Celebrating 1,000,056 years of art

Union Gallery hosts Art’s Birthday Party

The electroacoustic music class at the Art’s Birthday Party at the Union Gallery.
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When turning 1,000,056 years old, it’s rare to have a DJ at the birthday party. 

On Wednesday, the Union Gallery and Tone Deaf Festival celebrated art’s 1,000,056th  birthday  with short performances, film screenings, and a collection of Queen’s students’ paintings. 

Queen’s students, staff and guests rang in another year of accomplishments in the arts with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Each guest decorated their own party hat, giving personal flair to their headwear. 

The host of Art’s Birthday Party in Kingston, Matt Rogalsky, told the crowd the event allows for international and local artists to come together despite any differences to celebrate their passion.

While quirky, it’s a global phenomenon. Brooklyn and Helsinki hosted hat-making events, while in Antwerp one gallery hosted a grand feast for guests. The event’s global attention points to the importance of art in our communities, offering communication, and entertainment while making the world a more beautiful place.

After the candles were blown out and the guests had eaten their cake, there were performances from students in an electroacoustic music composition class, a short film by Ariane Grice, poems read by Bob Mackenzie and Angus Merry, and a jazz performance by Queen’s Graduate student Paul Clifford, ConEd ’11.

The electroacoustic composition class boasted an impressive orchestral performance and unique approach to choral instrumentation. Called the Small Devices Orchestra, each student in this quasi-chorus used applications from their phones to make a musical mash up of sounds that were directed by a student-conductor.

Union Gallery organizer Ashley Newton said the event brought artists together into one space to celebrate the impact of art in their everyday life. 

“This event allows for international artists to come together despite differences, countries and communities and communicate,” Newton told The Journal

Newton also said the party was to celebrate the way art has the ability to unify communities in shared spaces. It allows people of all backgrounds and artists of all disciplines to celebrate a common interest. 

The diversification of the musical performances attested to this very fact. Encompassing multiple musical and artistic disciplines, the venue successfully brought together artists of all walks of life in a positive, encouraging way.

The event focused on art’s role on campus, including its global influences. 

While sometimes overlooked, the event noted how our galleries, theatres, and arts faculties are an introduction to the wider creative scenes.

The birthday unabashedly highlighted artistic achievements, whether they were  centuries or days old. This party is proof of a great respect and appreciation for art in our own communities. 

It’s a way to give thanks to the artists who create some of our favourite work and remind people of the rich history surrounding us. 

After a million and fifty six years, art lovers can rest easy with a yearly celebration.

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