Little Gallery, lots of stuff

By Kendra Kusick

Many people on campus don’t even know where Craigie Hall is, let alone what lies beyond. The sixth floor of the Art Parkade seems an even more remote and bizarre location, but it serves its purpose as the visual artistic hub on campus. It follows that in true underdog style, the University of Calgary Fine Arts Appreciation Week started off with diminutive dimensions, but plenty of spirit at the 12th annual Post-Miniature Exhibition. The various artwork for the annual fundraiser have been submitted not only by student artists, but also by professors, alumni and commercial artists.

“Part of being an artist is fundraising, marketing, curating,” says Barbara Doerksen, graduate student, show coordinator, featured artist and head of the Post-Min committee. “Altogether [it’s] kind of like a practicum, and we all have to do it.”

On Fri., Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Little Gallery, all of the artwork will be auctioned off with the highest bid from the silent auction being the base bid for the live one. The proceeds will go toward the Graduate Students Exhibition which has been loosely set sometime the winter term. The Post-Min exhibition is one in a series of fundraisers organized by the graduate students, and its biggest earner. Still, the price tags run small. Each piece is no larger than a foot squared, and has an accompanying miniature starting bid of $20 in the silent auction.

“Some of these pieces are a really good deal,” says Doerksen. “You could buy a piece by a current student that goes out and makes a name for him or herself, and you’d have a very special, solid investment.”

Besides student work, the affordable miniature artwork by established artists offers a deal that won’t be found easily anywhere else. Although the bidding does run some of the artwork into a higher range, many worthy pieces may sell for no more than their silent auction price. Finances aside, the exhibition serves a grander purpose, too often lacking at the U of C: awareness.

“A lot of people don’t even know we’re here,” says Doerksen. “So it’s important that people become aware. There are some very talented artists in our community. The fact that we are segregated means that the Post-Min exhibition is really a great opportunity for people to come and see what we’re doing up here.”

To date, there have been over 145 pieces of artwork submitted and the list is growing. By Friday, more fresh artwork should be hitting the auction block. The constant influx of material has been difficult for coordinators to keep up with. Each piece must fit aesthetically into the collection and be digitaly photographed. The photographs will hopefully be shown in Mac Hall during the week, for exposure to the general student body. With this wealth of material, there’s sure to be something to appeal to everyone.

“There are so many artists so there are no underlying themes besides their own personalities,” explains Doerksen. “The good thing about that is the variety–also, these pieces are small and are a good deal compared to what you would pay elsewhere, so they can be excellent Christmas gifts.”

Besides being a convenient stop for burgeoning art collectors, early Christmas shoppers and brave campus explorers, the exhibit is also a welcome chance for young artists to flaunt some talent, no matter where they are in terms of their artistic development. A first-year student’s work could be auctioned off right next to his or her professor’s.

“It’s a big opportunity,” says featured undergraduate artist Guy McLintock. “It’s a great excuse to finally get off my ass and do something presentable.”

A new show opens up every week in the Little Gallery, so there’s always something new to peruse, regardless of intent to look or buy. The department welcomes straggling visitors with open arms, and it’s a fantastic waste of an evening, despite the turpentine fumes.

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