Community and Art: Roger Whiting and His Murals

rogerRoger Whiting is a visual artist specializing in large-scale murals, illustrations, and mosaics. His ability to bring together a community of youth to produce celebrated murals is remarkable. Whiting is an exceptional individual who is committed to share his passion with his students without pecuniary interest—discernable of the gift economy. He tells us that while a student at Rhode Island School of Design, Whiting took an art education course where he was asked to observe a middle school art classroom. During observation he noticed that many of the students were excited about expressing themselves through art, so Whiting offered to come work with the students for free to paint a mural for the art room. The project was fun and rewarding, so Whiting continued to seek out opportunities to teach. After finding that the public school model did not allow him sufficient self-expression as an artist, Whiting decided to develop a career as an independent teaching artist.

Caring about his students, in fall of 2013, Whiting was invited to his hometown of Phoenix to paint a 12 by 85-foot mural of history for the new campus of a charter school for the homeless that was opening that year. Armed with a sketch and a van full of ladders and paint, Whiting drove from his current home of Salt Lake County, Utah. He hired a crew of mostly former students from a high school where he had taught five years previous to help with the endeavor. In three weeks, they accomplished the massive task, and developed stronger friendships with each other along the way.

Roger Whiting is an example of talent and kindness. The world of art can be a complicated place, ingrained in monetary gains, but artists like Whiting can reduce the art world into a ‘gift.’


Book Review: The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

The myth

It is often suggested that creativity is a privilege of the chosen few. In his book, The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas, David Burkus (2014) demystifies how people and companies truly generate innovative ideas. Juxtaposing data with simple, real-life scenarios over a broad range of topics, Burkus argues that our creative potential is most hindered by our attachment to the ten most common myths of creativity: Eureka, Breed, Originality, Expert, Incentive, Lone Creator, Brainstorming, Cohesive, Constraints, and Mousetrap. Read more…

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2014: Highlights of the Night

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On the evening of October 4th, 2014, ignoring the cold weather, thousands of people ventured out into the streets of downtown Toronto for a free all-night adventure in contemporary art scene. There were 130 art installations unleashed throughout parts of the city. Continue reading

Interview with Kayla Altman on ‘The Politics of Being Ugly’

Kayla Altman

Kayla Altman is a Toronto artist, poet, writer, and editor. “The Politics of Being Ugly” is a collection of prose works, exploring the mundane and the bleak with a lens that is as whimsical as it is wry. My one-on-one interview with Kayla follows.

1. What is your background?

I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at OCAD University and completed a minor in English. At the same time – really, my minor ended up having a massive influence on everything  I did during my undergrad. After OCAD I went on to complete a certificate on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which I completed while maintaining a focus on accessibility and its alignment within arts and culture. Continue reading