Focus on reconciliation

Ashley Peterson (pictured) is the Mann Art Gallery’s first Indigenous Gallery Education Intern. She’ll help the gallery implement some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions recommendations into their programming. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Ashley Peterson didn’t expect to work in the arts after graduation, but she couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

Peterson convocated from First Nations University of Canada with a degree in Indigenous Social Work this past June. Today she’s interning at the Mann Art Gallery, and she couldn’t be more excited.

“When you think about Indigenous Social Work, you don’t really connect that with art,” she said.

“I’m not an artist by any means. I just thought it would be something unique, kind of like a once in a lifetime internship.”

Peterson won’t be picking up a pencil or a paintbrush, and she probably won’t conduct workshops on sculpting or open art shows. Instead she’ll help the gallery meet some of the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For the next six months she’s the gallery’s first Indigenous Gallery Education Intern.

“I’m actually honoured and humbled to have this position, since it’s the first ever position of its kind,” Peterson said. “I think it’s really important.”

Peterson called her position “a step in the right direction” for reconciliation, and she’s not alone in that assessment.

Gallery art educator Lana Wilson, said establishing such a position is long overdue, and she’s just as excited about it as Peterson is.

For the rest of this story, please see the Oct. 21 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.