John Wood and Paul Harrison, installation view from ‘I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT’, Contemporary Art Gallery, February 12 – April 24, 2016. Photography by SITE Photography

Meet Aria | Communications & Development Assistant

My name is Aria Empakeris and I am currently working at CAG as the Communications and Development Assistant. I am a third year Arts Co-op student at UBC, pursuing a BA in English. Growing up in Los Angeles, California, I developed a passion for storytelling through photography, filmmaking, and most of all, writing. I have been using my education and university experiences to improve my technical skills; however, working at CAG has given me the chance to explore my creative practice.

My time here at CAG has been a combination of marketing tasks and Gala preparation. I was first designated with creating a social media campaign for CAG’s participation in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, in which I designed graphics and wrote copy to encourage our patrons to donate to CAG. I then worked on several more campaigns, including the promotion of our Members Morning event and our Young Patrons membership program. Another marketing goal of mine was to expand the CAG Instagram page to present further coverage of our current exhibitions and events, one of which was How far do you travel?, CAG’s public art initiative with TransLink, bringing art to 30 of Vancouver’s articulated buses. After tracking and chasing down buses for two weeks throughout Vancouver, from Horseshoe Bay to Kitsilano to SFU, I took an extensive collection of photographs of the participating buses and bus shelters, capturing the expansive essence of the public art project. These efforts resulted in a carefully constructed Instagram story that sheds light on the journey of moving images.

While working in Communications has been more of an individual experience, my Gala preparation work has given me the opportunity to interact with an extensive number of artists and with more of the team at CAG. This year, CAG decided to frame the participating artists in a more personal light for its 31st Annual Gala and Art Auction. Throughout the summer, I conversed with several artists in their studios or over the phone, gathering personal details about their lives and their practice. Following these meetings, I took the information I gathered and wrote a biographical piece about each artist, which would be used in a promotional newsletter for the Gala. This experience provided me with greater exposure into the art world and the chance to refine my conversational and writing skills.

While living in Vancouver, I have developed a greater sense of my own personal creative practice. While my initial focus was based in architecture, photography and experimental filmmaking, writing has become the focal point of my work. Beyond preparing academic essays for my professors, I write poetry and long form fiction, and one of my current projects includes a poetry book that observes fleeting affection and the complex ideals surrounding intimacy. For now, I remain a student experiencing the working world; however, CAG has given me an opportunity to reflect back on my passions.