Art project to ‘mix and mingle’ with community

Any student that attends class in Grand River Hall may have noticed the wall just right of the main foyer has been painted bright red, a complete contrast to its former olive green. This red wall will be home to the Grand River Arts Project come March 31st when it will have its big unveiling. But don’t worry – most of this red wall will be covered up with 500 pounds worth of clay material.

Headed by the associate director of development, Sherri Bocchini, this is the second project that the Canadian Art Project will complete, the first being the fabric piece hung in the Carnegie Building entitled ‘The Welcomer’. This year, Boccini has called on the talent of Rose Risi, an artist and the owner of Smak Dab pottery studio. Including a local artist in the production of the art piece not only helps tie in the community to the project but also is needed to make the piece physically appealing.

“It’s wonderful to mix and mingle with the community,” Bocchini said, later adding, “I love art, but I’m not very arty.”

40 volunteers, made up of staff, faculty, and students were allotted two days to work on 6-9 clay tiles each as well as come up with colour schemes for the project. Prior to the workshops that volunteers attended, a small committee discussed the central theme to the art piece. They decided on the Grand River. Risi explains the complexity of an art project this big.

“We were under the constraints of time, money, and the experience of the participants… [in the workshops] we talked about transition, we talked about colour and talked about a whole bunch of things. So hopefully there’s a thread of continuity in the artwork. I hope the thread is that I was able to inspire people, just to be really free,” Risi said.

The piece’s colour is reflective of the Grand River’s heritage, including a lot of earthy tones and textures.

All are welcome to the March 31st opening from 4-5:30pm. Cheesecake and flavoured coffees will be served to the crowd of students, staff, donors, and community artists that are expected to attend.

Students can expect to see more community art pieces in the future, as Bocchini plans on doing one each year.

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