School of Fine Arts
Visual Arts, 2015
Jane Walker appreciates the space that Grenfell Campus offered her, both physical and mental. During her time in the visual arts program, she took advantage of the studio facilities, faculty support and freedom to experiment and be creative on her own terms.
"Grenfell might be a small campus, but it offers so much space and time to experiment and figure out where to go next. Its geographical isolation from the Canadian art scene is actually liberating - I didn't spend my years at art school thinking about art trends or competition with my peers," she said.
Time and space are valuable commodities in a visual arts program and Walker says that easy access to studio space and support from faculty and technicians is something she took for granted at Grenfell. But she came to appreciate both when she started a masters program at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland (GSA.) "When I went to Glasgow I was shocked by the waitlists for studio facilities and technicians," she said. "A sculpture project that would have taken a couple of days at Grenfell took several weeks to coordinate in Glasgow due to such high demand."
Her GSA masters program in research and creative practices didn't emphasize studio practice. Instead, it focused on academic writing, methodology and experimental art-based research. Walker says that she was worried that her art education from Grenfell wouldn't hold up compared to her classmates who came from all over the world. But, she says, "That wasn't the case. The interdisciplinary education I received at Grenfell Campus was a launch pad that prepared me for my further education and the arts engagement work that I'm doing now."
Walker's dissertation at GSA focused on visual art access and practice in rural Scotland and Newfoundland. She's now returned to the province and is living and working in Bonavista. "I'm working on an exciting visual art project happening in August and September 2017 - the inaugural Bonavista Biennale - which will be a month-long exhibition presented in non-gallery settings along the Bonavista Peninsula. I'm also working towards two exhibitions of work that will open in September 2017 in St. John's."
Walker's high school art teacher was a Grenfell alumnus and encouraged her to apply to the fine arts program. She decided to give it a try for one semester to see if she liked it and stayed for her full degree. When asked what advice she has for future Grenfell students she said, "At the end of the day your education is in your own hands. Get involved, work really hard, and take advantage of the massive privileges that come with being a part of a university. The faculty and staff at Grenfell are so supportive and willing to go well out of their way to help you. I graduated two years ago and I'm still being connected to career opportunities and connections by former professors at Grenfell."