Photos C/O Marta Hewson

It’s been said that art is meant to be seen. However, for young and emerging artists, finding spaces to be seen in is not always easy. Cadillac Fairview Lime Ridge Mall wanted to change that. In partnership with the Hamilton Arts Council, the mall hosted its first Youth and Emerging Artists’ Art Exhibition from Oct. 24 to Oct .28.

The exhibition was set up near one of the mall’s entrances, the free-standing white walls making the 122 artworks impossible for shoppers to miss. Any style of work was accepted and so paintings, illustrations, photography and mixed media work were showcased.

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The 65 participating artists hailed from across southwestern Ontario. The call for submissions was issued to local secondary and post-secondary students as well as recent post-secondary graduates in southern Ontario.

CF Lime Ridge first proposed the idea of the exhibition and approached the Hamilton Arts Council for their help in making it happen.

“My inspiration was… giving the youth a platform so they can showcase their work, especially the young emerging artists… Within our community here in Lime Ridge Mall, the retailers [were] extremely proud because they know that they’re working in a place that is giving back to the youth,” Liem Vu, the general manager of CF Lime Ridge, explained.

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“[T]he arts normally don't get up here, up in the mountain…So bringing arts to the mountain and especially accessible…to the shopper, you got a completely different audience…[I]f you were to go down to the art gallery, you have that just the artists, the people that love art…Now you bring it for everybody to see,” Vu added.

The theme for the exhibition was Cadillac Fairview’s brand purpose: “Transforming Communities for a Vibrant Tomorrow.” The artists manifested this theme in numerous different ways, from depictions of nature to portraiture to representations of pain.

On the opening night of the exhibition, four artists whose work best aligned with the theme were awarded. A jury consisting of representatives from Cadillac Fairview, the Hamilton Arts Council, First Ontario Credit Union and Earls Court Gallery determined the winners.

“I think that if there's any opportunities for us to bring…youth and emerging artists together to help support their career, to me that's what our mandate at the Hamilton Arts Council is…to advocate and to create opportunities for professional development for artists,” said Annette Paiement, the executive director at the Hamilton Arts Council.

Sarah May Coward was selected as first in the Emerging Artists category for her acrylic on canvas piece The Peoples Dance. Karolina Bramwell Rousseau achieved second for Strength in Biodiversity, a piece done entirely in pen and ink. Brian Kellam was chosen third for his oil and acrylic piece titled View from the Porch. Trynton Fisher, who had two pieces in the exhibition, won the youth (under 18) category with his digital piece True Beauty.  

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“[M]y one piece over there, it's called Sadness. So it's a portrait of an artist…[that] had passed away. [H]e made songs about sadness and depression so it's just to speak out on that, that…[it’s] okay to express your feelings. So this is me expressing my feelings through art,” explained Fisher.

Fisher operates the Instagram account but appreciated the opportunity to get involved with the community and show his work to a greater audience. There were several other artists featured who had had no or few opportunities to show their work in an exhibit before.

The exhibit provided an excellent introduction of these artists to the public, with several of the pieces that were for sale garnering attention from attendees. For this reason, there are already discussions in place to run the exhibition next year, only bigger and better.

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