By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman For the Lethbridge Herald on May 12, 2021.
With the continued closure of art galleries across Alberta, the 2021 University of Lethbridge Department of Art annual exhibitions and student awards have gone virtual for a second year.
Facing a second year without an in-person exhibition, faculty and students worked together to create online solutions to share their work and celebrate creativity and academic excellence.
Art student Samantha Newton and her classmates took the annual Art Studio Open House and made it miniature.
“People would see it going into the Department on the way to classes and everything has to fit within the dimensions of a locker, so everything is miniature,” said Newton.
Open House in Miniature utilizes the niche gallery, adapted for virtual presentation, and the student-run Meliorist website, to ensure their creative works could reach a wider student audience.
“It’s important that we support each other as artists in this profession, so I think that was my professor’s intent, to get us in that mindset of working together. So, we came up with the idea of doing an open house exhibition with the resources we had,” added Newton.
Adapting to the space limitation of uLethbridge’s niche gallery, located in a locker on the 8th level of the Centre for the Arts, advanced and senior studio students contributed a miniature piece of art as a representation of their larger practice.
At the very back of the exhibit a medicine bag by Chataya Holy Singer hangs from the wall. Along the floor there is a miniature dress which was Newton’s piece, as well as two blacksmith pieces by William Baliko and a miniature couch which was made by Jax Stienstra to represent the doll house he worked on over the semester, a miniaturized version of an already miniature couch. On the walls of the exhibit there is miniature versions of drawings, paintings and photographic prints.
The exhibit will be available throughout the summer and once the fall semester begins, a new exhibit will be displayed inside the locker. Every two to three weeks, a student has the opportunity to showcase their work in the exhibit.
The annual art studio open house is also traditionally where the Department of Art recognizes excellence by awarding exemplary students for their outstanding achievements in art practice, community engagement, and scholarship.
Newton was awarded the David Lanier Memorial Award, Mary Annis Award in Studio Art and the 2021 Roloff Beny Foundation Photographic Award, for which she will be creating four small books based on four different cemeteries within Alberta.