The Life of a Co-op Student
By Angelyka Sopchyshyn
From the beginning of my journey at the WKP Kennedy gallery in September, there was an immediate sense of being surrounded by people who not only have an appreciation and knowledge of the arts but also genuinely want prosperity for the local art scene. The exhibition open during my first day, the International Postcard Project, definitely stands out in my mind as a unique and inarguably successful opportunity to showcase the artistic talents of not only local artists and youth, but artists from around the world as well, with postcards received by the gallery from places as far as Germany and Italy showcased right here in North Bay. I was personally very happy with their promotion of local artists, being a local artist myself, (performance artist, but an artist nonetheless) I have an appreciation for any effort to support the community of talented and passionate artists in our city. Co-oping at the gallery has undoubtedly been a very valuable learning experience as well, with every day being different than the last. I have done everything from learning to properly hang paintings for display, to mixing 150 tiny containers of glue and coloured pigments for the “slime parties” and I genuinely believe there is something to be learned from every new experience I’ve had at the WKP Kennedy Gallery. I’ll be honest, when I was asked to choose my co-op placement all I knew I wanted was something that was applicable to the industry I wanted to go into (performance arts of course) and quickly came to realize that there weren’t really too many options for me in our community. So when I was approached with a placement proposal for the Gallery, I was hesitant. I have never really considered myself too proficient in visual arts, so how would I fit in at the art gallery? Putting my skepticism aside, I gave it a try and I am very grateful I did. Even though I’m not on stage every day like I wish I could be, the gallery has actually proven to be quite applicable to my day-to-day as well as my future career. As an artist, regardless of the type, I think it is an extremely important skill to have an understanding of art culture, as well as major influences such as the Group of Seven for example (the gallery has an original A.Y Jackson! Can you believe that?), to have a better understanding of the realm of art, as different art mediums are often relevant to each other. I have also had the opportunity to make great connections with artists, local leaders and people working in the performance arts industry, just by walking through the building every day. Being able to converse and interact with people working in the arts industry has been very inspiring, as they are living breathing proof that regardless of all of the social issues present in our world today, the world still needs art and thus there will always be a need for artists. As a young person about to go into the arts industry who had grown up being told that I needed to find a “safer career”, I am so happy to see people who have turned their passion for art into a real career and it makes me feel a lot more confident about going into this industry that I'm so passionate about. So, here’s to all of the artists, the directors and all of the other people who support the WKP Kennedy Gallery for their determination and passion about keeping the art scene alive in our community because not only have you inspired me, but hundreds of other young artists in the community to never give up on something that brings so much joy and meaning into our lives.