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UFV launches school of creative arts – Abbotsford News

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The theatre department and the visual arts department at University of the Fraser Valley have united to form the School of Creative Arts (SoCA) within the UFV College of Arts.

All theatre and visual arts courses and programs continue to be offered.

Dr. Heather Davis-Fisch has been named director of the new school. She was previously department head of the theatre program from 2016 to 2019 and joined UFV in 2011 as associate professor.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Davis-Fisch said.

“Combining theatre and visual arts into a new school gives us a chance to think consciously about what our vision and values will be and what we as an interdisciplinary school can do for our students and the Fraser Valley community.

“Coming from a theatre background myself, I am very excited about working with visual arts and art history faculty.”

SoCA will combine digital technologies and media with traditional arts practice and performance.

Davis-Fisch said merging the two departments positions UFV to become a cultural hub and centre of creative innovation in the Fraser Valley.

SoCA places a high value on experiential learning and preparing students for careers valuing flexibility, innovation, and creative problem-solving.

“Having all the disciplines together in one school will give us some exciting potential to grow our bachelor of fine arts and bachelor of media arts in some very innovative directions,” Davis Fisch said.

“And there will be some very creative collaboration between the different areas. For example, our first theatre production this year will be located in the S’eliyemetaxwtexw art gallery on the Abbotsford campus. It’s about a man who buys a pure white painting and tries to justify it as fine art to his friends.”

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Culinary arts programs on the chopping block to save Vancouver School Board money – CTV News

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Luisa Alvarez, CTV News Vancouver


Published Saturday, November 16, 2019 7:12PM PST

VANCOUVER – Whisking together new recipes and learning from a red seal chef is an experience currently offered at seven Vancouver high schools that are equipped with teaching cafeterias.

A new report examining ways for the Vancouver School Board to save money suggests reducing that number to just two, plus one to be built in a future “centre of excellence” that would be built under the provincial seismic program.

Supporters of culinary arts programs in Vancouver schools say this is the wrong approach.

“There isn’t a single teaching cafeteria west of Main Street, so every student west of Main Street in high school has to actually travel by bus or car to one of the schools that have it,” said Bill Tieleman, spokesperson for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 963, representing school cafeteria employees and chefs.

“We have an enormous shortage of chefs of cafeteria workers everything in the restaurant and foodservice industry. They should really be looking at expanding this program not cutting it,” Tieleman said.

Annalida Leung, a trade-qualified baker, is a teacher with the program. While her job would be at risk with the change, she says she’s more concerned about the students.

“For students that don’t really know what they want to do, this is one way for us to kind of give them that road map of if they like to cook or if they like to bake, kind of spark that passion,” said Leung.

The report also recommends modifying the hot lunch program at Vancouver elementary schools, replacing it with delivered food that would be prepared off-site.

Krista Sigurdson, chair of the Lord Strathcona Elementary Parent Advisory Council, has concerns.

“If off-site delivery were to be done and privatization were to occur, we have less assurance of adherence to food guidelines,” Sigurdson said. “It’s an issue of control. The further the VSB loses control over the food, the less regulation there is going to be potentially over the quality.”

She’s also worried it could single students out.

“Offsite delivery would potentially only target kids in need, effectively differentiating poor kids from their healthier counterparts,” said Sigurdson.

“The last thing we need to do is have people signaled out because of their socioeconomic problems that they have a meal delivered to them and everyone sees it,” said Tieleman.

Nothing is set in stone, the VSB says, adding it won’t make any decisions without consulting parents, teachers and students.

“A number of factors were considered in the report,” said VSB trustee and chair Janet Fraser. “A number of options were put forward, it’s up to the board to decide how to move forward.”

Consultation is tentatively scheduled to begin in the new year.

“I’d encourage people to engage in that to let us know how we can proceed,” said Fraser. 

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Local man tries to keep 'Canada's original art' afloat (6 photos) – BarrieToday

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John Harrison wants to bring back what he views as a nearly forgotten art.

For the past eight years, the Orillia native has spent eight months a year living in the bush near Algonquin Provincial Park as he hones his skills at making traditional birch-bark canoes.

“The whole project has been about releasing a craft that’s been out of favour,” he said, noting that craft involves building canoes on the ground with three simple hand tools, sustainable harvesting and following a traditional process.

“I show my canoes and people are in amazement, but they often don’t see the art and this is the original (Canadian) art,” the 53-year-old said.

“It’s a really good project for arts, culture and history because it all ties in with that…Canadiana.”

Harrison, who has a fine arts’ university degree and is also an accomplished musician, is just finishing building 17- and 18-foot racing canoes and would now like to build a racing canoe side-wing as his next project.

“That original Canadian idea still hangs out in every canoe that you see today,” he said, noting he sold a 12-foot trapper canoe that’s now on display at Rama’s Bare Butts Smoke shop.

Harrison, who lives in a large tipi on the shores of Kimball Lake when not in the city, takes about three weeks to build a canoe.

“It takes a certain consistency of environment to produce the right tree,” Harrison said, noting he first uses a ladder to climb to an appropriate level before harvesting the bark from mature trees.

“You want 15- to 16-inch diameter (trunks) since with a tree like that you’re getting a quarter-inch of bark. I’m strictly doing a sustainable thing. I’m a surgeon when I’m on that tree and can get three canoes out of one tree. I pay homage to the tree.”

Harrison’s passion project has also led to displays, talks and workshops at Culture Days, Orillia Public Library, Rotary Club of Washago along with Cape Croker and Rama powwows.

As well, he teaches students at Rama’s Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School how to build a one-foot canoe and also wrote lesson plans for a canoe program.

“The last day, we had a regatta down the Black River. They had so much of a connection to what they built.”

But Harrison comes by his love of building Canada’s traditional watercraft honesty. His father Ron Harrison was a machine-shop teacher at Park Street Collegiate Institute from 1962 to 1995 and started the school’s Outward Bound program in the late 1960s.

“I was always around it; the essence, respect and joy of being in nature,” Harrison said, noting his father also helped students learn to build canoes.

“My father has built 86 canoes in cedar strip or fibreglass. I’ve built six, so I have a long way to go.”

Harrison has also been busy writing a collection of essays for an upcoming book entitled The Last Algonquin, which is a guide on how to build a traditional Canadian canoe that also features insights into life, Indigenous history and one’s place in nature.

“What technology utilizes birch bark’s water repellent nature, sewn in a blanket with spruce roots, structured internally with split cedar ribs, and sealed with spruce gum housing?” one essay excerpt asks before pointing out the canoe was created by combining three existing First Nations’ technologies found in other traditional items like snowshoes and toboggans “for travelling over frozen water.”

Harrison said he loves living in his tipi and being one with nature.

“I get so much peace and quiet for weeks at a time up at my site,” he said.

“I’m taught by nature and you renew your senses of sight, smell and sound. I get a better balance then when I was just living in the city.”

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Local man tries to keep 'Canada's original art' afloat (6 photos) – OrilliaMatters.Com

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John Harrison wants to bring back what he views as a nearly forgotten art.

For the past eight years, the Orillia native has spent eight months a year living in the bush near Algonquin Provincial Park as he hones his skills at making traditional birch-bark canoes.

“The whole project has been about releasing a craft that’s been out of favour,” he said, noting that craft involves building canoes on the ground with three simple hand tools, sustainable harvesting and following a traditional process.

“I show my canoes and people are in amazement, but they often don’t see the art and this is the original (Canadian) art,” the 53-year-old said.

“It’s a really good project for arts, culture and history because it all ties in with that…Canadiana.”

Harrison, who has a fine arts’ university degree and is also an accomplished musician, is just finishing building 17- and 18-foot racing canoes and would now like to build a racing canoe side-wing as his next project.

“That original Canadian idea still hangs out in every canoe that you see today,” he said, noting he sold a 12-foot trapper canoe that’s now on display at Rama’s Bare Butts Smoke shop.

Harrison, who lives in a large tipi on the shores of Kimball Lake when not in the city, takes about three weeks to build a canoe.

“It takes a certain consistency of environment to produce the right tree,” Harrison said, noting he first uses a ladder to climb to an appropriate level before harvesting the bark from mature trees.

“You want 15- to 16-inch diameter (trunks) since with a tree like that you’re getting a quarter-inch of bark. I’m strictly doing a sustainable thing. I’m a surgeon when I’m on that tree and can get three canoes out of one tree. I pay homage to the tree.”

Harrison’s passion project has also led to displays, talks and workshops at Culture Days, Orillia Public Library, Rotary Club of Washago along with Cape Croker and Rama powwows.

As well, he teaches students at Rama’s Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School how to build a one-foot canoe and also wrote lesson plans for a canoe program.

“The last day, we had a regatta down the Black River. They had so much of a connection to what they built.”

But Harrison comes by his love of building Canada’s traditional watercraft honesty. His father Ron Harrison was a machine-shop teacher at Park Street Collegiate Institute from 1962 to 1995 and started the school’s Outward Bound program in the late 1960s.

“I was always around it; the essence, respect and joy of being in nature,” Harrison said, noting his father also helped students learn to build canoes.

“My father has built 86 canoes in cedar strip or fibreglass. I’ve built six, so I have a long way to go.”

Harrison has also been busy writing a collection of essays for an upcoming book entitled The Last Algonquin, which is a guide on how to build a traditional Canadian canoe that also features insights into life, Indigenous history and one’s place in nature.

“What technology utilizes birch bark’s water repellent nature, sewn in a blanket with spruce roots, structured internally with split cedar ribs, and sealed with spruce gum housing?” one essay excerpt asks before pointing out the canoe was created by combining three existing First Nations’ technologies found in other traditional items like snowshoes and toboggans “for travelling over frozen water.”

Harrison said he loves living in his tipi and being one with nature.

“I get so much peace and quiet for weeks at a time up at my site,” he said.

“I’m taught by nature and you renew your senses of sight, smell and sound. I get a better balance then when I was just living in the city.”

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