My name is Evan Roche and I am a Junior Interdisciplinary Sculpture and Painting double major. Over the summer I worked as an intern for Artspeak, which is a not for profit artist-run center in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Artspeak allows an opportunity for artists to publish, exhibit, perform and speak and has been doing so for 26 years. The gallery exhibits work by contemporary artists and focuses on creating a dialogue between visual art and writing. An example of this dialogue is the production of a postscript after each gallery show. The postscript is published by Artspeak and is essentially an objective response to the previous exhibition written by another artist/writer in the community. This person is given freedom in their writing format and to be critical.
Artspeak is run by a board of artists who are prominent in the Vancouver arts community and also by the gallery director, Peter Gazendam, and the curator, Kim Nguyen. I originally contacted Peter in the summer of 2011 and asked to volunteer to assist with the Holy Ward exhibition that was being installed at the time. This most recent summer they welcomed the idea of having me as an intern. I worked with both Peter and Kim, however I predominantly worked alongside Peter with tasks related to the exhibitions and the publications. I was involved with archiving publications and doing documentation for the publication catalog.
The main exhibition that I helped to install was for an artist named Aaron Flint Jamison. I was involved with installing the sculptures, painting them and mounting items on the walls and a variety of other tasks. I took a lot of pride in the quality coats of paint that I applied on the sculptures and also in my inventiveness to solve certain technical problems. It was very interesting for me to watch as the plan for the installation developed over the course of the week of installation. Flint made many edits and even swapped parts of some sculptures for others to suit the specific location of the gallery space. It was very valuable for me to observe how the work assumed a different form based on its specific context. Seeing how flexible the installation process could be was very informative for my own artwork.
This experience has provided a window into the workings of artist-run centers and their differences from commercial galleries. Keeping this in mind will help to inform my decisions around which galleries I will be interested in showing in or involving myself with in the future.