What’s your Great Moment for Fine Arts?

Was this one of your Great Moments? Let us know!

The deadline is coming up fast for the Great Moments call. (In case you’ve been on sabbatical and missed the word, UVic is on the hunt for 50 Great Moments to celebrate our upcoming 50th anniversary in 2012/13.) And, of course, we want to make sure that Fine Arts is well-represented in those Great Moments.

What makes a Great Moment? Well, it can be anything truly notable—big capital letter  things like the creation of the Faculty of Fine Arts, say, or more lyrical events like the Lafayette String Quartet being named artists-in-residence at the School of Music. Perhaps it’s the founding of the History in Art department, the long evolution of the Phoenix Theatre from tiny hut to academic complex, W.P. Kinsella writing the first draft of Shoeless Joe (which became Field of Dreams) in his Writing classes, or the construction of the Visual Arts building. Really, it can be anything from a campus development to an individual or team achievement . . . and it would really help if there was a picture to go with it!

We’ve got until January 20 to submit our list, so if you have any Great Moments spanning UVic’s 1962-2012 history, be sure to contact johnt@uvic.ca with the details no later than January 15.

150 Victoria offers $1,000 to $20,000 grants

Good news for all you artsy types—the City of Victoria is turning 150 in 2012 and, to celebrate, City Hall has announced they’ll be developing “a memorable and exciting line-up of 150th anniversary programming for delivery throughout 2012.”

What does that mean for Fine Arts faculty, staff and students? Why, the opportunity to apply for some funding, of course! In order to retain Victoria’s “prominence as one of the top places to live, work and play in Canada and the world” (as long as you can afford to live here, of course, and find a job), the City of Victoria wants to “celebrate our rich history and create a window to our equally promising future.”

All cynicism aside, however, there is an opportunity here to get in on the two grant programs available to help the community celebrate Victoria 150 (both grants are made possible by the support of Canadian Heritage and the Greater Victoria Spirit Committee). Project grants will range from $1,000 to $20,000. Here’s the official word:

“CALL FOR PROPOSALS: 150 PEOPLE AND PLACES

1) Addressing Art and Heritage - This exciting and unique art and cultural grant program project will highlight iconic locations and addresses in Victoria by encouraging and supporting the creative interpretation of their significance by artists of all disciplines. The result will be an exciting, dynamic and inspiring range of artistic endeavours that will bring to light the beauty and history of Victoria’s most valued spaces.

2) My Community Celebrates 150! - This grant program is designed for neighbourhood associations, community groups and community based non-profits to produce their own participatory celebration or project.”

You can find complete background information, application details and a PDF for download here, but here’s the quickie breakdown on what’s acceptable: “Artistic expression may include sculptures on site, lighting installations or projections on buildings, photography or paintings of featured locations (displayed on site or elsewhere), en plein aire paint-in events, site specific theatre, dance or musical performance, pop-up theatre festival, or other. The connection to the location may be direct (on site) or implied (through subject matter).”

Further, “All artistic disciplines are eligible, including but not limited to, visual art—including paint, sculpture, mixed media and photography—performance disciplines including theatre, dance, music and performance art, as well as new art forms, including multimedia and lighting.”

In other words, pretty much everything we do here in Fine Arts. The call for proposals is  open to individual artists, collectives or established arts groups. (Note: there must be a professional artist to lead the project; community artists and students may contribute under the leadership of an established professional.)

The deadline for applications is January 15, 2012—so put your thinking caps on over the holidays, and get those grant-typing fingers going!

Poverty Proves Popular

Lorna Crozier on CBC's The Current (photo: CBC)

Recent Order of Canada winner and Department of Writing professor Lorna Crozier‘s spot guest-hosting a special episode of CBC’s The Current on Friday, December 2, proved so popular that she was invited back again to the show on Thursday, December 8.

The original episode—titled “We Are the 10 Percent: Poverty in Canada”—got such an overwhelming response that Current host Anna Maria Tremonti asked Crozier to return for a special call-In edition to hear what it is like for people to be poor in Canada.

“Last Friday we heard about how poverty can isolate and silence a person. But after last Friday’s special many people found their voice,” reads the write-up on the Current‘s website. “The emails, the voice messages, the heartfelt reaction overwhelmed us all.”

“For a group of people who number in the millions, they are essentially invisible, unseen, unheard . . . far too easy to ignore,” it continues. “The poor in this country aren’t even officially counted. There is no official national formula to track who joins the ranks. And what is becoming increasingly clear is that it doesn’t take much to join those ranks.”

Even literary magazine Quill and Quire perked up their ears at the episode, with writer Natalie Samson quoting Crozier on their online Quillblog: “I know what it’s like to come from a needy family. Though both my parents worked, we lived in substandard rental housing. We went without. And I keenly felt my mother’s worry as she tried, and failed, to make ends meet.” Samson also pointed out that the episode featured poetry readings by Crozier’s husband and former Writing instructor Patrick Lane.

Listen to the original episode here.

Catch the listener response to the episode here.

Music Faculty Honoured for Service

Clockwise from top left: Alexandra Pohran Dawkins, Eugene Dowling, Eva Solar-Kinderman, Harald Krebs

2011 marks a significant milestone in the careers of four School of Music faculty members. At a reception on October 4 at the University Club, long-service employees from all areas of the campus were honoured. Among those celebrated were four headliners from Music: Alexandra Pohran Dawkins (head of woodwinds) and Harald Krebs (head of theory), both marking 25 years; Eva Solar-Kinderman (piano performance), notching up 30 years; and Eugene Dowling (tuba, euphonium, and trombone performance), who celebrates 35 years with Music.

Director Gerald King is grateful for their commitment. “We are so honored to have such talented and dedicated faculty who have given so much to the School of Music and the University,” he said. “Four faculty members who have served the University for 25, 30 and 35 years—this is a remarkable milestone. Such longtime service is an indicator of the quality of our school.”

Birds of a Feather Flock to Legacy Awards

Each year, UVic honours four outstanding members of the university community with the Legacy Awards—an elegant night where some 500 UVic supporters gather together to applaud individual efforts of excellence that have made a significant contribution to the  community and to UVic’s own success.

George Smith with Blackstone's osprey (UVic Photo Services)

This year’s Legacy Award winners were no different—Engineering professor emeritus Andreas Antoniou, former Vikes soccer manager George Smith, Mathematics professor Gary MacGillivray, and the Honourable Lance Finch, Chief Justice of BC—but while there may not have been any Fine Arts faculty among the honourees, the awards that were presented at the Victoria Conference Centre on November 22 reflected the work of our own Dean of Fine Arts, Sarah Blackstone.

Each of the four awards featured a different bird photographed by Blackstone, with three of the four—an osprey, a Great Horned owl, and a Cooper’s hawk—captured on film here on campus. The final image of a wood duck was shot in Mystic Pond, just off Cadboro Bay beach.

Lance FInch with Blackstone's Great Horned owl (UVic Photo Services)

The recent high-profile efforts of Fine Arts faculty and alumni didn’t escape the notice of UVic president David Turpin, however. “Once again, excellence in teaching and research placed UVic among the world’s best universities in a series of national and international rankings,” Turpin said in his opening remarks. “And our efforts to provide a robust and inclusive learning environment were recognized by our students who also gave us top marks. Our commitment to excellence has also brought us significant success and attention on the national and international stage—Esi Edugyan, alumna of our Writing program, won the Giller Prize, and Joan MacLeod, the [acting] Chair of our Writing department won Canada’s top prize in theatre, the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize.”

 

Andreas Antoniou with Blackstone's wood duck (UVic Photo Services)

“These are but a few examples of many, many UVic initiatives making important and lasting contributions to our society,” Turpin continued. “They symbolize a central focus of our renewed strategic plan—to play a critical role in society, making substantial intellectual, social, cultural and economic contributions to our community, our country and the world. Our world today is a complicated and rapidly changing place. If you imagine the Inner Harbour 50 years ago, you would see an economy driven by primary industry and manufacturing. Today we see a remarkably different environment: growth and prosperity are increasingly driven by educated, creative people who work in the arts and culture, management and high technology, entrepreneurship, sustainability and green technology.”

 

Gary MacGillivray with Blackstone's Cooper's hawk (UVic Photo Services)

Fans of Blackstone’s ornithological efforts will appreciate the 2012 edition of her annual calendar project, which features 12 all-new images of local birds. A limited number of these calendars are available through the Dean’s office, for a bargain price of just $10. She has also produced a second calendar this year of her latest passion, flight photography—that is, scenic shots taken while flying (the Grand Canyon, Utah’s Monument Valley), not of birds in flight.

Jeremy Makes a Film

Joanna's friends, Edgar Allen Poe-bot (photo: Jason Hargrove)

Department of Writing alumni Jeremy Lutter and Ben Rollo premiered their short film Joanna Makes a Friend on December 3 at the 2011 Whistler Film Festival. Starring Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas, Dan for Mayor) and Dalila Bela, Joanna Makes a Friend was adapted by Rollo from his own short story; when Joanna, a lonely nine-year-old girl, is ostracized by the other kids at school due to her love of the macabre and a fascination with Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft, she ends up making a robot friend out of spare VCR parts in her father’s garage. 

The film’s genesis lies in last year’s Whistler Film Festival, where Lutter successfully pitched the idea to the highly competitive Motion Picture Production Industry Association. Not only did Lutter then win the Short Film Award—netting him a $115,000 prize ($10,000 cash plus in-kind services)—but he went on to crowd-fund the remaining budget needed to shoot the movie through IndieGoGo, the world’s leading global funding platform.

The very big Jeremy Lutter with the very small Dalila Bella

Lutter recently talked to Jason Whyte of eFilmCritic.com about the highs and lows of shooting Joanna Makes a Friend. “The most difficult part of this film turned out to be the most rewarding. At film school they will tell you that the two hardest things you can have in a film are children actors and animals. But there’s a third thing that should be on the list: Child actors, animals and robots,” says Lutter of robotic co-star Edgar Allan Poe-bot. “He took three months to design and build . . . we have a series of behind-the-scene videos on our website that show the progress of the robot at different points. But all the hard work of building this robot paid off. The first day on set was magical. Just watching the character come to life and interact in the scenes was amazing.” (You can read the rest of Lutter’s interview with Whyte here.)

And if you’d like to track back over the history of the project, catch Lutter’s interview with Natalie North of the Victoria News from May 2011, and his chat with Michael Reid of the Times Colonist back in June 2011.