Prof. Marc Losier and his students have a goal: to develop the first-ever community exhibition space dedicated to Visual Arts students. The idea for a student-dedicated space arose a couple of years ago when Prof. Losier joined Grenfell's School of Fine Arts.
"Grenfell visual arts students were really hungry for the chance to exhibit their work and share it with their peers, faculty and the greater artist community," said Prof. Losier, who has always had a desire to develop community engagement initiatives that foster professional development opportunities for young student artists. "Not only that, they expressed a sincere interest to me in programming, curating, publishing and writing about each other's work. So it was really amazing to hear from them how motivated they were to develop these skills."
Prof. Losier received from the university Public Engagement Quickstart funding, as well as a Teaching and Learning Award in support of the initiative. In a special topics course, his students – Emily Critch, Emily Clark, and Tyrone Kelly – focused on community engagement in the arts. They formed a student gallery working group to develop the future gallery's mandate and guiding principles, espousing ideals for diversity and inclusivity.
The students developed a survey to determine name for the new space; the result was the moniker PULP, which resonates with both the community's history of the mill, and also as a material that is in-progress, and as yet unfinished. As a test site, the visual arts student gallery working group operated a "Monday Pop-up Gallery" in a Fine Arts classroom. This exercise gave the students experience in promotion, social media, establishing exhibition schedules/frameworks and the call for proposals process. Every Monday a different exhibition was available for viewing 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; often there was a workshop component for members of the Grenfell and larger community to engage in art making.
"The student gallery working group will be publishing an exhibition catalogue of all the Monday Pop-up exhibitions they programmed last year, and all the work they accomplished in preparation for the future student gallery," said Prof. Losier.
PHOTO: Erika Stonehouse's crochet workshop/pop-up gallery
The next step? Identifying the actual brick-and-mortar space in the community.
"It's really important that the students have a physical presence off-campus within the local community," he said. "It would strengthen our relationship with the arts community, add another artist resource within Corner Brook and provide vital exposure to the talented emerging artists of our VA program. The student space would also provide exhibition and employment opportunities for VA alumni as they transition outside of program and into their professional careers as emerging artists and arts professionals."