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Some assembly required: BFA graduate students crowd-fund final show

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) graduates may not get the funding they need to put on their grad exhibition this year.

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By Nadine Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: March 5, 2014

BFA students are trying almost anything to raise money. (Image:  UFV BFA Grad funding video)

BFA students are trying almost anything to raise money. (Image: UFV BFA Grad funding video)

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) graduates may not get the funding they need to put on their grad exhibition this year.

This graduating class is UFV’s largest ever, with over three times the average number of students crossing the stage this June. Generally, six to eight students complete their BFAs every year; this year that number has spiked to 23.

Now, BFA students have decided to take matters into their own hands.

A campaign on GoFundMe launched last month, with hopes of raising $3000 for the exhibition.

According to the site, the money would go toward supplies for creating the works displayed, catering, entertainment, fees associated with presenting the students’ works, and advertising for the show.

According to BFA graduate candidate Jackie Cunard, who started the online campaign, the increase in graduating students is random.

“It’s taken a lot of the graduates a number of years to get the classes they needed to graduate,” Cunard says. “Things just kind of lined up great for everybody this semester.”

Financial complications arise when it comes to putting on a graduate exhibit for so many students. There is uncertainty about whether or not the university will be able to provide the necessary funding for the traditional graduate exhibition.

“With so many students graduating, the cost of the show has gone up exponentially, so we’ve been having to find other funding options,” Cunard says.

The show, called Some Assembly Required, describes the nature of the exhibition on a number of levels, according to Jason Peters, visual arts students association (VASA) treasurer and graduating BFA student.

“It applies to every aspect of our show … the fact that there’s so many of us, [and] that it’s an assembly of people from various disciplines,” he says. “It also works with the fact that we have to assemble these funds [for the show].”

For BFA graduates, the exhibition is a vital part of graduation, Peters says. It gives graduating BFA students the opportunity to consider how their work will be viewed by the public.

“Our work and graduating projects are like our exams,” Peters explains. “Since our exams are actual objects that can be viewed, it’s necessary to exhibit them … The exhibition is a chance to display the culmination of advancements we’ve made over the years. Our masterpieces, if you will.”

The BFA silent auction, which closed on March 28, it provided another stream of fundraising for the exhibition.

Cunard is worried the auction may not be as lucrative as it has been in past years due to the inclement weather. In previous years the auction has raised up to $3000 for the graduating class.

The Student Union Society has also granted funding in the past for the BFA graduation exhibit, as well as for other final shows, including the theatre department’s Director’s Festival, the fashion design department’s fashion show, and the graphic design department’s final show. The BFA graduate students have yet to approach the Student Union Society for funds and remain unsure about how much the university will be able to contribute.

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