ARC encompasses works from over 30 artists in multi-level gallery

On April 21, a little bit of everything will be on display at the visual arts building for this year’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)  grad show, ARC.

ARC is the culmination of four years of study in the BFA, and it’s the last chance for undergrads to display their artistic talent before the end of their university careers. The exhibit is run entirely by students, who are responsible for promotion, organizing the vernissage, and making the gallery’s catalogue.

“This exhibition is not geared towards a specific theme, so whatever is being presented is really the practice of the individual artist,” said Alexia-Leana Kokozaki, a fourth-year arts student and organizer of the event.

“It’s really just bringing together all of our personal research, and it’s just providing a space to exhibit our work,” added Rebecca Bair, a fellow fourth-year arts student and event organizer.

Even though the visual arts building at 100 Laurier Avenue may seem large, space runs out quickly when 34 graduating artists are displaying their art pieces from the top floor to the sub-basement. Fortunately, the tight-knit atmosphere of the fine arts program makes conflict resolution easy.

“Because we’re so few we’re so close together, so even the little conflicts we may have here and there are resolved so quickly, just because we’re all friends” said Bair. “We’re in a really unique and special position where we’re working with our friends.”

While ARC might be the last show of their undergraduate careers, they don’t look at it as an ending. Instead, it’s just a culmination of the practices they’ve learned in school.

“Even though it’s in an academic setting, and it’s the fruits of our whole schooling,” said Kokozaki. “Our whole program is really a training of how to survive and thrive in the art world.” 

The show carries some weight in the Ottawa art community as well. Representatives from various galleries visit and often hand out awards that can help make an artist known to the wider Ottawa community.

But regardless of whether awards are won or art is sold, the night is still tremendously important to the graduating artists. It gives them a chance to show off the craft they’ve been honing for years to an eager public.

“I think that seeing people interact with your art and seeing people be interested in your art is almost a prize in itself,” said Bair. “To have external feedback or just interest in general feels so sweet.”

ARC opens at 7 p.m. on April 21 and runs until April 24. Admission is free. For more information, check out ARC’s official website and Facebook  page.