Golby readying to tell you a story about art
Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 06:00 am
Presentation and discussion held in conjunction with Storytellers, a part of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts’ Travelling Exhibition program
7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26
Location: Forsyth Hall, St. Albert Public Library
5 St. Anne Street (in St. Albert Place)
Attendance is free but pre-registration is advised as space is limited.
Please call 780-459-1682 or visit the second floor information desk by tomorrow to save your seat.
Visit www.sapl.ca for more details.
Who doesn’t love a good story? The St. Albert Public Library is a place filled with many a fine and artful tale so it’s the most appropriate venue for artist and art educator Shane Golby to talk about storytelling in art.
Golby is one of four managers and curators of the Travelling Exhibition (or TREX) program with the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. He is set to make an educational in-service presentation next Tuesday at the St. Albert Public Library.
It’s a rare – and free – opportunity to meet and hear this very engaging and affable speaker, as he does not run the lecture circuit on a regular basis. Indeed, it’s something that the many members of this city’s visual arts community mustn’t miss.
“The aim is to actually go through the actual exhibition in place to see how artists construct a work, things that they consider in putting a work together and also what their ultimate message may be, all in an hour and a half,” he laughed.
It’s more than a simple tour of the show. It’s meant to delve into the very nature of art and what makes it so important to our lives. The talk, he explained, has several aims, not the least of which is to actually discuss the TREX exhibit that’s currently on display at the library as part of the summer ArtWalk series for August.
That exhibit is called Storytellers, a compilation of unique works from such diverse artists as Gerry Dotto, Roy Kiyooka, Jeff Burgess, Bernard Bloom, Mark Traficante, Jacques Rioux and Harry Savage. The show explores stories or narratives told by artists through their art.
These artists have created artworks that are excellent examples of the category of Narrative Art, in which stories are told either as frozen moments or in a number of image events that take place over a period of time.
Golby compiled the exhibit out of the larger and certainly more extensive collection of the foundation (also known as the AFA). It’s a veritable treasure trove that includes more than 8,000 pieces of art from 1,700 Alberta artists including some prominent current and former artists from St. Albert like Sharon Moore-Foster, Mitsu Ikemura and Heidi Alther, the city’s current visual arts co-ordinator (and former director at the Art Gallery of St. Albert), among others.
“These artworks in the collection are basically owned by the people of Alberta. The AFA’s primary aim is to get that art out to Albertans so that they can experience the visual culture that’s produced in this province.”
“With this program, they want to get the art out to Albertans but it also is primarily directed at people who live in smaller communities and may not have access to art exhibitions either in their own communities or have the ability to get into the larger centres like Edmonton and Calgary to see the exhibitions on a regular basis.”
It’s the main source of works that are used to compile each show. He has two mixed media works in the collection himself.
Golby has a wealth of experience as a secondary education classroom teacher in this province, Inuvik and overseas before he became an art educator and was previously in charge of art education programs at the AGA. He’s a visual artist in his own right with two pieces in the AFA’s collection as well.
The foundation invited the four TREX managers from across the province to put forth proposals for a special limited project. Because of his extensive background in education, he set forth a proposal to provide education in-services focused on the exhibitions that he developed.
“There’s a PowerPoint which basically uses artworks from the exhibition in place – Storytellers – to illustrate key points of my discussion on art and the nature of art and the nature of what artists do,” he elaborated. “Either artists are portrayed as suffering people and they’re dying of poverty or drug abuse or they’re portrayed as people that are just slapping paint around and having a joyous time and not really engaged in any serious activity.”
“My aim in my presentation is to is to counter those perceptions and say, ‘No, an artist really is a thinking person and they’re really trying to express something regardless of what their subject may be, whether it’s a flower painting or Picasso’s Guernica. Artists are talking about something.”
It’s a heady topic that could easily continue on for a much longer period of time.
“It’s the Wikipedia condensed version,” he exclaimed, heartily.
Storytellers is but one of two exhibits currently on display at the library, the other being A Gathering of Trees, a group project that features original handmade books made without any paper. It’s put on by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild.
The foundation and its outreach
The AFA exists to support Alberta artists and to manage the province’s art collection. Those 8,000 artworks in the collection, Golby explained, are basically owned by the people of Alberta.
“The AFA’s primary aim is to get that art out to Albertans so that they can experience the visual culture that’s produced in this province,” Golby emphasized.
“With this program, they want to get the art out to Albertans but it also is primarily directed at people who live in smaller communities and may not have access to art exhibitions either in their own communities or have the ability to get into the larger centres like Edmonton and Calgary to see the exhibitions on a regular basis. Even though we technically own these works as taxpayers, it’s impossible for everyone to see all of the works in person in their own homes.”
To facilitate this, the AFA contracts four art institutions or organizations from around the province to develop these exhibitions, one of which comes from the AFA’s own collection. Two or three other exhibits are derived from the collections of the institutions or from contemporary artists themselves.
Each exhibit travels for two years within its own region before it gets traded to other regions.
The AGA serves more than 60 venues in more than 30 communities in its designated zone. These exhibits travel to such diverse venues as schools, libraries, museums, health care facilities and other community centres. This isn’t the first time that the St. Albert library has hosted a TREX show.
Each exhibit comes with an educational interpretive guide that affords teachers the ability to use the exhibit in conjunction with their school’s curriculum.
The TREX program strives to ensure every Albertan is provided with an opportunity to enjoy fully developed exhibitions in schools, libraries, health care centres, and smaller rural institutions and galleries throughout the province.
The AFA reports that more than 300,000 visitors attend the approximately100 exhibitions in dozens upon dozens of communities across the province every year.
People can learn more about the TREX program and the AFA itself at www.affta.ab.ca/Art-Collection/TREX-Program.