The Overcast and visual artist/magnanimous host Peter Wilkins sit down for a chat over the world wide web about the Terra Nova Art Foundation, what they’re all about, what they’ve been working on, and their ongoing Chase the Ace for Arts Sake lottery/social Thursday nights at the Rocket Room.
Hi there, Peter! Can you tell me a little about the Terra Nova Art Foundation? Where and how did it all start?
Hi there too! It all started on 2010 when a group of artists and curators would meet for lunch and often discuss the dilemma of how to promote the great art within the province to a wider audience – then we got a bit carried away and thought we should make it an international endeavour!
What is your big dream for the Newfoundland and Labrador contemporary visual arts community? How can Terra Nova help us get there?
We would love all working visual artists in the province to be able to exhibit their work internationally. The ultimate aim would be to help lots of local artists exhibiting internationally all the time. Terra Nova hope to help by exhibiting fantastic local work outside the province, raising the artists profiles so that they are then asked to show more work.
What are some of the projects that Terra Nova have presented so far that the arts community should know about?
So far we have managed to present two exhibitions at the Venice Biennale, in 2013 and 2015. The Venice Biennale is generally accepted to be the most prestigious art event in the world, over half a million people visit and it’s the who’s who of the art world. We are the only Canadian province to have officially exhibited there and it’s a rather amazing honour.
You’ve been hosting Chase the Ace for Arts Sake over the past few weeks. This form of lottery has caught on throughout Atlantic Canada as a unique fundraiser idea, can you tell me a little more about how the game works? What’s the big draw?
We’ve had to get a proper lottery license to host it – and each week people buy tickets and then promptly, at 7.30, there is a draw. The winner of the evening will immediately get 20% of the pot and the chance to pick out the ace of spades. If they draw the ace of spades they get the whole pot, which is 30% of that evening and all the preceding evenings. If they don’t get the ace, the 30% of that week is added to the pot and carried over to the next week. It is quietly growing and the popularity really grows with the scale of the pot!
What else happens at the event?
It’s’ a bit of a social gathering, with food made by Rocket for people to nibble on, table tennis, projections of art, and rather crucially drinks at the bar!
What’s next for Terra Nova? Are there any future projects in the works at the moment?
It’s all rather down to funding and we want to ensure that all the funds are in place before we embark on any more projects. If we can, we are very keen on attending some art fairs, perhaps New York or Miami, so we can introduce those new audiences to the superb art we have here. Then of course, it would be fantastic to go to Venice again in 2017.