New gallery caters to students, emerging artists

A new art gallery with University of Saskatchewan connections is all about accessibility for those creating the art and those wanting to purchase it.

"We don't show work that we couldn't afford ourselves," said Michael Peterson, one of three owners of the new gallery called void. "It's not free but it's accessible in concept and in price."

Peterson graduated from the U of S in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking and again in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics. He has worked in the Department of Art and Art History in a number of positions including as a printmaking technician and sessional lecturer.

Peterson recognizes how difficult it is for emerging artists to find an inviting space in Saskatoon to show their work.

"How do you get a gallery to sell your work without a sales history and how do you get a sales history unless you get a gallery to sell your work? The commercial galleries want to know they're going to be able to make sales," said Peterson.

"We decided that we can start showing the works and selling the works and help (students and other emerging artists) establish a sales history while at the same time we help the students learn professional practices that would be required by a commercial gallery. We're a soft landing space for them."

Because Peterson, along with his partners Kris Kershaw and Nelson Fraser, want art to be accessible to the general public, they have also established off-site galleries in some Saskatoon businesses. Peterson said it is less intimidating for art buyers who may not be comfortable going to an actual gallery and it provides the artists greater exposure.

And he loves working with Saskatoon's emerging artists.

"They have so much energy. A lot of exciting and interesting work is coming out of (the U of S) program."

Located at the corner of 8th Street East and Clarence Avenue, void is open Thursdays and Fridays from 6 to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm, and by appointment. Off-site galleries include the Little Market Store at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.

Lana Haight is a Saskatoon freelance writer.

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