The Art of Curatorial Excellence
There is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to being an art curator. It takes a passion for the arts, an eye for harmonious collections, and the will to educate and inspire a public. Gentiane Belanger has nothing short of all three.
Director-curator of the Foreman Art Gallery since 2015, Belanger’s involvement at the gallery began while she was studying honours art history and environmental studies at Bishop’s. Interning at the gallery during her undergrad, her time working hands on at Foreman had a huge impact on both her career and educational path. Not only is Belanger the present director-curator, she is also a PhD candidate in art history at l’Université du Québec à Montréal and a member of the Board of Directors of the Sporobole art centre in Sherbrooke.
Drawing on her studies in art and environment, Belanger explains that, “it actually shows in my programming because I tend to create exhibitions that connect art and science.” Taking all of her projects deeply to heart, some of the curator’s most recent exhibitions were titled Parallax-e and Dataesthetics. Parallax-e was a perfect reflection of this marriage between art and science as it expressed the visual culture developing in the field of astrophysics, and in turn, how artists are exploring it and getting involved. Making ties to both Bishop’s and the greater community, Belanger recruited the expertise of Dr. Jason Rowe, Bishop’s own Canada Research Chair in Exoplanet Astrophysics, in addition to collaborating with the Mont Megantic AstroLab.
Coming full circle since being an intern herself, Belanger expresses that the most rewarding part of her position is being able to act as a mentor to students working at the gallery. She lights up as she exclaims, “Students are amazing! I feel blessed to be working with students in this position of mentorship- I really love it.” The interns who work with Belanger either during the school year or over the summer have the opportunity to gain professionalism, connect to the milieu and open up doors for graduate studies.
The Foreman Art Gallery has established itself as one of the best-recognized university art galleries in Canada, all while being strongly rooted in its local context. The Gallery’s Community Art Lab provides a space for the student body and great community alike to explore the arts in a more bottom-up, grassroots approach. This space allows Foreman to have a more balanced offering, all while keeping the professional aura of excellency in the gallery. “I think this two-fold approach, speaking to a broader community while at the same time remaining closely rooted in our local context and engaging with our local public is our greatest challenge, but also our greatest achievement,” Belanger concludes with a smile.