What are you having for lunch this Friday? Burger Studio? Henderson’s? The Owl? If you’re feeling adventurous, the visual arts program here at the University of Regina serves a healthy dose of art that’s got 100 per cent of your recommended daily intake of people involved in the visual arts field. The Art for Lunch program is a lecture series that’s held in the basement of the Riddell Centre (room 050) that features speakers that are involved with art in different ways.
“Once a week on Fridays at lunchtime, the faculty hosts either an artist, critic, curator, historian, or someone else that’s involved in the visual arts in some way.” explained Sean Whalley, one of the coordinators of the program. “They get a 50-minute presentation with 10 minutes of questions, and it’s open to all of the university, students and faculty, and to the general public in Regina.”
Art for Lunch was started by Leesa Streifler “so the students would have more exposure to people working in the art field sort of to offset their education and to bring in other perspectives about art-making and the art process.” It can give students in the visual arts program a real-life sense to their education, she said, and some of the various directions in which they can go and work after they finish their studies.
Aside from seeing artists’ various works, there are many other benefits to Art for Lunch, such as “exposure for students to artists or critics or writers they may never have been exposed to before, augmenting things that happen in class, and of course broadening their perspectives in some way,” said Whalley.
“The students are also able to approach the speaker afterwards, so they could potentially make new contacts with people. Depending on timing and stuff, they may be able to invite them to look at their work. There are opportunities that can come out of it aside from the obvious”.
Sean Whalley isn’t the only one who sees benefits to the program though. Dennis J. Evans, one of the artists who spoke at an Art for Lunch lecture earlier in the year also thinks that there are many good things to come from this.
“People come to it, and there’s a real interest and a need,” Evans said. “It gives people an opportunity to see, in this particular case because I haven’t been [here] for the past three years, what I’ve been up to, and it gives me a chance to try to put something together that might be of some value. I remember when I taught here, it was always really something to look forward to, and we always tried to push students to come to it because it’s for them … [the program] often [has] people come from other cities and other countries … I think it’s really beneficial.”
Getting people to both know about the program and then come to the program can prove difficult to the program coordinators. Whalley finds that “people aren’t always willing to take a chance on things, and people get busy. We do advertise, but we’re pretty strategic in the placement of our posters. It’s difficult to compete with the bombardment of stuff on campus.”
However, even if you’re not a visual arts student, Whalley still encourages you to come to the lectures. “Any more people to be exposed is the better.”