Meghan Hunter-Gauthier graduated in 2015 and has recently moved all the way out to Prince George, B.C. to become the Acting Assistant Curator at Two Rivers Gallery. We asked Meghan a little bit about what that's been like and how Humber helped her get there.
What are you currently working on; what excites you about the project?
I started my contract with Two Rivers Gallery in early January and the entire experience has been nothing short of amazing! Two Rivers is a wonderful place to work, and central interior British Columbia is home to some very talented and well-established Canadian artists.
I was first drawn to apply for the Acting Assistant Curator position upon discovering that Two Rivers’ has a mandate to exhibit Canadian art. My interest was heightened upon the realization that the gallery prioritizes artists in BC’s central interior and also maintains a positive relationship with local First Nations communities such as the Lheidi T’enneh.
I enjoy that Two Rivers is located in a small city surrounded by a largely rural region; it’s a welcome shift away from the international art world that tends to saturate the country's urban centres. I feel it is empowering to be in a place where the voices of Canadian, local, and First Nations artists have priority and can be heard.
Over the past two months I’ve curated two exhibitions: Talents Artistiques Francophones, featuring work by members of Le Cercle des Canadiens Français de Prince George; and Possibilities, featuring work by Judith DesBrisay. Both exhibitions were created for the Rustad Galleria; an exhibition space which Two Rivers dedicates to local and regional artists who are based in the District of Fraser Fort-George. I’ve also supported George Harris, our Curator and Artistic Director, with the planning, curation and installation of two shows currently on exhibit in Two Rivers main Canfor Galleries: Voice, an exhibition featuring various artists from across British Columbia; and Behind the Lines, a solo exhibition of work by Bill Horne.
Whether I’m planning a Galleria exhibition, or one designated for the Canfor Galleries, I always find myself with a lot on my plate - and I love it! It’s exciting to have such a varied day at the office. One minute I'm at my desk making labels and answering emails, the next I'm climbing ladders and trouble-shooting an artwork hanging strategy. Above all, I love bringing exhibitions to fruition and working with artists to do so. The entire process is very rewarding.
What other things have you done since leaving Humber?
Right before I moved to Prince George, I was on Manitoulin Island, working with 4elements Living Arts. I spent ten weeks with 4elements as part of my final postgraduate work placement. During my time with 4elements I learned a lot from Sophie Edwards, and Patricia Mader - the driving forces behind this amazing not-for-profit. Both women gave me the chance to exercise and test the administrative skills I accumulated while at Humber, all while providing incredible support and encouragement. I can honestly say that without 4elements I probably wouldn’t be at Two Rivers right now - so thanks a lot 4e!
How did your time at Humber prepare you for what you’re doing now?
I made the decision to enter into the Arts Administration & Cultural Management program after I obtained my BFA from OCAD University. My undergraduate degree is in Criticism & Curatorial Practise, and although I felt quite confident in my ability to form strong concepts, write about art, talk about art, and create meaningful exhibitions, I realized upon graduation that I had very few administrative skills. I figured it would be a good idea to acquire these skills if I wanted to be more competitive within the Canadian art management job force.
During my time at OCAD U I learned that many Canadian galleries / art organizations have modest budgets, and thus require one to have a plethora of administrative, as well as creative skills. The Humber program helped me to acquire some of the administrative skills that I lacked and gave me a taste of the “real world” though not one, not two, but three work placement opportunities! This was the selling point for me, and sure enough the placements, and connections I made though these opportunities, helped me to get into the workforce faster than I imagined.
Two Rivers Gallery, in Prince George, B.C.