A creative milestone

A unique program offered by the University of New Brunswick has just celebrated a milestone. 

The Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA) program has marked its one-hundredth graduate since the program started in 1999. 

The BAA program allows students to take classes at both UNB and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD) in downtown Fredericton.  The program is very flexible – students can start at either school, attend each school in alternate years so long as two years are completed at UNB and two years at NBCCD.

WhiteFeather, executive director of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre and a 2006 BAA graduate, is among the artists participating in an exhibition at the UNB Art Centre celebrating 100 graduates from the applied arts program.

Best of Both Worlds

Peter Gross, coordinator of the program at NBCCD, said that the BAA program was a long time coming. 

“When we set up the program, there was clearly a need for NBCCD students to get a degree,” he said.   “And UNB students were actually taking courses for UNB credit at NBCCD.  We thought, is there a way that we could make this formal?”

For students, the chance to get hands-on skills at NBCCD and critical thinking skills at UNB is a major draw for the program. 

“I was able to cherry-pick my courses,” said WhiteFeather, executive director of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre and a 2006 BAA graduate.  “I was able to take cultural studies courses and anthropology courses, both of which really informed my art practice.” 

The courses that WhiteFeather took at UNB helped her with the art that she was producing at the time.

“There was a wide range of courses that I thought would apply to things that I was doing,” she explained.  “I was able to self-determine a little bit more than some more rigid programs would allow.” 

Gross said that the university courses required in the BAA program gives students skills that are needed in the professional world. 

“In this program, there’s the breadth of intellectual thought.  And I think that it’s an interesting alternative from a program that focuses mainly on fine arts because students get communication skills,” he said.     

“So, when they need to write press releases and grants, when they need to organize stuff, when they need to communicate and set up things, they have the background for it.” 

A celebration

To celebrate the program and the milestone of over 100 graduates, a collection of art pieces made by BAA graduates will run from Sept. 9 to Oct. 14 at the UNB Art Centre. 

The exhibition, entitled “Ars de Centum” will incorporate the theme of 100 into it.  The Latin name means “art concerning, taken from, or made of one hundred.” 

Each artist will create a gallery piece in their own medium of their interpretation of the theme.  Twenty-three BAA grads now working in the art field are expected to exhibit work.

“It’s awesome,” Gross said.  “Out of just over 100 graduates, we’ve been able to pull together a really enthusiastic working group and almost a quarter of the BAA graduates are creating pieces for the exhibition.”

“And it is a testament to the program that we’re all practicing artists,” WhiteFeather added. 

Erin Hamilton, coordinator of the Ars de Centum event, wants to use the event as a chance for BAA alumni and current students to connect.

“We’re hoping that people who didn’t necessarily want to participate in the show but are graduates of the program will come and see the show and be part of the event,” she said.  “We’re hoping to find out what everyone’s been up to – that’s the goal of our alumni event.”

Contributed by Alanah Duffy, UNB Communications & Marketing. This story made possible thanks to the support of the UNB Associated Alumni.