Home Arts Get out there! Art deserves an audience

Get out there! Art deserves an audience

by The Concordian January 31, 2001
The world of art is merciless, critical and hard to break into, but for those who have the passion to create, it is the only career goal they can imagine.
For students looking for their chance to be introduced to this selective society, there are specific outlets available to them. One would be Concordia’s own VAV art gallery run by undergraduate Fine Arts students.
The gallery allows students to showcase their work free of charge. Students are required to fill out a standard application form and provide the selection committee, composed of seven students, including the two co-directors, 10 to 12 slides of their work.
“I think it is really important for students,” said Lisa Vinebaum, co-director of the VAV gallery. “Very often it is the first time that they will exhibit in a gallery setting. They do all the work, in terms of making invitations and
sending out press releases, although we help them if they need it.”
Due to time limitations, students are not allowed to exhibit alone. Usually the committee will pair them up with another student with a similar medium or style for their week-long exhibitions.
“It provides a great opportunity for students to see each other’s work and it creates a community in the building, as well,” said Vinebaum. “It is very difficult, as a student, to have access to a private gallery. Students can use this experience to show in their personal dossier.”
Restaurant owner Rosa Simonian sympathizes with the anxiety of young artists.
Her daughter, Merissa, is a Communications and Fine Arts student at Concordia.
When Simonian opened the Prato last May, Merissa had the idea to use the extra space in the back of the restaurant to showcase various student art. For her, it was an alternative to the more traditional but expensive route of exhibiting in a gallery.
Merissa, explained Simonian, is responsible for scheduling the exhibitions.
Interested applicants are to get in touch with her and, upon viewing their work, she decides whether or not the work is appropriate for the restaurant.
“The location is great, people have more opportunity to see your work, you don’t
have big crowds. It is easy to access and you have a wider audience range,” said Fotini Rapanos, a Studio and art history student, who is currently exhibiting at the Prato. “You are getting out of the school and into a different, more professional sphere.”
The students also have the opportunity of selling their work. The restaurant does not take commission on works sold but charges students a nominal fee of $25 a week to exhibit. They also provide small hors d’oeuvres at the vernissage, along with free publicity prior to the event. Normally, works are showcased three weeks at a time.
“It is a way to encourage the students to have a nice place to exhibit their work without the fear of walking away with nothing. We are giving them a chance, it is good exposure. So far it has worked really well, they are great kids and we have had a great response,” said Simonian.
Christina Foufnini, a client at the Prato commented, “I would rather go to that type of a restaurant than somewhere else. [The art] gives it a special quality, something that is different from anywhere else. I am glad that students have this type of opportunity given to them.”
For more information or to have a look at the exhibits, contact Prato: 3891 St. Laurent; 285-1616.
VAV Gallery: VA 0-33; 848-7388;
E-mail: VAV_gallery@yahoo.com. Deadline applications for Spring 2001 and Fall
2001 are in April.
Yes, there is an incredible art community at Concordia. In future issues, The
Concordian will examine these talented students – current or Alumni – who are
emerging in their own fields. Have any suggestions? E-mail us at

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