Frances Morrison Library/SCYAP/Art Placement

“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, 
you can always go downtown.”
Petula Clark

        Or, if you want to check out some of Saskatoon’s local art, regardless of whether you are alone or feeling lonely, you can always go downtown! Today I am headed to SCYAP, Art Placement, and the Frances Morrison Public Library to see what our city has to offer. 

    SCYAP, an acronym for Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Programming, is about as urban as you can get with an art space. In a lofty old building on 3rd Avenue South, SCYAP is home to a gallery and creative workspace that feels like a New York arts hub where beatniks and street cats would hang out. I love it here. 

    A wall of boxes titled, “newspaper”, “foam”, “small pieces of leather”, and even “chunks of vinyl” are filled with just some of the art supplies available for anyone who wants to use them! Yes, anyone! Not just youth! Any arty-minded soul can come in for free drop-in use of the space on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-9:00pm and Saturdays from 1:00-6:00pm.  

    The gallery side of SCYAP is just as nifty as the workspace. Even the floor has a street look, with curbs bearing the signature yellow paint stripe.     A group of high school students come in and frolic about the gallery. They are comfortable here, laughing and smiling and looking cool with their hands in their pockets. SCYAP is designed for youth, but anybody with an appreciation for art and urban culture would fall in love with this place. Shows in the gallery change every three weeks, so there is always a lot to see.  

    Across the street and down the back alley is Art Placement, located next to Diva’s Nightclub. Art Placement is another trendy, refurbished century-old building. Like SCYAP, the gallery is also filled with teenagers enjoying their freedom out of the florescent lights and hard desks of our present-day torture chambers….er… school classrooms. (But really, WHY are classrooms always as uncomfortable as possible?) I watch the students take in the art together, and remember how exciting field trips were at that age. 

    I speak with the gallery manager, Linda Stark about the upcoming exhibit at Art Placement. Joanne Lyons, an established artist based here in Saskatoon, will be showing her mixed media exhibition, “Shadow Dance” from March 31 – April 21 with the reception held on April 2nd at 2pm and an artist talk April 9th also at 2pm. From what I understand, Joanne is very inspired by the natural world. I know she has done some interdisciplinary work at PAVED combining sound and visual arts, so I am curious to see what she has been cooking up!
    My last stop is the Frances Morrison library. I head upstairs and say hello to the librarians. I ask for my passport stamp and say, “Is there anything you can tell me about the current exhibit? I’m writing about it for the Art Passports.” The one lady tells me that the show features photographs from the library’s historical archives. The other librarian chirps in excitedly, “And it’s all bakery-themed! I call it, ‘a little slice of Saskatoon’!” Oh, you cheeky librarian. 

    Well, they were right about the photos. Doughnuts galore! Just looking at the photos gives me a hankering for Spudnuts and Long Johns. 

    Back in the day during the “Golden Age of Bakeries”, you could actually get an order delivered to your house on a horse-drawn carriage; photographs of McGavin’s and other Saskatoon bakeries from the early 1900s show just that. I learn that1954 was the last horse-drawn bakery wagon here. 

    Another black-and-white photograph features the ‘McGavin Girls’, attractive, pin-up style ladies packaging bread and other doughy delicacies on a production line. A well-suited gentleman, who I assume is the boss, looks on approvingly. (He loves his job.) 

    Vintage photos of Christie’s Mayfair Bakery are also in the collection. For those of you who don’t know, this bakery is still around today with two locations! 

    In a photograph from 1929, I recognize a building from 2nd Avenue and Queen Street with the sign on top, “Don’t Say Bread, Say McGavin’s”. Ah! So that’s where the sign that has always confused Saskatooners came from! “Don’t Say Bread, Say Earls” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. 

    Well, I must be off now. It’s time I satisfied my doughnut craving. Keep visiting the galleries and collecting stamps! My passport will be full soon!