We were lucky to have an amazing group of 12 committed, passionate and hard-working students for our first cohort. Along with the faculty team of Lisa Binnie (our coordinator), Elinor Whidden, Darlene Bolahood, Kal Honey, me and our fearless leader (and dean) Sandra Dupret, we had a number of visiting artists, a gallerist and a curator (I would thank them all by name, but I don't have them all at hand; a special thank you though to Andy Fabo) who made presentations, conducted hands-on demonstrations and consulted with students on an individual basis. Diversity of vantage points is hugely important in art, so these invited guests enriched the program tremendously by their contributions.
I found teaching for this a really interesting challenge. My favourite experience was having in-depth conversations one-on-one with the students, asking and answering questions, offering responses and suggestions, riffing on ideas. Those conversations are something you can really miss in a solitary studio practice, along with the support of a tight-knit group. Solitude is important for creativity, but so is connection, which makes all kinds of programs, classes, critique groups and so on, essential for most artists, at least on a periodic basis.
I'm very excited about the progress everyone made this summer and am so proud of them all!
The Haliburton Echo wrote an article about 'SPA' that you can check out here: