Tag Archive | art

new show, new path, gallery closing

In the time monkey Hill Creative Arts has been operating at 243 James St. North, Hamilton we have enjoyed great success thanks to the participating artists and patrons who have embraced the intiative to enhance awareness of invisible and intellectual disabilities through the visual arts. We had a rental agreement until January 2013 only, unfortunately. Cynthia Hill, my dearest friend, the building owner, will be taking over the gallery space again as of January 1st and I wish her the best. We thank her very much for this most enjoyable time in the gallery.

December will be our last show in a brick-and-mortar gallery, though be assured the initiative will continue online at our website www.worthworks.com and we sincerely hope we have your continued and growing interest and support. The December Show will be our most spectacular to date! CALLIE ARCHER, DEB DICKER, L’ARCHE HAMILTON, KEITH GREEN, STEPHANIE KIRSTEN HANSEN (HILL) (myself), will offer a colourful, thought-provoking exhibit absolutely filling the gallery to capacity.

The show will run from December 1st to December 30th to cover the entire Holiday Season. Opening hours will be from NOON FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS, and SUNDAYS until 6pm. We will be open FRIDAY EVEININGS as well.

I will not be leaving James North! In January I will take over Directorship of The Tiger Group’s 2nd Gallery just a few doors down from Monkey Hill @ 275 James St. North. I was invited into The Tiger Group and am now an Associate member of The Tiger Group. I am looking forward to exploring working with a group, though it will be a shock to my system after running my own art business for so very many years as a ‘lone wolf’ artist and being ‘chief cook and bottle washer’ of two art galleries, first the Worth Works Studio promoting the work of artists with disabilities only, and then Monkey Hill Creative Arts, our daughter’s legacy. Already I am enjoying collaborating the collaboration and finding we have so much to share with each other. I think this is going to be a very positive, and hopefully, a long-lasting venture.

BUT FIRST! Monkey Hill has a FANTASTIC show to share with YOU! Don’t wait for The Art Crawl to come out and enjoy to the show. We will likely be changing up the art to replace what is sold in the first couple of weeks of December so DO come back for the Art Crawl. THE ART BUS is a great way to go! Check out THE PEARL COMPANY website for that delightfully inexpensive and fun tour that winds up at the end of the evening at The Tiger Group’s main gallery at 335 Barton Street with wine, treats, and of course, the stunningly talented art of my colleagues.

Stephanie Kirsten Hansen (Hill) worthwriting@hotmail.com

winding down



Annnndddd…we’re off!!!

The gallery renovation and grand opening during the Hamilton Supercrawl darn near did me in, but I’m finally rested and throughly enjoying my new role as volunteer facilitator and resident artist. The artists participating in the gallery this month are a joy to work with and the patrons who have purchased art so far this month (only 14 days in yet?!) have been delightful to meet.

The work of artist Keith Green of Urban Chaos www.urbanchaos.ca has been a hit and interest is growing daily. Happily, Keith will be returning in October with new work for us all to enjoy.

Linda Towart at www.lindatowart.ca has awed the audience with her sculptural masterpieces. We are lucky to have seven of her very best works available until October 2nd. You’ll be lucky if you ever see these prices on her finest sculptures again so I do suggest you make your way down to the gallery at 243 James St. North. Linda has rented wall space for her display so no commission goes to the gallery. The above “get it while you can” statement was for YOUR benefit, not mine! 

The various artists of L’Arche community centre for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities have enchanted patrons with their wonderful visual arts collection. So much of it has been sold I keep having to move the remaining pieces around so the display doesn’t look so barren! L’Arche will also be returning next month with new work for sale and enjoyment.  Their homepage is www.larchehamilton.org

And I…(artist nom de plume Kirsten Hill)…have enjoyed seeing at least 10 pieces of my artwork sold so far to benefit the gallery and its intiatives. I am happy to be able to help get the gallery off its feet, but more than that, I was happy to hear so many people tell me how delighted they were to finally be able to afford to take home some “real” beautiful art that was always out of their price range. I never want to undercut my fellow artists who work so hard for a living, but for the grand opening month I wanted to do something special; I donated my art to the gallery and set very affordable prices to give everyone a chance to bring art into their lives. Art should not be a privilege nor for the privileged. Everyone deserves to have thoughtful, thought-provoking, reflective beauty in their homes.

Being disabled myself meant spending at least half of my adult life in deep poverty. That’s how I started in the arts. If I wanted anything beautiful in my home I had darn well better learn to make it with my own two hands. No one was more suprised than me to find out I had the ability to do so; the skill came with time and practice.

Monkey Hill will always provide creative arts for every wage group. There will always be something worthwhile for $2, $20, $200 and more. The gallery’s mandate is about inclusion, not just regarding invisible and intellectual disabilities, but simply the beauty of compassionate inclusion.


Blessings to All…and I hope to see you this weekend. We’re open Friday nights from 6pm to 10:30pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. Coffee, Tea and sweets, books for sale, and comfy seating!



The grand opening weekend of the Monkey Hill Creative Arts gallery at 243 James Street North in Hamilton, Ontario was a grand success and for that I am deeply grateful. My artists are happy, the patrons were entertained, and I am TIRED!

We will be open every Friday evening from 6pm until 10:30, and every Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 6pm. We will have couches and chairs for comfortable seating, books for sale and a resource section of writing and art books not for sale that patrons can use to take notes. Free writing materials will be provided for that purpose. We will be selling coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soda as well as a small selection of dessert and pastry treats to enjoy while perusing the books. Monkey Hill hopes to create a welcoming and relaxing place to rest and nourish onself. Art is life and life is art.

And…well…honestly…I don’t want to sit in the gallery all weekend by myself just waiting for people to walk in and look at the art. Truth, darlings. I am a social creature by nature. The coffee and desserts are not for the purpose of making money. They are really about my personal enjoyment of having people around. We will most *certainly NOT* be charging frou-frou coffee shop prices for our bevvies and yummies!

I’ve been online today hunting down the best place to buy delicious syrups patrons can add to the coffees and hot chocolate if they like. The prices may not be exhorbitant, but that doesn’t mean we won’t offer a few nice frills like syrups, whipped cream, and sauce toppings. Life is short. Enjoy it we must.

Now…time to get to work on some of those personal touches for the gallery I didn’t have time to get to in the rush to get the door open in time for the Supercrawl. Ta!

Blessings to All…

Silence is golden, BUT…

I know silence is golden, but I have taken it to the limit on this blog. I have been busy in my creative pursuits since May and every time I think of settling down to post about something I’m working on I end up just drifting back upstairs to work on it instead. Such is the obsessive-compulsive state of artisthood.

But at last! I have news to share. I am in eleventh hour negotiations to bring Monkey Hill Creative Arts to a flesh and blood – or brick and mortar, as it be – reality!!! If all goes well Monkey Hill will make its debut appearance in the lower level of an existing gallery on James Street North in Hamilton, Ontario. The Blue Angel Gallery at 243 James North has been a second home to me for years and it will be my pleasure to work in partnership with the gallery’s Grand Dame, Cynthia Hill, an eccentric and delightfully talented artist who has been a pillar supporter and Creative on the art scene for more decades than she will allow me to state publicly.

The lower level of the gallery has been closed off to the public since it opened so no one knows that it is essentially the same size as the gallery above, though without the lovely high ceilings, of course. They’re not a bad height though and I think I can work with it. It will be a mad, mad, MAD dash to ready the space in time for the Supercrawl on James North which takes place on September 14th and 15th this year. *Thousands* of people will swallow the art disrtict whole!!! It will be a whirlwind of activity and music. Bless us all…oh my… 

Because I am slated already to have an exhibition in the gallery on the main level I may be renting out the entire Monkey Hill studio space to others for the sake of my sanity for the month of September. Thereafter I will delight in renting out half of the space to one or two other artists for about $125 each, no commission, each month. Keep in mind now, the space is HUGE! And it is on the Art Crawl and will receive at upwards of a thousand or two patrons per month. A steal of a deal. I cannot bear to merely hang art on walls. ACK! Darlings…I put on A *SHOW*

In my old gallery I took *immense* pleasure in redesinging the space each and every month. People came back just to see what I’d done with the space THIS TIME, and THEN they got a kick out of the art displayed. Without the ubiquitious uber-high ceilings of regular gallery spaces I will have my creative display fun cut out for me. But I am sooo up to the task! I’m already pawing through my collection (albeit small for now) of luxurious fabrics and props. I will definitely – as is my style – be setting up a small cozy space for patrons to stay, lounge, and talk. Monkey Hill Creative Arts is not one of those space you herd through with a glance at the walls. You stay. You talk with the artists. Have a coffee or a glass of wine and some treats and enjoy the atmosphere and the friends you brought with you. One of my favourite activities I enjoyed in the old gallery was the inclusion of at least one public interactive display. I can’t wait for the fun to begin!!! anyone interested in renting space with me to get in on the fun –  or to get more info about it –  please email me *soon* at monkeyhillarts@yahoo.ca

It was 5 years ago this last Saturday August 11th that my daughter passed away and I closed my brick and mortar gallery to go into mourning. A mourning that went deeper and longer than I could have imagined. I am taking it as a strong sign that this business proposal to re-open my creative space and come back to my Life as hostess and art promoter came on this anniversary. For these five years since my life as I knew it literally came to a crashing halt I have been existing. Yes, creating art….after a very long hiatus, that is, and showing and selling well, too. But still spending most of my days and nights at home, away from the energy of crowds and parties and daily fanciful hoopla that ebbed and flowed around me when I was centre court running my gallery and raising my family, both gone in a blinding flash.

I have taken a couple of solo trips during this “Who the hell am I now?” and “Will anything ever matter again?” mission to reconnect with the world as is to me now and with myself as a person and no longer a list of Roles. One trip covered a couple of countries and lasted a month. It was the Game Changer. It brought me back home, on many levels. The other was a shorter one that set a few more things straight in my head, some that I didn’t expect, and some that I didn’t like! But there is truth. It’s like that. It doesn’t care if you like it or not. It just *is*.

My last exhibit ran from May through June, held over for a second month because it was a success and very well-received. It was the visual manifestation of the experiences of living with Bipolar type II, which is largely characterized by depression. All of the pieces sold went to who were Bipolar except for one person. I was and remain humbled by the welcome and warmth and understanding that the art and expression was received by all who attended, whether they were similarly afflicted or – as it turned out to be common – knew and loved someone, family or friend, who was afflicted and living their best lives possible with either Bipolar I or Bipolar II, or Depression. I was deeply pleased these kind people were able to identify the natures of their friends’ and family members in the images I created.

The motivation for this next exhibit come from an old friend who passed away in a suicide. His name is Donny, and I’ll love him forever. Donny suffered deeply from depression, but he was adept at remaining postiive most of the time. A time came, however, when it was too much for him. The Big Lie that Depression tells us is that what we’re feeling right at that moment-day-week-month is what we will feel forever-and-ever-amen. Suicide happens when we believe The Lie. But the show is not about suicide. It’s about a great, great gift Donny gave me one night (one of many gifts). I

After a get together with a group of friends I was leaving late one night, getting a drive hom with someone else, when from out of the pitch darkness across the street I hear Donny’s voice call out to me, “HEY! What would you be doing right now if you weren’t afraid?!” I stopped in the street and just stood there, shocked. He caught me flat out without an answer.

Donny and I talked often, sometimes all through the night, and he knew I was stupefied by my many fears. I was suffering desperately from agoraphobia still then and couldn’t go two feet out my door without a companion, and then only to a small place with people I knew. I had so long, so so so so long been afraid that my life had been cut off to just about every choice, every avenue of change. My world was as small as I could get it and keep it. And I had given up trying to fight against the limitations. I had resigned myself to my weaknesses. I no longer dreamed of places to go or things to do. I had no fantasy trips or fantasy houses in my mind. Not even any fantasy relationships to sigh over. I Just. Didn’t. Go. There. Anymore. I had given up. But until he asked me: What would you be doing right now if you weren’t afraid? I honestly hadn’t realized that I had totally given up on any future freedom for myself, any future pleasure and joy and experimentation…any ‘newness’…anything different at all.

And that is the show. What would you be doing right now if you weren’t afraid. The art I’m working on is not like the art I’ve shown in the past long while. It has bright – wild, even – metallic colours paired with background colours you may not expect. Or like. Ah well. It is a Dare, a Fearlessness I’m flowing with. Every day I sit down to work I say, “Okay Donny…let’s go…what do I really want to be doing right now? Help me out?” and I summon up the guts to paint what I want to see today and try to shrug off the cringes when I think of how the public will react. It’s about Freedom and Fun right now. After the last show, I simply feel that I need…out. To dig out those instincts in me that aren’t just about survival, be it survival of emotional tragedies, of the stresses that accompany bipolar illness, or of the ceaseless daily cycle of pay-all-the-bills-and-eat-and-clean-stuff-and-STILL-get-enough-sleep.

I am looking forward to September. Judging by the weather it’s already here. What a change, my lord. It’s a nice break for the utility bill, in any case. I was afraid if I didn’t turn the air conditioner off soon it would explode from constant use! I would enjoy some sunlight to paint by, but I will enjoy the cooler weather break for what it is. The rain is a delicious soothing sound. Just the right background ‘music’ to create art to answer the questions of a fearful heart and mind deserving of some fun, freedom, and flights of fancy.

And if any of this art matches your couch, honey, I’d like to see where you live.



ever the professional beginner

After many weeks of health issues and hospital visits I’m still awaiting physical relief but figure if I stay away from my work any longer I’ll officially be virginified artistically all over again. I’ve been taking some pain medication to at least let me get started making a bunch of ugly crap that got thrown out or set aside to get painted over. My fellow artists know that’s just how it rolls after a hiatus.

A goal helps. A shout out to my colleague, illustrator Allen Swerling, who has a blog entitled Out of Allen’s Mind. He hit me up to join him in a group steampunk themed art exhibit at The Pearl Company in Hamilton, Ontario on June 16th. The Pearl’s website is www.thepearlcompany.ca Give them a look. They’re a multifunction space – art, theatre, music – that is the jewel of the city. 

The steampunk genre is more than just goggles and clock parts, though a peek through Google images would seem to have you think otherwise. Think “Mad Max”. Remember that movie? Leather, feathers, chains, masks, allll kinds of attitude, but sleek and sexual instead of thuggish and manly with a strong old Victorian style vamped up run through it all.

Having a show in mind definitely got me focussed in a hurry (thank you MUSES!) and I spent hours poking through the hellandish messes in my house hunting for bitty good-ses I can use to create a few pieces of artwork for the show. I prefer to work on a body of work at once instead of an individual piece. Working on just one thing at a time is too difficult for my mind; I get stuck on the too-too many choices thing. 

Now…if I get around to putting some batteries in my camera I can post with pictures and try to be interesting or something near to it. Let me know if I come close.