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UNB Arts Centre explores the life and work of co-founder Lucy Jarvis

Most of us know the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Gallery 78 and Gallery Connexion as some of this city’s great spots to see art. But on campus, there’s another awesome place to discover.

The UNB Arts Centre inside Memorial Hall currently has on exhibit Lucy Jarvis: Sketches and Letters. The exhibit looks at Jarvis’s work throughout her entire career. You also see photographs of her at work and various trips she’s made. As well, there are books filled with letters written by Jarvis about art and her life.

Roslyn Rosenfeld was the curator of the Oct. 15 guided tour. She has taught art history at UNB and UNBSJ, was an intern at the UNB Art Centre and was a co-ordinator at Gallery Connexion. She also worked to bring this exhibit to life.

“Lucy had six nieces and nephews. Two of them inherited the works. In the spring of 2012, I was asked if I could help put this exhibit together. And since then, we’ve been looking through everything and picking what should be displayed. They tell me it’s been seven years that the family has been trying to get the work out there so it’s really exciting to finally have it all up. ”

Jarvis co-founded the UNB Arts Centre with Pegi Nicol MacLeod in 1941, and helped set the tone of the Arts Centre. She wanted it to have a funky vibe where people could come together and enjoy themselves. Rosenfeld said that Jarvis was much loved by the engineers and the forestry students.

“The engineering students built her a record player. Back then, not everyone had a record player, so students would come in and listen to music and do their work. She also helped the centre put on concert series, drama productions … She believed in all the arts. Because she put so much work into this place, her work was affected.”

Jarvis was born in Toronto in 1896. She however considered herself a Maritimer, spending time in Yarmouth, Pembroke Shore and Fredericton. She received artistic training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She passed away in 1985.

The UNB Arts Centre is now covered with her works: pastels, watercolours and oil paintings to name a few. More of Jarvis’s work is being shown at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Rosenfeld says that Jarvis’s work really speaks to the people of this area.

“Lucy identified with the people around her. When in Pembroke, she knew all the fishermen and all their children. The characters she paints have such freshness and life to them. The letters in this exhibit say so much about her; you get to know her as a person.”

The exhibit runs until Nov. 7 and is free for all to enjoy.

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