Local law firm hosts TRU Visual Arts exhibit

Chahal Priddle LLP partners with TRU to put students’ work on display

You can find the exhibition in the Victoria Street Professional Building’s lobby, 635 Victoria Street, just across from the Noble Pig. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

If you find yourself downtown between now and October, make sure to drop by the Victoria Street Professional Building, 635 Victoria St. and check out the student art exhibit outside the Chahal Priddle law firm.

Earlier this year, Chahal Priddle LLP partnered with TRU’s Visual Arts program to make their downtown office building corridor available as an exhibition space.

Though this exhibit and partnership between TRU and a Kamloops business is the first of its kind, Chahal Priddle is no stranger in supporting the university. Since 2016, the firm has been a sponsor of TRU’s WolfPack.

“Hardeep [Chahal] is really into sports and I’m really into art,” said firm partner Kerri Priddle. “My office has many original paintings in here, they are all my father’s. I’ve always grown up with contemporary art in my own home. So this is important to me and I wanted to support the arts in town.”

Priddle, who has been an art aficionado for most of her life, has been to many events in town put on by the Kamloops Art Gallery and the Kamloops Art Council. However, she admitted that she hadn’t been seeing enough up-and-coming art from new artists. This inspired her to push for a student exhibit outside her firm’s office.

“Everyone has heard the expression starving artists and I wanted to provide more support to artists,” she said.

The piece above the stairwell, “Rock Tree Sky” by Elizabeth Sigalet, is a favourite of Priddle’s. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

Priddle originally pitched the idea for an art exhibit to the late vice-president of advancement Chris Seguin at the 2015 Mayor’s Gala for the Arts. Unfortunately, Seguin passed away before anything could come of it.

However, Priddle was in attendance at this year’s Mayor’s Gala for the Arts back in January. There she made contact with the TRU Foundation and by the following Monday was put in contact with TRU’s Visual Arts department.

“Diana Major helped facilitate it, she was a huge part of it,” Priddle said. “Then they came and made it real. They put together a task force and made it happen.”

With help from family and friends, the area outside the law office was transformed into space more fitting for an art exhibit.

“We wanted the space to be more conducive for this sort of thing,” Priddle said. “My husband Jason came in,  painted the wall and put in new lighting. We put in specially designed lights to accent the art and Dr. Jeevyn Chahal’s husband, Evan, also put a planter in the solarium to add to the effect.”

The art exhibit also doubles as a contest. The public has a chance to vote on which piece is their favourite, with the winner receiving a $2,000 bursary sponsored by the law firm. The winner of the “Chahal Priddle Arts Prize” will be announced at a black-tie fundraising event held later this October.

Many of the pieces in the exhibit, such as “Floating By Me” by Deb Fong, are oil on canvas paintings. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

“They offered a new partnership where they are generously donating a $2,000 scholarship to the winner of this voting contest on the artwork,” says Erin Jensen, an event coordinator with the TRU Foundation.

In addition to this, students will have the chance to auction off their work at the associated black-tie event. They will receive 50 per cent of the profit from the auction, with the other half going to an endowment scholarship program award for TRU Visual Arts. However, students aren’t required to sell their art, they can keep it if they want.

To Priddle, allowing the public to come in and view art at no cost is perhaps the most important part of hosting this exhibit. She adds that it is an excellent opportunity to view and possibly own an original piece of art.

“People feel really intimidated if you are a member of the public and aren’t particularly involved in art,” she said. “But being able to come here, there is no membership. It takes away the exclusivity  of art and allows you to just appreciate it.”

Perhaps the strangest piece in the exhibit, “UDCF” by Kalene Michalovsky, is actually a chin flipped upside-down. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

When asked about future partnerships between the university and businesses in town, Jensen said that this is only the beginning, as this exhibit and the associated event serve as a platform to build other successful partnerships.

“This is just a great platform for events like this or similar to this to really build success upon,” she said. “We are hoping to make this particular one an annual event, so new students every year have a chance to showcase their particular works of art.”

You can vote for your favourite piece here.