John Jānis Šteins

:: Artist ::

Opening at YAAW

YAAW stands for Yukon Artists at Work, with an emphasis on the term “work” just so we can be sure that making art isn’t simply the happy consequence of too much free time. Informed people know that a serious art practice involves lots of work, therefore it’s good to have that reflected in the title of the organization for those of us that aren’t tuned in.

YAAW is an artist’s cooperative established about six years ago and has done amazingly well both in terms of sales and encouragement to their membership and those wishing to pursue visual arts as a career.

Here’s a photo of the gallery space from a few years ago. Actually, this pic doesn’t do it justice, there’s a huge area that’s available for display.

A membership of  approximately 35 has been maintained with a pretty solid retention rate, although a few have come and gone subject to other pressures in their lives. Ultimately, this organization can be held up as a success story of how artists can band together without leaning on government funding to make a go of it in the world of commerce.

Among their many activities, this co-op – of which I’m a proud member – has many activities and events all geared to keep the juices flowing. Every member has an opportunity for a solo show in one of the yearly slots that become available according to a draw.

This year I was supposed to have May as my month to show but I surrendered my spot to another artist for personal reasons but hope to have a chance sometime in 2011.

Last Friday (March 5, 2010) was the opening for the new YAAW season as well as a members show called Contrast.

Attending that night was Al Cushing (on the left) the CEO of the Yukon Arts Centre and on the right is the irrepressible Harreson Tanner, the founder and a driving force of Yukon Artists at Work. Harreson is a sculptor and manages the display of member’s works.

And here’s a picture of my buddy Joyce Majiski beside one of her monotypes. Joyce is a founding member of YAAW and is among the hardest art workers I know.

She is very active in her printmaking practice involving collaborations with other artists from Spain to Mexico and points in between.

Her studio called Tuktu in the Golden Horn subdivision outside of Whitehorse is terrific. She even has a beautiful Vandercook proofing press which I covet and will steal from her one of these days… or nights.

You can check Joyce’s work at

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1 Comment

  1. joyce majiski March 8, 2010

    Hey John
    What fun to see this. Thanks for the kind words….next time you will have to report from Tuktu as you try dragging the 1500 pound behemoth of a Vandercook out of the shop===GOOD LUCK!
    hugs from the south of the Yukon

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