Cards that read “Art is…” line the entrance of the Acadia University Art Gallery, with answers scrawled in colourful markers. The answers on these cards range from bold statements like “my life” to carefully drawn images, all created with the hope of defining exactly what “art” means. The beauty of art is that it means something entirely different to each person. Whether it be an expression of emotion, a pursuit of technical aesthetic perfection, or a statement on society, art is an outlet and a passion shared by many. The question of what art truly is has no definite answer, and perhaps this is what makes art so intriguing and captivating.
The 25th Annual Acadia Art Exhibition, which runs until February 26, 2016 offers a quiet answer to what “art is” through its stunning collection of art pieces. The exhibition, composed of sculptures, paintings, mixed media works, and more, becomes a work of art in itself: a collective statement of inclusion and belonging. As a response to what “art is,” the gallery offers the answer “community” through the diversity of the works on display.
For the past 25 years the gallery has opened itself to submissions from Acadia students, alumni, faculty, and community members. The wide range of art displayed allows visitors to view not only the talents of those living around them, but also allows artists to express their thoughts in a public forum. A strong community is built by fostering a sense of safety to share ideas, and as a result you come to better understand the people within your community.
250 visitors attended the opening of the gallery, which clearly indicates that the exhibit invokes a strong sense of community. People of many ages and backgrounds attended the opening and were able to meet the artists to discuss their works. The sense of community displayed at the opening continues to be seen, as community members from every walk take time to visit the gallery and provide their own answers to what “art is.”
The sense of community created by the exhibition is striking and beautiful. It not only shows the strength of the local community, but also art’s power of bringing people together. Art allows people to connect to each other on a deeper level, in a way they may not have without the medium. The beauty of the Acadia Art Exhibition is that it provides a space for the community to connect through these works and to each other. Museums and galleries are important centres for connection to not only objects and works of art, but to the broader world and to others. The Acadia University Art Gallery is certainly an example of such a centre.
To participate and provide your response on what “Art is…” visit the Acadia University Art Gallery in the Beveridge Arts Centre (10 Highland Ave.), open Tuesday to Sunday 12:00-4:00pm.