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 >>


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.

Taking time to heal

Reflecting upon my 100 Days of Listening and Learning, I recognize the unprecedented scrutiny and uncertainty the NSCAD community has endured these past two years. Those times are behind us, and with the approval of a new strategic framework, we can take the first steps towards a positive future.

As encouraging as it is to have a focused strategic direction and a new president at the helm, as that leader I recognize that we need time to heal, regroup and trust each other to enable real change to happen. I look forward to sharing the plan and working together over the next while to chart our new direction.

Today, Dr. Kenn Gardner Honeychurch is retiring from NSCAD after almost 20 years of loyal and dedicated service. Taking a leading role at NSCAD through the years as an inspirational teacher and administrator, he will be missed by so many but we will all work to uphold his legacy. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank and value Kenn and wish him all the very best with his future endeavors and extend an open invitation for him to stay connected with our community.

These past weeks I have learned to be a good patient and acknowledge it takes time to heal – taking a rest does work as I am very happy to report my fractured arm is healing well and I am looking forward to returning to the campus soon. The messages and good wishes I have received have all contributed to keeping my spirit high and aiding my recovery. I am grateful for colleagues who are working with me through this time.

Take care,


Goodbye January, hello February! A friendly wave in the hallway by the Fine Arts offices.

Goodbye January, hello February! A friendly wave in the hallway by the Fine Arts offices.

P.S. I’ve heard the Research Hangouts organized by Professor Max Haiven on Fridays have been well attended. Sorry to be missing them! Today, Professor Frances Dorsey will talk about her research on sustainability and the textiles industry. (12 noon to 1 p.m. in S409, Fountain Campus.)

P.P.S. Congratulations to our music stars! Tanya Tagaq‘s (BFA 1998) Animism is up for three Juno Awards while Jenn Grant (BFA 2006)  and Sarah McLachlan are each up for two. Meanwhile, country artist Jimmy Rankin (BFA 1988) leads the East Coast Music Award nominations with five noms for his album Back Road Paradise and Jenn Grant captures another three nods, including Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year. NSCAD student Alex MacAskill of Fish Bone Prints received an ECMA nomination in the category Graphic/Media Artist of the Year.