Artistic expression explodes onto the Trinity Western University campus

Artistic expression explodes onto the Trinity Western University campus

Langley, B.C.—In a post-modern era that is highly visual and inspired by the art of story-telling, Trinity Western University’s mission is to prepare students to contribute to culture and society. To further this vision and to accommodate TWU’s ever-growing student population, the university has recently added a Visual Art Major, along with three other majors, to its current list of 34.

According to Linda Schwartz, Dean of Professional Studies and Performing Arts, and Walnut Grove resident, “the Visual Art Major provides a professional education within a traditional liberal arts environment. This uniquely prepares students with the tools to understand, engage and contribute to visual culture. Our goal is to be graduating exhibiting and publishing professionals who are not only cultural participants, but cultural leaders,” she says.

Coupled with the new Major is the construction of a $1.1 million dollar building project, an essential development for Trinity Western University’s expanding student population. Open for classes in January, the new addition will house brand-new classrooms, offices, ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ studio space, a darkroom and a workshop. Sculpting classes will also have their own studio space at 1000 Parker Street in Vancouver, where TWU professors Erica Grimm-Vance and Sharalee Regehr, and hundreds of other artists work.

Accompanying the new building and additional classes are new professors. The majority of TWU’s current Art professors pursue professional careers as artists, allowing students to learn their craft from people who are active in their discipline. In keeping with this trend, TWU recently hired two highly skilled Visual Arts professors. Betty Spackman, TWU’s New Media professor, has in her portfolio a Master of Fine Arts from York University, mentorship from Holland’s late Hans Rookmaaker, a National Film Board award, and 15 years as a professional artist in Europe.

Laurel Gasque has also been brought on board as the sessional visiting lecturer in Art History for 2003-04. A graduate of Eastern College of Pennsylvania (MEd), Gasque has studied art in over 70 countries and currently heads up the faculty and graduate student ministry for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada and serves as an adjunct professor at Tyndale Seminary.

Aside from acquiring artistic expertise, TWU has acquired artistic tools. One of TWU’s more unique yet valuable donations has been a printing press.

“Thanks to the generosity of two different donors, we now have two very different (and very necessary) presses,” says Schwartz. “One press has actually run works by Robert Bateman and Jack Shaldboldt, probably the two of the most well known artists in BC. So not only are we excited about the usefulness of the presses, but about their unique history.”

The Art Major will eventually include four streams, although only the first, two-dimensional art, will be launched this fall. New classes include three-dimensional design, history of modern art, advanced painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography and graphic design. The next stream, to be introduced in the fall of 2004, is inter-media, a program that fuses music, visual art and media arts. Remaining streams include three-dimensional and art history streams. The establishment of this Visual Arts Major is considered an essential step toward establishing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.


Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping