BY MICHAEL JAMES
After running rudderless for the past several months, that great stone mansion on John Street, otherwise known as the Art Gallery of Sudbury, finally has a new curator, Celeste Scopelites.
This Friday evening a reception will be held at the Art Gallery of Sudbury to welcome her to the community.
With the physically gruelling and emotionally draining task of packing up and moving out of the way, the former Mississauga resident can now focus her energies on two of the things she does best, that being the administration and management of an art gallery.
A practising artist in her own right, Scopelites received her masters in fine arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, just outside of Detroit, Mich.
?I was very active in running the student gallery,? she said, ?as I had always been interested in the management and administrative (aspect) of the arts.?
From there, it seemed a natural progression for her to seek out and secure a position with the Detroit Artists? Market in Detroit.
Then, after having spent a couple years living in Michigan, Scopelites decided to move back to Toronto where she and a partner opened up an independent art gallery on Queen Street West called the Tusk Gallery.
That gig lasted about two years before she accepted the position of curator and manager of the residency program at the Living Art Centre in Toronto, a job she held for six years.
?I was there (from the time) the facility opened,? she said, ?so it was quite an interesting experience...getting a new organization off the ground.?
Scopelites? background as both an artist and an arts administrator has served her well, she said.
?It?s really been a great advantage to me,? she said. ?Certainly, it has enabled me to develop a good rapport with artists and also with community groups, because I?ve been in those kinds of situations myself...and so you understand the frustrations and the challenges on the other side of the table...and it really does help.?
There were a number of reasons behind her decision to relocate to Sudbury, she said, the most obvious one being her desire for a new challenge.
?I was really attracted to Sudbury because of the incredible programming that the previous director Bill Huffman had been putting in place,? she said. ?And it seemed to me like a community that was open and challenging and also really rich in its own history, so it seemed like a really good environment for me.?
While Scopelites admits some of her Toronto friends and colleagues questioned her decision, she said she doesn?t really see it that way.
?I think that?s part of my role too,? she said, ?...being that connector to all of those other centres...and that?s part of the challenge.?
In Scopelites? view, the curator of a smaller market gallery not only has a responsibility to show from within the community, he/she must also bring work into the community from outside.
?So you have things like national and international exhibitions,? she said, ?as well as showing artists
from, and relevant to, the community.?