Published on February 13, 2015 | by Stephanie Matas Photography by Stephanie Matas0
Artists of tomorrow show off their talent, and edges
Refocused and relocated, the 2015 Edge Student Show will shock and inspire.
Arts Etobicoke is hosting the 2015 Edge Student Art Show from March 4-10 at the Artscape Youngplace Hallway Galleries. This free seven day exhibition showcases talented student and youth artwork from across the Greater Toronto Area.
“For the youth it’s an opportunity for them to display their art publicly, especially for youth thinking about going into that career, it’s important for them to have that sort of experience,” said Ruth Cumberbatch, Arts Etobicoke Fundraising and Communications manager.
In the past participants were high school students. This year Arts Etobicoke is also including at-risk and homeless youth through partnerships with organizations such as Youth Without Shelter, Rex Pride and Gallery 1313, hence the name Edge.
“Generally the show is very well received, it’s free and it’s vibrant. The kids do amazing work it’s quite beautiful,” said Cumberbatch. As for the artists, “[the kids] enjoy it, they get a kick out of their work being on public display…they bring their families, tell their friends and do selfies in front of their artwork.”
The Student Art Show also has a professional development aspect where participating artists have the opportunity to meet one on one with professional artists and receive constructive feedback about their work. Cumberbatch believes about a third of the students take advantage of the opportunity.
The event now eighteenth year has changed venues for the first time. The previous venue Sherway Gardens is currently under construction leading to the location change.
Cumberbatch has little idea of the impact the change of venue will have on traffic to the exhibit, “At Sherway Gardens we sometimes had 70 people come through in two hours, 30 people an hour, we had a lot of people, thousands over the week.” Sherway Gardens also let Arts Etobicoke work with their publicist, which led to exposure in the Toronto Star and National Post.
“I don’t think we’ll get the same sort of exposure at Artscape [located at 180 Shaw Street]but… [Artscape] is a pretty busy cultural hub and [the show] gets promoted through them as well as their network,” she explained.
Ginger Scott, Program Manager for Artscape said most people that come to the building are interested in going to exhibitions and cultural activities so they expect thorough numbers throughout the week.
Interestingly enough, the Artscape venue was once a school, “because the building is a former school we feel student art is kind of at the heart, almost what the building was founded on so its always great to bring kids and all the different ages into the building,” said Scott.
Cumberbatch hopes to see 20-30 people a day. But she says the intent isn’t to reach a quota of any kind, “its more just about the experience. I think what’s more important to us is how many students participate.”
Cumberbatch said the big goal Arts Etobicoke sets is having 100 youth put their artwork on display, “If 500 people or 5000 come, that’s just a bonus, it’s more about the participation.”
The last student art show held in 2013 had 120 youth participates. A reception is held for all participating youth complete with snacks and participatory art activities. This year the reception will be held on March 4 from 6 to 8.
The show receives high praise from the c.ommunity. Shirley Atkins, a frequent visitor to the show said, “I am always surprised the artwork is created by kids and not professionals.” Everyone who comes to the Student Art Show receives a guide on how to look at art. An interactive art appreciation activity called the People’s Choice Awards is offered to visitors that encourages people to walk around and select a piece of art that best reflects a category such as strongest design or most emotional.
Schools or agencies interested in becoming involved can sign up online at artetobicoke.com or contact the program co-ordinator Shira Spector at email@example.com.