New Crits on the Block was a school program piloted by the Walter Phillips Gallery this past February 2013 to give young people unique opportunities to engage with visual artists in residence here. Small groups of students from the Banff Elementary School were paired with artists to conduct studio visits, unmediated by any accompanying adults. This youth-led exchange was a unique occasion for participating artists to consider how their work is understood by a younger audience, and about how they communicate about artistic practice. For local students, the program offered a wonderful opportunity to meet face-to-face with a contemporary artist, providing insight into the process of making art.
The following text was written by five Grade 4 students from the Banff Elementary School about their studio visit with Vancouver-based artist William Brisco, who was in the Visual Arts residency Our Literal Speed.
WILLIE BRISCO By Max, Brodie, Logan, Abigail and Megan
On February 6, 2013, the Grade Four students walked to The Banff Centre to meet professional artists and to learn about life as a professional artist. Everybody got split into different groups and each group got assigned to meet a different artist. Max, Brodie, Logan, Abigail and Megan were all assigned to Willie Brisco. All the groups had written down some questions on some paper to ask the artists.
The students asked Willie what his favourite part about art was and he said “Uncertainty”.
When our group got into his studio, he showed us some of the sculpture work he likes to do. On the other hand, the art he also likes to do is photography.
Willie said his favourite piece he has ever done is a photograph of his sister. Then, Willie let us draw so that we could exchange our drawing for his artworks.
There were many pieces of art on his desk and most people had a favourite. He said that how he decides what his art is worth takes a lot of discussion. So, in conclusion, the students’ day with the artist “Rocked!”