The Acadia Art Gallery opened in 1978, providing both students and public alike the opportunity to indulge in their artistic side. I recently had the opportunity to interview Hunter Gillis, who works for the gallery, and asked him a few questions about his role, the new exhibit currently on display and more.
Q: What can you tell us about the new exhibit?
A: This is the 26th time that the Acadia University Art Gallery has opened itself to submissions from Acadia students, alumni, faculty and members of our community. The Annual Acadia Art Exhibition is an important event that celebrates creativity in our community. It provides a public forum to explore both the work of new and established artists. The exhibit contains a wide range of artwork that not only allows visitors to view works from the community, but also the creative talent and expression that the members of our community possess.
Q: What is your role at the gallery?
A: I typically have two main tasks. I act as a liaison between the gallery and the public. I answer any questions that people have on the exhibit and ensure that the gallery is well kept and that the essential tasks for the day to day operations are complete when I leave. I also focus on social media, which entails Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts that the gallery has.
Q: What is your favourite thing about working at the gallery?
A: Getting a chance to meet members of the community. I would consider myself to be a people person and I enjoy hearing someone’s perspective of the work on display or their own personal stories.
Q: Why do you think art is important?
A: I think art is an important part of our development as humans and an essential element of empowering the hearts of people. Artists can strengthen the will of the people and inspire them to act through revolutionary ideas and powerful imagery. Artists have the unique power of being able to move people to action, thus signifying their cultural and political contribution and importance.
Q: Do you wish more students would get more involved with the arts? How would you achieve this?
A: Yes, but finding an answer on how to achieve this is a difficult task. I think part of the issue is how neoliberalism has affected the university. Universities as we know them today promote STEM fields over liberal arts, and encourages instructors to teach students for future employment, rather than toward broad and informed citizenship. I am not entirely sure exactly how we can rectify the situation we find ourselves in.
Q: When is the gallery open?
A: We are closed on Monday and Tuesday, open Wednesday: 12-7pm and Thursday to Sunday: 12-4pm.
Q: What is your favourite piece/exhibit so far?
A: It’s hard to pick just one piece, I have a few that I love, but my favourite is by the artist Gus Rhodes, titled “The Creative Impulse, for $35 an hour, Imitating the Idea of a Zen Master, to make a pretty picture, to try and make some money, to pay a couple of bills,” (and yes that’s the name of the piece). It is number 88 in the exhibit.