|Publicity for Transitions, artwork by Helene Blanchet|
How would you describe the role of curator for SAQA Atlantic exhibitions?There are several roles involved in running an art show for SAQA Atlantic.
The first involves the art pieces: Selecting and describing the theme, deciding on the number, size and form of pieces to be accepted, dates for entries, jury completion and receiving artwork. Later, seeking help from members for getting the pieces to and from the galleries as well as hanging and taking down the shows.
Another role deals with the galleries: Researching gallery requirements and preparing proposals accordingly; adjusting to their timelines and maintaining contact both before and during the shows.
A third role is publicity: Creating a poster and written material to inform the public about the exhibits.
What have you learned about the value of these exhibitions to SAQA members?For many of our members, selling art quilts is their livelihood. Not only do our shows help them reach a public market for their work, but they also educate the public about quilts as art.
What did you most enjoy about the role of curator?I had the most fun walking quietly behind visitors as they examined the art pieces, eavesdropping on their conversations. I overheard many comments like “Wow! I didn’t know quilts could be art.” Or “Look at the work on this piece. Isn’t it amazing!”
It was rewarding to make some good connections in the Maritime art world. I also enjoyed being a tourist in places I hadn’t visited, during the few hours leading up to each show opening.
What was the most difficult or frustrating aspect of the work?Nothing was particularly difficult. For me, the biggest challenge was being responsible for the whole show myself. Although I frequently checked in with our regional rep, Regina Marzlin, all decisions were mine. All contact and contracts with SAQA and the galleries, collection of the artwork and preparation for hanging, as well as transportation to and from their destinations, and eventually to the buyers, was up to me. I didn’t realize until part way through our show that some galleries didn’t do a lot to advertise our show, so that task can fall on the curator as well.
On the up side, my studio underwent a good cleaning and decluttering so I could store the collection (between shows) and all the mailing boxes.
Do you have any advice regarding the curation of future SAQA Atlantic shows?I think the next show should be curated by a team of two or better, three, people: one to manage the artwork, another, the galleries and a third for publicity. Tasks such as handling sales and transportation could be shared by the team.
It would also be nice if the next show could be seen more widely across the region. Our first show, Rooted, hung in three galleries in NS; our second show, Structures, was shown in five galleries, including NS, NB and PEI. The Transitions tour included four galleries in two provinces: NS and NB. None has been to Newfoundland.
|Halifax in Transition 1: View from Citadel Hill, Halifax |
by Heather Loney w28"x h29"