By Justine Kraemer, GAC Volunteer Writer

The latest exhibition at the Elora Centre for the Arts is entitled “Beyond Words”. Put on by students from the University of Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM), the exhibition features a variety of mediums. It’s a challenging and engaging exhibition highlighting necessary perspectives of emerging artists attempting to make sense of the world around them. 

This exhibition is the first time that the Elora Centre for the Arts has partnered with SOFAM. It was designed as a by-invitation project, meant to feature these developing artists and their creativity. Art students studying at SOFAM were challenged to create pieces about current issues that were important to them. Twelve students were ultimately chosen to have their work featured here. The results were moving, thought-provoking, and the purest distillation of what art is at its best. 

This is an exciting partnership and one that will hopefully lead to many more student exhibitions at the Elora Centre for the Arts in the future. This is exactly the sort of venue emerging artists can thrive in, showcasing their early work to a supportive audience and community to lay the groundwork for their careers. Having a community organization like the Elora Centre for the Arts as a venue for emerging artists to explore and experiment with techniques is so needed to foster innovation and expression. 

“Beyond Words” features works completed in a variety of artistic media. These include oil and acrylic paintings, intaglio prints including photogravure, photography, pencil drawings, and mixed media. This diverse use of media is a credit to the depth of talent currently studying at the University of Guelph. The exhibit is made more accessible in this diversity, as there is something for everyone to appreciate. The diversity of experiences and expression is clear through the variety of media chosen by the artists. 

The artists featured in this exhibit tackle very real, very large issues. Among the topics analyzed through art are mental health and memory loss. There are pieces dedicated to paying tribute to the natural world, and calling out the disaster of climate change. The plethora of cultural issues addressed show thoughtful and analytical approaches to the most pressing issues of our time. This is the beauty of art, that it stimulates creative ways to conceptualize the complex.

Undoubtedly, this exhibition will not only enthrall viewers, but will inspire current and future generations of artists. “Beyond Words” shows the variety of approaches artists can take to express themselves in their creations. Hopefully, viewers of all ages will be inspired to pursue education in the arts. Both formal and informal education in the arts are essential in developing the next generation of creators. The sheer variety of approaches to art is a clear indication that there is a place for all artists. 

The Elora Centre for the Arts has again proven themselves a valuable and necessary community organization to showcase local talent. Art is essential in expressing the human experience, and the focus on the local art scene brings an accessibility that the community needs. “Beyond Words” is an excellent entry point for members of the community who are looking to support local emerging artists studying at local institutions. This exhibition is the first of what will hopefully be an annual partnership between the University of Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music with the Elora Centre for the Arts, so that future students will also have the chance to showcase their work as they enter the world of art.  

Beyond Words will be available to view at The Elora Centre for the Arts until March 6 2022. 

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