Artspace celebrates 40 years with Trent alum at the helm

As Trent celebrates its 50th year, another Peterborough institution is celebrating a significant milestone of its own. Artspace, located on 378 Aylmer Street, is celebrating its 40th year.

In addition to curating exhibitions and functioning as a gallery space, Artspace serves a variety of functions within the Peterborough Arts community, such as bridging the gap between artists and the community, advocating for the rights of artists, and fostering burgeoning regional talent.

Coincidentally, as both Artspace and Trent celebrate important anniversaries this year, they do so as the Directorship of Artspace is now being taken over by Trent (and Arthur) Alumnist, Jonathan Lockyer.

Lockyer earned a B.A. in Canadian Studies at Trent, which he attended from 2004-2008. He also began an M.A. at the Frost Centre before deciding to move back to his native Toronto in 2010 to be with his partner. Most recently, he finished his Masters at the Ontario College of Art and Design.

He started gaining an interest in Art and going to exhibitions at Artspace shortly after it relocated to its current location (its sixth) in February of 2005.

“Everything happening there just seemed so exciting to me,” he says, “there was a lot going on. It was the first time that I felt like working in the arts, and in this capacity, was something that I would want to do, so I started volunteering here, mainly with a lot of exhibition installation, and later volunteered at the Peterborough Art Gallery in the summer of 2009”.

In addition to the visual arts he also wrote for Arthur as a way of developing his interest in writing as a form of creative expression.

When asked how his experience at Trent helped prepare him for his role as director at Artspace, he points to Trent’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies.

“That’s a big part of what attracted me to Trent—especially the Canadian Studies program. It made sense to me not just as a way of learning but also as a way of thinking and approaching art-making and curatorship.”

He also emphasized the importance of Trent’s sense of community both within the student body and outside of it, “As a Trent student you’re not just here to go to school but to be a member of the Peterborough community.”

In fact, the newly added Resource Library, run by Andrea Kotelles, housing a collection of exhibition catalogues, books on the arts, and art magazines will also help people search through the collections and archives housed at Sadlier House in a partnership between the two institutions.

In addition to the recently opened “The Language Of Visual Poetry”, a retrospective on Dennis Tourbin (a poet, activist, visual and performance artist born in St.Catherine’s Ontario who passed in 1998), Locker and the Artspace team are busy planning the programming for next year.

They are working on raising awareness for Artspace and its 40th anniversary, as well developing different modes of community engagement.

They will also be looking for different ways of securing new funding and maintaining its financing. “That’s always a challenge, for any sort of Arts organization or institution” he says.

“Artspace has always been a vital part of the Peterborough, identity, community and culture and ultimately the goal is to continue to serve that function while finding ways to expand upon that role”.