Establishment of the Joe Friday and Grant Jameson Contemporary Art Fund
“The Carleton University Art Gallery has demonstrated its ability to bring people together, regardless of the current circumstances. It encourages our community to be reflective of ideas, thoughts, concerns and preoccupations in society,” says Joe Friday. As alumni of Carleton, community leaders, and art enthusiasts, Joe and his partner, Grant Jameson, believe in the value and influence that art galleries contribute to higher education.
“CUAG is a model among university art galleries of thinking in new ways about contemporary art and its role, purpose and possibilities in reflecting and shaping ideas in society,” says Joe. Grant and Joe view CUAG as a dynamic space where students, staff, faculty and our broader community can come together to experience renewed learning, and to evolve in the way they think about themselves and our society.
Their immense passion for the arts led to the establishment of the Joe Friday and Grant Jameson Contemporary Art Fund at Carleton University Art Gallery. Their generous donation will support the production and presentation of contemporary art exhibitions, or to support a contemporary acquisition, publication or program, should an opportunity arise.
Having been involved with CUAG since its inception in 1992 as both a member and the first and longest-serving Chair of the Advisory Board, Joe’s interests in contemporary art were contagious for Grant. It soon became a constant in both their personal lives, but Joe recalled his lifelong passion for the arts starting during his undergraduate studies in Carleton’s School of Journalism.
He had the opportunity to take an elective in Art History with the late Natalie Luckyj, a renowned and beloved art historian, who had a fundamental influence on opening up a new world of engaging and understanding contemporary art, with a focus on conceptual art. As Joe says, “Learning from Natalie was one of those experiences where it was like somebody was flipping a switch.” This sparked his zeal for collecting art, which included regular trips to the library at the National Gallery of Canada to research artists before acquiring pieces for his and Grant’s personal collection.
“The Carleton University Art Gallery is meaningful for me, but also contributes to Ottawa’s cultural life.”Grant Jameson
Although Grant first became acquainted with the arts sector through Joe, he has a long history with Carleton as a proud alumnus. Before pursuing law school at the University of Ottawa, Grant completed his first degree from Carleton’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences—an experience he credits as being foundational in his career.
CUAG has served as an opportunity to reconnect with his alma mater in a unique way as he explains, “The Carleton University Art Gallery is meaningful for me, but also contributes to Ottawa’s cultural life.” Grant views CUAG as a valuable instrument in enabling Carleton to engage with the community at large, and to have an active place in the culture of our city and country. For Joe and Grant, supporting the gallery will help to bridge the gap between the educational experience for students, and helping to extend Carleton’s mark in the community.
Although Joe and Grant are looking forward to when they can experience art physically and socially, they are embracing the power of connecting virtually. The Joe Friday and Grant Jameson Contemporary Art Fund at CUAG was established through a series of online discussions, and they commended Carleton for its professionalism throughout the process. As Grant says, “Carleton ensured that our vision and goals were the top priority when making our donation.”
Joe and Grant are committed to continuing to support Carleton University Art Gallery, and have applauded the way that it has adapted during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They believe that although art represents an opportunity for engagement and social interaction, it is also a way to interact intellectually and emotionally. Joe and Grant praised Sandra Dyck, Director of Carleton University Art Gallery, for her extraordinary direction and leadership.
With a shared conviction to bring people together to explore the ideas activating today’s society, CUAG is grateful for the impact that Joe and Grant’s generosity will have on our community. As Sandra says, “It is a distinct honour for CUAG to be the recipient of such an amazing gift from Joe and Grant, who have long been dedicated to advancing the work of contemporary artists—locally, nationally and internationally.” She continues, “I am extremely grateful for their care for and generosity toward CUAG, and can’t wait to work with them.”
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