Welcome home

When I arrived at NSCAD for the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year, I felt like I had come home.

Having moved from Calgary, Alberta, the first thing I noticed was the salty sea air, so fresh and invigorating. The new sights and smells of the east coast mixed with excitement and apprehension of commencing a new academic year at art school. But these feelings were familiar to me too and somehow it all felt right: the right place and the right time.

As the 2017-18 academic year commences those same emotions rush back. I am delighted to welcome all our new students, faculty and staff and all those returning from travels near and far. A sincere thank you to all those who have been here summer long: taking classes, putting on exhibitions, leading summer camps, and planning and preparing for fall.

I predict NSCAD will have a stellar 130th anniversary year as we continue to cherish our special, inclusive, respectful creative community that was the vision of our founders in 1887 and is realized at NSCAD today.

The new white pages of the sketchbooks and journals are ready to be turned and covered in creativity – there are upcoming events and exhibitions, places to go and people to meet. Please know you are welcome at NSCAD University and I hope you feel as I do, that you’ve come home.

About the header image: NSCAD students get a different view of George’s Island from the drawing studios at the Port Campus. This aerial view is by Lenn Wagg, courtesy of Destination Halifax.

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Here are some of the highlights of the first week of September at NSCAD:

  • New Undergraduate Student Orientation Day takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Join us at 8:30 am in Room 202 at the Port Campus for breakfast. After the welcoming session, faculty members and senior students will lead new students on tours of our three NSCAD campuses.
  • The first day of classes for the fall semester is Wednesday, Sept. 6.
  • The launch of Free Coffee, a publication of student artwork, takes place on Thursday, Sept. 7. You can pick up Free Coffee, free coffee and a donut in the student lounge, Fountain Campus, starting at 11 am.
  • The International Student Orientation Session takes place on Friday, Sept. 8, at 12 noon in P203, Port Campus.
  • On Saturday, Sept. 9, orientation activities include a community scavenger hunt, the Mayor’s reception for international students (2 pm at Halifax Central Library) and a party in the Granville courtyard beginning at 5 pm.

For more details, check out the event page by SUNSCAD on Facebook.

courtyard

Picture yourself walking through this leafy courtyard on the way to class at our historic Fountain Campus. Make sure to drop by Art Bar +Projects and the Anna Leonowens Gallery too!

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September also signals the changing of the guard at our NSCAD Community Studio Residencies, when NSCAD alumni who’ve worked for a year on their artistic practices give up their prized studio spaces to make way for the new cohort.

We have four residency sites across the province. The Town of Lunenburg was the first to come on board with the program more than a decade ago, followed by the Town of New Glasgow, the Centre for Craft and Design in Sydney, Cape Breton, and the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning across the harbor in Dartmouth.

Lunenburg artistic residents

The 2016-17 NSCAD Lunenburg Community Studio Residents: Norma Jean MacLean, Selina Latour, and Deniree Isabel Mendoza.

In Lunenburg, Selina Latour (BFA 2016), Norma Jean MacLean (BFA 2011), and Denirée Isabel Mendoza (BFA 2016) wrapped their final show, C U L8R, and are getting ready to move on. From Prince Edward Island, Norma Jean is preparing for a major solo exhibition at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown in January 2018; Denirée, originally from Venezuela, has a residency lined up at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto; and Selina, from Ottawa, ON, is bound for a residency in Iceland.

“You learn a lot about yourself just coming out of art school and then living in a small town,” said Selina, whose artistic practice includes fashion, photography and painting. “You’re finally independent and that can be scary, but it’s good.”

Selina Latour

Selina Latour with paintings from her series, i love yous.

Soon to take over the studio space—situated in the firetruck bays of the town’s former fire hall–are NSCAD alumni Merle Harley (BFA 2014), Helah Cooper (BFA 2017) and Gillian Maradyn Jowsey (BFA 2017). We are appreciative for the help of Doug Bamford, recently retired as NSCAD’s ceramic technician, in providing accommodations in September while the roof on the fire hall is repaired.

spinning bowl

Deniree Isabel Mendoza marries animation with ceramics in a series of bowls she created over the winter. The bowls can be spun to animate a twig that quickly grows into a tree.

In Dartmouth at the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, residents Jessica Lynn Wiebe (BFA 2015), Cinthia Auz Arias (BFA 2016) from Ecuador and Luis Figueroa (BFA 2016) from Venezuela staged their final show, Before the End, in mid August.

For Jessica, having a base at the MacPhee Centre allowed her to push herself artistically in the studio while gaining experience as a teacher by leading workshops for children and youth.

Jessica Lynn Wiebe

Jessica Lynn Wiebe challenged herself during her residency by creating a series of abstracted figurative paintings.

“I gave myself permission to play and experiment. I feel like I am constantly learning,” says Jessica, who served as a soldier in Afghanistan before coming to NSCAD. Her artwork in painting and performance has a focus on war and conflict, and a work exploring the physical experience of war at the Acadia War Memorial in Wolfville (created for UnCommon Common Art in the Annapolis Valley) has been getting national media coverage.

The three artists enjoyed sharing the studio space. Away from NSCAD, they became each other’s sounding boards, cheerleaders and supports.

“We really feel they’re part of our family and we’d love to have them return as facilitators,” said Heather MacDonald, executive director of the MacPhee Centre.

bus passes

Cinthia Auz Arias saved the bus passes she collected throughout her year in residence at the MacPhee Centre.

Incoming residents to the MacPhee Centre are Jenny Yujia Shi (BFA, BA 2015), a painter and printmaker originally from Beijing, China, and Emily Lawrence, an interdisciplinary artist and designer. Headed for the Town of New Glasgow are Curtis Botham (BFA 2017) and Géneviève Brideau (BFA 2017). Tamsin Sloots (BFA 2017) and Trevor Novak (BFA 2017) are bound for Sydney’s Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design.

TD Bank generously supports NSCAD University’s residency program and community initiatives.

Summer breeze

It may feel like September is just around the corner, but there is still plenty of summer left here at NSCAD.

The Anna Leonowens Gallery has been bustling with some very special  exhibitions scheduled. Retiring ceramics technician Doug Bamford’s “exit-bition” kicked off August at the gallery and painting professor Heather Sayeau’s farewell show is on now until August 19th. You’ll want to drop in to drink in the beauty of Heather’s large and luscious peony paintings.

flower painting

Heather Sayeau’s flower paintings are on display at the Anna Leonowens Gallery until August 19. (Marilyn Smulders Photo)

The second of two summer sessions at NSCAD wraps up soon, finishing with what we refer to as the “Keji class.” Taught by anna sprague, this intensive, experiential learning class is possible because of a partnership with Parks Canada and involves a few days in the great outdoors at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. Some of things students can expect to do while at Keji include canoeing on the Mersey River, gazing at a night sky bursting with stars, cooking dinner for the group over a campfire and hiking to see some of the ancient petroglyphs carved into slate outcrops. A group exhibition inspired by the Keji experience will follow in December at the Anna Leonowens Gallery.

petroglyphs

The most noticeable traces left by the early Mi’kmaw people are the engravings they created on rocky outcrops found at several locations in Kejimkujik National Park. (Erica Flake Photo)

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Our Port Campus is a veritable beehive at this time of the year with summer camps put on by our School of Extended Studies. “They’re all going very well this year,” says Amber Solberg, youth coordinator. Many of the camps involve field trips: students in the upcoming teen animation class will visit studios at DHX Media and Copernicus, for example, while campers in “Stories from the Garden” dropped by The Discovery Centre to learn about worms. (Cool facts: Worms have photo receptors on their skin which make them sensitive to light and secrete yellow goo when they’re stressed.)

In a visit to The Discovery Centre, summer campers with "Stories from the Garden" take a close-up at worms using a flashlight. (Marilyn Smulders Photo)

In a visit to The Discovery Centre, summer campers with “Stories from the Garden” take a close-up at worms using a flashlight. (Marilyn Smulders Photo)

Amber says the Extended Studies’ inbox has been bursting with words of praise from appreciative parents.“The instructors are phenomenal with the young people and that’s what parents notice,” she says. “They love to work with children. They’re enthusiastic and encouraging and the response from the children is amazing.”

One mom wrote to say her normally shy seven-year-old son didn’t feel the need to say goodbye to her after the first day and instructed her not to pick him up early.

There are still a few spots available in summer camps running August 21 to 25. Register by Friday, Aug. 18 by emailing extendedstudies@nscad.ca or calling 902-494-8185. Summer camps on offer include:

  • “Performance, Costumes & Puppetry” with instructor Camila Salcedo for children ages 5 to 8;
  • “Box Town” with instructor Patrick Burgomaster (BFA 2010) for children ages 9 to 11;
  • “Wild Kingdom” with instructor Lisa Davie for children ages 9 to 11;
  • “Board Games” with instructor Kyle Bridgett (BFA 2015) for teens ages 12 to 14;
  • “Animation” with instructor Sam Decoste (MFA 2015) for older teens ages 15 to 18.

Summer camps wrap with the exhibition Artrageous, opening Friday, Aug. 25 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Port Loggia Gallery, 1107 Marginal Road, and running for one week.

The ever-popular summer camp Box Town is back. Kids work with the encouragement of instructor Patrick Burgomaster to create a community out of cardboard boxes. They may even choose to elect a mayor of Box Town.

The ever-popular summer camp Box Town is back. Children ages 9 to 11 work with the encouragement of instructor Patrick Burgomaster to create a community out of cardboard boxes. They may even choose to elect a mayor of Box Town. Photo courtesy of the School of Extended Studies.

box town

Another photo of Box Town, a summer camp favorite taught by Patrick Burgomaster. Photo courtesy the School of Extended Studies.

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Speaking of NSCAD’s School of Extended Studies, the fall course calendar is out and ready for dreaming. What will you take? Adults, teens and children can discover or rekindle a passion by taking evening or weekend classes in art, craft or design. Registration begins August 22.

The fall course calendar offers a wealth of opportunities. Bookbinding, ceramics, comics and visual storytelling, quilted projects, sewing techniques, photography and DIY documentary are some of the courses being offered for adults. New classes include Doodling for Adults, Indigo Magic, and Portraits Reinvented.

Or, maybe you’d like to sit in on some of NSCAD’s fascinating art history classes. You can audit classes taught by some of NSCAD’s most gifted lecturers including Dr. David Howard, Dr. Jayne Wark and Dr. Sandra Alfoldy. Classes available to audit include: Survey of 19th Century Art, Survey of 20th Century Art, Craft and Design History 1750-1950, Renaissance and Baroque Art, and Film History and Criticism, 1890-1945.

Since the very beginning of this school 130 years ago, Saturdays have been devoted to children’s art classes. This fall is no exception. There are several classes offered for children ages 5 to 8, 8 to 11 and 12 to 14.

See the full fall calendar online.

P.S. The header image, used on Extended Studies’ fall course calendar, is by NSCAD alumnus Alex Tapia.

NSCAD blossoms in spring

What a wonderful time of the year it is for NSCAD — a time to celebrate. The last two weeks have been chockablock full of events and now it feels we can finally take a breath. That is, until Artist for a Day on May 13th!

Just to recap NSCAD’s spring so far: we had the Starfish Student Art Awards on April 20, the NSCAD Design Show on April 21, Dialect: the NSCAD Fashion Show on April 22, the NSCAD Film Screening Night on April 24, the 2017 Graduation Exhibition and Catalogue Launch and the GG Fête on April 27, and the 2017 Graduation Ceremony on April 28.

DTG

At the opening of the 2017 Graduation Exhibition and the launch of the 2017 Graduation Catalogue. Katherine Nakaska Photo.

All these events show the vibrancy of our university community—a community that students became a part of when they walk through the doors of our Port Campus on their first day at NSCAD.

As president of NSCAD, I would like to recognize the esteemed faculty, who have taught our students and challenged them to achieve their potential, and the staff who have supported them from day one through to graduation and beyond.

GG laureates

At the GG Fete, NSCAD Board Chair Jeff Somerville and myself pose with NSCAD’s Governor General’s Laureates: Landon Mackenzie, Sandra Brownlee, Pamela Ritchie, Jan Peacock and Kye Yeon Son. Katherine Nakaska Photo.

As I told the graduands at the ceremony on Friday, students and alumni will always have a connection to NSCAD through the people they met and the experiences they shared. Art school is a very special kind of experience. Long after graduating, former students may recall a conversation, a piece of advice or a suggestion offered during a critique and reflect on how it changed them and enriched their life.

For example, at the NSCAD fashion show on April 22, we heard the successful alumni Parris and Chloé Gordon say how the critiques at NSCAD influence their creative process today – that their fashion collections get international notice because of the quality of design and the thought and care they invest in each piece. Their holistic experience at NSCAD, including art history to contextualize their work and the creative community they tapped into, helped them to launch their fashion collections even before they graduated. They shared it was a humbling experience to return to Halifax and NSCAD.

Beaufille sisters

Chloe and Parris Gordon of the fashion brand Beaufille opened Dialect: the NSCAD Fashion Show by reflecting on how their NSCAD experience contributed to their success. Katie Nakaska Photo.

The power of a NSCAD education does not diminish over time. NSCAD alumni who graduated 20, 30 or 40 years ago are still processing their experiences and using them everyday in their art practice. Landon Mackenzie (BFA 1976), a 2017 Governor General’s Award Laureate in Visual and Media Arts, tells of the rigor and hard work demanded by the professors in the printmaking department when she attended NSCAD in the 1970s. Not only that, but when her exhibition Parallel Lines opened at the Dalhousie Art Gallery this January, those same professors – Ed Porter and Bob Rogers – attended the opening, cheering her on as always.

I was delighted to meet Landon last week when she was here to attend the GG Fête and give the 2017 Graduation address. Landon is a painter and influential professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

starfish winner

Christiane Poulin, 2017 Starfish Student Art Award winner, is congratulated by finalists Ann McCosker, Julie Simmons and Tamsin Sloots. Katie Nakaska Photo.

There are many stories we can all share about why NSCAD is so special and 2016-17 has been an outstanding year of accolades. Here is one more to mention. My heartfelt congratulations to Christiane Poulin, the 2017 Starfish Student Art Award winner. Christiane graduated last week after beginning her NSCAD journey 40 years ago. She was here for a year, and then switched to science and went on to med school. After a career as a public health doctor and researcher, she returned to NSCAD to finish what she started. In her so-called retirement, she has never worked harder. And I don’t doubt it. For Christiane’s textile installation, Winds of Change: a Lace-Scape, Christiane wove by hand more than 40 metres of lace – a tangible demonstration of her commitment, dedication and passion.

Christiane Poulin and Lou Reznick stand with her art installation, Winds of Change: A Lace-scape. Katie Nakaska Photo.

Christiane Poulin and Lou Reznick stand with her art installation, Winds of Change: A Lace-scape. Katie Nakaska Photo.

Elsa and artwork

After meeting NSCAD student Elsa Brittin at NSCAD’s donor reception back in February, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage invited her to create an artwork for city hall. Here’s Elsa and I with Mayor Mike Savage (far left) and Deputy Mayor Steve Craig (at right).

***

Through the summer, NSCAD’s creativity continues with the first summer semester officially beginning  on Tuesday, May 2, and continuing to June 19. A second session runs June 26 to August 15, and it’s still possible to register. Some of the classes in the second session include “Teaching Visual Art,” “Art and Culture of Comics” and “Photography and Colonialism,” among others. Head over to WebAdvisor to find out what’s on the books.

The spring session of classes offered through the School of Extended Studies is just getting going too. Some of the new adult classes on the books include “Drawing Botanicals for Beginners,” “Quilted Projects” and “Portraits in Oil.” There are also Saturday art classes for children ages five and up.

In the summer, NSCAD’s day-time camps are hugely popular. This year, NSCAD is collaborating with the Discovery Centre—new to Seaport neighbourhood—to create art camps with a specialized hands-on “field trip” at the Discovery Centre. Camps include all materials needed, a NSCAD T-shirt, lunch supervision, early drop-off and late pick-up.

Some of the camps offered include “Picasso and Cubism” for 5 to 8 year olds; “Sew Fun” for 9 to 11 year olds; “Comic Cave” for tweens ages 12 to 14; and “Animation” for older teenagers, ages 15 to 18. Take a look at the website for the full list of fun.

potters wheel

NSCAD opens the doors for Artist for a Day — it’s a full day of hands-on artmaking. Photo by Lianne Sarson.

Speaking of fun, NSCAD’s hugely popular Artist for a Day is set for Saturday, May 13, 10 am to 3 pm. More than 20 hands-on art-making activities are in the works, including some of the favorites—such as life drawing and fish printing—that draw people year after year.

Most of the action takes place at our Port Campus (1107 Marginal Road) although our Port neighbours are in on the fun too. Other sites for Artist for a Day include: Discovery Centre, 1215 Lower Water Street; Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design, 1096 Marginal Road; Mary E. Black Gallery, 1061 Marginal Road; Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, 1055 Marginal Road; and Visual Arts Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Road. NSCAD is pumped to be a participant in I LOVE Local’s Open City, a full day celebration of local food, fun and shopping.

In NSCAD’s 130th anniversary year I am so proud of all our accomplishments and accolades. A welcome to ALL to come join us and experience the creativity and our community.

My very best,

Dianne

P.S. In the photo at the top of this blog post, models go down the runway at Dialect: A NSCAD Fashion Show wearing jewellery by Tamika Knutson (BFA 2017). Tamika, who just graduated, already has a solo exhibition coming up. Boreal Reverie: Coming Home will open May 17 and run to June 4 at SOVA Gallery at the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City, Yukon. Congratulations Tamika!

One week at NSCAD

NSCAD students welcomed guests into the studios for Portfolio Day. Meghan MacDonald Photo.

NSCAD students welcomed guests into the studios for Portfolio Day. Meghan MacDonald Photo.

NSCAD’s Winter Portfolio Day was a wonderful, well-attended and engaging event! We welcomed prospective students, parents, friends, supporters and the simply curious to NSCAD last Saturday for a full day of tours, talks, interactive workshops and portfolio reviews. After a snowy week, even the weather cooperated!

Applying to an art and design university involves a different process compared to applying to other universities—and that difference is the portfolio requirement. A portfolio is a visual record of an individual’s curiosity, explorations, skills and knowledge.

At NSCAD, we understand that the idea of assembling a portfolio can be stressful. Moreover, it takes courage to show your creative work to someone outside of family—it’s personal and from the heart.

But the reason why the portfolio is an important part of the application process at NSCAD is that it shows us your potential, general level of curiosity and serious commitment to creative exploration, which is what four or five years at NSCAD are all about: trying, testing, risking, exploring and perhaps scrapping it all and starting over. Believe me, after doing a degree at NSCAD, our students are well versed in creative problem solving!

The portfolio requirement is the main reason for NSCAD’s Portfolio Day, a kind of open house we hold twice a year. We sincerely want to help prospective students put their best work forward. Other ways we can help are through the Portfolio Prep classes offered through our School of Extended Studies (a new online class just started) and through the advice of our staff in the Admissions Office. Give them a call at 902-494-8259.

alumni panel

Members of our NSCAD alumni panel included Mimi Fautley, Melissa Townsend, Alison Knott, Mary Garoutte, Duane Jones, and Geordan Moore.

Before changing the topic from Portfolio Day, I want to say thank you to NSCAD alumna Alison Knott (BDes 2007), the Halifax freelance designer who organized and moderated the afternoon panel discussion “A Future in Art: Catching up with NSCAD Alumni.” I also want to thank the NSCAD alumni who contributed to the panel, including Mimi Fautley (BFA 1998), owner of The Loop, a yarn and modern fibre store; Melissa Townsend (BFA 2005), a painter; Duane Jones (BDes 2004), a records analyst for Dalhousie Medical School’s Dean’s Office and fashion designer of the line Art Pays Me; Mary Garoutte (BFA 2004), a painter and arts administrator at Zwicker’s Gallery in Halifax; and Geordan Moore (BDes 2007), silk screen printer, designer and owner of the Quarrelsome Yeti. The question Alison posed to the panel participants was “What can one do with a degree in art and design?” The answer, as articulated so thoughtfully and in different ways, is that earning a degree from NSCAD allows you to live your passion while giving you a career that is creative, thoughtful, enjoyable and entrepreneurial.

Feb 18  What a great discussion!

Feb 18 I had a great time! Thanks for the invitation

Feb 18 Portfolio Day panel was so powerful. Thx Melissa and Mary! Such insight!

Ruby Boutilier from the Admissions Office welcomes prospective students, parents, friends and supporters to NSCAD for Portfolio Day.

Ruby Boutilier from the Admissions Office welcomes prospective students, parents, friends and supporters to NSCAD for Portfolio Day.

A big thank you to the team who contributed to a successful Portfolio Day—Terry Bailey, Ruby Boutilier, Katherine Sharpe, Meghan MacDonald, Ken Rice, Eric Miller, Justine Somogyi, Kathryn Toope, Siobhan Cleary, James Barmby, Marilyn Smulders and media services. Also to our faculty members Anna Sprague, Adrian Fish, Sarah Hartland Rowe, Glen Hougan and Craig Leonard. Thank you all.

Remember, the application deadline for scholarship consideration is March 1.

***

Pamela Ritchie

NSCAD Professor Pamela Ritchie is the winner of the 2017 Saidye Bronfman Award.

Another highlight of last week was the announcement that two NSCAD alumni will receive Canada’s highest honour for the arts – the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts. Congratulations to NSCAD professor and jewellery artist Pamela Ritchie (BFA 1975, MFA 1982), the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Fine Craft Laureate, and painter Landon Mackenzie (BFA 1976) on receiving this prestigious recognition. The ceremony to confer the awards will take place at the Governor General’s residence, Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, on March 1. Other special events include “In Conversation with the GGArts Winners” at the National Gallery on Feb. 28, and the opening of a special exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on April 7.

The Saidye Bronfman Award is one of the eight Governor General’s Awards for Visual and Media Arts, specifically awarded for excellence in fine craft. This year, 2017, is an auspicious year for the award as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. In addition to Pamela Ritchie, many NSCAD alumni and faculty are among the exceptional artists to have received the Saidye Bronfman Award, namely jewellery artist Paul McClure (BFA 1989) in 2015; weaver and NSCAD teacher Sandra Brownlee (BEd, BFA 1971) in 2014; ceramic artist Greg Payce (MFA 1987) in 2013; goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain (BFA 1978) in 2012; metalsmith and NSCAD professor Kye-Yeon Son in 2011; and ceramic artist and NSCAD professor emeritus Walter Ostrom in 2003.

All of us at NSCAD are so proud!

painting

Landon Mackenzie, a painter and professor at Emily Carr University, is a winner of the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts.

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One week at NSCAD holds a lot! Last week, we also held our Donor Appreciation Event, cheekily named Donors & Doughnuts. This event brings together donors to the school and the benefactors of their largesse—student scholarship and bursary recipients. Third-year ceramics student Elsa Brittin spoke about what receiving a scholarship meant to her and touched all of us with her gratitude and sincerity.

Even on a snowy Thursday evening, we had a full house, including Mayor Mike Savage and many members of the NSCAD Board of Governors. Our hosts for the evening were the students and faculty of the Ceramics Department at the Port Campus. Thanks to them for such a warm welcome.

Feb 16 The world needs more artists now more than ever. Always love visiting , great to meet students, scholarship winners tonight.

As befitting an event called Donors & Doughnuts, there were some excellent gourmet doughnuts! The salted caramel doughnuts were a particular delight.

Photos by NSCAD student Erica Flake.

An invitation to NSCAD

The NSCAD community is very special and we must be ever cognizant of our shared values of trust, respect, collegiality and pride. They couldn’t be more relevant than in these times of disruption in the world.

With these values in mind, NSCAD University is committed to join with OCAD University, Alberta College of Art and Design and Emily Carr University of Art and Design to welcome international art students affected by the U.S. President’s recent Executive Order on Refugees and Immigrants.

Deborah Obalil, President of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD), has issued a response to this discriminatory and deeply troubling policy, outlining that Canadian members of AICAD are prepared to accept students whose education has been disrupted. NSCAD is proud to be a member of AICAD, a consortium of the leading 42 specialized schools of visual art and design in the United States and Canada.

AICAD is able to act quickly because of long-established exchange programs in place among its member institutions. NSCAD, like the three other Canadian schools, will accept international students enrolled in our sister schools in the U.S. and transfer their credits.

As Deborah Obalil writes, “We stand united against policies that are counter to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and the global sharing of knowledge that are core to the educational missions of all our members.”

Diversity in our classrooms and studios makes all of us richer. The chance to understand an issue from another perspective adds to our knowledge and understanding. Making friendships with classmates from different countries expands our world.


Tour the campuses, meet current students and get feedback on your artwork during Portfolio Day. It takes place on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Fountain Campus in the morning, and Port Campus in the afternoon.

Tour the campuses, meet current students and get feedback on your artwork during Winter Portfolio Day. It takes place on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Fountain Campus in the morning, and Port Campus in the afternoon.

Speaking of a warm NSCAD welcome, we are getting ready to greet prospective students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, college transfer students and members of the community for our upcoming Winter Portfolio Day.

Taking place on Saturday, February 18, Portfolio Day is the art school version of an open house. It’s a chance to show off our amazing studios and facilities and talk about the diverse programs we offer. As well, prospective students get an opportunity to get feedback on their portfolios from professors. Preparing a portfolio is an important part of the application process at NSCAD.

In addition to tours, information exchanges and portfolio reviews, we are sharing more immersive experiences throughout the day. Among the highlights are a panel discussion by NSCAD alumni with creative careers and hands-on art-making sessions such as screen printing and button making.

Portfolio Day isn’t only for prospective students from high school. Maybe you’re a student at another post-secondary institution who is considering a change. Maybe you’re established in your career and thinking of going back to school to follow your heart’s desire. Perhaps you’re in Grade 10 or Grade 11 and are exploring your options in advance of Grade 12. Or, maybe you’re just curious about NSCAD. Whatever your motivation, you are invited to attend NSCAD’s Portfolio Day.

Here’s a look at the schedule for the day:

  • 9:15 – 9:30 am – Meet at NSCAD’s Art Bar +Projects, 1873 Granville Street (Fountain Campus) for coffee and welcome.
  • 9:30 – 11:00 am – Tours of the Fountain Campus.
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Change locations to our Port Campus. Portfolio reviewees stop by the Registration Desk on the first floor to pick up Portfolio Day Kit.
  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm – Presentation on admissions procedures and the Portfolio Dos and Don’ts. 2nd Floor, Port Campus.
  • 1:00 pm – Welcome message from the President. 2nd Floor, Port Campus.
  • 1:15 pm – Portfolio reviews begin. 2nd Floor, Port Campus.
  • 1:30 pm – NSCAD Alumni Panel Discussion featuring Mary Garoutte (BFA 2004), Melissa Townsend (BFA 2005), Duane Jones (BDes 2004), Mimi Fautley (BFA 1998), Geordan Moore (BFA 2007). 2nd Floor, Port Campus.
  • 12 noon – NSCAD Sampler – screen-printing and button-making activities led by Extended Studies teachers. 2nd Floor, Port Campus.

I’ll be there and I’m eager to meet you. Make sure to let us know you’re coming by registering.

For more information and to register >>


Monotype

Maria Doering is teaching two printmaking classes through Extended Studies — monotype printing (shown above) and screen printing. Hurry to register! Classes start Feb. 7 and 8.

Speaking of portfolios, NSCAD’s School of Extended Studies is offering a new class, Portfolio Prep Online. As the class is being offered online, the beauty is that you don’t have to live in Halifax to get top advice from NSCAD faculty members on how to prepare your portfolio.

This course focuses on improving the overall quality of portfolios required for application to accredited visual arts programs. Topics are based on portfolio requirements for NSCAD University and other national art schools and include: writing an admissions essay, documenting artwork, and evaluating portfolio content. Studio exercises are process driven, experimental and will help to strengthen problem-solving and observational drawing skills.

The class runs from February 21 to April 19 and is taught by two of NSCAD’s extraordinary teachers, Anna Sprague and Charley Young. (For more information about the class, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Besides Portfolio Prep Online, there is more than 50 other classes on offer through our School of Extended Studies for children, teenagers and adults. Don’t delay–some classes have already started.

Reflections on the season of giving

In this season of festive cheer, my thoughts turn to giving and the impact it can make. For me, the old adage rings true: It really is better to give than to receive. Small gifts given big-heartedly make a world of difference.

To illustrate, let me introduce you to Megan Kyak-Monteith.  Born and raised in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Megan didn’t know how she would fund a post-secondary education when she was accepted to NSCAD. That is, until she heard word that she received a renewable scholarship, the Creative Innovators of Tomorrow Award, which would entirely cover her tuition.

Self-portrait by Megan Kyak-Monteith.

Self-portrait by Megan Kyak-Monteith. Fall 2016.

“Before receiving this award, I was not looking forward to university,” confesses Megan, now in her second year at NSCAD. “Because of the heavy cost of supplies, tuition, housing and food, my focus was not on being educated but on desperately finding the money in order to be educated … I would like to thank the donors for shifting my perspective.”

Megan’s scholarship has allowed the young artist to attend NSCAD where she is developing her painting and illustration skills as she explores her Inuit roots and pushes herself in ways she never anticipated. Last summer, for example, she took herself out of her comfort zone by participating in Halifax’s Art Battle. She ended up winning the regional contest which qualified her to represent Nova Scotia at a national competition. “It’s really energizing and your heart beats super fast,” she says. Participants have just 20 minutes to create a painting and work in front of a large audience.

This summer, Megan will return to Nunavut in the summer to live with her grandparents (her parents are now in Antigonish, Nova Scotia) and work as an illustrator at an Iqaluit-based movie and book company. “Having the scholarship is such a huge lift. It allows me not to have to worry about having a job during school. I can really delve into my assignments and I’m learning so much—I see improvements from one week to another.”

Drawing by Megan Kyak-Monteith.

Drawing by Megan Kyak-Monteith. Fall 2016.

By donating to NSCAD’s Annual Fund, you are giving exceptional students like Megan the chance to shine. Their artistic passions are ignited by NSCAD’s rich and diverse academic programs, interdisciplinarity and vibrant, nurturing community.

There is still time to give to NSCAD’s Annual Fund, which is dedicated to bursary and scholarship support for students. It doesn’t matter how much you give – even little gifts are deeply appreciated.

If you make a donation before year-end, you’ll receive a charitable tax receipt for 2016. And, as if by magic, immediately you’ll receive a glimpse of what makes NSCAD so special—I guarantee that you’ll be touched by what comes your way.

In appreciation and happy holidays! Here is your invitation to give.

Dianne

PS – See more of Megan Kyak-Monteith’s artwork below and in the header image.

megan2

megan7

Thank you DHX Media!

It’s such a proud day at NSCAD University! We are pleased and grateful to have received a $600,000 donation from DHX Media, the world’s leading independent, pure-play children’s content company.

The donation was announced by David Regan, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development for DHX Media at the Academy Campus today (Friday, Nov. 25). The donation, to be received over six years, is substantial and means a great deal to us. NSCAD’s Academic Plan: Toward 2020 (2016-20) speaks to the need to increase formal experiential learning opportunities “beyond the classroom” through internships, practica, work-study and exchanges. This support allows NSCAD to do just that.

We are also appreciative of the Province of Nova Scotia’s recent funding support for experiential learning that will complement this industry investment by DHX Media. We were honored to have the Honourable Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, and Duff Montgomery, Deputy Minister of LAE, in attendance for the announcement.

We will be directing DHX Media’s donation in three ways to enhance the student experience at NSCAD.

  • First, this gift will be dedicated to expanding experiential learning opportunities for NSCAD students in the Division of Media Arts. Funds will be used to develop internship opportunities for upper-year media arts students in film, animation and intermedia, allowing them to gain valuable work experience at the same time as earning course credit. On-the-job training is incredibly valuable and gives our students a definite advantage as they graduate.
  • Secondly, funds will be used to support the creation of thesis film projects of our senior undergraduate students, giving them the financial support they need to complete a film in their final year at NSCAD. As anyone who works in film knows, it’s an expensive art form and a lot for students to take on by themselves. It’s also a truly collaborative art form. As well as directing their own films, the students work on the films of other students to gain experience in other capacities, as cinematographers, art directors and production managers—just to name a few of the jobs—giving them a well-rounded, immersive experience in film making.
  • Thirdly, the DHX donation will go to the further development of the Animation Lab at NSCAD’s Academy Campus. We’ll be able to keep this facility updated with industry-relevant software and other equipment purchases. This is a constant concern at our school like ours, and we’ve been able to make a number of updates at the Academy Campus in recent years with the help of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust. For example, this funding has outfitted our new sound studio, completed earlier this year, and supported the research of Professor Darrell Varga as Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Film and Media Studies.

We so appreciate this donation by DHX Media. It’s a vote of confidence in NSCAD by an industry leader now, and in 2004, when the company—or its predecessor—donated the building for our Academy Campus allowing our Media Arts program and the Cineflux research centre to grow and flourish.

Chelsea Innes, whose third-year student film Little Keys is racking up honors, spoke on behalf of students to thank DHX Media.

Chelsea Innes, whose third-year student film Little Keys is racking up honors at various film festivals, spoke on behalf of students to thank DHX Media. Chelsea will beginning work on her thesis film project next semester.

***

Have you started your holiday shopping? I’m heading to the NSCAD Holiday Pop-Up today. It’s a wonderful opportunity to pick up unique, handmade gifts and support student artists at the same time. More than 70 students are taking part.

Because it’s so large, you’ll find the Pop-Up in a couple of different locations: in the retail space at 1869 Granville Street, Art Bar + Projects (both sides), the entrance to Granville Mall, the hallway behind the NSCAD Art Supply Store, and the Hollis Street entrance to Fountain Campus. There will be original prints, paintings, jewellery, ceramics, textiles, letterpress, and much more besides. See you there!

***

To our students, we’re in the home stretch of the fall semester. Best of luck as you write essays and finish projects. I know you will be taking advantage of NSCAD’s 24/7 access!

Feeling thankful and proud

Autumn seems to have arrived suddenly this year. Sometimes it’s dark by the time I leave the campus and the salt air is cool and fresh. Thanksgiving is here already—a perfect time to reflect and express gratitude.

NSCAD University is in a good place and for that I am thankful. As I like to say, it seems we’ve been sprinkled with pixie dust with all the good news coming our way. But of course, it’s not magic at all but evidence of the excellent education provided at NSCAD and the alumni whose achievements reflect so well on the university.

To give a few examples:

unknown-1While on Canadian tour, the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing earrings made by Shelley MacDonald, a 2011 Jewellery and Metalsmithing grad now based in the Yukon. Shelley had recently struck out on her own as an independent jewellery designer and goldsmith, balancing her business with her passion for teaching. In the wake of the “Kate Effect,” she’s been deluged with orders—validation for taking the risk as an entrepreneur. As she basked in the spotlight, Shelley wanted to share the light with NSCAD. She says NSCAD’s advantages are its emphasis on fine craftsmanship and the emphasis on handmade, the support of the professors—“they have so much to give”—and NSCAD’s 24 hour access. Shelley’s good fortune was covered extensively. Here are a few of the stories:

> CBC – “Nova Scotia jeweller sees orders spike after Kate Middleton wears her earrings”
> LocalXPress – “Antigonish jeweller shocked to see her earrings on Kate Middleton”
> New York Times – “Kate Middleton’s Tour of Canada: a Designer Scorecard”

photowally_sparksThe Canadian fashion label Beaufille has been getting a lot of attention since its debut at New York Fashion Week in the spring. And now that excitement has spilled over to fall when sisters Parris and Chloe Gordon returned to New York to present their spring 2017 line. Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker profiled the NSCAD alumni in a full page spread in The Globe and Mail on Saturday.
> Here’s the story: “Meet the Canadian sisters behind Beaufille, fall’s hottest fashion label”

Groundwood Logos SpineNSCAD alumnus Sydney Smith (BFA 2006) is a finalist for a Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books, this time for the book The White Cat and the Monk, written by Jo Ellen Bogart. Sydney won this prestigious award last year for Sidewalk Flowers, an exquisite wordless book about a little girl who notices what others don’t see, like flowers growing in the cracks of sidewalks. In a story posted to the NSCAD website shortly after his win, I was struck by how moved Sydney was by a casual encounter with one of his teachers, printmaker Dan O’Neill, in the NSCAD cafeteria. Dan handed him a pamphlet of Governor General Award-nominated books with the remark “that could be you one day.” Sydney says that moment challenged him to think big and have confidence in his abilities. “That kind of support makes such a difference and means a great deal. It says: ‘I think you’re good enough this’ and it shaped my direction.”
> The story: “Wordless book speaks volumes” 

Besides these stories about amazing alumni, there are other reasons for optimism. New first year students to NSCAD have increased by 12 per cent this year. I’ve already seen many of them out with cameras as they commence their Foundation studies! An exciting time.

Lots of action at the Pecha Kucha event on NSCAD research. Erica Flake Photo.

Lots of action at the Pecha Kucha event on NSCAD research. Erica Flake Photo.

The academic year kicked off strongly at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, with some outstanding shows including the Lunenburg Community Studio Residency 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Commons Threads: the Textiles/Fashion Department Survey Show, and The Starfish Student Art Awards Exhibition. I’m looking forward to experiencing Alan Syliboy’s upcoming exhibition The Thundermaker, which will be featured at the gallery for Nocturne, along with Jaime Black’s REDress Project and Becka Barker’s Place Holder III. Alan, a NSCAD alumnus, presented a public lecture to a full house at the Halifax Central Library, talking about how he draws on his Mi’kmaq culture for his art practice. The lecture was absorbing and well attended.

We had a great turnout for the opening of the NSCAD Lunenburg Community Studio Residency 10th Anniversary Exhibition and Common Threads, the Textiles/Fashion Department show.

We had a great turnout for the opening of the NSCAD Lunenburg Community Studio Residency 10th Anniversary Exhibition and Common Threads, the Textiles/Fashion Department show. Erica Flake Photo.

Things have been hopping at NSCAD’s Art Bar + Projects too, with a good crowd for NSCAD Research Day and the Pecha Kucha 21: Research Showcase. Several of our professors have been successful in securing research funds through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for projects ranging from Indigenous media and performance art, art and money, and a symposium on the Halifax Explosion.

Yes, indeed, there’s a lot to be grateful for. I wish everyone a happy and restful Thanksgiving break!

Dianne

September’s new beginnings

Fall brings a sense of new beginnings: a brand new sketchbook, a page full of possibilities, an eagerness to splash some color on the white!

There is an exciting vibe around NSCAD as new students from all parts of the globe arrive and many others return, embracing friends with inquiries about their summer adventures. We exchange our experiences of travel far and wide, of NSCAD acquaintances encountered in unexpected places.

For those of us in academia, fall is the true start of a new year. Although NSCAD has two sessions of classes throughout the summer, it’s quieter than rest of the school year and so it’s wonderful to see the hallways and classrooms full again. The schedule of events at the Anna Leonowens Gallery and the Art Bar are set; the Atlantic Film Festival and Nocturne are around the corner; and my calendar is full to bursting with openings and special events. There is so much to do here at NSCAD. I personally invite you to participate.

Link: This fall at the Anna

The fall schedule at the Anna Leonowens Gallery opens on Monday, Sept. 12 with the Lunenburg Residency 10th Anniversary Exhibition. I’ll get a sneak peek of that exhibition tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 6) when it opens first at the Lunenburg studio with Senator Wilfred Moore, Lunenburg Mayor Rachel Bailey and alumni of the program in attendance. The exhibition is comprised of artworks from Senator Moore’s personal collection, including a work from each and every Lunenburg resident over those 10 years.

NSCAD alumni aboard tall ship

Some alumni of the NSCAD-Lunenburg Community Studio Residency Program: Andrew Maize, Nadia Gemeinhardt, Lynette de Montreuil, Kat Frick Miller, Jason Skinner and Rebecca Roher. Marilyn Smulders Photo.

Link: Celebrating 10 years in Lunenburg

September marks the changing of the guard at our residency programs. In Lunenburg, Julie Wagner, Lux Habrich and Marley Johnson have moved out of the three-bay studio of the former Lunenburg fire hall, while Selina LaTour, Denirée Isabel Mendoza and Norma Jean MacLean are moving in. At the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning in Dartmouth, Caitlin McGuire and Kelsey Pearson have finished their residencies, while Cinthia Arias Auz, Jessica Lynn Wiebe and Luis Figero are just starting.

With new beginnings, there are always endings. I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Professors Frances Dorsey, Robin Muller and Alvin Comiter, who’ve retired from teaching after many, many years at NSCAD. At the same time, we welcome our newest faculty members: art educator April Mandrona in Art History and Critical Studies, professors Elena Brebenel and Jennifer Green in Textiles/Fashion, and Marcia Connolly in Film. As well, Dr. James Barmby is our new Associate Vice President, Student Experience and Registrar, and Paul Maher, is our new Director of Teaching and Learning.

Frances Dorsey Robin Muller

Retired professors Frances Dorsey and Robin Muller pose in front of their work at a retrospective exhibition held earlier in the summer at the Anna Leonowens Gallery. Photo courtesy of Tim Krochak, Local XPress

Links:

Speaking of Paul, he and NSCAD librarian Rebecca Young have helped facilitate in the creation of NSCAD’s Learning Commons, which you can find on the second floor of the Fountain Campus (third floor of the NSCAD Library). This airy, bright space promises to be a new gathering space at NSCAD. Take a moment to stop by and check it out.

nscad learning commons

NSCAD’s new Learning Commons – a comfortable “collision space.” Marilyn Smulders Photo.

To everyone at NSCAD – faculty, staff, students, alumni – I propose a toast (let’s make it apple cider). Cheers to fall and new beginnings!

Dianne

P.S. The quintessentially summery picture at the top of this blog is by Erica Flake, one of the students who camped at Kejimkujik National Park in August as part of the class, Parks Canada: Keji, taught by Anna Sprague.

From school to success

On June 21, the Transition Task Force released From School to Success: Clearing the Path.  The report contains 15 recommendations to help youth get the training and education they need to find meaningful employment in Nova Scotia.

Appointed by Education and Early Childhood Education Minister Karen Casey and Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan last fall, the Transition Task Force is made up of educators, business and youth representatives—myself included. (See the photo of task force members in the header above.)

Recommendations from the task force include:

  • providing relevant career information to youth earlier
  • creating an entrepreneurial culture within schools, colleges and universities
  • helping more apprentices, college and university students complete their education and training, and to do so more quickly

I was honored to serve on the Transition Task Force that addressed some key issues in education that I am passionately committed to. Through the task force, I found a table of like-minded people engaged in discussing challenges and making recommendations of what can be done to provide enhanced opportunities for Nova Scotian youth.

I know first-hand how NSCAD, as a world renowned art school, can be accessible to young people coming from high school or transferring from other universities and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) (through our innovative 2 + 2 programs). Sometimes debt adverseness can prevent some very talented students from considering a degree in art or design, but there is financial support available. NSCAD awards more than $311,000 in student support annually through bursaries and scholarships and also offers diverse employment opportunities for students on campus.

I believe one of the most important task force recommendations is to reach parents and students with financial planning information earlier so that they understand post-secondary education is worth the investment and remains the clearest path to a rewarding and good paying job. For example, the Nova Scotia government provides bursaries of approximately $1,200 a year for university students from Nova Scotia—although this significant direct tuition deduction is generally not well known.The task force also called for a review of current sources of financial assistance to students (from governments, universities, colleges, families and students themselves) and an assessment of what changes could be made to close the gap between costs and available resources.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey and Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan accepted the report and thanked the task force members for our work.

“Our government is committed to seeing more young people find meaningful work here at home,” said Minister Regan. “Our budget this year is investing more than $12 million in programs that provide the skills, training and experience needed to connect young people to a career here in Nova Scotia.”

The province will report on progress throughout the year, as action is undertaken. The ministers also agreed to reconvene task force members in fall 2017 for a round table session to review and discuss progress.

The Transition Task Force was established as part of Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education. Ensuring youth have the best possible chance for a successful future in Nova Scotia is supported by the ONE Nova Scotia Coalition.

To close, I would like to share some profiles from the  Class of 2016. Read what NSCAD grads say about their art school experience and how it changed their lives.

NSCAD Pride and Kudos!

Dianne