GEAMP 2023 Culminating Exhibition

Written by GEAMP Participants

Image credits: GEAMP Participants

“Neophyte Club” is a collective gallery exhibition of twelve emerging artists from the Guelph and Wellington county arts community. The term “neophyte” is defined as “a person who is new to a subject, skill, or belief”. Emerging artists are neophytes… new to their mediums, their subjects, perhaps even new to the community. Club meetings allow these up-and-coming creatives to fight through obstacles, tackle big plans, and undertake the artistic world before them. The goal of the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Program (GEAMP) is to support artists in transitioning into their professional practices. “Neophyte Club” describes the emergence of participating artists into a vibrant and new professional practice. 

Organized by the participants of the Guelph Emerging Artists Mentorship Program, you can expect to see a broad array of styles, techniques, and concepts, including two and three-dimensional works, as well as music composition. 

A central goal of the GEAMP program is to pair local emerging artists with experienced working art professionals in the Guelph and Wellington County area. Over a two month time period, mentees meet with their assigned mentors to gain knowledge and experience related to being a practicing professional artist. Depending on the pairing and the artistic focus of the mentee, the skills obtained through the relationship vary. Examples include CV and resume writing, grant writing, active artistic feedback and input from the mentor, organized trips to local exhibitions and art fairs, exhibition planning and logistics, to name a few. The mentee-mentor relationship provides the emerging artist with a reassuring and empowering first-step into the world of professional artistic practice.

Image credits: GEAMP Participants

A secondary goal of the program lies in the participants’ creation of a public exhibition, celebrating the culmination of their experiences. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the mentees and the guidance that they receive from their mentor. This opportunity presents to participants the freedom to develop their artistic practice, including the skills necessary to organize gallery installations from start to finish. The mentorship program is a joint initiative of the Guelph Arts Council and the University of Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM), with continued support from the RBC Emerging Artists Project.

“I came into the program hoping to gain insight in how to continue my artistic practice outside of an academic setting. As a recent university graduate, much of my art-making has been in response to assignment requirements, however moving forward, I wanted to explore my role as a practicing artist within the community,” says Emilie McNamara, one of the mentees. 

“Since participating in GEAMP, I have developed the confidence needed to pursue a self-directed artistic journey. Through meeting with my mentor and receiving their guidance, I have become more equipped to take on my artistic future. In convening with like-minded peers and organizing a public exhibition, that same skill of confidence and capability has been solidified. Through this program I have found my footing as a recent graduate who is entering the world of the practicing visual artist,” says mentee Kira Alexanian.

The emerging artist participants include: 

Aidan Carney: 

Anna Golding:  

Emilie McNamara: 

Jess Clausen: 

Jill Strong:

Jude Akrey:  ​​ 

Kira Alexanian: 

Laura Finlan: 

Melissa Brunner: 

Miki Tamblyn: 

Nerine Cavadias: 

Shivani Joshi: 

“Neophyte Club” will run December 8th to 20th, Tuesday to Friday from 11 am to 3:30 pm, at the Guelph Arts Council & artBar. A closing reception to celebrate the mentee’s work and skills acquired during the program will be held December 14th from 7 pm to 9 pm at the artBar, located at 37 Quebec St Upper Level, Guelph, ON N1H 2T1.

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