Dreaming boldly for future students

August 11, 2016

In just over a year, artist Brenda Draney will see her projects come to life in the Centre for Arts and Culture

By the time the new Centre for Arts and Culture opens, Brenda Draney’s commissioned artwork will not only be on display, it will be a grand presence in an inspiring venue. Much like a blank canvas, the new campus will absorb Brenda’s larger-than-life ideas and put them on display for future generations of students.

Brenda graduated from MacEwan University’s Fine Art program in 2004 and has gone on to receive critical acclaim for her paintings. (She’s currently on the shortlist for the 2016 Sobey Art Award.) However, this may be her most ambitious venture yet.

Read more: Alumna Brenda Draney commissioned as artist for new Centre for Arts and Culture.



Inspired by visits to a trapline in northern Alberta, Brenda says her finished pieces will include a series of paintings, a “bronze trapline” (the geographic perimeter of a trapline embedded in bronze in the floor of the atrium) and a massive sculpture hanging down from the ceiling of the atrium.

Go bold or go home.

image-draney_tour-standingOn a recent tour through the building, Brenda shared her vision for the impressive, airy space. Though it was hard to imagine much beyond the jungle of scaffolding, she painted the picture of being able to dream big. Her vision for the hanging sculpture is loosely based on an iconic trapper’s cabin, but she says, “it also references a marker, “which might orient someone, help them understand the land or place.”

“My idea was that the sculpture hung from a single cable, but because you’re working with so many people toward this idea, I started to get very pragmatic,” she says. “I thought it’s obviously not going to happen. And then the cable idea was suggested as one option to hang the cabin. That’s what I wanted, that was my dream.”

She says, “Bing Thom and Manasc Isaac have been supportive, making it clear they would do what they could to facilitate my vision for the project. This has been like a gift, and it has encouraged me to be bold in my visioning.”

image-draney_tour-exteriorWhen the building opens in Fall 2017, Brenda hopes students will feel a bit of ownership around her collection of work and the new building, and that they recognize the benefits of being the first students to occupy the space.

“It’s a key opportunity to shape what the space will be—where they congregate, how they use the space and how they might experiment with other disciplines. Obviously in a larger context that's why it's so great that the building is at City Centre Campus, where CFAC students can access the other disciplines like sciences, business and sports. It's all here for the them. Because as an artist, you want to be fed by the world around you and that's what they’re going to learn.”

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