Oct. 7, 2015
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO – The Robert Langen Art Gallery and Wilfrid Laurier University Library are pleased to announce the official launch of LIFT, a new art program bringing community artists from the grassroots up into the stacks of the Waterloo campus Library. The LIFT Series launch will take place on Oct. 8, 2015, with artist-led tours from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., followed by a celebratory reception on the Library’s main floor from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“We want the Library to be a hub of culture and creativity for students, faculty, staff, and the entire local community,” said Gohar Ashoughian, Laurier’s university librarian. “The LIFT Series is our latest step towards realizing that goal in the visual arts realm, and precedes our plan to create a more formal, designated home for the Robert Langen Art Gallery within the Library.”
The inaugural LIFT exhibits feature street art by local graffiti artists and works by noted indie comic artist Michael DeForge – tours of the art work take place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. The reception portion of the event, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., will feature a spoken word performance by local poet Janice Lee; music by Linguist, an indie dance DJ and former Laurier Library employee; and mini workshops by local graffiti artists.
“We wanted the spirit of our launch, to be a little bit different, a little bit edgy,” said Suzanne Luke, curator of the Robert Langen Art Gallery. “This is about breaking down barriers between the university and the broader community, and between traditional, formal art galleries and local grassroots artists. Libraries have an amazing history of preserving and protecting knowledge and ideas of all kinds, and we want to honour that tradition.”
The LIFT Series leverages new “microgallery” spaces across from the elevators on floors 4-7 of the Waterloo Campus Library. Shows featuring local artists – such as photographers, painters and various others – will rotate through the spaces, with a new exhibition at least once per academic year.
LIFT is the latest step in the Library’s planned evolution into a learning, research and culture commons. To help support this vision, Library teams are in the process of developing performance, exhibit, workshop and other spaces where all members of the community can come together to create, share and enjoy culture.
“The Waterloo Region has excelled at incubating technological innovation and start-ups, and this helped inspire our idea that Libraries could perform an analogous role as incubators of culture and creativity,” said Ashoughian. “We think we have a role to play in nurturing the local cultural sector as well as the next generation of creative, entrepreneurial citizens.”
In May 2015, the university announced plans to integrate the Robert Langen Art Gallery into the University Library’s organizational structure. The move addressed a recommendation in Laurier’s Integrated Planning and Resource Management initiative to re-imagine the Gallery by moving it from its previous space in the John Aird Centre to increase its visibility. This strategy followed a similar integration of WLU Press, Canada’s fourth-largest academic imprint, into the Library’s organizational structure initiated in early 2015.
For more information on the event and on participating artists, visit library.wlu.ca/lift.
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