Going outside the gallery

How often do you tell people what they mean to you? UW student Alyana Versolatto is hoping to give people a nudge with her “You Are My ____” art project.

Versolatto will be passing out buttons to students Oct. 15 that say “You Are My” and urging them to finish the sentence and give the button to the person they write about.

“I feel that at [UW] we’re lacking that community feel, so it’s about fostering friendship and building community,” Versolatto said. Her intent is for the entire campus to become an interactive gallery.

Versolatto will reveal her location the day before the project on Oct. 14 via her Facebook event page. She will stand handing out buttons and markers, as well as photographing those who participate. She also said she will leave bowls of buttons with markers around campus so those in other areas can participate.

“At first I was just going to do affirmations, so I was going to do ‘you are my favourite artist’ and ‘you matter’ … but then I thought that the affirmations could be limiting to some people,” Versolatto said.

Versolatto knows that UW isn’t exactly known across campus for its artistic community and often feels the fine arts department in East Campus Hall is overshadowed by other faculties. But she believes interactive art helps improve the campus culture.

“I’m hoping that it can get people thinking about the community … about how they can make it better,” she said.

The buttons are like valentines, but for more than romantic partners, according to Versolatto. Participants can give their completed buttons to strangers, their best friend, or a significant other.

“It’s kind of scary ‘cause you never know how people are going to take the work,” Versolatto said.

“If it fails, it fails, and that’s the piece. Even if [the project] fails, it does say something about the university as a whole … that they’re reluctant to engage in the arts,” she said.

Versolatto is conducting the project as part of a fine art class. She is currently completing her third year in the arts and business co-op program with a major in fine arts.

As part of the project, Versolatto would like participants to share what they wrote on their button on social media using the hashtag #youaremy.


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