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Elora Centre for the Arts reopens with U of G student art exhibit

The Beyond Words exhibit marks the first time the ECFTA and U of G's School of Fine Arts and Music have collaborated on a gallery
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Beyond Words features pieces from U of G art students.

ELORA – With its gallery open again, the Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA) is starting things off with a new partnership with University of Guelph art students. 

The Beyond Words exhibit opened Thursday and features art pieces from U of G’s School of Fine Arts and Music (SOFAM) students. The art students were challenged to use their art form to share their perspective on a variety of topics or issues. 

Lianne Carter, ECFTA executive director, called this an exciting exhibit as it is the first-time they’ve worked in a partnership with SOFAM. 

She said she thinks it’s important to showcase youth voices and art is a great way to help communicate their worldview.

“I think it’s our job as an arts hub in the community to give voice to youth and students and listen. They have important things to say,” Carter said.

An event description noted topics including cultural issues, climate change, memory loss and mental health are explored through different mediums such as oil and acrylic painting, photography, pencil drawing and mixed media.

Martin Pearce, SOFAM director, said off-campus exposure is great experience for these students and for many of them it is the first time they’ve done anything like this.

“It is a way to evaluate their work for themselves, to see it up and to see people’s reaction to it,” Pearce said. “We like to think that our students are moving towards working in a professionalized art world environment and this is a very good first step for them.”

He explained the students for the most part are used to seeing their work in the classroom and putting it up in a public space changes the dynamics and prepares them for when they get out of school.

Another benefit Carter said is for young people who are interested in arts education to see they don’t necessarily have to go to schools in Toronto for it.

“What an opportunity, right in your backyard that is available to some students that might be considering the arts, and more specifically like this type of art at a university-level education,” Carter said.

An artist reception will be held on Feb. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. with anyone welcome to attend. 

Carter said they’ve made it a drop-in so people don’t have to be concerned that it will be too crowded at any one time. She said getting to meet the artists behind the work gives a deeper understanding of what they’re trying to say with their work. 

Pearce encouraged people to take the time to see the exhibit as the current situation around pandemic-restrictions allow these kinds of events.

“We’re getting to a situation with COVID where these students have been studying remotely for quite a lot of their degree and they're back in class now, they’re back in a gallery now. This is a very exciting time,” Pearce said. 

This exhibit runs until March 6 at ECFTA on Melville Street.