Timeraiser Edmonton is fast approaching. Held on Nov. 5, 2015, Timeraiser is a volunteer-matching fair, a silent art auction and a night out on the town. The big Timeraiser twist is rather than bid money on artwork, participants bid volunteer hours. Throughout the evening, participants meet with various non-profit organizations in the room to find available skilled volunteer opportunities that meet their needs. Once matches are made, the bidding can begin. Winning bidders have 12 months to complete their pledge in order to bring the artwork home as a reminder of their goodwill. It’s a win-win-win. Artists get paid, non-profits get skilled volunteers and participants have a chance to get a piece of art while volunteering for a cause they believe in.
The event, hosted in the lobby of EPCOR Tower, will also feature live graffiti artist A.J.A. Louden, breakdance performances from United 1ne dance crew and music by DJ Thomas Culture.
This year marks the first year with a curator selecting half of the art pieces, while a local art jury chose the remaining works. Curator Anya Tonkonogy joined me to chat a bit about her creative experience, the Edmonton art scene and what it’s been like curating for this event.
LG: What is your art background, and what is your preferred medium?
AT: As long as I can remember I have been drawing and painting. I took a formal education detour into psychology and eventually a master’s degree in art therapy. My heart truly lies in the practice of painting though. I prefer oil paint which lends itself very well to painting from life. I find human beings endlessly fascinating and infinitely unique so I generally focus on portraits. The challenge of capturing and investigating the human experience keeps me forever curious.
LG: Tell us a bit about Edmonton’s art scene.
AT: I would say Edmonton is brimming with earnest talent and artists who are genuine and hard-working. The challenge of being an artist in Edmonton is that we are often isolated from each other. Studio space is hard to come by and so many artists are relegated to working out of their homes or not at all. That’s been the biggest change in recent years though — and for the better! Places like The Drawing Room and Creative Practices Institute allow artists to rent reasonably affordable studios and work together in a vibrant creative space.
LG: What are some of your favorite artistic spots and events in the city?
AT: Dc3 Art Projects is an incredible art space in Edmonton where you can see world-class art. I’m so grateful it exists in Edmonton. Of course there is also Latitude 53 which has fantastic annual events like Schmoozy, Winter Parka Patios and the ever popular patio evenings in the summer. SNAP is also a really great place to visit, as well as Parade Gallery, a new art space on 112 Avenue and 91 Street. As for events, The Works is a great introduction to art sites around the city. If someone is looking to get their hands dirty, so to speak, I teach at MacEwan University and we have classes available for all skill levels and experience. And of course, events like Timeraiser are great for introducing people to art in an easy-going environment that really supports our community.
LG: Having been selected as Edmonton’s Timeraiser curator, what has your experience been like so far and what can attendees expect to see?
AT: As a person who spends a lot of time steeped in the world of visual expression, there is a natural desire to want to collect and select works that are personally moving and engaging. I used to run a small commercial gallery, called The Portal, where I had the privilege of seeking out emerging talent. Since that was about eight years ago, I felt a bit rusty when I started curating for Timeraiser, but it’s been a wonderful experience. There are so many unique voices in Edmonton, with lots of beautiful work and people coming to Timeraiser can expect to have difficulty choosing which art piece they’d like to bid on! I really think there is something there for everyone.