Art gallery opens the vault for fundraiser

Matt Gardner
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The Mann Art Gallery will unveil its 2012 permanent collection acquisitions later this month with a one-week exhibition anchored by a special fundraiser.

Following on the success of last year’s event, the Second Annual Secrets of the Vault Fundraiser will allow guests a first look at the latest additions to the gallery along with food and entertainment.

“It’s essentially an unveiling of our previous year’s acquisitions of artwork,” Mann Art Gallery director/curator Griffith Aaron Baker said. “There’s no necessary theme to the work. It’s work that’s been collected from various sources throughout the previous year, directly from artists, sometimes from collectors.

“Aside from the artwork, we have a caterer come in and create hors d’oeuvres and we have wine and beer, and this year we’ve got a local band, All Mighty Voice, playing some music in our main gallery space. So it’s just kind of a fun evening, sort of (an) extended reception.”

The fundraiser starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18. Tickets cost $20 apiece. A portion of each ticket sold goes to pay the band, but the bulk of proceeds will go towards the gallery to help fund programs and services.

One of the main goals of the fundraiser is to help the Mann Art Gallery continue applying for the grants that make such programs possible. The gallery applies for approximately 20 grants throughout the year from various sources, most notably provincial and federal funding obtained through the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Grants help fund initiatives such as education programming. They allow the gallery to add sculptures and murals throughout the city. They pay for conservation materials for the art collection, and for summer students who help out with face painting at street fairs and kids’ crafts during the warmer months.

But there is a catch.

“Those project grants … don’t tend to fund the entire project,” Baker said. “There’s an expectation that the organization will fundraise or receive donations of some sort or other self-generated revenues to make up the rest of that grant.

It’s essentially an unveiling of our previous year’s acquisitions of artwork. Griffith Aaron Baker

“So actually just applying through grants, you really can’t afford to do a project unless you raise funds, and that’s where these sort of fundraisers come in. We usually do about two or three throughout the year.”

The gallery’s assistant curator Jesse Campbell, originally hired as an intern in November, will curate the upcoming exhibition. Campbell recently received her master’s degree in art history while studying in the Netherlands and currently teaches classes at the University of Saskatchewan.

Campbell chose the works that will be featured at the exhibition. Thematically, the selection is likely to reflect her interest in art history.

“She did say that a lot of the themes were sort of loosely based on what we collected last year … I think it’s mainly just a sampling of a whole bunch of different works from our collection from different time periods,” Baker said.

He pointed to paintings by Second World War watercolour artist George Campbell Tinning as an example of what guests might expect.

“She does have an interest in history of art rather than contemporary art, and we did collect a number of Campbell Tinning paintings last year,” Baker said. “So I know there’ll be quite a few Campbell Tinning pieces.”

The one-week exhibition showcasing 2012 permanent collection acquisitions runs from Jan. 16-23, and the gallery is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

“It’ll be open for anybody to see,” Baker said.

“But we encourage you to come to the fundraiser,” he added with a chuckle.

Organizations: Mann Art Gallery, Saskatchewan Arts Board, Canada Council for the Arts University of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Netherlands

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