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Embracing First Nations creations

Free children’s crafts available this summer at Sipukel Gallery

LIVERPOOL, N.S. – This summer the Sipukel Gallery is offering something special for children.

The gallery, located at 219 Main St. in Liverpool, will present a free children’s craft time. Each week, children between the ages of five and 12 can gather from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoons to try their hand at a different First Nations craft. Workshops run from July 6 to Aug. 24. 

The crafts are led by summer staff, including students Robyn Whynot and Shanyn Whynot.  

“They have learned Mi'kmaq crafts from their grandmother Cherry Whynot who is well known for her leather work and beading in the First Nation community,” explains Judy Boutilier, cultural officer for Acadia First Nation. 

The gallery started offering these workshops for children when they first opened in 2015, says Boutilier. 

“Offering these for free is something I feel is important, as not all children can afford to attend things during the summer because of cost,” says Boutilier. 

Extra craft materials from different workshops held during the year are used so the gallery only has to buy a few items, she adds. 

Another event happening at the Sipuke’l Gallery is the celebration of National Aboriginal Day on June 21, with the theme, ‘We Walk Together.’ 

The gallery is asking for kids to show up and put their footprints on a piece of canvas cloth that will be put on the lawn in front of the Town Hall Arts and Cultural Centre. Organizers will then trace their bare feet and children can paint their feet with paints to make each one unique. 

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 21, and at the end of the day a photo of the cloth will be taken and transferred to a piece of canvas then hung on the gallery wall.  

“The idea for We Walk Together comes from the idea that kids are so great at accepting each other without worrying about the colour of their skin or cultural backgrounds. We can learn a lot from our young people,” Boutilier says.  

The Sipuke'l Gallery showcases First Nations artists from across Nova Scotia and other parts of the Canada as well as personal collections of Mi'kmaw baskets, leatherwork and other items. 

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