Edmonton Digital Arts College shutting down permanently - Global News - Canadanewsmedia
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Edmonton Digital Arts College shutting down permanently – Global News



A private post-secondary school in Edmonton is closing down — but not just for the summer. The Edmonton Digital Arts College fell into financial troubles and ran out of money to pay staff salaries in June, according to the school’s executive director.

The school typically had about 50 students enrolled in one of four accredited diploma courses — digital illustration, 3D animation, digital media production and video game design.

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Jared Collier started taking video game design at the school in September. He’s interested in virtual reality technology and enjoyed his classes so much he volunteered at open houses to encourage others to enroll.

“I really liked what was going on, I really liked what was happening,” the 24-year-old said.

“Then suddenly having this ripped out from under me? It was a shock. I felt like I was just let down.”

Collier’s 10-month program was nearly finished in June when he was told classes were put “on pause” because the school was struggling financially.

“I immediately sat down with the team and told them what was going on and said, ‘Listen, I don’t feel ethical about continuing classes,’” executive director Owen Brierley said.

He said he couldn’t expect his ten staff members to work for free.

WATCH: Edmonton Public School Board raises concerns about having enough space for high school students

Brierley had been trying to sell the school for about the last 18 months.

“We were in the midst of negotiating a potential buyer to take on the school. I just have been running the school for a decade and my personal capacity to carry the school was becoming limited,” he said.

But that buyer decided to bow out last week. Brierley said that left him no choice but to call it quits.

“For me personally, it’s hard. It sucks. It really sucks,” he said, as tears ran down his cheeks.

When asked about what caused the financial difficulties, Brierley said there was no single thing that tipped the scales.

“I wish I knew,” he said. “I know the finances are the finances. We do the best we can to manage the finances.”

He added enrollment was down about 10 per cent, which worked out to nearly $100,000 in lost tuition.

“We operate based solely on the number of students that we get in and the tuitions that we’re able to collect. If we can’t make ends meet with that, then we’re struggling.”

Students that started their program in September will still graduate, Brierley said, though they will have to work through their final projects independently.

“Right now, with no one being in the school, there’s not much that can be done. There’s nobody to look over our shoulder and say, ‘You could do this or do that,’ or ask for help,” Collier said.

Any students that started classes in April will either have to transfer to another school or apply for a refund.

“Certainly we’re not going to leave them to fend for themselves. We’re going to work with them every step of the way to make sure they get what they need,” Brierley said.

“As much as I wish I had a crystal ball and could look into the future and see where it was going, we didn’t ever expect it to go in this direction and it did.”

He hopes other colleges will take up some of the specialty programs the school offered to fill the void left behind by its closure.

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Despite highs and lows, the shows go on at Sydney's Highland Arts Theatre – SaltWire Network





Fear may be motivating but Wesley Colford is sure he could do just as good a job running a theatre without it.

The artistic director of the Highland Arts Theatre says he feels like he’s living in a paradox because while the theatre may appear to be doing well, there are times when going under seems like a distinct possibility.

Wesley Colford

“There’s so much to be excited about but there is also a constant fear that it will all go away any month based on a bad show with low ticket sales,” says Colford. “It’s definitely a scary place to be existing. We had gotten a little bit closer to the ledge this year than we expected.”

Part of the problems began last winter when ticket sales to winter productions were lower than expected. Then add the cost of adding a much-needed air conditioning system and the higher-than-expected summer ticket sales suddenly don’t have quite the same impact.

“Even though we had more people it was not more lucrative,” says Colford. “So things like that added up. There were a couple of times when we were really quite scared and again funding continues to be a challenge when we really thought, based on some small success last year, that some of those relationships would develop this year and if they did it was very marginally. We are still holding out on meaningful support from the municipality which doesn’t seem to be coming. There’s operational funding that we desperately need from the province that still doesn’t seem to be available to us. It’s been hard. We know there are so many organizations in need of help but it’s a bit of a conundrum where we’re having so many people through the door, having such success but it is so expensive.”

Despite the highs and lows, Colford remains optimistic that everything is beginning to even out and he’s hopeful the theatre will have strong fall, Christmas and winter seasons.

“I always look for something that’s going to offer something new for everyone while balancing of course some tried and true favourites. I think this season really is the perfect balance of that. We’re bringing back some really terrific artists, be it directors like Ron Jenkins who has become a bit of a staple or some familiar playwrights who have had great hits in the past but also a lot of new things that I think people are going to be really delighted by with every month offering something new and unique, ranging from a domestic Canadian drama to 1960s musical based on a Shakespearean comedy.”

To encourage more people to attend shows, the theatre is offering a series of theatre packages that they hope will encourage gift-giving. The upcoming shows include “The Drawer Boy,” “Morro & Jasp: Save The Date,” “As You Like It,” “A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About The Death of Walt Disney and “The Clockmaker.” You can also add the June production of “Tribute To The Rotary Show” for an additional $25 to your package.

“With the early bird package (five shows), prices range from $75 to $89 with tax — this year we are bringing back the holiday gift package,” says Colford. “We want to encourage people to invite their friends and be able to give tickets as gifts. So if you get two of our regular packages, you can get two additional packages to give to friends and they’re only $50 each, which is really a remarkable saving. That goes until December 24.”

In addition to six days of performances for each play/musical, there will be an addition of a Sunday matinee for every performance.

Concert-wise the theatre will host Rawlins Cross (Nov. 30), A Gunning & Cormier Christmas (Dec. 7); Port Cities (Dec. 27), Tony Lee XXX Hypnotist (Jan. 24), another Confidential Musical Theatre project (Jan. 25), the “Snowed In” comedy show (April 23), “Lunch at Allen’s (April 28),” “The McCartney Years” (May 3) and “Abba Revisited (May 27 and 28).” There will also be a series of Christmas fare, “Sing-A-Long Sound of Music,” Dec. 22; a screening of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” on Dec. 23 and “A Very Merry Highland Arts Theatre Christmas Eve Sing-along Service”, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

“On some level fear is a good motivator but there are only so many hours in the day so at a certain point we’re going to run out of extra programs to add but we’ll keep doing what we can.”


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Finances improve for Highland Arts Theatre in Sydney as funding becomes available

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arts up close: Diana Di Giacopo-Robinson – simcoe.com




Catharsis is the medium Diana Di Giacopo paints in. Behind her fastidious brushwork, exploding with colour and form, lies a story, steeped in emotional fervor. Those who dare to let her canvases speak to them, will soon hear the stories and convictions of their own lives re-emerging.

“I’m a very simple person,” says artist, Diana Di Giacopo. “I appreciate the little things and sometimes in this world people will become maybe materialistic or really career driven and they forget about these tiny little moments in life.”

The importance of la familia is embedded throughout her work. Her father, preparing home-made sausages, swaths of silk tapestries made by ancestors, a family Vespa, marbled steak, marinating oranges, and jars of preserves.

Best known for her realism, Di Giacopo works primarily in acrylics, but also dabbles in oils, graphite on paper and wood and concrete cast and clay sculpture. Painting since she was a child, she went on to graduate from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at York University with honours in 1998. Her first exhibition was at The Well in Alliston. The Mayor attended.

In her piece, The Work of my Father’s Hands, Diana has captured one of the last visits her ill father made to her house.

The laborious process of making sausage together cemented their rich Italian heritage, combining their love of food, resilience, and proficiency into a family tradition. Di Giacopo spent her youth working at the family restaurant, Don Valentino Ristorante, in Brampton, and it is the source of inspiration for many of her unusual still life paintings.

From the Gentlemen’s Pile, is a darker story. The men’s shoes are deftly detailed, illuminating a life’s journey and at the same time pulling you into the depths of your own experience. You can’t help but wonder who these shoes belonged to, as the gravitas of your own father’s brogues sitting in the front closet rushes back. That moment, as a child, when you slipped your tiny feet into them, felt their imposing presence and suddenly understood your place in the family.

“A shoe is a very powerful symbol,” says Di Giacopo, who has now painted a whole series of women’s and men’s shoes. “It has your scent and carries your experiences in the day. You can feel the soul, the personality. Who they belong too.”

The black leather uppers in the painting are buffed to a spit-polish. These are shoes that were well cared for, yet well-worn. But you know there is a deeper story there. And as it happens, it is a sinister one, buried in an unspeakable history. The title of the piece is the giveaway. It refers to the piles of shoes belonging to the casualties from the Nazi death camps. The women’s pile. The men’s pile.

Nazis ordered their victims to remove their shoes before parading them into the gas chambers and Di Giacopo encountered these images while researching local WWII heroes for South Simcoe’s 150 Canada Day Anniversary exhibition. “The shoe pile was so evocative,” she recalls. “Your skin will crawl. It’s a travesty to see those piles of shoes.” The images compelled her to begin her shoe series, again plumbing the horrors and ennui of life.

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Donald Trump to present Jon Voight with National Medal of the Arts – Global News




On Sunday evening, The White House announced that U.S. President Donald Trump will award the National Medal of Arts to American actor Jon Voight on Nov. 21.

The Deliverance star, along with three other recipients, will be honoured this Thursday for their contributions to the arts.

Among those that the Republican leader will acknowledge for the accolade are country icon Alison Krauss, “champion of the arts” Sharon Percy Rockefeller, and the Musicians of the United States Military.

Unlike the other award winners, however, Voight, 80, has proved himself to be one of Trump’s loudest and proudest supporters on multiple occasions in the past.

Jon Voight calls Donald Trump the ‘greatest president’ since Abraham Lincoln

Jon Voight calls Donald Trump the ‘greatest president’ since Abraham Lincoln

Not only did he attend the 2017 presidential inauguration, but he has commended Trump as the “greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.”

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Following the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump, the Oscar-winning actor even took to social media to once again defend the president.

Voight, 80, posted a video to Twitter sharing his support of Trump. The two-minute, 14-second rant quickly went viral on the social media platform and garnered the star an abundance of mixed responses — some supporting his thoughts and Trump’s actions, others protesting them.

Jon Voight declares racism ‘solved’ in ‘Message to America’

Jon Voight declares racism ‘solved’ in ‘Message to America’

The White House has credited the decision to award Voight with a National Medal of Arts to his “exceptional capacity as an actor to portray deeply complex characters.”

The statement added that Voight has “given us insights into the richness of the human mind and heart” by captivating audiences over the years.

READ MORE: Jon Voight supports Donald Trump… again

This Thursday, Trump will also honour four recipients and organizations with a National Humanities Medal, including Washington, D.C.-based chef, Patrick J. O’Connell and 114-time New York Times bestselling author, James Patterson.


© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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