Seeing Sackville through the Owens Art Gallery Collection
You Are Here was a COVID pandemic initiative that was active from August 2020 to July 2023. At the heart of You Are Here was an interactive map of Sackville that geolocated works from the Owens collection featuring Sackville locations. As an active, living map, anyone was invited to contribute their own view, whether drawing, photograph or text. At the close of the project we had received nearly 70 Community Views.
This page provides an archive of the project including an Accessible PDF that contains images of all artworks and related texts, a Google map reference, and a gallery of Community Views. Place-markers on the Google map correspond to the page numbers of artworks in the Accessible PDF.
You Are Here
You Are Here will take you to places that no longer exist, landscapes that have transformed over time, and locations that you might know well. Through a selection of work from the Owens Art Gallery’s permanent collection, you can discover and rediscover Sackville.
Since time immemorial, artists have lived in Siknikt, the district of Mi’kma’ki in which Sackville is located, and many more have passed through on short or long visits. These artists have seen Sackville and its surrounding salt marshes as gifts from the Creator, a scenic setting, a subject, an idea, or a question. Through their work we can reflect on what it means to be “here” and how “here” has changed. We can open a window to the past, respond to the present, and consider the future. We can also take a moment to consider our connections to this place and the land on which it is situated. With this in mind, we acknowledge, honour, and pay respect to the traditional owners and custodians—from all four directions—of this land. Mount Allison University and the Owens Art Gallery are built upon the unceded, ancestral lands of the L’nuk (Mi’kmaq). This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, and Peskotomuhkati first signed with the British Crown in 1726.
You Are Here was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of the Owens Art Gallery and Colville House. This project activates the gallery’s collection through works that connect to the local Sackville environment. Bridging online and physical space, You Are Here encompasses historical and contemporary perspectives, encouraging participants to engage with their immediate surroundings.
An engagement with place is at the heart of the programs of Colville House. Artist Alex Colville (1920-2013) lived for several decades in Sackville, and he often said that his time here allowed him to “know” this place. Many of his most important works are set in recognizable locations in and around the town. Colville chose to live in the relative isolation of Sackville. Beyond his desire for solitude, he was drawn to the particular landscape here, one that he described as “horizontal,” “open,” and “rather bleak.” A number of works by Colville are included in You Are Here.
This guide is designed as a flexible resource for teachers in grades 4 to 8 to support the use of You Are Here in the classroom and outdoor learning environments. While You Are Here connects specifically to Sackville, New Brunswick, the concepts and activities in this guide can be adapted to any community or neighbourhood.
Engaging with the landscape and ideas of place is inherently cross-curricular. As such, You Are Here supports essential graduated learnings and core competencies in Visual Arts, English Language Arts and Social Studies, as well as New Brunswick Global Competencies.
Although this guide is aimed at upper-elementary and middle-school grades, all of the suggested activities are scalable and can be modified as needed for early-elementary and high-school students.
You Are Here is a project of the Owens Art Gallery and Colville House. It was made possible through the support of Mount Allison University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, Canadian Heritage (Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations), the Town of Sackville, and the generous philanthropic support of Mount Allison University alumni Heather and Ian Bourne.
Invaluable research support for this project was provided by Paul Bogaard, Genie and Bruce Coates, Tom Forrestall, Fredette Frame, Austin Ibbitson, Colin MacKinnon, Al Smith, Bill Snowdon, Donna Sullivan and David Mawhinney, University Archivist, Mount Allison University.
We sincerely thank Graham Colville, Charles Colville, Ann Kitz, and Claire Colville.
You Are Here Creative Team
Emily Falvey, Director/Curator
Lucy MacDonald, Curator of Education and Community Outreach
Rachel Thornton, Curator of Digital Engagement
Jane Tisdale, Fine Arts Conservator
French Translation: Colette Tougas
A Special Thank You
The bulk of the work for You Are Here occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, which, for the Owens, lasted from 16 March to the beginning of June 2020. The pandemic continues to bring uncertainty to art museums and galleries around the world. During these difficult times, the Owens is fortunate to have a strong foundation of institutional and community support. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Jean-Paul Boudreau, President of Mount Allison University, and the members of the Mount Allison Board of Regents for continuing to value the contributions the Owens makes to both university life and the communities of Southeastern New Brunswick. At this time, we are particularly grateful to Jeff Ollerhead, outgoing Provost and VP Academic & Research, and Gemey Kelly, Gallery Director Emerita, for their unparalleled support and sage advice. Erik Edson, Department Head, Fine Arts, and Andrew Nurse, outgoing Interim Dean of Arts, also provided invaluable support and assistance during the lockdown and the months that followed. We would also like to thank the members of the Department of Fine Arts, with whom we continue to share a close partnership. Gloria Jollymore, VP University Advancement, continues to bring forward funding opportunities for the Fine Arts at Mount Allison and we are grateful to her for the work she has done supporting Colville House. You Are Here also benefited from the assistance of Megan Glauser, Colville House Summer Intern, whose position was created thanks to generous philanthropic support from alumni Ian and Heather Bourne and funding from the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations Program (Canadian Heritage). The team at Facilities Management also deserve thanks and recognition for keeping the Owens’ complicated HVAC system running and pests under control. With respect to the latter, Vett Lloyd, Professor (Biology), was a most valued consultant.
The Owens is forever grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage, which helped insulate us against the first wave of the financial crisis through funding from the Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage, and Sports Organizations. José Niaison, Program Officer for the Canada Council for the Arts, and Faith Wallace, Program Officer, Atlantic Region, Department of Canadian Heritage, offered invaluable guidance and moral support. We would also like to thank Cécile LePage, Manager, Arts Sector, New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, for steering us towards the Strategic Initiatives Fund.
The Owens Art Gallery’s success, to say nothing of programs like You Are Here, is due largely to its amazing staff, who form a tightly-knit team of professionals that work collaboratively on every aspect of the gallery’s operations. The Owens would, however, be nothing without artists. It is with infinite gratitude that we thank our artist collaborators for their patience and understanding in the face of radical changes to our exhibition schedule, and for helping us to deliver innovative and engaging programming under extremely challenging conditions. Finally, we would like to thank our community partners at Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, with whom we have created Umbrella Projects, an ongoing collaborative project realized in response to the pandemic.