The Western Open Studio event is a unique opportunity providing the Western community a chance to experience the Department of Visual Arts. Students from all three streams taught by the Visual Arts department will be opening their studios for the public to gain insight on what really goes on behind the glass doors of the John Labatt Visual Arts Centre.
PhD, MFA and BFA students are collaborating together to make this two-day event possible. Michael Pszczonak, an MFA student, says that they are trying to make this event as widespread as they can in order to show people the behind-the-scenes aspects of art making.
“In all of our studios, there’s the in-progress works we haven’t fully resolved yet. It’s up to each artist to decide how they want to organize their studio — they might show work-in-progress or final work,” Pszczonak says.
The event will display artwork all around the visual arts centre, as well as in the studio spaces. Since there are a variety of artists being featured, a plehtora of mediums will be used including sculpture, drawing, painting, photography, video, printmaking and performance art.
“Anyone who is interested in the arts, whether you’re in the program or not, will enjoy this event. The work is so diverse that there’s something for everyone here,” Pszczonak says.
Barb Hobot, an MFA student, says that this event will give people the opportunity to see how broad the different kinds of research artists are engaged with at Western. Hobot emphasizes that the process behind an artwork is every bit as important as the final piece.
“I think what’s unique about the Open Studio event as opposed to an art show is that the artists are there and you can talk about the process of how they make things. It’s a chance to see the workshop and the mess before,” Hobot says.
The studios will officially open at 5 p.m. on March 27. The artists will be there to speak with the public and to answer any questions they might have about their work. At 7 p.m. there will be a guest artist talk by Duane Linklater, the 2013 Sobey Art Award Recipient. The ArtLab Gallery will be open as well for the opening of the graduating BFA Practicum class exhibition titled “What Plants Crave.”
Niloufar Salimi, an MFA student, says that she is most excited for the celebratory atmosphere that will surround the Western Open Studio event.
“I’m excited about the excitement that all of us will have at the same time sharing one thing together with everybody in the department. I’m also excited about the exposure. This event is also a good opportunity for anyone who is researching grad schools to see the ambience of the school and how people interact,” Salimi says.
On March 28, the studios will re-open at 1 p.m. The Insight Visual Arts forum will be held on this day, which gives MA, MFA, PhD students and studio faculty the opportunity to present their research to the public.
“We want everyone to know that this event is free and open to anyone in the Western community. We just want to see some new people in here and have a chance to share what we’re doing and have a conversation,” says Hobot.
“The reason for this event is to highlight the program itself — there are a lot of good things happening in it. The faculty is really good and the art being created is really great. I’m really excited about the community that could potentially come together to celebrate art,” Pszczonak says.
For students who are curious about what goes on inside an artist’s head and the artistic process, this is an event that will not disappoint.
For more information about the schedule of the Western Open Studio event, visit the Department of Visual Arts website. The event will run March 27 – 28.