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News / March 1, 2018

News in Brief: A Controversy at Open Space and More

Plus: news on the future of the Alberta College of Art and Design, and Edmonton's new Africa Centre
The top floor Victoria’s 510 Fort Street, at right, is home to the artist-run centre Open Space. Photo: Google Maps,  August 2017. The top floor Victoria’s 510 Fort Street, at right, is home to the artist-run centre Open Space. Photo: Google Maps, August 2017.

Curator France Trépanier resigned from her position as Aboriginal Curator at Open Space. She published an open letter to outline her resignation last week. She cites that the hiring committee didn’t select a single Indigenous person or person of colour in its 20-candidate shortlist for its new executive director position last fall, and that they removed “Aboriginal” from the title of the position “Aboriginal Curator.” When she expressed concerns, her advice was rejected. In response, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective issued a call to boycott applications for that position. They also called for the organization to take up anti-oppression training, and for the “a minimum board representation of 30% Indigenous peoples and 20% peoples of racialized communities. Representation through actual presence and involvement is the only way to ensure healthy oversight of the organization.” Open Space has responded by removing the post calling for applications.

The Alberta College of Art and Design is now officially a university. The announcement was made in a presentation at the college on the morning of March 1. The move could signal more stability for Alberta’s only post-secondary institution dedicated to art and design—as recently as October 2017, the CBC reported there were concerns that the college was teetering on the verge of unsustainability. Speakers at the announcement included Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda, Alberta College of Art and Design board chair Carol Ryder, ACAD president Daniel Doz and ACAD Students’ Association director Camille Porcheron. ACAD has trained a range of artists, including recent GG winner Adrian Stimson, Cooper Hewitt Design Award winner Geoff McFetridge and Eisner Award winner Jillian Tamaki. (Facebook Live)

Edmonton’s new multi-million dollar Africa Centre is getting closer to being realized. Architect Samuel Oboh is in the final stages of conversation with city staff to designate the lead design team. The centre will function as a a multicultural centre and a community centre for youths, families and elders. The space aims to celebrate the cultures of Edmonton’s African residents. (Edmonton Journal

Alberta artist Delree Dumont was selected to paint three First Nations dancers at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. The artist owns and operates Delree’s Native Art Gallery in Didsbury, AB, and she recently joined the Indigenous Tourism Association, an organization that internationally promotes indigenous tourism, and which issued Dumont’s invitation. Dumont is a renowned indigenous dancer herself, and her pointillist painting will depict the dancers in their regalia. (Mountain View Gazette

Calgary arts supporter and collector Peter Boyd has died. Peter Boyd, who collected works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Eric Fischl, Chris Cran and Geoffrey James, among others, served as chair of the Calgary Arts Development Authority from 2009 to 2013, according to a recent article on Galleries West. As that article by curator and artist Jeffrey Spalding explains, “He co-chaired the bid committee that successfully secured for Calgary the title (and benefits) of Cultural Capital of Canada in 2012” and was also member of the board of governors at the Alberta College of Art and Design from 1994 to 1996. The article continues, “Peter was the founding chair and president of Calgary’s Institute of Modern and Contemporary Art from 1994 to 1998.” Boyd was also, for more than a decade, a member of the national advisory board of Canadian Art. Boyd died of a heart attack on February 23. (Galleries West)