October 19th, 2020

University promotes the arts with Culture Vulture activities

By Bobinec, Greg on November 25, 2019.

Herald photo by Greg Bobinec
Local cartoonist Eric Dyck sets up his drawing desk in the halls of the University of Lethbridge as part of his artists residency for an upcoming gallery project in the new year. @GBobinecHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery invited visitors Saturday to join them for an afternoon of crafting and art for their monthly Culture Vulture.

“Today we have a Culture Vulture, which is a family friendly drop-in event where people can come and make arts and crafts, we have free snacks, all the supplies are free and we have the art exhibit open for people to look through,” says Kirsten Meiszinger, public program with University of Lethbridge Art Gallery.

“We just want to promote art and expressing yourself in a way that is free and accessible to people. It is part of the art gallery’s mission statement, we are a not-for-profit within the university, so we just like to create spaces for people to come and create art.”

Every month, the university art gallery brings families together to open their minds to some free thinking arts and crafts, along with the opportunity to walk through their large art gallery. This month, the art gallery held lessons on how to do photo transfers onto wood, for families to take home for some home decor.

“We have Culture Vulture about once a month, along with some other activities in there and today we are making photo transfers,” says Meiszinger. “People are able to transfer a family photo or a famous artwork to a nice wood board to decorate their place with. It’s super easy, you are just sticking the photo to the wood with some goo and creating a bond.”

Joining Culture Vulture is local cartoonist Eric Dyck, who has been spending some time at the university as the gallery’s cartoonist in residence, as he interacts with people at the university and draws pictures about their conversations about an upcoming gallery for the new year.

“I am here as the cartoonist in residence on behalf of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery,” says Dyck. “I am hanging out in the hallways and corridors of the university to talk to students, faculty and the general public and I am asking them questions about food and family.

“I have my little Kohlrabi plant here as the conversational catalyst to talk about ingredients or food that either reminds them of home or growing up, or maybe remind you of things you didn’t really like, or things about your family that you realize now that you are aware from home that they are unique or special.”

Over the last while, Dyck has been able to learn about foods people share or associate with their relatives or home, even if they don’t like the food, to get an understanding of the relationships between food and coming together. Throughout his current experiences, Dyck says he has seen the conversation go even further with participants calling up family members to learn more about the food association. Although in the beginning, students may have been hesitant to talk to the cartoonist in the hall, but Dyck says the response has been overwhelming.

“In January, the photos that have happened at my table in front of everyone live, will be on the walls in the gallery on the ninth floor and I will also be making some choices from the university’s art collection to accompany and support some of the ideas that I am exploring while I am here,” says Dyck.

“It has been overwhelming, it may have taken a few days for them to figure out what a cartoonist is doing sitting in the hall every day, but now that they are a little more comfortable and maybe have seen that I have drawn some other folks and that it is respectful, and that I am here to tell their stories and folks are starting to come to me with some really special things.”

Throughout the rest of the year, Dyck will be popping up throughout the halls of the university as he finishes his collection of stories before putting together the gallery set to open in the new year. In 2020, Dyck will be returning to the halls to work on another project. The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery will return next month with another community inclusive Culture Vulture.

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