Art school offers flexibility
College to give prospective students choice of courses, semesters
For the first time in its 35-year history, the Victoria College of Art and Design is offering an April enrolment, so aspiring artists can choose from three times a year to begin, continue or finish a diploma program.
“It gives students enormous flexibility to drop in or out, and take as many or as few courses each term as they can manage or afford,” school director Peter Such said.
Courses are open to everyone, day or evening, and credits are given so students can accumulate them toward a diploma. The new session starts April 14, with the first term running until the end of June and the second ending at the beginning of September. Three $1,500 tuition scholarships are available for entering students who submit portfolios by April 3. (A first-year course load is $2,700 per term.)
If anyone wonders what actually goes on at the college, on April 3 they can pop into the year-end student exhibition which opens at the Show and Sell gallery at the King’s Road University Canada West campus.
Continuing through April 9, it offers prospective students “a great way to see what the college’s students can do,” said Such, adding the Christmas show attracted almost 500 people and saw sales of more than 75 art works.
Such was hired last May to try to rescue the art school after it merged with University Canada West three years ago and experienced an enrolment crash, dropping from 150 students down to a dozen. Since then enrolment has slowly been building and now stands at 100.
A helpful injection of new ideas, management, cash and enthusiasm came in November when the university was bought by a Canadian educational conglomerate, the Eminata Group. Based in Vancouver, it has annual revenues of about $50 million and owns 30 education centres across Canada.
“The Eminata connection has made the college financially secure and able to draw on capital for expansion of our facilities,” Such said. The new financial footing also means faculty members have received their first pay raise in 10 years.
Money is also there for new courses such as Art English, where students learn to craft an artist’s statement for a show, a gallery proposal or promotional materials. Others include courses in communications, graphic design and creativity.
Art teacher Paul Peregal, who studied with the Group of Seven’s Arthur Lismer, has also been hired as a special instructor at the college this spring/summer, and his specialty will be revealing the secrets of 20th-century revolutionary techniques.