Shelley Peterson Student Art Exhibition 2018

2018, Art, Art Museum at the University of Toronto
art gallery, art museum, contemporary art, emerging artists, student art, student exhibition, University of Toronto
About This Project

Project Members: Emilie Albert-Toth, Karley Staskus, Shauna Taylor


Venue: University of Toronto Art Centre, The Art Museum at the University of Toronto


Dates: March 23 – April 14, 2018


Curatorial Statement:

The University of Toronto Shelley Peterson Student Art Exhibition  provides undergraduate students in visual arts programs at each of the University’s three campuses with an opportunity to exhibit their work in a professional public art gallery. It is a rare chance to bring together artwork and artists from each of the campuses in one cohesive exhibition, and to celebrate the diverse and vibrant art practices of student artists at the University of Toronto. Through themes of identity, family, home and the body, the emerging artists in this year’s exhibition address political issues and explore personal subjects that speak to many kinds of human experiences.


Intended Audience:

Given that the Art Museum at the University of Toronto is not only a university art gallery, but a reputable and well known gallery in the Canadian contemporary art scene, this exhibition is intended to appeal to university students and well as a broader gallery-going public and other art professionals.



Every year this exhibition is held at the University of Toronto Art Centre and organized in partnership with the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.



The SPSAE 2018 received support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council with additional project support from the Office of the Vice-President & Provost, Manulife and the University of Toronto Faculty of Information.


Basic Timeline:

Planning for the SPSAE 2018 took place from September to December 2017. Studio visits were held in January 2018 during which time a call for submissions was opened. Selected Artists were notified on February 26th, 2018 and shipment took place on March 8th, 2018. Exhibition and promotional material were finalized by March 9th, 2018, and installation began on March 12th to March 14th, 2018. The opening reception took place on March 23rd, 2018. The exhibition closed on April 14th, 2018.



The SPSAE  2018 consisted of artwork by 20 undergraduate artists that range in media including painting, drawing, photography, print, video and installation. Through these various methods of presentation, the exhibition presented artwork that deals with a complex and diverse range of human experiences and explores themes of identity, family, home and the body. Without wanting to impose restrictions upon the selection process, the curatorial team made the conscious decision to not select a theme prior to the submission deadline. Rather, they allowed for the exhibition’s themes to arise naturally from the artwork that was selected on the basis of combined theoretical and technical calibre. Our interpretive tools included the introductory panel which outlines the main ideas of the exhibition and tombstone labels for each piece. Eight works received extended labels that are composed of edited artist statements to preserve the artist’s voice and communicate their artistic intention.



The exhibition was marketed through the Art Museum’s website, social media pages, an a press release. The curatorial team provided and controlled a social media schedule which included posts on all social media platforms, and highlighted themes, artwork, and the award winners. Brittany Brooks of the Art Museum designed a promotional brochure with the help of the curatorial team.



The opening for the SPSAE on Friday, March 23rd was a great success with attendance totaling over 400 visitors. One of the three winners of the best-in-show-awards, Anran Guo, received a special mention in the Sheridan Arts Blog. The exhibition was advertised in both NOW and Canadian Architect. Additionally, the exhibition will be part of the Art Museum’s event Slow Art Day, a global event that encourages people to take in art in a slow and meaningful way. The curatorial team has received positive feedback from the staff at the Art Museum as well as from their colleagues who attended the opening. The exhibition will run until April 14th and the curatorial team hopes that the show will continue to attract new audience members until then.



We would like to thank Renée Van der Avoird, Associate Curator/Registrar from the MacLaren Art Centre for providing assistance as curatorial mentor, and Mona Filip, Director of the Koffler Gallery as juror. We would also like to thank Matthew Brower, Associate Professor from the University of Toronto Faculty of Information, and TAs Rebecca Noone and Camille-Mary Sharpe. Coordination and promotion of the exhibition were supported by Art Museum staff Sarah Robayo Sheridan, Esther Simmonds-MacAdam, Maureen Smith, and Brittany Brooks.