Campbell River Art Gallery curator brings in art for the community and gives opportunity for the artists

Julia Prudhomme has been the curator at the Campbell River Art Gallery for almost three years now.

Julia Prudhomme is the curator at the Campbell River Art Gallery. She is passionate about bringing in under served audiences and giving artists that have less opportunities

Even though Prudomme studied to create art, she is more interested in exhibiting others talents.

After completing a bachelor of fine art in Ontario, Julia Prudhomme went on to do a masters degree at UBC Okanagan.

She said the degree was a practicing, studio based program but she was more interested in doing the research side of it.

“I got sick of doing my own work,” she said with a laugh.

Prudhomme was interested in being in a “less urban” location, and so she eventually got a job in Campbell River as the curator at the art gallery. She has been on the job for almost three years now.

“The idea is that this is for education, so [the exhibitions] are free,” Prudhomme said. “We pay all of our artists artist fees.”

Because of that not only does Prudhomme do all of the exhibition programming, she also does a lot of grant writing. She said it takes about a year of research and networking before she will approach an artist and recruit them to do a show.

The idea, Prudhomme said, is that the artists have the time, space and money to do something they wouldn’t normally do.

The current exhibition, called Steam Donkey, is by artist Samuel Roy-Bois. And he did just that.

Prudhomme said the exhibition is something unique that he has never shown before. He came up from Vancouver to do research before spending a week in the gallery installing the show.

The opening was on Thursday evening.

Prudhomme loves her job. She gets to meet a wide variety of interesting people and talk about everything from science to philosophy.

She brings in artists from all over the world, but said she tries to keep it balanced and bring in those who are doing work locally as well.

Prudhomme is passionate about bringing under served audiences to the art gallery as well as showcasing a wide variety of artists, especially women and first nations artists who often have less opportunity.

Once a year the gallery accepts submissions and Prudhomme goes through them all and either puts together a group show or approaches an artist to do an exhibition. The art gallery also puts on a yearly member show.

Though Prudhomme tries her best to attend exhibitions and visit studios in person, she said she is thankful for Skype and wifi as she has done studio tours through video calls.

Prudhomme said that the heart of her job is to spend time with people and get to know what they are making and how they are thinking.

She quotes artist Kiki Smith when she says art is a form of thinking, and that fascinates her.