Invisible artists

Who will see our work?

Joy Parsons

Lakehead’s Visual Arts Department has been busy preparing works to be judged by the faculty and select works will be displayed at the upcoming Art Gallery Juried Show.

But what happens to the pieces that don’t make the extremely selective cut every year? The vast majority sit in closets, basements, and storage waiting for their chance to be seen.

In its policy, the university writes that it “believes that works of art should be displayed for the enjoyment of all.” Yet Lakehead is the only Ontario university that offers a visual arts program without the gallery space to display student work.

While the Dean’s Row is a recent attempt to put a bandage over the issue, the small slab of hallway hangings is simply sad.

Art student Jordan Allen comments that “many artists work in both two and three dimensions, so more gallery space is needed in order to make room for 3D pieces.”

“It is the university’s policy to promote and facilitate the display of art works on campus. It is the intention of the university to display high quality art works from a variety of sources, in all media possible,” the policy reads.

This may seem valid when viewing the 2D works on the walls of the Study, but on Dean’s Row, most student work remains hidden.

Visual Arts major Melissa Miller comments, “LU hardly has any gallery space. Most students at Lakehead aren’t even aware that there is an art department! Culture and creativity should be honored through the decoration of Lakehead’s walls with our student’s artwork.

“Additionally, the opportunity for art students to sell their work is huge, considering each year the amount spent on supplies is at least double what an average non-art student spends on books,” she says.

Another student, Kristen Wall, points out, “one of the biggest problems with the lack of gallery space on campus is that we have to find ways to put our art works outside of campus where barely any of the student body can appreciate them. If we could show what we do, Lakehead would see that we aren’t just getting covered in paint and drinking coffee in our closet studios all year.”

After three years of putting her creations into the trash, Brittany Kennedy poses the question, how can an artist be an artist without displaying their work?