PIA Introduces ArtTracks150

Toronto, November 23, 2015

Partners in Art Introduces ArtTracks150

Five curators/teams chosen to lead the ambitious nationwide initiative

On Friday November 20th members of Partners in Art (PIA) together with sponsors, partners and special guests celebrated the launch of a groundbreaking nationwide arts initiative, ArtTracks150.

In 2017, Canada turns 150. To recognize this milestone, PIA is organizing, collaboratively with Parks Canada and the Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans (CANFAD), a nationwide contemporary art project known as ArtTracks150.

ArtTracks150’s vision is to foster a national dialogue – ignited by the beauty of the country’s natural environment and artistic creativity – about what Canada is and what it can be.

Curatorial call issued

Earlier this summer, PIA issued a national call for curatorial proposals in order to select a curatorial team for its ArtTracks150 project.

The call asked for curators to work together with established artists, art students and community members to create a series of unique nationwide multidisciplinary art projects in Canada’s national parks.

All curators residing in Canada or curators who are Canadian citizens residing abroad were eligible to apply.

More than 20 proposals were received from individual curators and curatorial teams.

Over the summer, ArtTracks150 assembled a national jury to review and select submissions. Jurors represented a diverse group of PIA members, journalists, researchers, curators and senior art educators from across Canada.

Diverse Jury Panel

Jurors included: PIA President Mimi Joh; founding PIA member Carol Weinbaum; PIA ArtTrack150 committee member Karen Pilosof; Susan Stewart, Dean of the Faculty of Culture and Community from Emily Carr University of Art+Design; Andrea Fatona, Graduate Program Director, Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories at OCAD University; Professor Anne-Marie Ninacs, School of Visual and Media Arts, UQAM; Art Critic and Border Crossings Editor-At-Large Robert Enright; Curator and Artist Candice Hopkins; John Thomson, Director of National Celebrations at Parks Canada; and Artist/Curator Dana Claxton. The jury was chaired by Vlad Spicanovic, Dean, Faculty of Art at OCAD University.

Five curators selected

The five curators were announced at the November 20th event.

The ArtTracks150 curators include: Kathleen Ritter (Vancouver/ Paris); Natalia Lebedinskaia (Brandon, Manitoba); Véronique Leblanc (Montreal); Tania Willard from the Secwepemc Nation; and a consortium of curators from Atlantic Canada: David Diviney, Ariella Pahlke and Melinda Spooner.

Kathleen Ritter is an artist based in Vancouver and Paris. She was an artist in residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris in 2013. Her art practice broadly explores questions of visibility, especially in relation to systems of power, language and technology. Ritter has also organized exhibitions in Canada and abroad, and recently was a curatorial advisor for the exhibition Where do I end and you begin, Edinburgh Art Festival, 2014. Ritter was the Associate Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery until 2012, where she curated the exhibitions How Soon Is Now; and Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture in collaboration with Tania Willard.

Natalia Lebedinskaia is the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in Brandon, MB. Since joining the gallery in 2011, she has produced projects and exhibitions by Lita Fontaine, David McMillan, Greg Staats, Kevin Conlin, Jillian McDonald, and Peter Morin, among many others. She holds an MA in Art History and a BFA in Art History & Studio Art from Concordia University, and has previously held internships at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Her research focuses on negotiations of personal and collective memory within the public sphere. Her curatorial approach aims to build communities, both ephemeral and lasting, through exhibitions and programming.

Véronique Leblanc is a Montreal based curator interested in context-based practices. Investigating connections between art, ethics and politics, her curatorial practice gives form to an ongoing reflection about the potential of contemporary art for addressing social, political or cultural issues. Her recent exhibition projects include Polyphonies (Optica, Montreal, 2015) and faire avec (AdMare, Magdelen Islands, 2013). She received the Canadian Art Writing Prize in 2011, as well as the John R. Porter Prize in 2014. She has an MA in art history from Université du Québec à Montréal, where she now teaches.

From Atlantic Canada, there is a team of three curators: David Diviney, Ariella Pahlke, and Melinda Spooner. David Diviney is presently the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. Ariella Pahlke is an independent documentary and media artist, curator and educator. Melinda Spooner is a socially engaged artist-researcher and instructor at NSCAD University. As a curatorial team for ArtTracks150, they are interested in a holistic approach to the exploration of local histories, natural habitats and cultural heritage. They aim to connect people to a sense of place and ecology through a participatory framework centered on ideas of sustainability and community building.

Tania Willard, Secwepemc Nation is an Independent Curator. Willard was Aboriginal Curator in Residence with Kamloops Art Gallery and previously with grunt gallery. Willard’s curatorial work also includes Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture, co-curated with Kathleen Ritter. Willard works within the shifting ideas of contemporary and traditional cultural arts and production, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures.

A year-long process of discovery planned for 2017

The curators will work together with art students, established artists and community members to create multidisciplinary art projects developed throughout a yearlong process of discovery. The students, enrolled in a specially designed national curriculum, will help to execute and realize the curatorial vision. An innovative, interactive digital media and online interface that is specifically created for Canada 150 will bring Canadians from across the country together.

About Partners in Art (PIA)

Partners in Art is a charitable corporation of Toronto art supporters that champions the visual arts in Canada. PIA partners with established arts organizations on collaborative contemporary art projects.

For more information visit ArtTracks150 or follow us on Twitter.

For more information please contact Eileen Tobey at info@partnersinart.ca

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