First-place winner and student artist Dennis Nyce was awarded $2,500 for his three-panel artwork that depicts his Nisga’a name. (Natalia Balcerzak)

CMTN’s Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art holds annual exhibit

Artwork will be showcased until Feb. 29 at the Terrace Art Gallery

Dozens came together this month to celebrate the progress of first and second-year students from Coast Mountain College’s (CMTN) Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art at their annual exhibition in Terrace.

On Friday, Feb. 7, art students showcased their paintings and prints on opening night at the Terrace Art Gallery, which will be on display until the end of the month.

“I see that everybody here is an interesting individual and everybody has a unique way in how they learn and in the way they do art, it’s hard to explain without seeing it,” says Stephanie Anderson, instructor and former student of the program.

As a graduate from last year’s program, Anderson who is Wet’suwet’en of the Laksilyu clan, says the art school has really helped her form an identity as an artist in the industry. Recently, she was awarded the emerging artist award from the YVR Art Foundation scholarship for her yellow cedar panel and will have her work revealed at a ceremony at the Vancouver International Airport this spring which will then be on display for a full year.

Last June, Anderson also placed second in Historica Canada’s National Indigenous Arts and Stories Contest for her “Wolf and Moon” carving.

READ MORE: Community airport becomes ‘busiest art gallery in Northwest B.C.’

Now as a full-time instructor at the school, primarily teaching carving, she says it’s been a transforming experience to learn how to teach art and see her students grow.

“I am coming fresh from being a student so I’m really aware of the challenges and struggle. When I walk into a classroom, I give everybody the benefit of the doubt and the chance to impress me,” Anderson says. “It’s been a really interesting experience.”

One of the first-year students that had their work on display was Jessica McCallum-Miller, who is also the City of Terrace’s youngest city councillor. She says splitting her time between city hall and the classroom has been an exhausting journey but she believes that it will benefit the community by learning more about her Indigenous roots.

“It’s been difficult to balance having such an intense cultural experience but it’s also been extremely healing for me,” says McCallum-Miller, who is Gitxsan.

“I just hope to take a bit of this back to the community when I’m representing my culture, my people and all of the people of Terrace… and I want to help my community by beautifying this place with art.”

READ MORE: Five murals to be painted in Terrace this summer

She adds there is a growing number of local artists in the area and wants to take part in everything the art scene here has to offer, like the Skeena Salmon Art Festival and the downtown murals. The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art has also been a great hub to meet other Indigenous artists from across the province which has helped her gain perspective on how different places operate from a councillor’s approach.

“A lot of us weren’t born on reserves or sometimes we stray from our communities so we’re learning about each other’s cultures and about ourselves while delving into our history books and our own family lineage, including how far our art dates back,” McCallum-Miller says. “It’s been extremely eye-opening.”

Displayed at this year’s exhibit were two pieces selected for the Coast Mountain College President’s Art Award. First-place winner Dennis Nyce was awarded $2,500 for his three-panel piece that interprets his Nisga’a name, and is on display in the lower gallery. Second-place winner Miller McKay was awarded $1,000 for her killer whale ink painting.

Both art pieces will be put on permanent display at Coast Mountain College and prints produced will be used as gifts throughout the year.

The exhibition runs until Feb. 29.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

First Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Group photo of students and instructors present at the Terrace Art Gallery event. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

City hall, RCMP getting complaints about lack of physical distancing

So far, there’s no public health order to enforce the safety measure

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Uplands Elementary students get chance to wave at teachers

Students haven’t seen teachers in nearly 3 weeks

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Most Read