Funds will help support community outreach, digital engagement at the Gallery
SACKVILLE, NB — The Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University has received a grant of $540,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts in support of its program of contemporary Canadian Art over a three-year period. The grant represents an increase of 80 per cent in funding over a previous multi-year grant for the Sackville gallery.
The grant was awarded in a national competition in which the Owens was assessed along with other major galleries in Canada. A peer assessment panel rated the Owens’ performance in all areas including exhibitions, education and community outreach, collecting, publishing, communication, and administration and plans for new and ambitious initiatives.
Gallery Director Gemey Kelly notes that this grant is important not only for the major infusion of funds to the Gallery, but as a gauge of the Owens’ performance in a national context. “The Owens is recognized across Canada as a significant venue for research and presentation of contemporary visual art, and for the quality of its programs and its collection” she says. “Our staff, volunteers, and community of Friends play an important role in ensuring that the Owens will continue to be recognized for the contribution it makes to the arts in our own community, regionally, and nationally.”
The new funding will go towards the Owens’ programs of contemporary art and will also support the new position of Curator of Digital Engagement, envisioning an innovative communications and social media strategy for the Owens.
Rachel Thornton, Mount Allison Fine Arts graduate and emerging artist and curator has been hired as the Gallery’s first Curator of Digital Engagement. A previous intern with the Owens, Thornton has helped coordinate a number of community art initiatives in Sackville and was selected as the Town’s Waterfowl Park Artist-in-Residence in 2015.
In her role as the new Curator of Digital Engagement at the Owens, Thornton will reconsider the use and sharing of the Gallery’s resources with online audiences — the information that is produced, collected and used; staff knowledge and experience; the presence of artists and curators; and the contributions of users themselves. This new position is embedded within the vision, mission, and mandate of the Owens Art Gallery and will impact all programming areas including education, outreach, exhibitions, and collections management.
Photo caption: Rachel Thornton is the new Curator of Digital Engagement at the Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University. The Gallery received a grant of $540,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts in support of its program of contemporary Canadian Art over a three-year period, representing an increase of 80 per cent in funding over a previous multi-year grant.