Creative responses and collaborative partnerships are transforming the ways art galleries are responding to the ongoing social distancing measures. Illingworth Kerr Gallery (IKG), the professional on-campus gallery at Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts), has successfully navigated the problem of how to present the university’s traditional graduating class exhibition virtually to new audiences.
Located in Calgary, AUArts is the only dedicated art, craft and design university in the Prairies, and offers bachelor of fine arts degrees in ceramics, drawing, fibre, glass, jewellery and metals, media arts, painting, print media and sculpture; bachelor of design degrees in photography and visual communication design; and master of fine arts degrees in craft media.
The annual graduating students’ exhibition is one of AUArts’ major highlights each year and a milestone in the careers of graduating students. Organized by IKG, Grad Show traditionally opens directly after the May convocation ceremony and features approximately 200 artworks by graduating students. In light of the ongoing global pandemic and resulting restrictions on large gatherings, AUArts and the IKG partnered with Evans Hunt, a Calgary-based digital communications agency founded by AUArts alumni, to present Grad Show 2020 on a purpose-built digital platform. The Grad Show 2020 website, AUArtsgrad.ca, showcases the hard work of graduating students while minimizing barriers for those who otherwise may be unable to participate due to accessibility concerns or COVID-19 related precautions.
By placing Grad Show portfolios online, students are afforded the opportunity to exhibit up to 10 works alongside a written statement, which will be active on the website for one year. This new digital platform will be used as a complimenting feature for future Grad Show exhibitions to increase accessibility for viewers and visibility for graduate work. AUArts is committed to disseminating Grad Show 2020 to a broader public, exposing the work of graduates to audiences in Calgary, across Canada and beyond.
Illingworth Kerr Gallery
Alberta University of the Arts
1407 14 Avenue NW
Canada, T2N 4R3