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WOU Galleries Crew Designates Art Gallery for Western Community

Written by:Mirella Barrera-Betancourt

On Oct. 26, Western’s Art Galleries team announced their community-wide effort to build and reestablish campus relationships through the collaborative art project, “Let Your Flags Fly.” 

Throughout November  — concluding at the end of the Fall term — students will have the opportunity to participate in the creation of their own pennant flag and have it displayed in the second floor gallery of Hamersly library. No artistic experience is required, simply creativity and the desire to grow closer to the community.

As the project gains traction, students can expect to see the number of flags multiply, and see their own displayed among the rest. According to Paula Booth, director of the Cannon Gallery, the project has been culminated by lack of community certainty and disconnection demonstrated by Western in recent years. 

“… We were originally thinking of a way to create a more welcoming space in the library for students, and to make it a place where students might think to go and spend time,” Booth said. “(We) realized that there were students who had gotten through four years here at (Western) and had never even stepped into the library … It sort of morphed into this community-wide art project and this idea of building community through art, bringing people together and then, you know, putting all of our artworks together in one place.” 

Melody Barrett, student gallery coordinator, added, “I think by having everyone’s art together in one space, I hope to create a more welcoming space. I want people to see themselves in the space and to feel like it’s their space.” 

Since the announcement, the Western art galleries team have held two flag-painting sessions, one on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27. Future painting sessions are yet to be determined, but are expected to be announced soon. According to Barrett, the first two sessions were a success, with a much greater turnout than anticipated. The crew had initially begun with around 100 flags; however, after only three days, it was clear they needed to create more in order to meet the incessant excitement and demand.

“We didn’t necessarily expect such a big response,” said Booth.

While there are no currently scheduled dates for upcoming painting sessions, there are still many ways for students to get involved. 

Those who are interested can visit the unmanned project table located on the second floor of  Hamersly library any time throughout the month of November. Project materials can be found for usage at the project table. Clubs and organizations are also welcome to join through the creation of their own flags. If interested, club leaders can contact Paula Booth and request supplies to be dropped off the group’s meeting location.

“Let Your Flags Fly” will conclude by the end of the fall term with a celebration. Although the celebration date is to be determined, Booth and Barrett expect the celebration to coincide around the time of the Holiday Christmas tree lighting. Students can expect further details in an announcement in coming weeks. 


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