With live music coming and going from the bar and café scene, galleries dotting the downtown core and a large theatre community, you’d be tempted to agree that Fredericton is indeed artsy.
But what about student and emerging artists? They can’t exactly hang their work next to Salvador Dalì’s Santiago El Grande in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and call it a day. What options do they have?
Fourth-year St. Thomas University student Kate Bruce is the featured artist on feelsgood.ca, a website for Fredericton artists and musicians to show their work to the public. Bruce’s paintings are on display at the Wilser’s Room, part of the Capital Complex located in the tannery, until the end of the month.
“It was on the Feels Good website that I started posting my art and within a month my co-worker [at the Capital Complex] Paul McAlister – who is a well-known local artist and organizes the art showings at the Wilser’s Room – asked me to put up pieces for the January to March slot,” said Bruce. “I’ve worked there for almost two years now, but most co-workers and friends didn’t even know I was an artist because it’s more of a relaxing hobby I love doing.”
Bruce said it was a real sense of community that led her to showing her art at the Wilser’s Room. But if that opportunity didn’t arise, she said she wouldn’t know where to put her work on display.
“I’m not overly aware of any centres that would put amateur art on display, that is, without giving the owners a hanging fee or taking a large commission,” said Bruce. “Some places take up to 50 per cent of what the piece sold for, which sometimes unfortunately doesn’t make up for the supplies, cost and time of creating it. That has happened to me.”
If you’re in the same boat as Bruce and opportunities aren’t knocking at your door, don’t lose hope. There are a few places in Fredericton willing to help young artists out.
Introducing the new STU student gallery endeavour, featuring William Forrestall
With some luck, STU will have a student art gallery up and running by the end of the year, says St. Thomas University fine arts instructor, William Forrestall.
“We’re working on using the small triangle room in James Dunn Hall 212. It’s quiet, but not off the beaten path,” Forrestall said. “We were looking for a space that’s for student art, and where students would like being there. It’s a nice lounge area space, and a nice space for art.
“It hasn’t quite happened yet, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
Though STU already has an art gallery on campus – The Yellow Box Gallery in Margaret Norrie McCain Hall – it was designed primarily for contemporary artwork. Artists across the country and the United States have shown their work in the Yellow Box Gallery, but Forrestall said one of its flaws is that it’s not meant solely for student art.
Displaying your artwork in a gallery, Forrestall said, is of the same necessity as an actor going onstage or a poet having their work published.
“It’s a learning process and a validation process. I have gotten one or two bad reviews in my life. It’s a way to grow and a way to learn about your own profession as an artist, and it’s also important to know how to put a show together.
“I think more spaces would be good, to be absolutely honest. I don’t think there is a space strictly for students and emerging artists.”
The following are who to approach about YOUR art:
Gallery Connexion is an equal-opportunity organization, ensuring a diversity of artists are chosen in their selections every year, including emerging artists. The deadline for applications for their main exhibition programming is March 31 each year.
Gallery Connexion’s Megan MacKay said they like working with student groups to put exhibitions in their community gallery space, known as the Factory.
“Basically, if you can put together an exhibition proposal, or even have a floating idea in your brain, we’ll work with you to find a place for it,” said MacKay. “If we can’t accommodate it, we can help you find someone who will.”
Applying to exhibit your work requires you to be a member, which costs $15 a year for students. This helps Fredericton’s only artist-run centre and opens up opportunities; not only can you apply to display your work, but also participate in special events and keep up with contemporary art in the city.
They also have the Fredericton Playhouse Annex Gallery, located at the Playhouse on Queen Street. Once a year, usually at the end of June, members of Gallery Connexion are invited to put together an application to the Annex Committee who chooses the entire programming year.
Gallery 78 leans more in the direction of established and practicing artists. Though they receive a number of submissions over the year, a representative for the gallery said they unfortunately can’t find room for them all in their inventory.
The City Hall Gallery provides a space for group exhibitions, which gallery co-ordinator Angela Watson said includes students and emerging artists. Because the gallery doesn’t have a committee to decide between individual submissions, Watson said the collective exhibition is much better suited to showcase a range of art.
She said they’re not looking for anything particularly challenging because it’s a public space. A family friendly policy is in place.
In public spaces that have art galleries, Forrestall recognizes the need for mandates that discourage particularly racy art. With the City Hall Gallery, for example, they have a more political and social degree of responsibility to keep it clean.
“Every gallery should have an understanding of their own mandate,” Forrestall said.
Groups can direct their inquiries to Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cedar Tree Cafe’s walls are plastered with art for sale, and an employee said 90 per cent of the works are made by local artists – some of which are students. The criteria is based on time and space, depending on who the artist is and how much work they want to show. There’s no display fee for the artwork, so the artist can just name their price and display it.
The Charlotte Street Arts Centre is now accepting submissions for contemporary video art and digital images from New Brunswick filmmakers and artists for display on their lobby screen. For more information, contact WhiteFeather at email@example.com. The centre tries to balance its exhibitions between professional artists, emerging artists, multicultural artists as well as children’s art and student work, and they accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
New Brunswick College of Craft and Design accepts proposals from faculty of the college, studios, and alumni only, but special invitations are sometimes offered. They showcase work that celebrates the talent and culture of established artists in New Brunswick.
The UNB Art Centre features travelling exhibitions, lectures, special in-house exhibitions and work done by UNB students in art history and studio through the fine arts minor program. The person to talk to is Marie Maltais, director of the centre. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The UNB Art Centre is in Memorial Hall on the UNB campus.
Isaac’s Way has also become known as an artistic treasure chest. Kate Bruce has sold two of her pieces after displaying them at Isaac’s Way. She said anyone can do it and it’s easy to get in touch with the owners to get information on the next openings.
“I think that they are a great organization, they operate by silent auction and the paintings are hung for two months at a time. They as well donate certain percentages (which are chosen by the artist) to children’s causes within Fredericton, like children’s art classes.”
Isaac’s Way began their silent auctions in 2007 after realizing many of their servers and cooks had creative talents. That summer they held their first Silent Art Auction which raised $1,000 for children’s music lessons. Since then, they’ve raised $37,930 for children in the community.
stuart is a literary and arts journal based out of St. Thomas University. It was created in 2010 to provide a niche for young writers at STU, but now accepts visual arts submissions as well as poetry, fiction and prose. Submissions for the Spring 2012 issue are now closed, but stuart typically publishes twice a year, so look for news of a new issue next fall. For more information, email email@example.com.
Emerge Artists Collective is a group of visual artists who work in various genres, formed in 2004. The purpose of the collective, as outlined in the group’s constitution, is to facilitate the exposure of emerging artists and craftspeople. The Emerge jury gathers each year to evaluate new applications from artists in the Fredericton area wanting to join the collective. This year’s deadline is March 31. See www.emergeartists.com for more information.
NotaBle Acts Theatre Company works with aspiring and established playwrights alike. They produce new provincial theatre and put on a festival each summer in Fredericton. The company is now looking for submissions for its 11th annual province-wide playwriting competition. Contest winners will have their work featured as part of the 2012 NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival. The deadline for entries is April 23, and more information can be found at www.nbacts.com.
The Fredericton York Library Art Gallery is displaying one of Forrestall’s drawing class’ exhibitions called Shades of Grey. Through working with the public library for their exhibition, students of his drawing class learn how to work with different mandates, which he said is necessary for artists who intend to show their work.
Companies accepting scripts:
The Next Folding Theatre Company: Contact artistic director Ryan Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theatre New Brunswick: Read up on the script submission guidelines at http://www.tnb.nb.ca/auditions/
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