Marja-Leena Rathje
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Save Studio Art


Just when the school year is finishing and many students in Studio Arts have put up their graduation exhibition, the administration at Capilano University in North Vancouver has announced that they would have to make cuts to many programs because of a shortfall of $1.3 million in funding from the BC government. Studio and Textile Arts are particularly targeted along with other courses. Studio Arts is and has been a very well-respected program for 40 years.

Students and Faculty and Friends of the Arts are fighting this very hard. A Facebook page and a petition have been set up which are receiving lots of support but we need much more. I have personally been part of the excellent studio arts program at Capilano and want to help by asking friends and readers to please sign this petition in support of arts education, ALL education, and to pass it on to others.

Here is one very special and supportive comment at that petition:

I would not be writing this letter of support for Capilano University's Studio and Textile Arts Program as an Associate Professor at Emily Carr were it not for the incredible education I received there. Having subsequently toured many art and design schools over the years in the United States and Canada, and having been an external reviewer last year of Capilano's program, I can testify that the program ranks among the best. Simply put it offers a first rate blend of intellectual, material, and technical development delivered by extraordinary faculty in a beautifully equipped, community-friendly studio setting. The program is a major contributor to the high profile for culture and excellence the University enjoys, and its reputation far outdistances its relatively small size. It would be a false economy to eliminate this program as the University's profile would be greatly diminished on the cultural scene, locally and nationally. - Alexandra Phillips of Vancouver

There is a provincial election campaign going on and we are questioning all candidates on this issue. Why are some universities getting way more funding than others, while others are experiencing cuts? Why any cuts to any kind of education? Coincidentally or not, the University is having their decision-making budget meeting on May 14th which is the very day of the election!

Here are a few of the many reports in the news media:

- THE TYEE by Crawford Kilian
- Alliance for Arts and Culture

Thank you for reading and for your support!

ADDED May 3rd: In the Straight: Capilano University needs to hit the pause button on its budget plans, by Reg Johanson. Excellent comments too.

UPDATE May 20th: After weeks of petitions, protests and meetings, the University board has agreed to delay the cuts for another month to research and possibly propose a new plan.

Marja-Leena | 02/05/2013 | 8 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Canada and BC, Current Events


Oh, and it's named for Emily Carr! Time for girding the loins for battle...

Marly, you mean the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, formerly the Vancouver School of Art? Yes, that is named after that artist. Many of Cap's Studio Art grads go on to Emily Carr.

Two of our daughters graduated from ECUAD. Another daughter first attended Capilano College (as it was previously named) for studio art and other courses, then went on to another University for a degree in Creative Writing.

I did sign the petition. Let's hope the University changes its plans regarding the cuts. It's unbelievable that Canada has become a petro-state and yet still cries poverty.

I remember one time going to Canada, looking around me, and saying, "These people are sitting ducks! Surely they will have all these nice things taken away from them. They will have to learn to stop being so polite and civilized and fight for their rights." And it came to pass...

Susan, thanks for signing the petition. I fear the university's hands are tied by the government's unwillingness to provide sufficient funding for education, a problem that has been getting worse over the past 12 years, even though they set up the additional universities. Our only hope might be a new government promising additional funding, but the timing is difficult with the election and the present government's huge deficit.

Petro-state indeed! Norway did it right, taking 85% of the oil revenues on its coast to support its own population's needs for health, education and services. Those foreign oil companies agreed and are still getting rich. Canada is just giving it all away to the multinational oil corporations.

Hattie, I don't think it's about being polite and civilized. I think it's about greed by right wing politicians who give in to corporations that pay them to be elected - just like in the US. See my comment about Norway, above. I think too many voters have been sucked into their falsehoods about the economy and jobs. Ach, I could go on, I get so angry that I almost feel like moving to a Nordic country!

Hah! I was so angry after living in the US for 34 years I came back to Canada. Why on earth did I allow myself to believe that nothing much would have changed since the mid-70's? I'm afraid that what we're seeing now with corporate power in place, rather than the strong people oriented governments we'd been moving toward and hoping for, is like nothing that's ever existed previously. Border to border the dominoes are aligned.

Susan, I'm sorry Canada has disappointed you. The direction things are going disappoint and depress me. I used to think we were a pretty good country.

It's not the country, certainly not the people either here or in the US but, as you say too, the direction mapped by greed has put us all on the wrong road.