Posted by Kayleigh Robinson, October 18, 2017

Crit Night is an open forum at the Drake Hotel where artists at all levels can showcase their work, whatever it is, and get constructive criticism. It is modelled after critiques at art school where students show their projects to their classmates and professors to get valuable feedback in real-time before they see their grade. We at The Drake would like to note that you won’t be graded at crit night and it is completely free (no pesky student loans required)!

To help paint a better picture (sorry- terrible art pun) of Crit Night, here is a list of the types of people you’ll see at the event.


This person has no formal art training. Whether art school was out of budget or making art has always been more of a hobby, it doesn’t matter. They’ve only ever had their friends, family or social media followers comment on their art and they’re looking for a new set of eyes. Luckily Crit Night has zero pre-reqs for sharing work and it’s a 100% safe space to spur a constructive discussion.


Anyone who attended art school, even for a semester, either remembers critiques as a dream or a nightmare. Discussions either ended in artistic breakthroughs or tears. Crit night is a refuge from their former critiques. It takes the best parts of their classroom days and offers them a new group of peers.


Sometimes people come to Crit Night with no art to show and that is perfectly acceptable. They come to see what it’s all about so they can build up the confidence to bring their work next time or they just enjoy discussing art with a community of like-minded people. Everyone is welcome.


On September 26 we were lucky enough to have Corrie Jackson, RBC’s associate art curator, in the room to offer her advice to the group of artists. We caught up with her afterwards to find out more about her experience.

What does being Associate Art Curator at RBC entail?

Well, every day is something completely different – which is the best part of the job. Sometimes it’s installing work onsite, other days it’s giving tours, meeting with artists, or working alongside the great team at the RBC Curatorial Department. Together, we’re focused on working with key partners and bringing to life important projects like the RBC Canadian Painting competition – which we deliver alongside Canadian Art. One of the main highlights of my job is seeing brilliant work by young Canadian artists and having the opportunity to engage and interact with them – hearing firsthand their perspectives of art in Canada and what inspires them.

As a curator at RBC, is there any medium or level of artistry that you gravitate towards?

For me, curating at RBC means we’re always aware of the use of the space. RBC is a place of business which also means it’s a space for creative thinking, personal reflection, and conversations that are shared with colleagues. That’s what drives our vision at the RBC Curatorial Department, we consider pieces that will spark reflection, innovation and discussion.

In addition, I think there are a lot of assumptions around what “corporate art” means, and I hope that some of those myths can start to be dispelled. We collect paintings, but also works on paper, prints, sculpture, and video art. As the spaces within RBC shifts and changes - and there are more open concept work spaces, and less walls— sculpture and video are emerging as art mediums that make sense for the spaces we work in.

Why do you think it’s important for artists to participate in crit night?

I think the years after graduation for any artist are an important moment to connect to a community. When school is over, the structure of class crits and having a structured space to talk about your work is no longer easily available. All of a sudden, it’s on you to create your community. Events like crit night are great, and an important resource because talking about your work is an important learned skill. It’s also a space that connects you to peers and other artists who are looking for constructive feedback and ways to push their own work – and a unique place to build a supportive network.

How was your experience at crit night?

I deeply enjoyed talking to the artists who came by – there was such a range of approaches and perspectives, and a real atmosphere of support and curiosity. I was really impressed by the thoughtfulness the artists brought to presenting their work, but also the great reflections and conversations between the artists.

Did you see any potential?

Potential means having the perseverance and passion to see something through – and there were certainly artists at the crit who are deeply committed to their work and pursuing art-making. I hope that all the artists saw the crit night as an opportunity to build on the skills and network that allow for, and support their passions.

The next Crit Night will be Oct.24 at 7 p.m. with Luke Painter, an artist and professor at OCAD University. You can sign up here.

Posted in: Art