Thursday, July 22, 2010

artist as teacher/teacher as artist, AGA, July 23 - August 7, 2010*

While the majority of the public's attention has been focused on the AGA's exterior along with the exhibitions circulating through the city's new art institution, down below all the hubbub, the Singhmar Centre of Art Education has been keeping busy fulfilling the gallery's public education mandate.

With smart classrooms and a community gallery no bigger than 400 square feet, the education centre is currently featuring a cross-range of works by the gallery's educators and instructors, many of whom are active local artists.

With a range of media from more than 10 artists/educators, the exhibition is an eclectic showcase of what the gallery is capable of featuring in terms of educational programming. While often the education connects back to the exhibition programming, there is room to develop what the educators are professionally interested in.

"What I found most interesting is how they are all completely different," says Jessie Beier, Education and Programs Manager of the AGA. "The different styles are reflective of the broad range of what our educators can teach, and what we can offer."

From fine painting and drawing of familiar names such as Scott Cumberland and Brenda Kim Christiansen, to mixed-media works by Dara Humniski and Dara Armsden, to cartoons by Spyder Yardley-Jones and photography by Elaine Wannechko, the show reads as eclectic, tied together by short personal statements answering how teaching influences their artistic practice.

Similar to the set up of a faculty exhibition, this is as good a chance as any to do a survey glance at the different styles and levels offered by the gallery in terms of expectations for your practical art education. Demonstrating personal and professional teaching practices, the exhibition ends up stressing the artistic difference amongst their catalogue of teachers to the full benefit of the AGA's education centre.

With classes of all varieties constantly on the go, Beire would like to push the programming further to keep the spaces constantly in use, including expanding classes to include installation as well as performance art.

For now, with a handful of shows under their belt, the TD Education Gallery acts as a much-needed community gallery, showing a broad range of artists, from Junior High School students inspired by the Yousuf Karsh photography exhibition, to the grad show for Victoria School 30 IB students, to senior artists during the recent Creative Age Festival.

"A huge part of our mandate is public education, and that includes children and adult learning. I'm always looking for ideas from local artists, because it's important to have a free space in this city to show work," says Beire, who also emphasizes the importance for those in each show to be part of the entire process from hanging the work to lighting to fully get the whole experience of putting together an art show.

(Free Admission Tue – Fri, 4 – 7 pm; Sat – Sun, 10 – 5 pm)

*First published in Vue Weekly

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