"Nursing Career: I have been nursing for about 25 years now-17 yrs in the emergency frontline. Currently I work as a simulation consultant with eSIM Provincial Simulation for over 8 yrs. I also work as frontline Emergency Nurse at SHC and as faculty with Mount Royal Nursing program. It’s a great career. So many streams to pursuit. In my role with eSIM Provincial Simulation, I helped developed the initial COVID-19 scenarios in March 2020 before my first redeployment to the emergency frontline. I have implemented COVID 19 scenarios at the RGH site as well as the Sheldon Chumir and Airdrie Urgent Care. I have been involved in larger projects such as the South Health Campus Site COVID Outbreak virtual simulation. Recently, I supported the provincial Critical Care Triage Simulations with the Critical Care Strategic Network. The use of simulation in AHS has been pivotal for team training as well testing and integrating rapid practice changes that have occurred with COVID 19 management.
Passion for Art: I began to paint every night with my redeployment as it helped my relax, focus my energy on something rewarding and I fell in love. I began to take lessons through Levelling Up (Heather Pant) about a year ago and now moved to working with David Langevin. I have been painting for over 2 years now. I paint every day. And I also started that beautiful project-Art for the Frontline. It continues to have leverage with an interview this week with ATCO gas and AHS media wanted to learn more. There has been an ask to repeat again. Will see, about to be redeployed once more.
Mom: Not that mom is work…well maybe it is. But mom of complex special needs man comes with work to advocate. Brennan, AKA the king is 22. He is complex autism/giantism and GCP4 genetic anomaly. Start of COVID we lost his day program. So, my work then became finding more for him. I did-I created a program for about 1.5 years with therapists and with ++ advocacy and push-we started a Group Home for him alongside his long-time companion Tim (Also autism, large, salty and sweet man).
So that’s me in a nutshell."
~ Cherie Serieska
Written by Anna Ferensowicz
Wednesday, Jun 15 2022
AIR 106.1 www.discoverairdrie.com
Utility boxes are at the best of times an eyesore; they are after all meant for utilization rather than an aesthetic appeal. But for Airdrie artist, Veronica Funk, a utility box was a canvas, a canvas that she could dedicate to Indigenous culture, all the while beautifying Airdrie.
A decade prior, the idea to paint the utility box located at the corner of Main Street and 1st Avenue sprung from the hopes that art could replace vulgar graffiti that had been scrawled there.
"I submitted a proposal and I wanted to incorporate canoes and arrowheads to represent our history, not just Airdrie's history, but the history of the place that Airdrie is. If you go to Nose Creek Museum, they have a huge collection of arrowheads, because Airdrie was along the creek, it was a huge hunting spot for Indigenous, I think predominantly, Blackfoot tribes," Funk said.
The inspiration for canoes came from her own childhood, but also from the symbolism of what a canoe represents.
"We are all in this boat together and I really wanted to connect that."
And just last week Funk added something new to her creation in order to freshen up her art.
"Last week, I went every day, through different parts of the day and painted. Like the first time, I'd get a thumbs up from people or people calling out from their vehicle windows; or as they were walking, they'd ask about it," she said. "It was just so nice to get that encouragement from the community to beautify this corner again."
16 Swallows were added to the painting, to commemorate residential schools, but also because swallows are seen as symbols of hope and community in Indigenous cultures.
"That's the reason I live in Airdrie and have lived here for 25 years. It's because I love this community and I love the people that live in Airdrie. I just wanted to combine it all together by adding the swallows this time around."
Funk said that it was the City of Airdrie that reached out to her first to ask if she'd consider refreshing her artwork.
"That's always so nice that City Hall is very, very supportive of arts and culture in the community. I'm really grateful for that."
Funk who is originally from Northern Manitoba, said that much of her childhood was spent being immersed in the Indigenous cultures of the area. She said that smudging ceremonies and the deep spiritual meaning behind them have always struck a chord with her.
"[When] we would smudge, putting the smoke over our heads and say, bless my eyes, so I see the best in others, bless my ears, so I hear the best of others, and bless my mouth, so I speak the best of others; I always thought that was just such a positive way to be in the world," she said.
But it's not just the ancient ceremonies that she has found wisdom and inspiration to draw on, it's also her surroundings.
"[The other important thing] was paying attention to animals. My family used to call me crow talker because I would and I still love talking to crows. On one of my birthdays, 52 crows landed in the evergreen tree behind our yard. Crows are messengers but they're also a blessing. Adding those symbols to my work has become very, very important to me over the last 10 years."
Funk said that one of the first groups of artists that she was exposed to, and one that left a lasting mark were the Woodlands Artists an Indigenous collective of Indigenous artists.
"I loved their colouring and I loved how simple everything was; It would be a single image on the picture plane. When I went to Red Deer College in the 80s, I learned about, Lawren Harris from the Group of Seven and Georgia O'Keeffe, and how they would have a really prominent image in vibrant colour," Funk said.
While Funk has been a professional artist for over two decades, she offered advice to young artists who are just budding in their aspirations and careers.
"I'm always telling these artists you need to make sure that you do what you love to do, with the materials you love to do them with and to share it with others," she said. "You just got to keep going. It's like any job, you have to keep working at it."
Scott Strasser, CityView, June 14, 2022
Ten years after initially painting it, Airdrie artist Veronica Funk recently completed a refurbishment of her 2012 mural on Main Street, Honouring the Ancestors.
The public art piece is a mural, but rather than adorning the side of a building, Honouring the Ancestors is painted on a utility box, located on Main Street by 1 Avenue N.
Funk explained how in 2012, she was invited by the City of Airdrie to beautify the downtown utility box. Inspired by her upbringing in a rural community in northern Manitoba, but having moved to Alberta as a teenager, she decided to create a piece that referenced the Nose Creek Valley's wildlife and paid respects to Airdrie's Indigenous history.
“A lot of us have moved here from [other places] and the community has grown so much,” Funk said. “I wanted to incorporate that. I’m from northern Manitoba and lived by the Churchill River. That Indigenous history has always been a huge part of my background where I grew up.”
The 2012 piece was filled with the images, colours and symbols of Funk's memory of living in both Manitoba and Airdrie. The painting utilized layers of abstract mark-making and vibrant colour along with recognizable imagery.
Funk said she had learned while chaperoning a field trip with her children's class to the Nose Creek Valley Museum that the land Airdrie is located on used to be a prime hunting location for members of the Blackfoot – something she kept in mind when painting Honouring the Ancestors.
“I wanted to incorporate that just to honour the history of the place we live, especially with everything that has come to light about the residential schools in the last few years,” she said. “We need to honour the past and hopefully move forward in a more positive light.”
Considering the rain, wind, and hailstorms that have battered the utility box in the last decade, Funk noted it was time for the painting to receive a much-needed touch-up this year.
“It survived all of that, but some of the paint had faded on the south and east sides of the utility box,” she said. “I thought that was a pretty good testament that it lasted so long.”
With her brushes in tow, Funk got to work last week. She re-painted the utility box over a course of a few days, working on the piece for a few hours at a time.
Differing from her original 2012 work, Funk said she wanted to add new elements to Honouring the Ancestors this time around. She ultimately settled on the addition of 16 swallows wrapping themselves around the rest of the image.
She said the decision to add the 16 birds was based on symbolism, as the number 16 reflects new beginnings. Swallows, meanwhile, represent good luck in many Indigenous communities, Funk noted, while in other cultures they can also symbolize humility, divinity, grace, loyalty, and hope.
“I think coming out of this difficult last couple of years, I wanted some positive energy or feelings of community,” she said. “I’m tired of the fighting, the anger, the stress and the struggles that people have faced. I think it’s time we hope for something better. Swallows are also representative of community, and that’s really important.”
Honouring the Ancestors can be viewed on the sidewalk at Main Street and 1 Avenue N in downtown Airdrie.
"Last year, Covid stole my creativity and I was really lost going into 2021.
I was saved by a tiny orphan goat my husband and I adopted in February. She raised our spirits so much, and those of my friends who were following her story on Facebook, that we formed The Lola Project to raise money for mental health care in Airdrie. The Studio 52 artists created and donated art that we featured on many of our Lola-themed merchandise.
For myself, the project kept me wonderfully busy from March to November, and we raised $5055.09!!! Airdrie Health Foundation put the money towards their Pregnancy and Beyond program to help support new moms who are dealing with a lack of social, mental, and practical tools to help them navigate motherhood in these times of isolation."
~ Sharon Shuttleworth
I spent last week on a farm in Saskatchewan visiting an old and dear friend from art college. She has been creating the most amazing glass artwork since we went to school so many years ago...her name is Jacqueline Berting (www.bertingglass.com) and she is known internationally for her glass wheat. I decided to use the time to experiment a bit in a travel sketchbook while she worked at her torch...it was a wonderful time to re-fresh a bit and to try out the Holbein Acrylic Gouache that was recommended to me at Inglewood Fine Arts. Finally, a gouache without the strong scent (none really) that glides quite smoothly onto the paper, plus it mixes with acrylics or watercolours...a win-win in my books. I think it is a perfect travel medium and I'm considering working on some small round cradled panels as well. For many years I've been enamoured of the old structures that are found everywhere in farm country around the prairies and, since we lived on an acreage near her for a year many years ago, I was excited to see those beautiful weathered structures again. I have tried time and time again to create imagery using simplified shapes and strong blocks of colour and I feel as though I'm finally getting somewhere. Because I really like the way the ink of the pen I used initially in the first image had bled through the paint, I'm considering adding some stenciling patterns to the images. We'll see where this leads.
Since I've been working on my altered book for the past couple of months, I have been leaning towards using materials that won't allow the pages to stick together. Some of them are matte or craft acrylic paints, acrylic gouache, watercolour, pen & ink and now also a few Faber-Castell pencil crayons. I have also always drawn out my wardrobe for packing in my journal, so these have been so much fun to use there as well. I did end up picking up a few more colours, lime green, grey and black as I prefer to draw with something that doesn't smudge (like pencil or charcoal)...I'm okay with sketching new lines and doodling rather than being able to erase as I think those marks make the drawings much more interesting for me. Anyway, having fun with these for now...I may add a few Derwent Inktense as well as I've been hearing so many good things about them.
"I myself lost 2 jobs during this pandemic. My last job came to an end this past June. The world still being in the state it is in, and being older, getting hired has been quite difficult. It took me almost a year to get my last job, as I'm older, over qualified, or don't speak certain languages that are fluent in my city. It was most disheartening losing security, a paycheck etc. But at the same time, I was so frustrated working for someone else's dream to be left looking again for employment. This time I decided to take matters into my own hands and try my luck at something I loved and was actually passionate about-my art. While I'm not quite an established artist and making income off my art yet, I have been very blessed with some amazing opportunities. I have had a portrait be part of a group show in New York, and a participating artist for a second time for Art For Life Chicago. I work everyday on creating art, learning the business side of my line of work, website, social media-lol it is a full-time job. I believe everything happens for a reason, and believe I was given this chance to pursue what I love and to give back to others." ~ Jessica Archer
Our daughter is marrying this wonderful man next summer and we couldn't be happier. He has been a part of our family for almost 10 years and I have never been more grateful to have such an intelligent, polite and kind person in my daughter's life. They have been together through so much and he has been the best support system for her. They met in the first year of university; he was by her side during surgeries and diagnoses; two years ago they purchased their first home; last year they got the largest and sweetest dog named Willow; and next year, after she completes her Master's Graduate Degree, they will be married on his family's generational farm and we couldn't be more pleased.
I am thrilled to have been asked to defend a wonderful book as part of 2022 Airdrie Reads...Five Airdrie champions will pitch their book selection to panelists one will be crowned this year's Airdrie Reads winner. Combining the passion for books with the drama of reality TV, this online contest will inspire our city to read more.
Support Local by Following the ABCs of Airdrie Reads
by Allissa Blondin
The past couple of years have been hard on all of us. With local businesses having to pivot at every turn, families and individuals adjusting to new work conditions, isolation and dealing with mental health issues caused by the pandemic, it has been a tough go for everyone. With lockdown restrictions and new regulations, we have seen a number of amazing local businesses close their doors, possibly forever. As local small businesses ourselves, this has weighed heavily on our hearts. At Big Sky Author Services and The Feathered Pen, we wondered what we could do to help small businesses recover. Then it hit us – we could use our Airdrie Reads contest platform to encourage the Support Local movement.
A: Awareness & Adventure
The Airdrie Reads contest has always been an advocate of supporting local, in that we encourage local Alberta authors to submit their books in order to share these written treasures with Airdronians. The contest is designed to promote these writing superstars and their work to create awareness within Airdrie and surrounding areas as well as encourage the adventure of reading a new book or two!
This year, we are looking to promote Airdrie businesses. We want to help Airdonians uncover these local treasures to create awareness of what services and products are offered locally, right here in Airdrie! We hope to encourage residents to go on an adventure, shop around the corner, and help these businesses keep their doors open.
If you are a local business and are interested in learning how you can participate in the Airdrie Reads Support Local movement, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
B: Battling Boredom
Spring is finally here – thank goodness! With restrictions lifted and the weather beginning to look up, we are going to come out of our hibernation holes and walk, hike, bike, and do all the things that come with spring and summer weather – yay!!! But what about those lazy days where we just feel like hanging out at home, or what if we want to start reading in the morning, or include reading as part of our bedtime routines? Airdrie Reads has got the solution for battling boredom. We are going to narrow the submissions down to five finalists and then you will have the opportunity to get a super Shoplift Deal so you can read along with the Champions this summer!
While you are out and about, why not make a stop at a neighbourhood eatery or a shop and battle some boredom by buying local?
C: Creating Community Connection
Airdrie Reads is an opportunity for us all to connect with each other as a community as we read our way through these amazing local gems. We have created a Facebook page: Facebook.com/Airdrie Reads, for people to chat about the books they are reading, share their experiences, connect with one another in the community and so everyone can stay in the know! You can also connect with us on Insta @AirdrieReads. We can’t wait to connect with you so we can work together to Support Local!
"This past year I suffered a major setback, I had a tbi (traumatic brain injury) that resulted in a brain bleed that required brain surgery. Everything went well thankfully and I’m thriving on the other side of the accident. What was fascinating to me, was the way I was working, creating, taking care of others through it all. I had to learn how to slow down and let myself heal. Women have an astonishing capacity to get back up and keep going even in the most dire of circumstances. Learning to take time for ourselves and to recoup is a tough lesson." ~ April Muschara Harris