Laurier should have a forum for student art
Two years ago, when my friend Nathan Thompson and I first decided to display our photography to the Laurier community, we were left with a big question mark: where could we showcase our work when Laurier has no forum for displaying student art?
At the time we really didn’t know much about exhibitions and had no mentor who could guide us in the right direction.
The only gallery on campus, the Robert Langen Art Gallery, is dedicated to showcasing the works of professional artists in the industry.
Each year, four professional artists are chosen to have their works displayed in the on campus gallery.
After getting in touch with the Robert Langen gallery, I was told that the gallery isn’t open to exhibiting student artwork.
Dejected but not defeated, we decided to book the Grad Lounge for a few hours on Laurier Day to showcase our images.
We purchased card stock, printed and mounted the pictures, and supplied our own lighting. We basically installed our own makeshift gallery with little to no help from anyone. The turnout was overwhelming and the response from the student body and staff was amazing.
In the end, most of the funding for the exhibition came out of our own pockets. This is the issue most other student-driven initiatives on campus are facing – there are not enough resources for students of all income brackets to have equal opportunities to display their talent.
It is only through student-run initiatives like FR!NGE, Laurier Musical Theatre, Rooted: A New Musical and the Imagyn Film Festival that our community gets a peek into the immense amount of talent and creativity that our university has to offer.
As a member of the visual arts community at Laurier, I have gotten to know a great deal of emerging artists who enjoy painting, sketching, sculpting, pottery, photography and graphic design, but they do not have a place to showcase their work on campus.
It is unfortunate that despite having an art gallery on our campus there is not one week in the year that is available for students to display their artwork.
There has not been any innovation or initiatives taken by the university to implement an accessible space that promotes the artistic endeavors of students.
Overall, there has been a lack of support on the part of the university for student art initiatives.
Students should pressure the university administration to take an active role in solving this issue by providing a social infrastructure for emerging artists.
This would include funding, mentoring and the necessary leadership to undertake long-term responsibility in ensuring that student art projects on campus are consistently offered.