Culturally connected

Ask someone what comes to mind when they  think of Grenfell Campus. Chances are good they’ll reference the fine arts in some capacity.

Just over 30 years ago, the Fine Arts Building opened its doors to students enrolled in the campus’s first full degree programs: visual arts and theatre.

“The advent of Grenfell’s fine arts programming helped to transform the character of Corner Brook and surrounding region,” said Dr. Todd Hennessey, dean of the School of Fine Arts. “Socially and culturally, the School of Fine Arts altered the way many residents of the area viewed artists – it changed their estimation of the value of the arts.”

He said today there are many examples of enterprises and programs that never would have come to pass were it not for the School of Fine Arts – galleries, community and professional theatre companies, grassroots community programming, just to name a few examples.

Getting prospective students and members of the public to interact with Grenfell’s fine arts resources is just as – or more – important as it was 30 years ago.

For instance, the Fine Arts Theatre and related facilities are used regularly by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District for the Provincial High School Drama Festival. And Grenfell’s faculty and staff participate with the regional festivals annually as adjudicators and workshop instructors.

The theatre program’s latest initiative is “Shakespeare Live:” a Facebook livestream of a Shakespeare production in which students around the province are encouraged to participate. So far two productions have been livestreamed: Hamlet and Twelfth Night.

The Grenfell Campus Art Gallery is equally involved with the community, hosting Family Art Saturdays, public receptions for exhibitions and accompanying artist seminars and school tours.

Glenn Simms, an alumnus of the visual arts program and an art teacher at Corner Brook Regional High School, has been bringing his classes to the Grenfell gallery for almost 20 years.

“This is an integral part of our programming,” he said during a recent visit of a Level 1 art class. “The students ask to make sure it’s in our schedule – they can’t wait to get here.”

The Level 1 students were thrilled to view the many different media represented in the graduating class exhibit, taking notes and exclaiming at the various installations: everything from video installation to paintings to three-dimensional objects – even an interactive chess board!

If you are interested in more information regarding the fine arts at Grenfell, check out the theatre and visual arts programs and art gallery online.