February 19, 2017
"Meet a Community Art Star" is a regular feature showcasing ArtStarts' amazing group of volunteers who are passionate, enthusiastic arts champions. Read more posts in this series.
We are lucky to have Shanna Cheng volunteering at ArtStarts. She always shows up smiling and eager to tackle any project, from promotions to admin support to gallery installation. She recently helped transform the ArtStarts Gallery into a magical fairy tale fort for Family Literacy Week and is now applying her creative talent to help install the upcoming exhibition of young people's art, Cause and Effect, set to open at the end of February.
Hi Shanna! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in May last year with a BFA in Print Media. I am currently working at a company where I print hundreds of stickers for clients in Canada and the US. In my free time, I like to volunteer and try new things. I am currently saving money to hopefully rent a studio space and continue practicing my art.
Where did art start for you?
The youngest I can remember loving art was in Kindergarten. I would draw everywhere, on the walls and on my body, there were no limits to what I could to do. It has always been a part of me for as long as I can remember.
Why did you decide to go to art school? Was that decision easy or difficult for you?
Choosing Emily Carr University of Art and Design was the easiest decision for me. I recall in Grade 5, I told myself I was going to get into Emily Carr. Art was a definitive goal for me, I didn't think of pursuing anything else. I attended Langara College's Fine Arts program and then transferred to Emily Carr later. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
What was the most valuable thing you learned from your time in art school?
I learned so much in Langara and Emily Carr. Surprisingly, I learned a lot from my classmates more so than my professors. They are in the studio with you 24/7 so they understand the process of practicing our own art. Constant practice, support and love for the arts is a valuable thing to keep. Getting critiques, advice and feedback taught me to never be afraid to experiment and is something that helped me evolve my art practice.
How you see your art practice evolving in the future?
I am currently in a hiatus phase. I plan to rent a studio space and print editions and hopefully do an exhibition someday. I am looking through residencies so I am open to more opportunities in the future. Now that I have volunteered in various art communities, I want to expand my practice into an interactive space, where audiences of different ages can be immersed into art. Even though I am not printing in a studio somewhere, I am still gathering inspiration, it's an ongoing practice.
You volunteer at ArtStarts and also at Gallery Gachet. How have you found these two experiences so far?
Both ArtStarts and Gallery Gachet are eye-opening and are great learning experiences. I learn new things every day and it changes how I see art within the community space. It has made me reconsider how people of all ages and mentalities interact within a space.
How do you think young people benefit from being involved in the arts?
I think all young people are exposed to the arts in some shape or form no matter where they are. Learning through being creative opens up more options and perspectives within the learning space. It helps young people grow as individuals.
What advice would you give to young people who are thinking about pursuing the arts as a profession?
The advice I would give to those who want to practice art professionally is to never stop practicing and to keep experimenting and exploring new things. Be open to new challenges. If it doesn't work the first time, the next one will mean that much more.
Thank you, Shanna!
If you're interested in volunteering with ArtStarts, learn more about current opportunities at artstarts.com/volunteer
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