By Bart Gazzola
One of the aspects of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts that’s an exciting venture is the VISA Gallery at 15 Artists Common. After a few exciting shows outside this mandate, the space is now dedicated to displaying works by current students of the school.
So, for the month of December you can see in the VISA space an exhibition of work by over 40 student artists: Art Block is brought to you by the Brock Art Collective, and will run from the first of the month to the 18th, with a reception on Friday, December 11th, from 7 to 9 PM.
The basic premise is that all artwork in the gallery has been created on 6”x6” panels in a variety of mediums and will be for sale starting at $40. In my conversations with Katie Mazi, one of the organizers of this, and of the Brock Art Collective, she indicated that a number of the artists have moved beyond that formal framework in manners both excessive and exciting, and will be installed nearly two weeks before the reception, so you’ll have plenty of time to scope out potential pieces to purchase. As I’ve said before, and will say again, and again, buy more Art.
Art Block is a bit of a tongue in cheek play, what with this being Art at Brock, but it’s also a continuation of the celebration of the new MIWSFPA facility in downtown St. Catharines, as well as the obvious connection to the 6”x6”x1.5” cradled wood surface all the pieces will share as a “base.”
Some other information: there’s multiple works by the same artists, and sometimes just a unique work by another. Specific parameters that artists have to match, to submit works to a show / sale (6x6x1.6 panels here, or small canvases, or T shirt designs or print works) is a long standing fundraising tradition in the arts.
It’s also an excellent way to announce a collective to a larger community, by displaying some unity in diversity. The Brock Art Collective is a student run club lead by Katie Mazi, Ben Mosher, Kaia Toop, Alex Muresan and Matt Caldwell. There’s more than 30 members, helping to organize workshops, field trips and exhibitions to foster professional development for its student members beyond the classroom (there was a trip this past Fall to Hamilton, hitting a number of spaces). It’s only been around since 2011, and continues to grow and change: Art Block is a new step, and one worthy of your attendance, and maybe even your cash.
As the works go up in the VISA Gallery, check out their FB page for images of the work, and to see what the Brock Art Collective is showing as we mark the end of 2015 and look ahead to what a full year of the MIWSFPA will be like, in 2016.
Bart Gazzola (also known as #artcriticfromhell) is an arts writer/critic who has published with Magenta Magazine, Canadian Art, New Art Gazette, Galleries West, PrairieSeen, Long Exposure and BlackFlash (where he was Editorial Chair for 3 years). He is Assistant Editor at thesound.rocks and a frequent contributor to various cultural spaces in Niagara.