Humber Art Gallery is looking to ‘inspire’ students.
The gallery is curating an ongoing collection of contemporary Canadian art for L building on Lakeshore Campus, and eventually North Campus, to promote student culture.
Ashley Watson, head curator for the collection, says Humber is among the first colleges to build its own collection.
“There are no other colleges that have an art collection,” says Watson. “[There are] lots of universities [with collections], but they have these established practices.”
Watson says the collection is meant to encourage student creativity and improve the campus overall.
“This is Humber seeing this,” says Watson. “They’re saying we see the value in having a space and having a collection supporting Canadian contemporary artists, while also supporting student artwork, and having something students, the staff and the public can engage with.”
The gallery hosts interactive art events for students in programs without formal arts training and exhibits of student work from art based programs like Graphic Design. Jessica Salloum, a marketing student working with the gallery, says the gallery has had great feedback from the community so far.
“Our contributors don’t study the arts, so working through us they are learning about art theory,” says Salloum. “It’s a great way to express themselves and try different skills. The feedback that we’ve gotten is that Humber gallery is a resource for students, and it’s a place for students to come and be supported.”
Salloum says the gallery is also an opportunity to become better connected with the Lakeshore community.
“[Humber] will become more integrated in the community,” says Salloum explaining an exhibit hosted in partner with Culture Day for the public. “We’ve had tons of people come out and once we have more resources we will have even more, and our connection to the community is only going to strengthen.”
This week Humber Art Gallery hosted its first Artist Talks, welcoming students to come and dialogue with Toronto’s Kwest.
Watson says she found Kwest because the gallery is looking to explore many different avenues of art and help students think about art in a new way.
“If you look into graffiti now, there is a whole new element,” says Watson. “We’re starting to see a change and it’s becoming more accepted. Graffitti is something students should think about. It’s something that is sometimes illegal but it’s not black and white. Here again, students are learning all these things like critically thinking about ethics.”
Kwest is an international graffiti artist who is transitioning into formal art avenues. Some of his most well known work is on the Keele Wall downtown Toronto. In his talk he discussed his career, which started with hoping trains and developing his name in graffiti ‘wild style’, to having a family and creating sculptures out of excess industrial materials for exhibit.
Photos of the talk could not be published due to privacy issues surrounding the artist.
Humber Art Gallery opened when the L building of the Humber Lakeshore Campus opened. Salloum is looking forward to watching it grow.
“The collection is unique because it is contemporary artists who are emerging,” says Salloum. “Humber may have a piece from someone who was 8 years into their career, and then later another piece, years later, so students see them develop and are inspired.”