The Ara Foundation was thrilled to offer support, through a $7500 grant, to the 2021 ‘Curate Me’ exhibition run by Kaitiaki Toi/Ara Art Curator and Academic Librarian Julie Humby and Educational Developer Alan Hoskin.
‘Curate Me’ was developed around the extensive Artwork Collection of Ara. One of the earliest established collections held by a tertiary institution in New Zealand, there are close to 700 works across the six campuses. Whittling the collection down to just a select 50 art works, students, alumni and staff of Ara were asked to select one of the works to create a response, in any artistic form including dance, music, drawing, painting and more. Then, through a juried process, 23 responses/artists were chosen to exhibit as part of ‘Curate Me’ alongside the original Ara piece that inspired them.
Exhibiting at PG Gallery 192 in Christchurch, the exhibition was open to the public and attracted approximately 300 visitors over a three-week period.
Julie Humby says the exhibition achieved three main objectives.
“The idea behind ‘Curate Me’ was our desire to make the wider community aware of the significance of the Ara Artwork Collection, as well as demonstrating how it can be used for teaching and learning purposes and of course to showcase the incredible talent at Ara. For students, taking part in a cross- and multi-disciplinary collaborative project such as this can serve as an important tool for creative problem solving, critical thinking, and innovation, developing life-long learning skills. It’s also an opportunity to build professionalism and partnership in the arts community” says Julie.
The Ara Artwork Collection contains predominantly New Zealand art works with a Canterbury focus. It was established in 1935 by McGregor Wright, (chairperson of the board of governors and a practicing member of The Canterbury Art Society), with the gift of 61 artworks by contemporary Canterbury artists. The original intention of the collection was to broaden student’s education and contribute to the culture of the institution.
The 2021 Ara Foundation Grant was utilised by Julie to hire the PG Gallery 192 space, print the catalogue for the exhibition and fee for utilising the Actionbound App. Julie says the grant was invaluable and its fantastic that the Ara Foundation provides support to help projects, that might not have otherwise been possible, come to life.
“The 2021 Curate Me exhibition, was well attended by the arts community, senior arts professionals and industry professionals and was well received. Public talks were delivered as well as a symposium presentation to Tertiary creatives, which received positive feedback and inquiries about touring the show, as other institutions were interested in hosting it. ‘Curate Me’ received positive local and national press coverage.
Julie Humby worked alongside Alan Hoskin, who assisted with the Actionbound app activation, that supported the exhibition. Julie says his efforts were vital to the overall success of the project.
“I would like to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of my colleague Alan Hoskin who worked assiduously with the participants to curate and activate content for the app, Actionbound, which augmented the works on show. The app was successfully used to provide additional information related to the participants and their work through audio, image, and text” says Julie.