Trophy Case Gallery a rare shot at public exhibition for fresh students
new micro-gallery within the halls of LeBel School of Visual Arts hopes to remedy the dilemma students face when entering the professional world, where their lack of experience means few galleries are willing to give them a chance.
“I was thinking of ways to engage with the students who have not shown yet,” said SoVA Director and Trophy Case Gallery administrator Michael Ngo. “It’s surprising how many students don’t show their work until their fourth year or the BFA show.”
Trophy Case is geared specifically towards first- and second-year students in order to give them a public exhibition opportunity that they may not otherwise have access to this early in their studies. It will feature a mix of submissions from students gathered from an open call and shows curated by the organizers with the intended purpose of bringing in a wider range of submissions.
“I’d like art students to show, obviously, but I’d like to see a mix with non-art students,” Ngo said. “Especially with the curated shows, they’re pretty open and easy. People who aren’t professionals in art, they can still have art skills that apply to the work that we do.”
The gallery is literally a public school-style trophy case in the hallway of the (itself public school-like) LeBel building. Ngo and the other organizers, students Kacie Auffret and Sierra St.Louis, will assist the students with the hanging of their art on Sundays, where it stays until the following Saturday. Everything has been set up to make the setup and tear-down process as quick as possible, and the artists are free to organize openings and other events through the week as they see fit.
“It’s really common for student galleries to have a show every week, because we don’t have a lot of space,” Ngo said. “We need to have a high turnover rate so we can show as many people as possible.”
The Society of Visual Arts runs a full-sized gallery within the LeBel building as well, but is typically reserved for upper-year students, who are expected to handle all the aspects of organizing and curating themselves.
“It’s easier to hang and easier to repair. [Trophy Case] is more of a teaching gallery,” Ngo said.
The first week of exhibitions will feature painter Cristina Greco and photography from Jaron Loban and Laura Gentili.
Loban has been part of group shows in Toronto and as part of his BFA classes, and has sold his work at Artcite’s annual Doin’ the Louvre art sale. Greco has never put her work on display before.
“It’s a good opportunity,” said Greco. “I talked to Mike a lot and he said it’s a good idea to do this in your first and second years because it looks good on a CV.”
For Loban, Trophy Case is a chance to expand on his academic experience.
“One thing that’s kind of weird about being at school is that you don’t often have time to show stuff you’ve done outside of class. It’s an opportunity to show other stuff I’ve done and a different kind of work.”
Trophy Case Gallery is located inside the LeBel School of Visual Arts, located at the corner of College Avenue and Huron Church Road. More information can be found on the Trophy Case Facebook group.