instruction. In these kinds of projects, students can create their own original projects in design research. AMPD students and alumni have won awards from Adobe and other industry leaders for their creations, including opportunities to design unique Canada Post stamps in honour of the lunar new year. York alumni are also leading positive change in news and information design and data at major news outlets in New York, Beijing and downtown Toronto.
Of course, the significance of visual art and culture is not only about information. As the last year has demonstrated, the arts and culture remain important for our communal prosperity and a collective sense of well-being. In a world filled with uncertainty and change, finding moments of reflection, contemplation and beauty are essential for our shared sense of health and happiness. Supported by internationally recognized artists, students at York experience the close attention of small studio courses with access to all of the resources of a global research university. Through a hands-on approach to learning and close mentorship opportunities, fine arts students prepare for rewarding, multi-faceted careers as creative professionals who will create the connections needed to enhance the world around them.
We know how hard it is to remain physically distanced from our friends and family. Art and design can help our communities to reconnect and rebuild. As Ontario and Canada look to the work of recovery and rebuilding post-pandemic, art and design will ensure good health and prosperity in all our communities. The important work is not just about the future, but about creating a better today.
#Victoria; #StoryStudioWritingSociety; #COFLA; #GVPL; #DecodaLiteracySolutions
Victoria (B.C.), Sep 8 (Canadian-Media): Victoria-based Story Studio Writing Society, a non-profit, literacy-focused organization was granted B.C.’s 2020 Council of the Federation Literacy Award (COFLA) for demonstrating innovative leadership by inspiring, educating and empowering youth through storytelling, media reports said.
Story Studio. Image credit: Twitter handle
Since 2001, more than $1.5 billion had been invested by the B.C. government in literacy and literacy-related initiatives for British Columbians.
“Storytelling is a valuable outlet that provides youth with the opportunity of self-reflection, expression and connection,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education in a news release. “Congratulations to Story Studio Writing Society on this remarkable achievement. You are having a positive impact by helping British Columbians, especially youth, to build their literacy skills, so they have the tools they need to succeed.”
Founded in 2011, Victoria-based Story Studio Writing Society's volunteers, writers and illustrators have worked with almost 10,000 youth, taking a unique, fun and creative approach to improve their literacy skills to build self-confidence and have produced around 1,500 youth-authored books annually, creating a memorable experience for each young writer.
Working at the community level and partnering with a broad range of community organizations, including the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) and Royal BC Museum, Story Studio's 80 percent programming recognizes marginalized or lower-income families’ needs with focus on supporting and engaging vulnerable youth.
Story Studio, a registered charity, supported primarily by individual donations and grants, is currently running an innovative program with Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) to mentor teen writers. In August, with the help of last year’s COFLA award winner Morie Ford, the studio offered online workshops to a small group of immigrant mothers new to B.C. in the Family Literacy Outreach program in Vancouver. By the end of the program, each mother will create a short story that she can read to her young child.
Created by the Council of the Federation including all 13 provincial and territorial premier in 2004, the literacy award is presented to outstanding achievers in literacy in each province and territory.
Story Studio will receive a certificate signed by Premier John Horgan, a Council of the Federation Literacy Award medallion and $500.
“We're delighted to be recognized for the important work of our staff, volunteers and donors,” said Sarah Tarnopolsky, board chair, Story Studio in the news release. “Stories help us process the present and imagine the future. Given the challenges our communities face, it’s now more important than ever for youth to be given the skills and space to tell their stories. That’s what Story Studio is here to do.”
More than 400 communities throughout British Columbia are being supported by community-based literacy and learning initiatives in partnership with Decoda Literacy Solutions, which provides resources, training and funds to support .
“We congratulate Story Studio Writing Society as the recipient of the 2020 Council of the Federation Literacy Award,” said Margaret Sutherland, executive director, Decoda Literacy Solutions in the news release. “Studio Story inspires, educates and empowers youth through storytelling. It is wonderful to see this fun and creative approach to improving literacy skills honoured.”
#ReiventingCitiesCompetition; #CarbonNeutral; #Resilient; #UrbanDevelopmentProjects;
Italy, Jan 31 (Canadian-Media): A call had been issued to all architects, designers, urban planners, entrepreneurs, artists, environmentalists and innovators to enter the Reinventing Cities competition, media reports said.
Proposals from multidisciplinary teams of development experts and professionals, with their comprehensive plans, have been invited by nine cities – Cape Town, Chicago, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, Montreal, Singapore, Reykjavik, and Rome -- to reimagine 25 outdated, these cities' underused areas, into carbon-neutral, resilient urban development projects.
Reinventing Cities competition. Image credit: archleague.org
Due to the increasing urgency of the threat posed by the climate emergency, Reinventing Cities serve to accelerate the decarbonisation of cities around the world and create new, more sustainable models of urban development.
About half of C40 cities’ greenhouse gas emissions are caused by buildings which consume more than 30 percent of global resource for common construction materials like steel and concrete. Reinventing Cities channels call for the whole reimagining of how we build and structure communities with their innovation and creativity of businesses and individuals to illustrate the promise of cleaner, smarter development.
Inspiring projects and proposals that will fundamentally change the way people live and work were generated in the first Reinventing Cities competition, launched in 2017.
The largest wooden building in Iceland, the first zero carbon community in Paris, the largest urban solar farm in Texas, and the first zero-carbon social-housing project in Italy were the winning proposals.
#StolenLimestoneSculptureRecovered; #Kabul #NationalMuseumOfAfghanistan; #BritishMuseum
London (England), Jan 24 (Canadian-Media): Recovery of a limestone sculpture stolen from the National Museum of Afghanistan some 30 years ago at a London auction house will be on display at the British Museum before it is returned to Kabul, media reports said.
Limestone sculpture. Image credit: Facebook Page
Limestone statue, known as the Surkh Kotal Bull had been part of a second century A.D. ceremonial frieze in a temple at the site of Surkh Kotal, was excavated in northern Afghanistan in the 1950s and put on display at the museum.
It was spotted by the members of the Art Loss Register, while reviewing items, and offered it for sale.
In 2001, Taliban sledge-hammered the frieze along with about 75 percent of the museum’s artifacts. “It is the only one to be recovered,” said St. John Simpson of the British Museum. “All of the other limestone blocks—more than a dozen—are still missing.”
#AncientPainting; #Indonesia; #EarliestPictorialRecordOfStorytelling; #JournalNature
Indonesia, Dec 12 (Canadian-Media): Revelation of eight therianthropes, or humans with animal characteristics, appearing to chase and kill six animals using what seem to be spears and ropes, found in a cave painting in Indonesia's island of Sulawesi, was considered to be the earliest known pictorial record of storytelling, a study by Australian and Indonesian researchers said which was published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.
A portion of a narrative scene painted on an Indonesian cave wall shows tiny hunters corralling a dwarf buffalo with ropes or spears. Image credit/ Ratno Sardi
"We think of the ability for humans to make a story, a narrative scene, as one of the last steps of human cognition," says the study's lead author, Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Nathan, Australia. "This is the oldest rock art in the world and all of the key aspects of modern cognition are there."
"I thought, ‘Wow, it's like a whole scene,’" Aubert said. "You've got humans, or maybe half-human half-animals, hunting or capturing these animals … it was just amazing."
Dozens of caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi had been explored for the past 5 years by Aubert and colleagues, and hundreds of hand stencils, cave paintings, red pigment crayons, and carved figurines have been found. Archaeological data is suggestive of fact that the artists came with an early wave of modern humans some 50,000 years ago.
Nicholas Conard, an archaeologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany who wasn't involved in the work, says that scenario makes sense given that every modern human society has its own creative and mythic traditions. "These depictions underline the great antiquity of narratives and storytelling," he says. "It is encouraging to find concrete evidence for narrative depictions at this early date."
The Indonesian cave painting also provided some of the earliest evidence of human spirituality.
"Therianthropes occur in the folklore or narrative fiction of almost every modern society, and they are perceived as gods, spirits, or ancestral beings in many religions worldwide," said Adam Brumm, one of the study's co-authors, an archeologist at Australia's Griffith University.
Until now, the oldest rock art showing a character with the characteristics of an animal had been an ivory sculpture found in a cave in Germany. Thought to date back 40,000 years, it depicts a human body attached to a feline-like head.
The research was done in collaboration with Indonesia's National Research Centre for Archaeology, and scientists from the culture heritage department of Makassar, the provincial capital.
The Griffith researchers said cave art in Sulawesi was first discovered in the 1950s, with at least 242 caves and shelters containing such imagery documented since.
Indonesian rock art expert Adhi Agus Oktaviana, a PhD student at Griffith, said some of the caves had sustained damage that could threaten the art and pointed to threats from salt, dust, peeling, microbes and smoke
"It would be a tragedy if these exceptionally old artworks should disappear in our own lifetime, but it is happening," said Oktaviana.
April Nowell, an archaeologist at the University of Victoria in Canada said these findings should help dispel the outdated and mistaken opinion that humanity first became fully modern in Europe and said,
"We have long known this view is no longer tenable, and the richness of [this and other recent findings] continues to underscore … the importance of the record outside Europe."
Library of Congress' a new photography exhibition “L.A. Murals,”documents murals painted on the streets of Los Angeles
#LibraryOfCongress; #L.A.Murals; #NewPhotographyExhibition; #LosAngeles
Washington, Nov 16 (Canadian-Media): “L.A. Murals,” a new photography exhibition from the Library of Congress (LoC), documents murals painted on the streets of Los Angeles, LoC reports said.
L.A. Murals: Courtesy of Library of Congress
LoC, the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office, is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States and from around the world both on-site and online.
The exhibition, which went on view in Los Angeles in September and will close in September 2020, is free and open to visitors of the The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Library of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery, which was made possible by a generous gift from the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the LoC.
The photographs displayed were created between 1997 and 2016, recording the work of recognized artists, as well as those whose paintings were created as signage, commercial art, homages and memorials.
“Los Angeles is home to a flourishing artistic community with a number of highly talented street artists and muralists whose work portrays the many cultures of our vibrant county and provides a vibrant backdrop to our daily lives,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. “The Music Center is thrilled to be able to provide a platform that highlights this artform and the many murals that are part of the fabric of LA.”
“L.A. Murals” features 30 photographs curated from the archives of photographers Carol M. Highsmith and Camilo José Vergara, which are part of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division of more than 14 million photographs documenting America. The focus of the exhibition was inspired by the vitality of the visual arts and creativity of LA. Library curators organized the exhibit.
“Our national library holds an incredible collection of more than 14 million photographs documenting our culture, including the creativity and diversity of Los Angeles,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We are so pleased to showcase part of this collection in the new photography exhibition, ‘L.A. Murals,’ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.”
Among the thousands of photographs in their archives, over 100 photographs were created by Highsmith and Vergara.
Other works from both photographers also were featured in a 2018 exhibition of photographs from the LoC at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
A wide variety of images, including religious icons, a memorial honoring a victim of gun violence, city storefronts and businesses, and heroic figures, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. along with Kobe Bryant and James Worthy of the LA Lakers, are depicted by the murals.
Funds raised will go towards Arts and Cultural Programs in Markham
Markham (ON), Nov 11 (Canadian-Media): More than $20,000 were raised by the Markham Arts Council (MAC) Fundraising Gala held recently in Markham. The resplendent evening entitled An Affair with the Arts with the Wonders of the World had a number of dignitaries, Business Entrepreneurs, Professionals, artists, Corporations and members of the community.
The evening of glitz and glamour presented a gallery showcasing diverse local art and artists during the Cocktail hour and began with the singing of the national anthem followed by a presentation of the evening’s theme focused on the Wonders of the World. Hosted by Markham’s local celebrity Amin Dhillon, the black tie evening presented diverse entertainment to reflect the varied elements of visual and performing arts that included a Chinese collective and Opera as well as a taste of Vivaldi Four Seasons and Bollywood.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti was designated the Honorary Chair of the fundraising Gala.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti
“Arts and Culture are vital to creating a strong and vibrant community, giving us a better understanding of each other and of the world around us,” said Mayor Scarpitti at the Crystal Fountain on November 8 congratulating the MAC team for exceptional leadership on this initiative, and for their commitment to the enhancement of the Arts in Markham.
MAC, celebrating its 15th year anniversary in 2019, also released a souvenir program book at the Gala. As well, an array of Silent Auction items and a Live Auction along with raffle and door prizes created distinctive appeal and attention for the more than 300 guests present.
Release of a souvenir program book at the Gala
“Markham is one of Canada’s most diverse cities and through this fundraising initiative, we hope to cultivate, encourage and promote the work of professional and emerging literary, visual and performing artists,” said Deepti Aurora, Chair of MAC and co-chair of the Gala Committee. “Art enriches the lives of its citizens by educating, developing and supporting a vibrant cultural community that champions the arts.”
Gala Co chairs Councillor Amanda Collucci and Deepti Aurora, chair Markham Council.
"My heartfelt thanks to all the sponsors, artists, friends and community stakeholders who dedicated their time, energy and creativity to make this event a success,” said Councillor Amanda Colluci, co-chair of the Gala Committee.
ABOUT MARKHAM ARTS COUNCIL (MAC)
Markham Arts Council serves the City of Markham and enriches the lives of its citizens by educating, developing and supporting a vibrant cultural community that champions the arts, while promoting the work of professional and emerging literary, visual and performing artists.
#Victoria, #BritishColumbia; #Dinosaurs; #DonosaursNewSpeciesDiscovered
Victoria (BC), Nov 7 (Canadian-Media): A new dinosaur species unique to British Columbia (BC) had been discovered by researchers in the northern wilderness of B.C., media reports said.
Dinosaurs. Image credit: Dinosaurs
The fossilized bones of the dinosaurs have actually been there for years but weren't correctly identified until now.
The handful of bones discovered in 1971 by a geologist near the Sustut River in B.C.'s north-central Interior and were eventually donated to Dalhousie University in 2005 before winding up in the Royal BC Museum in 2007.
Victoria Arbour, curator of paleontology at the museum, has been studying the fossils and was able to determine that they belong to a whole new kind of dinosaur and confirmed that this being a unique species found only in British Columbia.
Ardour's research was published Thursday in the scientific journal PeerJ: The Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences.
"For the first time, we've got a set of dinosaur bones from British Columbia that's unique to this province," Arbour said.
The fossilized remains have been given the nickname "Buster," and are now on display at the Victoria museum.
“This is an exciting scientific milestone for our province and I encourage everyone to come see the fossils for themselves," said B.C.'s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare.
Arbour’s peer-reviewed article, “A new leptoceratopsid dinosaur from Maastrichtian-aged deposits of the Sustut Basin, northern British Columbia, Canada,” was co-authored by David Evans from the Royal Ontario Museum.
#GandharaBudhaScroll; #LibraryOfCongress; #Washington
Washington, Nov 4 (Canadian-Media): The ancient Gandhara Buddha scroll, one of the oldest Buddhist manuscripts known to the world, arrived at the Library of Congress encased in a Parker Pen box, radiocarbon dated to between the first century B.C to the first century A.D., Library of Congress reports said.
Preservationists at work on the Gandhara scroll. Credit: Library of Congress
Because of its fragility, the scroll resided in the Library’s climate-controlled “top treasures” vault for years
After digitizing the piece this year, the library and placed it online and became a source to scholars and Buddhist communities worldwide access to a little-known part of Buddhist history.
The origin of the scroll is from Gandhara, an early Buddhist center located in what is now the northern border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In 1990s A group of materials buried high in the arid mountains was unearthed there.
In 2013 The Library acquired this birch-bark scroll from the collection and it is the oldest holding in the Library’s Asian Division.
The pen box that held the scroll during shipping. Credit: Library of Congress
“This is a rare, unique item because it is very old, No. 1, and, No. 2, it does bring us, historically speaking, relatively close to the lifetime of the Buddha,” said Jonathan Loar, the division’s South Asia specialist. “It’s also one of the oldest among the couple hundred other Gandharan manuscripts known to scholars, so even within its own unique collection it stands out.”
The story of buddhas who came before and after Siddhartha Gautama is told by the scroll.
Siddhartha Gautama is the sage who reached enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in eastern India in the sixth or fifth century B.C. and who became known as the Buddha.
The narrative is in the first person and direct teaching of the Buddha regarding his divine lineage is recounted by the scribe.
When the scroll arrived in the Library, it presented servious conservation challenge even to the expert staff because of its fragility.
“It was the most fragile thing I’ve ever worked on,” said Holly Krueger, who recently retired as head of paper conservation. “It was completely unique, unlike anything I’ve ever encountered.”
The Library had to obtain the the assistance of the British Library, which had successfully unrolled some 30 related scrolls, and its chief conservator, Mark Barnard to unroll the scroll.
Special tools, including bamboo implements and glass weights, were crafted by Kruger's team, to keep the scroll down. Then, for three days in advance, it was gently humidified.
Piecing the scroll together. Credit: Library of Congress
The conservation lab in which Krueger and Barnard worked was an area with the fewest air currents because the slightest movement could cause pieces to dislodge.
After four hours of painstaking process it was ultimately successful.
The scroll was then encapsulated between two pieces of glass, and their edges sealed.
Individual fragments were placed between separate pieces of glass, and the scroll was then imaged. Earlier this year, the Conservation Division re-digitized the scroll and its fragments using advanced ultraviolet and infrared imaging.
Although the scroll lacks a title, a beginning and an end, but still retains about 75 to 80 percent of the original text.
Still today it is considered one of the world’s best-preserved examples of a Gandharan scroll.
The availability of Gandharan scrolls for study sheds new light on the earliest Buddhist literature and is beneficial to scholarly and Buddhist communities and augments what we currently know about the religion’s formative history.