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Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Baycrest displays student-made art

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Seven is one of Brianne Freedman’s photographs, which are on exhibit at Baycrest’s student centre.

TORONTO — Brianne Freedman is the first artist to exhibit her work at Baycrest as part of a new program that features art from students across the Toronto area.

Until the end of the month, visitors to Baycrest’s student centre will see the fourth-year OCAD University student’s photography decorating the walls.

“Her photos are a great fit for the space in terms of colour, size and content,” said Aviva Babins, arts project co-ordinator for Baycrest, who said one reason Freedman was such a good fit was because she had a personal connection to Baycrest through her grandmother.

Freedman said she was thrilled to display her photos in an environment where they might have a positive effect on patients and the rest of the Baycrest community.

“I really want them to be inspired and for my artwork to bring a sense of hope into their lives, whether they’re going through a difficult or busy time in their lives,” she said, “to help them cope with their situations or allow them to heal and transport them into serenity or peacefulness.”

She said she aims for her work to embody this sense of tranquillity, for example in one piece titled Seven. The image features dandelions, a frosted window, and an upside-down number 7, all of which she called metaphors that create a narrative, though it’s up to the viewers to interpret the story individually.

“I want my artwork to be able to bring them hope and to heal and to bring joy to them,” she said.

Babins said the idea behind the rotating exhibits is to represent students in a space designed for students. Some of the regular users are nursing students, psychology students and music therapy interns, she added, though anybody at Baycrest can visit and see the art.

“It’s a high traffic and highly used area,” she said.

Every six weeks, a new artist – or group of artists – will be featured in a mini-exhibit. Applicants must be students, and there are some criteria for the art – specifically that it must have no nudity or scenes of violence.

Ideally, the work would elicit conversation and use colour and texture that complements the fun and vibrant space, Babins said.

Freedman stood out to her not only because of her personal connection to Baycrest, but also because of her talent, she said.

“Her photography looks beautiful in the space, and I could see it when she showed me her portfolio,” she said, adding that the photos are relevant, colourful, and unique, and they have an interesting narrative.

The next exhibit will be a collective show, featuring skateboard designs from an OCAD digital illustration class.

Any student is welcome to submit artwork – it doesn’t matter whether art is a hobby or a focus of study, Babins said.

For more information about upcoming exhibits and to submit an application, visit www.baycrest.org and click on culture, arts and innovation.

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