Winnipeg Arts Council


This project was a partnership between the Winnipeg Arts Council and the United Way of Winnipeg to commission an artist to create a work for the United Way’s new headquarters in downtown Winnipeg. Artists responded to a national Call-to-Artists in late 2009 that stressed that the artwork reflect the community goals integral to the United Way. Through a jury process, Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew were selected for the commission. Their artwork incorporates sound, touch and light, acting as a beacon in the community and inviting the public to become part of the work.

As the artists write:
“YOU YOU + YOU is an instrument played with others and informed by the idea of community participation so central to the United Way. Handprints invite you to touch talking stick, each print triggering a note on the pentatonic scale. A melody is created as more people join in and many notes are played. Each hand print is also linked to a light on the fin wall - so that the music becomes visible, the lights forming the Braille for ‘YOU’. The human touch - the water in our bodies, skin touching ‘skin’ - activates the sound and light: you are integral to the artwork. The artwork is a metaphor for giving voice to people, for the role of United Way, and refers to the imagery of hands, long associated with United Way.”

In addition to funds provided by the Winnipeg Arts Council the project was generously supported by Babs Asper & Gail Asper, O.C., O.M. 

Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew

Jacqueline Metz & Nancy Chew
Muse Atelier: A Collaborative Art Practice - Site Specific Art in the Public Realm.

We have worked together since 1997. Our practice explores ideas of place and perception, nature and culture. Our body of work is informed by an interest in space - built space, implied space, movement through space; and by perception, the filters of personal and cultural memory and experience.

Our approach is phenomenological: each installation is informed by the surrounding environment. We develop a conceptual framework which plays off the inherent qualities of the site, landscape, architecture - from urban design issues to the tactile experience, from personal experience to cultural memory. Underlying all our work is a fascination with landscape, especially the human imprint, the cultural landscape. We work in different media and on a number of levels - visual, tactile, cerebral - whatever is most appropriate to the concept and the context.

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