Students in Chris Friesen’s community arts practice course are spending their summer creating four different community art displays around the Fraser Valley.
“We’ve had community groups approach the visual arts department for a fairly long time now, but also in a consistent manner, wanting students to be involved in projects that they’re wanting to see happen in the community,” Friesen said.
The course is unique to UFV as it engages with the professional aspect of art in a tangible way. While students are responsible for painting the displays, they also learn how to create and present proposals for community art displays.
“Students that go through this course know what a public art process is; they know what they have to do to put a proposal together,” Friesen explained. “It prepares them for the real world as much as anything can, and they have something for a resume; they have something that exists in the world that they can refer back to and that they get feedback constantly from.”
Although Friesen has been teaching the course for years, he explained that the variety from year to year is what always keeps it interesting.
“It’s always new to me — this is why I love this course,” he said. “It’s the dynamic of the students that I’m working with that dictates the outcome of the project, and it’s their energies and their enthusiasm for the project that gets them into that space a couple days a week, where it’s not an expectation, it’s a passion.”
Photos By: Chris Friesen