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Cultural Centre goes beyond its wall with Uxbridge Artist Collective

July 23, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Clare Bolton was just starting to get a visual of how her upcoming exhibition was going to look.

The long-time visual arts curator for the Aurora Cultural Centre had just finished taking a look at new gallery space allocated them at Town Hall due to the temporary closure of the historic Church Street School for the redevelopment of Library Square when the global pandemic made it clear that these doors would have to close as well.

It was up to Ms. Bolton and co-curator Carmel Brennan of the Uxbridge Artist Collective to rethink their collaborative show from the ground-up, and the result is a brand-new online art show and sale running now through September 28.

Beyond the Walls, a partnership between the Centre and the Collective, transcends geographical boundaries and brings together 18 working artists from wide-ranging disciplines and media.

“We thought there was such a variety with the Uxbridge Collective that this would be the perfect exhibition, so when we couldn’t go into the building, I was so disappointed,” says Ms. Bolton. “Art is an emotional experience and I was thinking [an online exhibition] would be flat. How are you going to connect with the community? I was a bit of a cynic, and this whole experience has changed me quite a bit.”

From Ms. Brennan’s perspective, collaborating with the Centre on an online exhibition was an easy sell for Collective members.

“It is so important to keep us alive and get it out there,” says Ms. Brennan of delivering art in new ways due to present restrictions.

Moving online also opened up new options for participating artists. Thanks to the online gallery, space was no longer a restriction on the art they would be able to show, which was welcome news to creatives who communicate through larger and, perhaps, less traditional media – including a participating blacksmith.

Artist Bert Liverance, however, is a more traditional artist.

Bringing down his brush to paint beautifully vivid flowers, he welcomed the chance to expand his audience, and reach art lovers in a new way through video “art bites” – which has snowballed to encompass many of the other exhibiting artists.

“As a kid, my mom took me to museums and I have always enjoyed going physically and seeing things in person,” says Mr. Liverance, who has been a practicing painter for nearly 40 years. “[Going online] is an important way to communicate. Art takes many forms. Video is an art form as well and I think, if done well, communicates well and can capture the spirit and soul of the artist – and that is what we’re really trying to do.

“At the end of the day, an artist is a storyteller. We’re telling stories through our medium and if this piece doesn’t speak to me, I can’t have it speak to you. If the art doesn’t speak to your spirit or to your soul in some way, it is not the right piece of art for you. At the end of the day you should have a connection with it just as I have a connection with it. I want my art to give the viewer joy and peace. If they think, particularly in these times, when it has been tumultuous, a person exposing themselves or viewing our artwork can get a little more joy in life and a little more peace in life, that is good. I am just happy to make someone smile – look at the flower and smile.”

If you would like to see if Mr. Liverance’s flowers bring a smile to your face, or if something speaks to you from any of the myriad media used by members of the Uxbridge Art Collective, the Beyond the Walls exhibition can be viewed through September 26 at

By Brock Weir



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