BY DAVID LEIBL
For The Bulletin
The University of Manitoba Students’ Union cut the ribbon on its long-awaited art gallery last month, bringing a degree of permanence to what was before an on-again, off-again venture in University Centre.
Student-produced art has in previous years been exhibited in the space across from Tim Hortons on the first floor of University Centre, although not with the legitimacy of an "official" public gallery. But with the opening of the aptly titled Gallery of Student Art — or GOSA, as it’s more commonly referred — Winnipeggers have a place where they can count on seeing some of the finest work created by students at the University of Manitoba.
The University of Manitoba has been home to an established and respected gallery, Gallery One One One currently located in the FitzGerald building, for nearly 40 years. But One One One is primarily a venue for the work of established artists, not those making their first forays into the field.
School of Art students have an opportunity to show work at Gallery One One One, but not until their thesis year, says Stacey Abramson, GOSA’s gallery administrator.
"We wanted a place where all University of Manitoba students could have an opportunity to have their work shown."
"Aesthetically Pleasing" was the title of the new gallery’s premiere show, which ran for two weeks. Abramson said the gallery intends to open a new show every three weeks, allowing a two-week run with a changeover week in between.
The inaugural show was comprised entirely of art produced by students in the School of Art, although subsequent shows will incorporate some work from students in other faculties as well. Interested artists must apply to have their work accepted, following much the same format they would encounter if they were applying to a professional gallery.
"They’ll need to submit their work and explain why it should be shown, their intentions for the space. The experience is a good stepping stone, because artists will encounter the same process in the future for show proposals or when they’re applying for grants."
For visitors to the gallery, Abramson says that if nothing else, a visit to GOSA makes for a moment of refuge from the often-harried rush of University Centre and often, of university life itself.
"It’s like a breath of air when you come in here. It’s small and it’s quiet.
"University Centre is always so busy; you often don’t feel you have breathing space. But now you can stop by, relax and check out some art."