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From concept to creation to the gallery wall: How two Canadian artists enjoyed the spotlight thanks to a dedicated group of fourth-year Business students

Rarely do the realms of business and art collide so beautifully. White walls filled with effervescent colours gliding on canvas, and later, black and white photographs yielding to admirers through shadowy light. Art, the way it is meant to be enjoyed, unencumbered by the restraints of a typical gallery setting.

Thanks to a group of fourth-year business students in the Event Management II course, the University of Guelph-Humber art gallery hosted two week-long solo exhibitions in November, showcasing two talented Canadian artists, each hand-picked by the students themselves.

Exhibitions entitled, "RainFall: Emotions Unveiled Through Blurred Perspectives" and "Shades of Toronto: A Monochromatic Extravaganza" welcomed art lovers from across campus and beyond, featuring original works from artists Tabitha Verbuyst and Justin Minister respectively. From framework to fruition, these exhibitions, including stunning opening night gala events were planned and executed entirely by students.

“Step into Tabitha’s world of emotions, guided by rain’s gentle murmur,” students wrote on the promotional poster for Tabitha’s opening night gala. “Engage in interactive audio, explore her art on special platforms, and join the communal wall conversation.”

While many of these students admitted event planning and management might not be the direct path they’ll choose after graduation, one student, Johnson Uwabor, said he sees great value in this type of real-world experience.

“You never know when you’re going to need the skills you learn from event management,” he said. “Like making calls, writing press releases and promotions, [creating] event listings. All of those skills [are transferrable] when you graduate.”

The students were proud of their choice of artists, and delighted they could offer these local professionals the space to show off their work. The artists were equally thrilled.

“To say that I’m excited would be an understatement,” Tabitha gushed in an Instagram post promoting the opening night gala event to her friends and followers. “There will be interactive components, delicious food, and a chance to see all my work in one place! I’d like to thank the [student] team [for] putting this together.”

For Justin, this opportunity came at the right time. To afford the cost of living in Toronto while maintaining his career as an artist, Justin says he has had to work multiple jobs, often leaving him feeling isolated. “Shades of Toronto” was a way for him to capture his views of the changing nature of his home city, and he says he was happy to share his art in this way.

The Guelph-Humber art gallery is home to many different student-led events throughout the year; the ideal spot to showcase talent on and off campus.