It’s a compelling question for a world filled with some strange new art: what is art?
For the answer, the Visual Arts Studio Association of St. Albert (VASA) has developed a thought-provoking five-part lecture series, the first of which is being held tomorrow (March 18). If you have ever seen a painting and said, “My kid could do that” or looked at an abstract sculpture and wondered what it means or why it is considered art then these sessions are just for you.
Steven Harris, an associate professor of art history at the University of Alberta will be making tomorrow’s presentation based on how far the boundaries of art will stretch. The big discussion topic of Harris’s talk is how far can we push our definition of art?
Pat Wagensveld of The Studio Gallery is very excited the series is making such a grand entrance. As one of the organizers, she feels St. Albert is well known as an artistic centre but something has always been missing.
“With all the questions that come through the gallery we just thought it would be nice to have a lecture series with presentations from people in the industry. It would be a nice place to come together to talk about art.”
She and Susan Rogers have been developing this series since last summer through VASA. It is a not-for-profit artist centre that facilitates affordable rental studio space and alternative exhibit spaces, professional development seminars and other support for local artists. It has been around for several years but is only just now seeming to solidify its standing.
“We’ve been struggling to come alive since 2005. We are now stronger than ever, and it’s beginning to grow and gain recognition,” she said. It will be holding its first annual general meeting in April. “It’s been an interesting journey.”
Other talks in the series include next Thursday’s discussion called What is Worthy of Being Called Art? with Todd Janes, the executive director of Edmonton’s Latitude 53 Gallery. That will be followed by two talks in April by art critic Amy Fung and Ruth Burns, the interpretive programs manager at the Art Gallery of Alberta. The final instalment will be on May 6 with Rogers leading a walking tour of public art downtown, ending up at the VASA exhibition, Landmarks of St. Albert.
“My favourite part of my degree in art history was discussing art. I’m really looking forward to it,” she admitted, adding that you don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the talks. “There isn’t an elite expectation of prior knowledge of art.”
To learn more about VASA or to become a member, call the organization directly at 780-460-5990.
What is Art?
Speaker: Steven Harris - Associate Professor of the History of Art at the University of Alberta<br />Thursday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m.<br />Morinville Room, Servus Place<br />Tickets $10 at door or in advance at The Studio Gallery, 11 Perron St.