Art Exchange, our program in partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery, is well underway, and we wanted to provide our readers with a behind-the-scenes look at what the scholarship students have been working on through October and November.

The first class each month takes place at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where students have the opportunity to explore exhibitions and then respond and reflect in workshop at the Gallery. At classes held at Arts Umbrella through the rest of the month, students experiment with different mediums and methods based on that month’s exhibition.

MONTH 1 – Robert Rauschenberg

Week 1: Students began this program by touring the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition. Afterwards, students worked in teams to discuss and respond to the works that they liked.

Week 2: Still working in their teams, students created two works in studio at Arts Umbrella. The first used either canvas or a wood panel to create a piece that reflected the technical side of Rauschenberg’s work through different variations of image transfer. The second was more personal, reflecting on ideas of self-representation.

Week 3: The class continued to explore different forms of image transfer using materials such as: packing tape and water, Xerox copies, Letterset, stamps, acrylic medium, carbon paper, and more.

Week 4: Students continued their studio work, experimenting with different materials and focusing on their second piece relating to representation and identity.

MONTH 2 – “Transit and Returns”

Week 5: This week’s Art Gallery exhibition was “Transit and Returns,” which features 21 Indigenous artists both local and international. Students identified the themes of kinship, territory, movement, and representation in this exhibition. After the tour, students had the opportunity to interpret the themes through a stop-motion animation workshop.

Week 6: Back in studio at Arts Umbrella, students continued to reflect on the themes and concepts that they identified at the Gallery in the previous week. Some students chose to begin new works in response to “Transit and Returns,” while others continued to work on their personal piece from week four.

Week 7: This week started off with presentations by students about their work from the Rauschenberg exhibition. They were urged to present their process and experience within their own work to the rest of the class. Following the presentations, students continued working on their pieces from week six. It was a day of experimentation and confirming an idea to develop in the upcoming weeks.

Week 8: Students continued to work on their pieces in relation to the “Transits & Returns” exhibition. While the last project was more 2D with sculptural elements, the works for this project are fully sculptural. Student have been exploring clay, found objects, leather, and papier-mache. There are many thoughtful conversations about these projects that we hope to keep encouraging.

About the Program

Art Exchange is an exciting visual arts full scholarship program for students ages 12 to 15. A collaboration between Arts Umbrella and the Vancouver Art Gallery, and respond through workshops at Arts Umbrella. The class provides access to unprecedented direct experiential learning. The first Monday of every month will be held at the Gallery with the remaining Mondays of each month at Arts Umbrella to proceed with reflective studio practices based on the gallery exhibition.