July 2, 2020
Adaptable UCalgary art students take annual exhibition online
For the first time in its 10 years, UCalgary’s PUSH Emerging Artists Exhibition will present a People’s Choice Award to a deserving student artist from UCalgary — and thanks to social distancing requirements, you don’t need to attend in person to vote.
Sponsored in part by the UCalgary Senate, the exhibit normally consists of an in-person show and reception. Heather Kehoe, 2020 PUSH committee co-president and recent Faculty of Arts alumna, says new health restrictions inspired the committee to redirect funds away from the reception and bring the student-run initiative online.
- Photo above, clockwise from top left: Rise in the Unknown by Beatriz Martins; The Words of the Prophets by Donald Sucha; Tranquil Disarray by Kimberly O'Blenes; A moment remembered by Ishnoor Dhillon; Natasha by Gillian Coulton; Nautiloid by Monika Sifert.
“Every year, I’m, blown away by what is submitted and what is shown,” she says. “Having an event that promotes the unique and individual work that UCalgary students create is really important — cancelling the show was never an option.”
Jessica Semenoff, 2020 PUSH committee co-president and recent Business grad, combined skills gained from a major in marketing and a minor in visual arts, and created a website for her and her classmates to showcase their artwork to the public.
The exhibit is available to view in person — while observing physical distancing restrictions — at C-space King Edward from July 7 to 31, and the entire collection is available now to view online.
Pushing toward success
Succeeding as a professional artist requires more than great skill and creativity. Artists also need to understand the business of the art world — promotion, planning and co-ordination.
Kehoe says the PUSH exhibit provides students an opportunity to apply their professional skills and learn what it takes to get an art show off the ground.
“PUSH started as a way to literally push University of Calgary art students into the art market,” she says. “Whether you are accepted or rejected, just putting your work up for jury is a learning experience. To be in the show, artists need to promote their work, develop an artist statement and make sure pieces are hung and displayed in a way that is appropriate for the work and for the space itself.”
The annual exhibit also connects the community of artists at the university. Students often reach out to faculty and peers to discuss artist statements, piece selection, pricing and framing.
“Usually, you can talk to a professor in the hallway, or other students during classes — without on-campus classes this semester that was definitely tougher,” says Kehoe. “Now, we are working to restore momentum and get excited again about creating and promoting art.”
UCalgary resources on COVID-19
For the most up-to-date information about the University of Calgary's response to the spread of COVID-19, visit the UCalgary COVID-19 Response website.