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Artist guns her engines for MacEwan graduation show

Pump the Brakes exhibit runs until Thursday

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 06:00 am

PUMPED ARTIST – St. Albert Resident and MacEwan University art student Annie Belley will show off some of her recent work at the Pump the Brakes exhibit, which features work by her program’s graduating students.
PUMPED ARTIST – St. Albert Resident and MacEwan University art student Annie Belley will show off some of her recent work at the Pump the Brakes exhibit, which features work by her program’s graduating students.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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Pump The Brakes
MacEwan University
Opening reception Saturday, April 19 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Exhibit runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday, April 22 to Thursday, April 24
10045 – 156 St.
Admission is free

The fine arts students at MacEwan University are getting ready to hit that long road into the great wide world. First, they have to make sure that their artistic vehicles are in good working order.

Pump the Brakes is the name of the exhibit and it features a recent Paul Kane grad. The post-secondary students chose the title because it reminded them to slow down and appreciate and celebrate their great accomplishments after an arduous two years of study.

The show will feature the results of the graduating students working in the full range of the visual arts from drawing, painting, video, mixed media, installation art, digital prints and sculpture. One of the participants is St. Albert’s own Annie Belley.

“I’ve done all of that just because they really encourage us to try a lot of different stuff. I really fell in love with acrylic… but my favourite medium to work with is pencil crayon.”

For example, she referred to an assignment for which she was instructed to sketch something that was precious. She became so fascinated with the precision of pencil crayons that she came up with a “44-inch long” drawing of her charm bracelet.

“I tried to get it as realistic as possible. I also did a piece that focused on my grandmother and some of her possessions. She has an Old Country Royal Albert teapot that I drew, and a bucketful of blueberries. The detailed one is really the teapot. I do really like to try and get something as detailed as possible. It’s an easy medium to control. It’s really delicate.”

Belley will be one of only 23 artists getting prime gallery space to show off her work.

MacEwan has structured the graduates’ exhibition to be an important final touch to the fine arts students’ learning by exposing them to the many complicated facets to exhibiting one’s artworks. As well as preparing the walls, taking measurements for hanging the pieces and putting up labels, they learn how to submit to a juried exhibition and best present their work, as well as all the behind-the-scenes preparations that go into any exhibition.

These are all real aspects of working and exhibiting within a gallery, and this experience provides hands-on experience that will prove invaluable in their future endeavours, the university states on its website.

Belley is a huge proponent of the program.

“It’s really awesome!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t realize how much growth I still had to accomplish. After two years, I feel incredibly more confident with my art skills.”

The teachers, she added, are also wonderfully supportive and approachable.

The two-year university-transferable diploma program leads many students on to further their educations at other advanced art programs at places like the University of Alberta or the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Belley herself intends to attend the college as another step on her path towards post-graduate work to become an art therapist.

“I really do find that creativity has a good effect on our psyche. I think that, for me, that’s been really important.”

The opening reception for Pump The Brakes will be held Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. Artists will be in attendance.

The show finishes its run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 through Thursday, April 24. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

This show is free and open to the public.

The Main Galleries 106 and 109 are located at MacEwan University’s Centre for the Arts and Communications at 10045 156 St. in Edmonton.

For more information, call 780-497-4321, email or visit


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