A year and a half in, the partners spend about sixty hours every week at their store, sometimes close to 100 if they’re gearing up for a big event or meeting a deadline. When things get a little too hairy, even for the tireless 20-somethings, family members lend a helping hand. It’s always busy. Articulations curates dynamic exhibitions in its gallery and window vitrine showcasing emerging toronto artists, who happily make use of the space to display and sell their work, and the partners offer a variety of classes and workshops to those who are interested in exploring their creative talents and trying out new media. Heather and Miki are planning their summer roster, including print-making and watercolour workshops for adults starting in June, and weeklong summer art camps for kids ages six to 12 that start in July. There is also the CONtACt Photography Festival in May – “a big event for us and for the neighbourhood,” says Miki – and The Junction’s third Annual Design Crawl in August. That’s when designers show their work in a number of curated locations, including Articulations. The Junction BIA is holding a Summer Solstice event on June 22 and Articulations will be taking part with a mason jar lantern-making project for youth. The partners are proud of what they’ve already accomplished, “and we’re really humbled by how the neighbourhood has supported us and taken us in,” says Heather. “Customers go out of their way to tell us that we’re an important part of the community.” The two were recently invited by Swansea Public School to help out with an anti-bullying campaign. Sixty students from Grades 3, 4 and 7 took part, making buttons printed with antibullying slogans. “They pumped out 700 buttons to distribute to their school at their dance-a-thon on Pink Shirt day,” says Heather. In March, Miki and Heather challenged artists to fill up the pages in their sketch books for an April exhibition at the store called FILL’er UP. They received submissions from more than 130 people – from four and a half year olds to people over 60. The challenge – do at least one creative thing in your sketchbook every day – was marketed locally, but somehow word got around and artwork came from as far away as Newfoundland and the Yukon! Carving out their place in the community The Articulations niche is centred around customer service – and the partners’ ability to track down items their customers want. “We’re a small store with a small selection, but we are good researchers and treasure hunters. If there’s something you’re looking for and you don’t see it on our shelves, we’ll do our best to find it,” says Heather. “People have started to recognize us as
a go-to place for information, help and service.” Articulations also carries items that are hard to source elsewhere – like rublev oil colours made from Natural Pigments, rosemary brushes from england and Mokuhanga materials for Japanese woodblock printing – and Miki and Heather are open to suggestions and more than happy to place special orders for their customers. “We try to specialize because toronto has a very competitive art supply market,” says Miki. “We carry some items that people come into the city just to buy from us.” to make it even easier for their clients – especially those who have to travel to the store – Articulations is launching an online service “so people outside the city who want to buy products from us can order online and have their items shipped.”
“We’re very invested in sharing art with the community and figuring out ways to make it accessible to everyone,” says Miki. “If we can support people in their artistic goals and help them to push themselves creatively,” says Heather, “the benefits are going to reach over into other areas of their life.”
Making people happy Helping others to explore their talents is particularly satisfying, agree Miki and Heather, because they know how healthy art can be. For Miki, making art is like taking a therapeutic holiday. “It’s a way of meditating; to get away from stressful events. I can sit down and create something and not eat a single meal or drink a glass of water for six hours because I’m so into it. I lose track of time. For me, making art is like a vacation.” Heather has a similar view. “Using your hands and your mind – without being distracted by Facebook and twitter and the Internet – can have a really calming effect and leave you feeling re-charged and ready to face whatever comes along in your life.” For the partners, that ‘whatever’ was – and is – Articulations. They’ve found their place in the heart of the community and they’re committed to making The Junction an even better place to live, work and especially to play.
2928 Dundas St. W. The Junction 416-901-7464 articulations.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
Neighbourhood Living |
Neighbourhood Living Magazine - West - Spring/Summer 2013