FAB Gallery manager has made art work for 25 years
For 25 years, Blair Brennan has been the only manager the FAB Gallery has ever known.
When the space was chiseled out of the Fine Arts Building leading up to its February 1987 launch, Brennan was there on day one to facilitate the gallery’s mission of providing graduate students with a professional context to view their work. Of course, there was no way for Brennan to know how completely the FAB Gallery would paint itself into the portrait that is the U of A, nor could he have foreseen the impact the gallery would have on both himself and the people it serves.
“I like knowing there are graduate students of ours who continue to make and show art or continue to teach,” said Brennan. “A lot of them have become good friends of mine, so it’s nice to stay in contact with them and hear where they’re teaching and showing.”
He says he also likes that the FAB Gallery—although it is just bricks, mortar and empty space—has become a wonderful teaching tool.
“You’ll often see professors come in with their class; they’ll come in and look at something very specific and say ‘this is what I am talking about, go back to the studio and work it out,’” said Brennan. “There are a lot of people at the university who like and appreciate art and who are looking for interesting, new ideas. That helps the kind of art that gets made and helps the kind of art that we can show.”
With more than 600 exhibits on its resume, half of which were solo exhibitions by graduate students, the FAB Gallery has been the site of an endless line of inspiration, all of which Brennan has helped orchestrate.
“With each show, we would do the promotion, which includes printed invitations and digital invitations, advertising, receptions, special functions related to a show, as well as the installation and de-installation,” said Brennan of the diverse workload that was unimaginable when he started 25 years ago. “But it all comes back to the best thing about working at the gallery, which is the people you meet and the things you see.”
For more information on the 25-year history of the FAB Gallery and for a list of events to mark the milestone, go to www.artdesign.ualberta.ca.