Artwork around campus
While walking from class to class or building to building on the SAIT campus it is nearly impossible to not see a piece of art.
No matter what it is, a simple painting, a mural, or a sculpture there is a story behind its creation and a reason for its display.
The artwork around campus is not only a way for artists to connect with the community, but also a reflection of SAIT’s history.
What are now referred to as SAIT and ACAD, were once combined as the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA). The two schools were officially separated in 1985.
Before their divide, the art students shared the halls with those of the polytechnic.
In the dimly lit stairwells of Heritage Hall, the stories and memories of the institute and its alumni remain within the brush strokes of former art students. Above most of the doorways there are colourful murals, dating as far back as the 1940s.
On the third floor, there is a mural of a winter landscape that resides just above the door. It is signed “G. Anderson ‘50.”
Gertrude Anderson, now Gertrude Hudson was a member of PITA’s graduating class of 1950.
She returned to view the painting in 1983, disappointed to see that parts of her 33 year-old masterpiece were peeling due to moisture damage.
In Heritage Hall’s 2001 renovations Hudson took it upon herself to mend her painting which she created 51 years prior. She returned again in 2005 with brush and paint in hand, creating a brand new mural. It is in a staircase parallel to her first mural, also on the third floor of Heritage Hall.
At age 82, she now lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband.
“I am still painting regularly,” said Hudson.
Her most recent work is currently exhibited at the Idaho State Historical Museum.
“It feels good to know my murals are still there,” she said.
They are a prominent part of SAIT’s history, art, and culture.
After the separation of SAIT and ACAD, the polytechnic did not forget about its roots. It remains involved in the art community to this day. The Odyssey coffeehouse is an example of this.
“As long as they are a student, alumni or, instructor they are more than welcome to post up in the Odyssey,” said Caroline Mackenzie, SAITSA VP student life.
She encourages those with interest to display their work on the coffeehouse walls for others to view, enjoy and potentially purchase.
Part of Mackenzie’s job is choosing what goes up on the walls of the Odyssey. A screening process with the artist is required to make sure the content is appropriate.
On average, the artwork is rotated on a monthly basis. Mackenzie stresses the importance of its presence.
“It creates more of a relaxing atmosphere,” said Mackenzie.
Full time painter, Karen Brown, is part of a group of artists called ab-straKt 373.
“A friend suggested the Odyssey,” she said.
In the last two years the group has had multiple showings in the coffeehouse.
Brown believes that displaying artwork in the coffeehouse creates benefits for artists as well as visitors. The Odyssey gives artists an area to exhibit their work and the opportunity to draw the attention of art enthusiasts who may wish to purchase it.
“It’s about exposure and making people aware,” said Brown.
The sentimental and visual importance of the artwork scattered across campus is a prominent part of SAIT’s atmosphere and community.