Creating A UCC Gallery

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 13, 2009 Ed Cartoon

We can all agree the cold, sterile walls of the University Community Centre are in dire need of artwork. What is less certain is how to best achieve this feat.

Which pieces of artwork, where they should go and for how long they should be up are all questions the University Students’ Council must consider when they begin executing their Student Public Art Program to bring art into the UCC.

For instance, some of the most eye-catching and thought-provoking artwork is of a political or controversial nature. Is this appropriate for a public space like the UCC?

The USC will have to be careful to ensure artwork is interesting yet inoffensive. Also, efforts should be made to locate art that represents the diversity of the Western community.

The biggest challenge after finding suitable art for the UCC will be deciding where to put it. Right now, this building is an awkward space; bare walls are not focal points and frequently used areas like the atrium are simply too busy to accommodate much artwork.

The UCC’s high traffic is of particular concern, seeing as students may tend to either ignore art or find it just another distraction amidst the vendors, awareness weeks and other UCC activities.

As challenging as it may be, proper placement for artwork will be important. The whole point of art is to inspire dialogue and evoke emotion, so works should be positioned where they can adequately impact the public consciousness.

Ideally, art will not just be slapped on the walls but will create an art space for students to be a part of.

In terms of how long artwork should be left in the UCC, the USC should strive for a quarterly rotation period.

Permanent installations would undermine the efforts of future students, while a shorter period would leave artists feeling as if their art had little chance to make an impact. Swapping pieces four times during the school year would give various artists a chance to showcase their work for a reasonable amount of time.

The benefits of having art in the UCC are enormous. From an aesthetic standpoint, art would brighten up this dull concrete space and create a new atmosphere.

In addition, student artists â€" whether from the visual arts program or simply those who pursue art in their spare time â€" would be given a venue for their work.

Finally, for those who never venture into art galleries or North Campus Building, having more art around would provide them exposure to this powerful medium. Art can be challenging and often inspires debate and discussion, making it a perfect addition to the university atmosphere.

Overall, having artwork in campus’ hub of activity can do nothing but good, as it will surely bring new life to the UCC, open students’ eyes to Western’s thriving artistic community and inspire creativity on campus.

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