Curatorial Conversations: The 9th Annual Durham College Exhibition

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Welcome to Curatorial Conversations, a new series on the SG Blog where we chat with Curator Olex Wlasenko about the current and upcoming exhibitions. Get a peek inside his curatorial mind and learn more about how an exhibition comes together.

The 9th Annual Durham College Exhibition showcases artwork by students in the College’s Fine Arts Program and is on now until May 22. The Closing Reception and Awards Ceremony is this Thursday, May 19 at 7 p.m.

This is the 9th year for the Durham College Exhibit. How did it start and how has it evolved over the years?

OW: The DC partnership had modest, but enthusiastic, beginnings—it started really as a pop-up show back in 2008. In those days, the annual Drawing for Art (DFA) fundraiser was only held in what is now known as the Coppa Gallery. Following DFA, we had a three-week exhibition slot that needed to be filled. Durham College students came to the rescue and that’s how it this annual partnership began. Now, the show automatically follows DFA every year.

Are there any highlights or favourite moments that stand out to you?

OW: It’s always exhilarating to see what the students bring to the mix. Every year’s totally different—the dynamic changes with the times and each cohort. Some years there’s an emphasis on the environment or the future, and in other years, the students turn inward and explore personal identity. This year-end show has a refreshing sincerity. At times, it’s endearing and sometimes it can be in-your-face. That’s a good thing. These early-career producers are sensitive “barometers” that respond to the world around them. It’s great to watch how they develop as visual communicators.

Pretend you have a crystal ball and can see into the future. What’s in store for next year, when it will be the 10th anniversary?

OW: Yes, the first large milestone is approaching! I think next year’s show will be a blast with celebratory coming-of-age markers like the sesquicentennial around the corner. The tenth edition of the DC exhibit will be exuberant and thought-provoking.

Want to gain more insight into the life of a Curator? Check out Olex’s personal blog Curator by Day.

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