Beaverbrook Art Gallery presents new program to showcase Indigenous talent

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery can be seen in this archive photo. (Submitted: Rob Blanchard)

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s new program, Shared Spaces, was launched to showcase Indigenous talent and provide an educational experience to the public.

The gallery completed its $ 50,000 fundraiser to win the JT Clark Family Foundation Challenge grant on September 30, which will fund Shared Spaces.

Tom Smart, Director of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, is thrilled with the program and what will come out of it.

“This is a program where we work with our First Nations partners and develop programs, exhibitions, educational programs, public programs, mentorships, elders and resident artists, in a whole range of different offerings” , said Smart.

To help the gallery make this possible, the Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation has pledged $ 25,000. The donation helped the gallery reach its fundraising goal of $ 50,000.

Smart said they are already planning ways to put the engagement to good use, including hiring an Indigenous curator to help curate exhibitions featuring emerging artists, expanding their artist-in-residence program and seniors in residence over the next three years. and the creation of an animated series for school programs.

The program has already started with the first event, Shared Stories, which takes place every Thursday from September 23 to October 28 at the Art Education Center.

Each session will include a presentation by an Indigenous artist and works from the gallery’s collection and the artists’ personal collections. The public will have the opportunity to participate in discussions and gain a better understanding of the traditions and values ​​of local indigenous cultures.

The event has previously featured artists such as Natasha Martin-Mitchell, who spoke on badges and Robin Paul who spoke on beadwork. Upcoming sessions will cover topics such as mask making and drum making.

Smart said he hopes Shared Spaces will be another part of Fredericton’s efforts towards reconciliation.

“This set of programs and initiative are part of how Beaverbrook Art Gallery specifically addresses some of these recommendations in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ”said Smart. “This is how we contribute individually and institutionally to building a better country through truth and reconciliation.

While the Beaverbrook Art Gallery has already worked with Indigenous communities in Fredericton, Smart hopes the new program will open more doors for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participation.

“We worked with [Indigenous communities] for years and years, and that’s just one more example of how we can deepen that relationship and do more programming, ”said Smart.


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