For University of Lethbridge Art History/Museum Studies student Raija Abbott, being able to curate a show of her peers' work is a highlight of her degree experience. Raija curated a student-led and centred exhibit at the Yates Memorial Theatre as part of her internship with the Allied Arts Council and Casa.

Identifying Self showcases the work of art students Mac Bronk, Leah Evans, Kim Frondall, Christian Manahan, Gabrielle Peters, Kiyomi Scoville, Natalia Smith and Kort Woychesin. Raija discusses the exhibit and her inspiration behind it.

What is the theme of the exhibit?

The exhibition brings together an array of mediums from oil and acrylic paint, digital photography, gelatin silver prints, dry point prints, graphite, ink and embroidery. Eight artists were chosen for the exhibition. Each artist will be showing two pieces of artwork. One artwork conveys self using an element of portraiture and the other artwork is representational of their culture or something they love.

What is the inspiration for Identifying Self?

The theme of Identifying Self is wide, reflective and subjective but incorporates the artist’s intentions of achieving something tangible and descriptive about themselves. I wanted to represent a variety of mediums from the senior art students at the University of Lethbridge within the show to invite the public to experience some of the talent and techniques being used at the University.

What else are you doing as part of your internship?

Besides all the many emails and details for the exhibition, I am engaged in film nights and de-installations of exhibitions at Casa. The other part of the internship is with Katie Bruce and Public Art within the city of Lethbridge. Specifically, I have been learning about the mural and vinyl wrap projects with the Allied Arts Council.

I also took part in the Community Conversations event last October and engaged with the public to answer questions about the murals and vinyl wrapped art in town. I have been getting a general sense of the workings of Public Art within Lethbridge.

What takeaways do you have from this experience?

I have learned about Public Art and the Allied Arts Council, specifically the murals and vinyl wrap projects in town. I learned about the Community Conversation event that takes place within the city. I have learned about the process of curation and the many details needed to put on a show. Such as, selection of theme and artworks, advertisement, install and de-install of an exhibition.

All the things I have learned are valuable and I will take them with me wherever I go. How to communicate well. Pay attention to detail. These skills can be applied to any position in life. I hope to be able to work in a creative environment in the future.

I am very thankful for this opportunity and have enjoyed working independently, putting knowledge into practical use. Thank you to Anne Dymond for putting this internship together. Thank you to Katie Bruce for the time spent with me regarding Public Art in Lethbridge. Thank you to Darcy Logan for the opportunity to curate my own show at the Yates Theatre. I hope other students will be able to take advantage of this great opportunity in the future!

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