Guelph-Humber partners with StreetARToronto to highlight Toronto’s urban art

Mar 22, 2019 | Arts

Humber’s art gallery was taken over by the Business students, as they hosted their Street Art Photography exhibition. (Justice A. T. McCormack)

Justice A. T. McCormack

University of Guelph-Humber Business Administration students partnered up with StreetARToronto and Artusiasm for a photography exhibition featuring Toronto artists.

Opening night was held in the art gallery at Guelph-Humber on Tuesday, March 19. The gallery will be open to students Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. until Friday, March 29.

Working in groups, these students were under pressure to collaborate with a designated artist, follow a precise protocol, and organize a professional event.

The exhibit is titled a Street Art Photography exhibition, displaying the artwork of numerous artists across Toronto.

Carlos Rodrigues, an associate of Artusiasm, speaks with visitors of the exhibit. (Justice A. T. McCormack)

Carlos Rodrigues, an associate of the Toronto gallery Artusiasm, was the designated lead artist for this event.

Having hosted over 60 art exhibits of his own, Rodrigues sees the importance of running events like these.

“Every piece tells a story. It could be ethnic diversity, it could be so many things.  Besides that, it brings awareness to Humber, and the great programs that they have here,” Rodrigues explained.

One of the students hosting the event, Julia Plechko, spoke of her experience.

“It was definitely stressful. You really had to stay to a schedule and make sure things were done, because forms are due and things take time to ship in. We really had to be organized and stay on top of things,” Plechko explained.

Students are provided with a cheque of $1,500 and are then expected to work within that budget to ensure they have everything they need to host a successful event.

Not only did the students have a limit on funds, but they also have a time constraint as well.  Coming straight off of reading week, these students had only three weeks to pull everything together.

An abstract look at one of the artistic displays at the exhibit. (Justice A. T. McCormack)

In order to stay within budget, students had to make use of nearly every resource in their arsenal.

Working at a restaurant, Plechko enlisted the help of some friends to prepare all the food needed for the event.  She spent a whole day whipping up a “street vibe” style of food, including vegetable kebabs, prosciutto wraps, and mac n’ cheese in mini cups.

This is a project for the students’ Event Management 2 class.

At the beginning of the semester, the professor assigns the students an artist to work with – one whom they have never met before.

From there, it is up to the students to professionally communicate with that artist and accommodate their needs and wants.

With no direct help from their professor, the students managed to create a concept and décor for the exhibit, provide live music, as well as cater for an expected 300 people.

Aida Memisevic, a part-time Business professor at Humber, teaches the Event Management class.

“This is a different type of university education. It’s practical, it’s in a professional environment. I don’t know of another course where the university gives you money to spend any way you want. So, this is very unique,” Memisevic explained.

This event, including all of the planning, organization, presentation, and paperwork, is worth 50 per cent of the students’ grade.

From the moment the students are paired up with the artist, they must keep notes of all the planning and organization that goes into the event.

Another look at a selection of artwork displayed at the event. (Justice A. T. McCormack)

After opening night, the students have to gather all the notes they have kept and write a report consisting of their budget, the food they chose, how many people attended, etc.

Starting in September, there are about five groups of students in the class who each get the opportunity to host their own exhibit.  Each group’s exhibit stays on display for two weeks, and then the next group takes over.

This was the last event that will be organized by the class for the semester.

This is not the first time that students of this program have hosted events like this one. The program has received high praise for its previous events.

“We get comments all the time that this is professional, A-1. This is not a student project,” Memisevic said

Projects like this provide students with crucial practical experience, where they learn skills that they can apply to the real world.

“It gives the students a great hands-on experience, once they graduate to go out there and apply it to a real job and a real role,” Rodrigues said.