Future Students

  • Art kits allow VISA students to hone skills at home

    Caption: The VISA Art Stores at Brock University has been providing access to course materials to students for more than 37 years.

    Half the battle in creating a beautiful piece of art is finding a spark of creativity and having the skills to bring it to life. The other half, however, is having access to the right materials and equipment to turn that vision into reality.

    Aspiring artists and scholars studying Visual Arts (VISA) at Brock University have continued to hone their skills despite the pandemic thanks not only to dedication to their disciplines, but also to staff and faculty who have made it possible.

    Studio Art instructors at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) have been challenged to reimagine drawing, painting, sound and video courses to suit an online setting. That has also meant ensuring students have access to the materials and equipment necessary to continue their studies.

    The results have been overwhelmingly positive, resulting in experiences that might not have been encountered by students in a pre-pandemic semester.

    The extensive efforts of the VISA faculty have been supported by two key players: Max Holten-Andersen, Instructor, Media Resource Co-ordinator, and co-ordinator of the VISA Equipment Kiosk, and Arnold McBay, Instructor and VISA Department Facilities Technician, who manages the VISA Art Stores.

    Central to the course work of Visual Arts students, the VISA Art Stores have provided Brock students access to art materials related to drawing, painting and sculpture courses since the mid-1980s. The Equipment Kiosk, established in 2015 after the move to the current MIWSFPA downtown campus, provides students with access to digital and analogue photography, sound and video equipment.

    Both outlets are usually staffed by student assistants during the day and evening, six days a week. Students visit for their materials and equipment needs, as well as for advice and mentorship from the managers, who are also both VISA instructors.

    With the switch to online course delivery, McBay and Holten-Andersen were met with the challenge of facilitating materials and equipment support for students in a manner that met provincial and Brock pandemic protocols, and without the students being on site.

    Fourth-year student Rea Kelly knows first-hand how important access to creative tools are for her degree.

    “Having the VISA Art Stores at the MIWSFPA has become a necessity for my four years at Brock as a Studio Art major,” she says. “I cannot count the number of times myself or my peers have run out of paint or drawing materials mid-class and have had to run to the art store for materials. I can’t imagine the school without it.”

    Answering the call for a solution, McBay developed kits in consultation with faculty that include all of the art supplies and materials students require to complete their course work and develop their art practice.

    The kits are available for convenient curbside pick up for local students and are shipped to those outside of the Niagara region. For students wishing to remain in their hometowns while continuing their educational experience, the kits have been essential.

    Similarly, Holten-Andersen, aware of the necessity of audiovisual equipment for supporting photography, sound and video courses, has added to the initiative.

    McBay and Holten-Andersen have established a central distribution point in the MWS151 Foundation Studio at the MIWSFPA. The room is large enough to allow for required physical distancing and is staffed by one student monitor during weekdays.

    Access to the room is limited to one student at a time using all pandemic protocols including required personal protective equipment. As a result, students can safely visit the distribution centre and access art materials and digital equipment, all in one place.

    “Despite the limitations of not being able to access the usual range of materials available in the VISA Art Stores and Equipment Kiosk, students have been able to meet all their project objectives through the distribution of materials kits at the pickup centre,” McBay says.

    Students have had to get creative with the supplies they have available to them.

    “These are real-life challenges that artists might face in their career, and circumstances students would not usually encounter in an academic experience prior to the pandemic,” McBay says.

    For audiovisual equipment, students are able to submit online equipment requests that are fulfilled within 24 hours, using MWS151 as the pickup hub where items get loaned out and returned. This method has shifted the equipment consultations from an in-person approach to a remote approach via email, phone or video conferencing.

    “At times, consultations are extremely necessary as I am able to provide expertise on what is the most suitable equipment for a production; and most importantly, what accessories are needed to properly support a production,” Holten-Andersen says.

    Although students have gained new experiences from the current circumstances, the two instructors look forward to resuming their previous mode of operation once it is safe to do so as per University and public health protocols.

    While the new system is working, Holten-Andersen says conversations had during in-person occurrences of the past are simply irreplaceable and certainly missed.

    “It is a precious moment to notice the realization in a student’s eye as they tap on the creative opportunities that professional equipment can grant,” he says.

    McBay echoes this sentiment.

    “We very much look forward to when the VISA spaces come back to life with the vigour, curiosity and vibrance students bring into our campus.”

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock Mitacs award winner takes a closer look at online conspiracy theories

    Originally published in  The Brock News  FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2020 | by 

    The images we encounter in everyday life have always had an important role to play in our lives. Now, as many daily activities have moved online, these images have the ability to reach a global audience thanks to digital technology.

    But how has this online shift affected the visual culture of conspiracy theories, and what are the implications for society during a pandemic?

    Brock University fourth-year student Ian Ball is examining these questions as part of his research on visual culture and online conspiracy theoriesBall is pursuing a double major in the History of Art and Visual Culture and Dramatic Arts and is a recipient of a Mitacs Research Training Award which he received in the summer.

    Guiding the research project is Linda Steer, Associate Professor in Visual Arts at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    In his research, Ball has been collecting and analyzing visual images associated with online conspiracy theories. His interest in the subject stems from his area of study, a deep interest in folklore as well as being a fan of the science fiction genre.

    Through the examination and analysis of the images used in relation to conspiracy theories on popular social networking sites, including Facebook and Reddit, Ball has discovered some of the effects these images have on viewers and the emotional responses produced.

    According to Ball, this is especially timely given the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertainty people have been experiencing.

    “A world event that is disrupting the status quo, a lack of control socially, politically, intellectually or in our personal lives, all have the potential to make us feel uncertain,” says Ball. “Research has shown that these factors might play a significant role in conspiratorial beliefs.”

    Ball had originally considered writing an essay on this topic, but Steer suggested a blog because of the accessibility it offers readers.

    “It has been great to supervise Ian’s fascinating and timely research project,” Steer says. “In a world that feels unstable, where we are isolated and looking to social media for answers, images have a lot of power.”

    Ball’s research has uncovered themes relating conspiracy theories to collective experiences of fear, society’s want for protection, and the instinctual desire for control. His project is adding to the discourse on the visual culture of conspiratorial beliefs, a research area that Steer says is fairly new and still developing.

    “It is important that we understand how visual images create meaning: how and why they become attached to certain ideas and how those ideas circulate,” she says.

    Graduating in 2021, Ball plans to use this research project as a foundation for his master’s thesis, looking at the relationships between folklore, visual culture, social messaging, critical thinking and misinformation.

    Visit Ball’s research blog to learn more about the outcomes of his work.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock students create innovative video art in the age of COVID-19

    Caption: Pictured above, Brock students create pandemic video art for class VISA/IASC 2PN7 “Video Art”. Clockwise from top left: Lindsay Liboiron, Isolation; Ama Okafor, A Little Adjustment; Christy Mitchell, Saudade; Jamie Wong, Screen Recording 2020-11-04 at 1.46.14PM.mp4

    As most learning this fall has happened through a screen, Brock arts students have picked up their cameras to explore the new look of video art during a pandemic.

    Students taking Video Art (VISA/IASC 2P97) are virtually screening their reflective and experiential videos in a new series entitled “Video Art in the Age of COVID-19” that can now be viewed on the Department of Visual Arts website and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) YouTube channel.

    This project is led by Donna Szoke, media artist and Associate Professor in Studio Art at the MIWSFPA and supported by an Experiential Education grant from the Centre of Pedagogical Innovation at Brock University.

    As part of the creative and academic process to create the videos, students considered how the pandemic has changed video art and how new visual interfaces have marked this shift. They critically examined the new video aesthetic of the COVID-19 era, and how this has changed perceptions of individuality and collectivity.

    To watch the student-created videos and learn more about their research, please visit the project webpage Video Art in the Age of COVID-19.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Exhibitions, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Walker Cultural Leaders Series: John Fekner, street and multimedia artist

    Next up in the 2020-21 Walker Cultural Leaders Series is famed street and multimedia artist, John Fekner.

    WALKER CUlTURAL LEADER: John Fekner

    • Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020
    • Presentation live at 7:00 p.m. on the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts YouTube channel

    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA) is thrilled to present this compelling conversation between Fekner and Denise St. Marie. Fekner is a street and multimedia artist, who created hundreds of environmental, social, political, and conceptual works consisting of stenciled words, symbols, dates, and icons painted outdoors around the world. Since 1968, Fekner has addressed issues involving concepts of perception and transformation, as well as specific environmental and sociological concerns such as urban decay, greed, chemical pollution, mass media, and tributes to North America Indigenous Peoples. 

    “The social injustice and environmental issues we face today have roots in the civil rights and protests movements of the 60s’. As an undergraduate college student in New York (1968-1972), I participated in student demonstrations and peaceful moratoriums against the war in Vietnam. The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) spread through university and college campuses throughout the United States and the entire world”, Fekner says. “Grassroots organizations always do the footwork, shining the light of truth through the thick hedge of falsehoods and lies in our mainstream political dialogue. Most importantly, the solutions they seek are not expedient but are foundational in improving conditions for generations to come. In every instance, they challenge the fabricated narratives of the powers that be.”   

    More information about the Walker Cultural Leaders available online.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Walker Cultural Leader

  • Welcome to Visual Arts: Orientation for 2020!

    (a screen shot from the welcome by Professor Shawn Serfas. Watch the video below.)


    Brock University is launching the first-ever Virtual Welcome Week.
    During this year of the pandemic the Orientation activities are all online.
    Watch the welcome below and visit the official Orientation page for all the details!


    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA)

    Welcome new VISA students to our asynchronous orientation video! It’s always nice to put a name to face, so we took some time to prepare this video, so that you can get acquainted with some of the awesome people in the Department of Visual Arts. We look forward to meeting you in person in the near future. Stay safe, VISA.

    Professor Shawn Serfas, Chair of the Department will be holding office hours on September 8th from 2-3 pm on Teams.
    Drop-in and say hi! (click here)


    The Department of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture are all part of the Faculty of Humanities.

    The Associate Dean, Dr. Neta Gordon, Professor of English, welcomes you to Brock University! She’s prepared an 11 minute video to introduce to you to the Faculty of Humanities:


    Michael Gicante is your Academic Advisor for studies at the MIWSFPA.
    He prepared this video for the April open House:


    Koreen McCullough is the Experiential Education Coordinator for the Faculty of Humanities.
    Watch her 3 minute presentation about Experiential Education opportunities at Brock University:


    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    Located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, the MIWSFPA is home to four academic programs. We are right next door to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on the main street of St. Catharines, St. Paul.

    Each program at the MIWSFPA is offering a special welcome to their students.  For example, if you are a beginning your studies as a major in Dramatic Arts, check out what that Department has scheduled for you and plan to join in the fun.  You are also welcome to join the activities of each program at the School even if you are only taking one course or beginning a minor program.  The activities and welcome messages from each program are listed below.

    Professor David Vivian, of the Department of Dramatic Arts (he teaches design and production for theatre), is the Director of the School:

    David will be hosting office hours on September 8, 2020, from 12-3:00 pm,on Teams.
    Drop in and say hi! (click here)


    We all wish you a very successful year at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Assistant Professor in Visual Arts (Digital Media and Design): Candidate Research Presentations

    The Brock and wider community are warmly welcomed to attend the online presentations by the short list of candidates for this position.

    Each will give an hour-long presentation and engage in discussion about their current research interests and focus upon their contributions.

    GUSTAVO CERQUERA BENJUMEA

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 20TH, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3327547/cf3bdaf1-eac4-4aa9-8116-3fdc308ebef8

    Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea is a Colombian Canadian Toronto-based digital media artist, animator, music video director, and teacher. He specializes in computer animation, video installation, and drawing. His work explores psychedelia, plant biology, and Latin American histories. His work has exhibited internationally including at: Slamdance Film Festival, Glas Animation Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Art Spin Toronto, the Niagara Artist Centre, Summerworks Festival, Nuit Blanche Toronto, among others. He has directed music videos for Lido Pimienta and Chancha Via Circuito. He is the current programming chair at the Toronto Animated Image Society. Gustavo teaches at OCADU and Brock University.

    TROY DAVID OUELLETTE

    THURSDAY, MAY 21ST, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3327527/6fd67857-4515-484b-9d04-9ea9ea756a71

    Troy David Ouellette is an artist/researcher specializing in Assemblage Theory. He received his PhD, in Visual Arts, from York University in 2014 and his M.F.A. from the University of Windsor in 2007. He has taught Design, Sculpture and undergraduate courses, at various universities and colleges, in Southern Ontario. From 1999 until 2005 he was the Sculpture Facilitator at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Ouellette is a founding member of the London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) and the sound art collective Audio Lodge. His work has been included in several solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Australia and  the United States. He resides in Hamilton, Ontario.

    GWEN MACGREGOR

    FRIDAY, MAY 22ND, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3326867/e156311e-7437-4e53-a009-eada0c2fcfff

    Gwen MacGregor is a visual artist and geographer working across the disciplines of installation, video, photography, and geographic scholarship. She has artworks in collections such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Oakville Galleries and the Royal Bank Collection. Recent exhibitions include The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario and Phoenix Projects Athens, Greece. She has exhibited extensively internationally and has also participated in numerous international art residencies including the International Studio Curatorial Program in New York. She is a Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Award holder and is represented by MKG127 in Toronto. MacGregor is a PhD Candidate in Geography at The University of Toronto. Her dissertation explores the constructions and contestations of nationhood in contemporary art practices presented at art biennales.


    Please share and post this poster in your community.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Summer student employment opportunites at Rodman Hall

    Rodman Hall Art Centre has three summer student positions available, please check the link below for details on these positions:

    https://brocku.ca/rodman-hall/community/#1556118960648-db092170-9704

    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News

  • NCDSB’s Young Artists Gallery on view until June 23

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts proudly hosted the opening evening of the Niagara Catholic District School Board’s Young Artists Gallery on June 6th. 80 student artists were chosen to display their work in an exhibit at the school and celebrate their accomplishments with their families, teachers and friends. Mayor Walter Sendzik and NCDSB Director Jon Crocco addressed the crowd before awards were distributed to recognized students.

    The exhibit will be on display at the MIWSFPA until June 23rd. The gallery will be open to the public Wednesdays-Saturdays from 1pm-5pm for viewing.

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, Exhibitions, Future Students, Media Releases, News

  • MIWSFPA participates in Culture Days 2017: Special exhibit AWAKENING THE SPIRIT

    On Saturday, September 30th the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be opening its doors to the public in celebration of Culture Days! We welcome you to stop by every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for a guided tour of our new, state of the art facility. Not looking for a guided tour? Feel free to pick up a campus map and explore the spaces on your own! Representatives will be waiting for you at the David S. Howes entrance, adjacent to the Performing Arts Centre! Continue to check brocku.ca/miwsfpa for an updated list of events!

    Be sure to stop by our VISA art gallery to view this exhibit:

    Awakening the Spirit

    Select works from the Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Collection
    VISA GALLERY – Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    Opening Reception September 7th, 2017

    An exhibition of one women’s journey to empower and support Indigenous arts in Canada and Globally through a collection of paintings, mixed media, sculpture, and personal objects. Never before exhibited original works including: Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, Carl Beam, Roy Thomas, Vince Bomberry, Simon Brascoupe, Bruce King, and more

    Samuel Thomas is the guest Curator for this very special exhibit.

    For more information about the exhibit and the Curator please see:
    www.celebrationofnations.ca/awakening-the-spirit

    Check-in closer to the date for programming updates for CultureDays 2017!

    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Exhibitions, Future Students, News

  • Concrete Cloud: A Brock Sculpture Class Mobile Exhibition.

    Professor Donna Akrey’s Visa 2F05 sculpture class is mounting an exhibition titled Concrete Cloud: A Brock Sculpture Class Mobile Exhibition at the Niagara Artists’ Centre.

    July 5 > 21
    345 St. Paul Street

    On July 5th, 2017, students from the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be sharing their exhibition Concrete Cloud, on the streets of downtown St Catharines. Between 10am and 1:30pm students will be transporting their interactive sculptures to the Niagara Artists Center (354 St. Paul Street East) where they’ll be on display until July 21 2017.

    see the route map for the travelling exhibit on July 5 between 10 am and 1:30 pm here

    Several stops will be made along the route, as students hope to engage with the public through their sculptural works. Everyone is invited to enjoy Concrete Cloud as students tour their artworks from the MIWSFPA to NAC, by paths both playful and responsive, to anyone they encounter. This combination of performance and art walk will conclude with an opening reception at Niagara Artists Center, on July 5th from 2-5pm. The works will then be on display for the next two weeks; the exhibition is open to everyone, and gallery hours are Noon to 5 PM, Wednesday through Saturday. 

    Concrete Cloud is a collective of works from 16 artists, focusing on themes of information, the ‘natural world’, and public art. The sculptures are made from a diversity of materials, including wood, metal, plaster, cardboard, textiles, and found materials.

    Participating student artists are: Rachel Anderson, Ahmed Bader, Renz Baluyot, Christian Bebis, Tom Denton, Syerra Jasmin, Michaela Laurie, Jess McClelland, Madison Mcfayden, Jill Newman, Anna Podvalni, Victoria Ridley, Chardon Trimble-Kirk, Amber Lee Williams, Jiahui Xu, and Jingwen Zhang.

    See the Facebook event for more documentation about the mobile exhibition.

    Read the article by art critic Bart Gazzola.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Exhibitions, Future Students