BAC on the Block: Brock Art Collective’s second annual Art Block gallery

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Brock Art Collective (BAC) is a collection of Brock students that come together to discuss and explore art, workshop and encourage the continuation of creation. The collective held an opening reception for their gallery BAC on the Block at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts last Friday. With over 100 pieces of art in the gallery, The Brock Press was able to sit down with one of the lead coordinators of the event, Brittany Thomas-Clapp.

For those who have never heard of the group, Thomas-Clapp explained that the Brock Art Collective is a BUSU-ratified club that welcomes students across disciplines. There are approximately 50 members and 105 pieces in the gallery.

“Most people think it’s only for Visual Arts students, but we welcome anyone,” explained Thomas-Clapp.

The Collective finds venues for students to exhibit their art. They have partnered with Small Batch Co., a juice company local to St. Catharines, in order to use the location as a permanent space to exhibit art. The Collective has also worked with Mahtay in the past and have plans with the cafe in the foreseeable future, as well as with the Niagara Artists Centre.

“We’re actually going to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto next weekend to to see the Mystical Landscapes and a professor has set up for us to go into artist studios, where they’ll tell us about their practice. An insider view,” added Thomas-Clapp.

The workshops they hold focus on different skill sets. Thomas-Clapp will be hosting an embroidery workshop in the future and maintains that anyone is welcome to hold a workshop if they can offer their specific skill to teach.

Many of this year’s participants are exhibiting their work for the first time in a gallery with the Art Block event. This year’s event allotted each participant a six by six inch panel, on which they could choose to explore any medium they choose. Inside the gallery at Marilyn I. Walker, some pieces were done in paint and some had taken on more sculptural shapes.

This year, Thomas-Clapp has done a couple of pieces with bone china, goats and flowers, each currently untitled. The pieces pop with brightly coloured flowers, decorating the bone china plates. Thomas-Clapp explains that these are all paper-made and spray painted. With each of her pieces, a small, golden painted goat sits against the bone china.

“I’ve been working with subjects with darker images,” explained Thomas-Clapp. “I felt it was successful work, but it was pulling me deeper into a hole. So I decided to do something light and fluffy. I collect bone tea cups, so I’m still working with ideas of fragility. They’re precious items, but can break easily.”

Thomas-Clapp took on a lighter theme, mentioning the quirky character of goats. Without them, she felt the pieces were lacking.

“Ideally, I would like to teach art and to practice it,” said Thomas-Clapp. “In a sense, the Brock Art Collective is helping enrich students’ experience here at the school. I want to do that with my teaching, too. Art is important. You can take visual arts as a pathway in your life; every subject is important.”

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