$1500 student mural call

All current UVic Visual Arts students are invited to submit a proposal by March 26 for a new $1,500 mural project in the lobby of UVic’s Island Medical Program. This uplifting & welcoming mural should reflect any of the following themes: health & wellness, happiness, pursuit/enjoyment of good health, Indigenous health & wellness (etc).

What to submit

Student artists or teams should submit a proposed design in a 2D medium (including, but not limited, to painting, prints, photography or drawing) plus a short proposal outlining how their design would be suitable for this project. The selected student(s) will then design & create the mural on the designated stand-alone wall in the IMP lobby.

The mural will be located on a 14 x 6 foot standalone wall, which will have the current plaques removed & will be prepared prior to project start date. An honourarium of $1,500 will be paid to the artist(s) once the project is completed (or split evenly between a team), with up to $500 in additional material fees.

About materials

Art must not have any sharp or harmful elements, and all paint and adhesives must be water based (no spray paint or spray adhesives).  All materials proposed to be used must be described in full in your proposal. The curved wall must be able to support the art without triggering structural design concerns.


Deadline for concept submissions is March 26 and the mural must be completed sometime between April 22 and May 30. The artist(s) must be currently enrolled in UVic’s Visual Arts department. Artist(s) will be chosen by a selection committee. This project is part of the new Fine Arts creative partnership with IMP that is also seeing an AHVS grad student curating a new collection of art for their lobby.

Please visit UVic’s IMP building (between MacLaurin A-wing & Cunningham building) prior to submission to get a sense of the wall & surrounding environment.

For more info or to submit a proposal to finecomm@uvic.ca

Comics as a path to resistance

Kwakwaka’wakw author, artist & activist Gord Hill is the 2024 Lehan Lecturer with UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts. His free public talk ran on Thursday, March 7 in room A110 of UVic’s Turpin building. You can watch his talk in this video: 

An artist, author, political activist & member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation, Hill is the author of The 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance Comic Book, The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book and The Antifa Comic Book and has been involved in Indigenous peoples’ and anti-globalization movements since 1990.

The annual Lehan Family Activism & the Arts Lecture Series features a distinguished guest presenting ideas on how the arts are a catalyst for change in advancing the understanding and goals of various social justice topics.

And that’s certainly how it worked for Gord Hill, who combined a passion for social justice with his artistic interests to create an accessible learning tool rooted in his own cultural traditions.

“The arts have always been a highly respected craft on the West Coast,” he explains. “Artists were tasked with recreating ancestors in a graphic form — like carvings and paintings in the big houses — so in our culture, there’s a lot of visual reaffirmation of our ancestors in everyday life. For me as an artist, graphic novels are a way of maintaining our history and making it accessible to people.”

From comics to ’zines

Like many of us, Hill says he read comics as a kid — mostly Marvel, but also surprisingly Conan (“I actually thought he was like a native, because he was a nomadic Sumerian warrior with long black hair who was always engaging with different people”) — but it was his teenage involvement in political social movements and the ‘zine culture of the ’90s that really sparked his interest in becoming a comic artist and author himself.

“As an artist, I always wanted to draw comics . . . but I’m not really into making up fictional characters and developing their background and all that,” he explains. “So when I was working with the native youth movement in the late ’90s, I decided I was going to try doing some historical comics — because the story is already kind of written, right? I just had to reinterpret it for a graphic format.”

Given his own activity, some of Hill’s early work focused on crises of the day. “I found that even with our most recent acts of resistance — like the 1990 Oka crisis — there wasn’t really that much information out there, as this was before the Internet was really widespread. So one of the first comics I did was an eight-page comic about Oka, and then I did one about the 1995 Ts’Peten [Gustafsen Lake] standoff in the interior of BC.”

Learning from history

Before long he had created a number of these short educational comics, and a friend suggested doing a larger work looking at 500 years of Indigenous resistance — which, an assist from friend and Art History & Visual Studies professor Alan Antliff, was then published by Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press.

Three books later, Hill’s work is just as relevant today as when he started. “Graphic novels are really accessible, especially today in our era of memes and videos on Facebook and TikTok,” he says.

He also feels historically-based comic books can be a great teaching tool.

“History can help you understand your present situation: you can learn from what resistance movements have done in the past and apply that to today,” he says.

“Historically, we’re taught that Indigenous peoples were just helpless victims while European colonizers conquered the land and committed genocide. But if you actually look into it, there’s a really strong history of resistance — there are areas where it took Europeans centuries to conquer Indigenous peoples — and I think that’s really inspiring.”

“Resistance movements can inspire and empower us, show us that we’re not helpless victims,” he continues. “It can contribute to a fighting spirit to know the oppressor isn’t omnipotent, that they have actually suffered defeat. I hope my work contributes to resistance movements today, so they’re able to learn from the history of resistance, which is an important part of maintaining a culture of resistance.”

NEW DATE & TIME: Due to a weather-related incident, we have now rescheduled this talk. All are welcome to hear Gord Hill’s free public talk as the 2024 Lehan Family Activism & the Arts guest lecturer, from 5-6:30pm Thursday, March 7, in room A110 of UVic’s Turpin building

Equity Review results

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Faculty of Fine Arts engaged in an Equity Review in order to provide an opportunity for faculty, staff, instructors and students to share their personal experiences with equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression in Fine Arts.

The survey was distributed to approximately 1,500 current Fine Arts members and we received 241 responses (16%).

The results revealed that respondents appreciate the inclusive content in our courses, that equity-centred pedagogy is beginning to define the work we do, and that increased diversity among our faculty, staff and instructors has been well received.

However, some survey respondents indicated behaviours and systemic barriers that continue to impede our progress, including elements of discrimination, harassment and/or oppression. As a result, we will be focusing on growing our inclusive culture, increasing representation and learning opportunities, streamlining our complaint process and continuing our outreach with the Fine Arts community.

You can view the full results here:

Fine Arts is committed to doing the important work to advance our shared responsibility in making social justice the foundation of our community; our progress in these areas will be shared at a later date. Please reach out to us if you have any thoughts or suggestions about the Equity Survey Results that you wish to share.

100 Years of Broadway takes centre stage

For their second mainstage show of the 2023/24 season, UVic’s Phoenix Theatre offers an epic journey through the most iconic and beloved musicals of our time as 100 Years of Broadway dances into the spotlight. Whether you’re a seasoned theatregoer or new to the magic of the stage, 100 Years of Broadway promises an experience that will leave you with a song in your heart.

Created by noted arranger and composer Mac Huff, this revue seamlessly weaves together medleys and full-song performances, capturing the essence of each era and showcasing the evolution of musical theatre — so expect delightful nuggets of history and fun facts to spice up this musical adventure.

Light the lights

It all begins in the early 20th century at the historic hotspot Tin Pan Alley, the epicentre of American musical genius. Imagine a bustling hive where songwriters, composers and publishers wove the very fabric of popular music with unforgettable music and timeless melodies by the likes of Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers — timeless creators who etched their names into the musical legacy that gave rise to today’s Broadway productions.

From there, you’ll be transported to the golden era of the ’50s and ’60s with iconic scores from Cabaret, Guys and Dolls, Hello Dolly! and Oliver. Then it’s a quick fast-forward through the groundbreaking ’70s and ’80s and the works of modern titans Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom of The Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, CATS) and Stephen Sondheim (A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Company). After that, we shift into the contemporary, with the likes of Wicked, Something Rotten, Waitress, Come From Away, Rent and The Last Five Years, among many others. 100 Years of Broadway celebrates the past, present and lasting joy that only Broadway can deliver.

A night of nights

It’s all directed by guest director and Phoenix alum Pia Wyatt, who received her master’s degree in directing from UVic in 1994. A professional educator, director and choreographer who has worked throughout the country and internationally, she now shares her talents as a professor of theatre and dance, and head of directing and performance at Louisiana’s Northwestern State University.

“I look forward to breathing new life into each theatrical production, helping create a masterpiece that entices the hearts and minds of the audience,” says Wyatt. “Theatre and dance provide freedom of expression and the power to communicate, to educate and to entertain — this outreach is what makes it exciting for me to create theatre.”

Indeed, Wyatt’s students and graduates are currently performing on Broadway, cruise lines, regional theatres and amusement parks worldwide. Under her direction and featuring an all-student design team, 100 Years of Broadway speaks to the legacy of the Phoenix theatre program — which continues to nurture top talent who contribute to the cultural landscape at home and abroad.

Alumni director Pia Wyatt

Building the student-designed set for 100 Years of Broadway

On with the show

The stage is set and the legacy of more than a century of beautiful music awaits you with 100 Years of Broadway. Inspiring, entertaining and uniquely able to connect people across generations, 100 Years of Broadway offers a night that will leave you singing and dancing long after the curtain falls.

Don’t miss this unforgettable evening as we celebrate Broadway’s extraordinary legacy! Book your tickets now, as they are already going fast!

100 Years of Broadway runs February 14-17 & 20-24, with 2pm matinees on Feb 17 & 24. Tickets are $11-$32, by phone at 250-721-8000 or in-person at the Phoenix Theatre box office.

There will also be a public pre-show lecture with Department of Theatre chair and Broadway historian Tony Vickery at 7pm Friday, February 16.