Blogging, Local Art, & Slow Art Day: an Interview with Tori & Chelsey from PrairieSeen

[In this series, we interview hosts for Slow Art Day and get their thoughts on hosting, the art of looking, and the slow art community. Today we interview Tori & Chelsey, the creators of the blog PrairieSeen and hosts of Edmonton Slow Art Day.]

Slow Art Day: This year’s Slow Art Day event will be your inaugural PrairieSeen event. But, before we get to that – tell us a bit about yourselves. You are recent graduates and art advocates, right?

Tori and Chelsey: We both graduated from the University of Alberta this past year. We also worked together at the University of Alberta’s Fine Arts Building Gallery, an on-campus space that displays mainly student work in the undergraduate and graduate Fine Art and Design programs. While working at FAB, we realized that we both have a lot to say about the local art environment in Edmonton, and about art in general. That’s how our shared blog, PrairieSeen, was born.

Slow Art Day: Now, tell us about PrairieSeen.

Tori and Chelsey: PrairieSeen was started as a way to keep our Art History degrees relevant, and also to keep ourselves in the practice of writing after graduation. Since we come from an art-historical background, we feel that we approach art and art criticism from a bit of a different perspective, and wanted to share that with the Edmonton art scene.

Slow Art Day: And it’s exciting that Slow Art Day is your first event. We have a veteran host in Rome who opened her gallery several years ago with Slow Art Day. She said it was very successful and has really shaped her whole approach to all her events. So – why did you choose to make Slow Art Day your first event?

Tori and Chelsey: The fact that it is already an established international event appealed to us, and that it is free – aside from the cost of gallery admission. We really liked that Slow Art Day promotes the idea of slow looking in the gallery, and taking your time with each piece, rather than rushing through and not really seeing the works. The discussion part of the event also appealed to us – we love talking about art exhibitions, whether we liked them or not!

Slow Art Day: You have chosen to hold Slow Art Day at Latitude 53, a local independent gallery in Alberta.  What can you tell us about that gallery?

Tori and Chelsey: Latitude 53 is a not-for-profit, artist run centre here in Edmonton. It focuses on experimental, contemporary works made by artists in Alberta and hosts a lot of fundraising events throughout the year, including a weekly “patio party” series in the summer. You can read more about Latitude 53 and its mandate here: http://www.latitude53.org/  Latitude 53 is moving into a new space this spring, and we are hoping to host the event in the brand new gallery!

Slow Art Day: One final question. We were hoping more college students would sign-up as hosts at galleries and museums all over the world. We have a large college intern team but college student hosting is still in its infancy. Do you have any tips or advice for getting more college students involved? Do you want to help reach out to more students in Canada?

Tori and Chelsey: We’d love to help reach out to more students in Canada – we’re recent University graduates ourselves and we know how hard it can be to find time to be involved in non-school related events. We will reach out to art history departments here in Canada and see if we can generate more student involvement.

Slow Art Day: That’s a wonderful offer and we’d really appreciate your help in reaching more students there in Canada. Thank you!

[Make sure to check out PrairieSeen on Tumblr and Twitter, and if you’re in the Edmonton area, sign up to attend Tori & Chelsey’s Slow Art Day Event at Latitude 53.]

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