Arts Potluck Goes Online for #ArtsTalkTuesday

Perhaps you missed our Arts Potluck on Friday, September 5. Perhaps you were there, and want help remembering what you saw and who you met. Perhaps you have no idea what on earth an Arts Potluck is? 

Look no further, friend. Here is a recap, with links and images, from this past Friday's event. If you have any questions, ask them below. If you want to share your own work and take part 'virtually', provide us a link in the comments below. If I forgot something (if?!), make up for my forgetfullness by adding to the comment stream.

A Whole Lotta Sharin' Goin' On

Our first Arts Potluck of the season is a hit, with over 20 folks in my living room to share snacks and art. Some bring kids. Some come just to watch and listen. I think it's safe to say that all have a good time.

7 PM to almost 8 PM we eat and reconnect. Or connect for the first time. There are many new faces. There are many tasty snacks. Around 8, we move into the living room. I am happy to finally see my new couch make room for five grown adults!

I give a bit of the history of the Arts Potluck–how it began with Jeffery Overstreet's Thomas Parker Society at the Glen Workshop two years ago. Then the sharing begn.

Sebastian Barrera


To keep things simple, we order by birthday. That meant that newcomer Sebastian, with a September birthday, kicks things off. Sebastian's smooth, Portuguese-influenced vocal and guitar are a beautiful way to begin. We sit mesmerized as he shows off not only his mastery of music, but his ability to play, sing, smile and care for his young daughter all at the same time. I am impressed.

Sebastian teaches free music lessons every Saturday at the Parkdale-Comdale Community League. Through his initiative, Creart, he has been able to give free arts instruction and musical instruments to kids in need.  Creart is looking for additional instructors – artists who want to make a difference in community through their gifting. 

Cheryl Muth

cheryl's work.jpg

Cheryl Muth shares her vivid oil paintings next. One depicts a violinist in Barcelona. The other is a landscape. The two paintings represent a broad spectrum of style, which leads us into a conversation about the work we make for pleasure, and the work we make for pay. How does one make their art profitable, anyways?

There are, of course, no definitive answers. But there is feedback and encouragement. There are ideas. There is the wisdom of experience in a room full of artists.

More of Cheryl's paintings can be found at

Aaron Vanimere

 Aaron waits his turn, far left.

Aaron waits his turn, far left.

Aaron is with us fresh from a Vancouver trip. While there, he saw a concert, in a small venue, that left a mark. He shares his story of meeting the artist and it's obvious this meeting has impacted Aaron. But before the meeting, the album, Heal, was working it's magic.

Aaron leaves us with a fitting bit of homework. Listen to the new album, Heal, by Strand Of Oaks.

You can find Strand Of Oaks on BandCamp at


Marcie Rohr

Marcie is up next with art that comes from a deep and personal place. She's just returned from an intense conference on justice, faith and land. She's developed a new perspective on our interconnectedness with the land, and she's still processing this relationship and its implications. This processing can be seen in her work, still unfinished. We offer feedback, perhaps more than Marcie is even after. The dance of feedback can be a difficult one to learn, but Marcie is gracious and so are the critiques and suggestions.

We are all interested where this new exploration will lead Marcie and her work.

You can discover more of Marcie's paintings on Saatchi Art at

Julie Drew

Next up is new work from Julie Drew. Julie is no stranger to the art and faith scene in Edmonton, but this work is different from previous showings in many ways. First, this is acrylic, not watercolour. Second, the subject matter is not a beautiful landscape, but rather a garbage heap. And finally, there is actual garbage attached to the piece, and bursting out of the frame, which is used as an element of the composition, rather than a firm boundary. 

Julie reads an essay to us on redemption. This piece is tied to the idea of redemption, as displayed by the vine, growing up from the refuse in the piece.

Now comes time for feedback. Julie is interested in our thoughts, as this is a new direction. A lot of us like this exploration. It is fun, bold, risky territory. We like watching Julie play at the margins like this. But we do have our critiques. Because I have known Julie for a while, I muster my courage and offer some feedback that is hopefully constructive, and not entirely positive. 

I still wonder how far to push in moments like this. Arts Potlucks are really not for intense critique. The concept here is more of a free-form grown up show and tell. A time to share some beauty. But Julie has asked for feedback and I feel honesty is most helpful here. So I offer some thoughts. I hope they are given and received in love. I still struggle with these moments.

In the end, there is conflicting feedback. Most of us agree that the vine is not needed in the piece, and draws our attention away from the interesting and beautiful depiction of the trash heap that is at the centre of the piece. We disagree on other elements. 

It is up to Julie to take this feedback and do with it as she sees fit. This is her piece – her vision. She has opened herself to ideas, which is a brave thing to do. Now she must decide to use or discard them. 

Julie Drew leads spiritual art retreats twice a year. Find out more about Art: Vocabulary of the Soul retreats here. The next retreat is October 17-19, on Weakness and Failure.

Find Julie's work online at

Adam Tenove

Adam Tenove is blazing new territory, too. Adam always seems to bring something new to the table. Literally. He arrives late because his crusted zucchini takes so long to cook. It is worth the wait.

Adam shows an intensely detailed pen drawing of intertwining figures. Incorporating feedback from a past event, Adam has added a deep red background. We are all draw in to the piece, which reveals more detail the closer you look. Adam points out the text that plays across the figures. Then he moves on do more experimental work.

Two pieces, mostly black, reveal the folding and unfolding of origami figures. The black is worn away along the folds, revealing a history in the material. This origami work immediately reminds of the of bronzed paper-folding sculptures of Kevin Box in Santa Fe. We all encourage Adam to follow this new direction and see where it leads. 

Finally, Adam shares a poem. It's great to see people moving beyond comfort to open up to the group in new ways. 

Adam writes on art, and shares his work, at

Julie Rohr

Next up is Julie Rohr, longtime friend of the Bleeding Heart Art Space, yet making her debut Arts Potluck appearance. Julie has been taking our Grow Your Art Challenge, and through that spurring on, has plunged headlong into an exciting photography project. 

Julie has been moved by the global devastation that is human trafficking. Her heart aches for these women, and she wants to do something about it. So she is. 

Julie has gathered professional photographers to take portraits, for a $50 donation each, of those wanting to support the fight against human trafficking. She shows us some samples, and in each we see the soul of the subject shine through. The photos are phenomenal - true works of art. The project is inspiring.   

Find out more or book your session at

Sam Drew

Sam Drew takes the piano bench next, and shares the second poem of the evening. I love listening to poetry. Sam's is strongly narrative, putting us within an interaction with a traveller in them theme-country of the night – Spain. 

Sam's poem is vivid and we follow his interaction with this man, towards a turn that leaves us thinking about the importance of the small interactions in our own daily lives. 

Thank you Sam.

Melissa Crayford

Melissa Crayford is a friend of Grace Law, one of our Bleeding Heart Leadership Team, but I've never met her before. She brings great insight to the night through our critiques, and some great snacks too. 

More than all that, Melissa brings some beautiful textile art. She shows us a piece with embroidery laid overtop of fabric printed with a black and white transfer. It's hard to describe, but fun to look and and touch. It is passed around the room as Melissa asks for our thoughts and reactions. We want to see more of this. I hope we will.

Hopefully Melissa finds more time to experiment between studies in the U of A Fine Arts Program.

Edward Van Vliet

Last but most definitely not least come three poems from Edward Van Vliet. All three pieces, Edward informs us, have been written since this summer's Glen Workshop. All three are fantastic, though quite different.

The first poem still stands out for me as I write this. Consider the lily, Edward invites us. And then he considers the lily, in realistic, often humorous and jarring portrayals.

I try and capture Edward's first pounding as he passionately proclaims his last poem, but the combination of fast movement and low light proves lethal to the clear image. 

Edward will be sharing these poems on his blog over at

And that's not all

There are others in attendance. Some are artists who didn't find the time to prepare things to share, like glass blower Keith Walker, and fashion designer Sabrina O'Donell, of Sabrina Butterfly. But they'll have their chance again, and so will you.

See you next time?





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