Class Notes
November 13, 2013


Congratulations to the finalists and winners at the Creative Nova Scotia Gala on Oct. 25, 2013. Jason Buxton (BFA 2003) was a finalist for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Award, which went to Steve Higgins, part-time faculty member, for his sculpture, Beyond the Terminating Vista. Also taking to the stage were: painter Sara MacCulloch (BFA 1992), winner of an Established Artist Recognition Award; Laurie Swim (BFA 1972), winner of the Portia White Prize, and Hangama Amiri (BFA 2012), whom Laurie selected to receive the Portia White Protégé prize. It’s been quite a year so far for Laurie Swim. She was also awarded the 2013 Dorothy McMurdie Award, Canada’s most prestigious quilting award. 

Carrying it Forward is an exhibition inspired by a book written by Alison Cude (BFA 2009), which featured eight potters who established their practice in Nova Scotia during the 1970s. The exhibition, at the Mary E. Black Gallery, Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design, revisits the book and the potters featured within: Alex McCurdy (BFA 1980), Sharon Fiske, Jack Ouellette (BFA 1972), Carol Smeraldo, Tim Worthington (MFA 1977), Pam Birdsall (BFA 1973), Ed Goodstein and Betsy Stuart. The exhibition runs to Dec. 22.

Clayton Patterson (BFA 1977), a Canadian-born artist, photographer, videographer and folk historian, has published the third volume of Jews: A People's History of the Lower East Side. He lives in New York City.


Alan Bateman (BFA 1988) has a solo exhibition of paintings now on display at Secord Gallery in Halifax. He will also have two paintings in Capture 2014: Nova Scotian Realism, an exhibit of work by 28 artists, curated by Tom Smart, and running Jan. 16 to March 9 at the Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax. Alan’s wife, Holly Carr (BFA 1988) also has a solo exhibition now on display. Light in the Forest is an installation which explores “myths, fears and safe places.” The exhibition continues to Dec. 1 at Acadia University Art Gallery.

 Teacher, acrylic on panel, 36" by 48", by Alan Bateman.

Ceramic artist Bob Campbell (BFA 1987) has a new website. Check it out at

Spring & Arnaud, a portrait of Canadian artists Spring Hurlburt and the late Arnaud Maggs, was featured during the Atlantic Film Festival. The documentary was directed by Marcia Connolly (BFA 1995) and Katherine Knight (BFA 1980). Spring & Arnaud has been described as a "breathtakingly tender and intelligent love story," "cinematically gorgeous," and “a poetic masterpiece.”

Professional cook Ann Mitchell (BFA 1984, BDes 1986) is the co-author and designer of a new graphic recipe book Je cuisine avec des images which allows people with a limited literacy skills to cook for themselves. The graphic language to create the recipes was developed over an eight-month period and involved more than 100 hours of testing in the kitchen. She is now working to create cooking workshops for people who are diabetic.

Retired NSCAD professor Wilma Needham (MFA 1980) has an exhibition, Souvenir, now on display at the Dalhousie Art Gallery. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ont., she sees the “circus and the sublime” as permanent partners. The exhibition continues to Dec. 1.

An exhibition of work, The Process of Pictures, by Ned Pratt (BFA 1989) was on display at 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects in Newfoundland from July 13 to August 25. “The calm beauty of Pratt’s photographs in this situation was electric,” wrote Shelley Adler in Canadian Art magazine.

Ann Mitchell created a graphic language for the cookbook Je cuisine avec des images, to allow people with limited literacy skills to cook for themselves.

Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC (BFA '92) was recently elected by the membership of the American Art Therapy Association to the position of President-Elect, and will serve as the Association's President from 2015-2017.

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York was the site of the first solo exhibition of artist Heather Cassils (BFA 1997). Utilizing a combination of rigorous physical training, knowledge of kinesiology, and sports science, Cassils uses her body as a sculptural mass, manipulating it into forms that question our society's gendered norms and expectations. Cassils, one of the founding members of the performance group the Toxic Titties, (2000-2010), has been recognized by the Huffington Post as one of 50 Transgendered Icons, and was chosen as one of 30 GLBT Artists and Performers to Follow in celebration of LGBT History Month (2012). Cassils' work has been featured in The National Theater Studio - SPILL International Festival of Performance in London; J. Paul Getty Museum's Pacific Standard Time at LACE (2012); Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (2012); the ANTI-Contemporary Art Festival in Finland (2012); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (2008); and the Museum Moderner Kunst Stifung Ludwig in Austria (2005).

Andrea Dorfman (BFA 1995) is making a new feature film, Heartbeat in Halifax. It’s the story of Justine (Tanya Davis) who finally lets go and follows her heart. The film was shot over 19 days in Halifax in the fall. Also appearing in the film are: Margot Durling (BDes 2006), Rich Aucoin, Jim Henman, Stephanie Clattenburg and Stephanie Johns.

Anke Fox (BFA 1992), a technician in NSCAD’s textiles/fashion department, is teaching medical students how to weave as part of the Medical Humanities Program at Dalhousie University. As artist-in-residence, she hopes to hone their sense of textile "touch," which they can relate to "human touch" in their medical practice. See:

Kristiina Lahde (BFA 1999) and NSCAD faculty member Craig Leonard are featured in the exhibition Paper Pusher at Central Art Garage in Ottawa. The show runs to Jan. 31, 2014.


Sarah Alford (BFA 2004), a PhD student in art history at Queen’s University, has been chosen as a recipient of an academic leadership award, valued at $40,000 annually for four years. Sarah is both a practicing artist and a scholar of the history of craft.

Becka Barker (BFA 2000), regular part-time faculty member at NSCAD, is the winner of the 2013 Helen Hill Animated Joy Award for her animated documentary, The Evolution of Max. Becka attended Helen Hill’s experimental animation class at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1998, and cites the late filmmaker as a major inspiration for her own career.

 In 2014, Jared Betts will show his work at galleries in New Brunswick, British Columbia and Tunisia.

Jared Betts (BFA 2009) recently completed a residency at the Struts Gallery in Sackville, NB. In September, he had a solo exhibition in Shediac, NB at Heron Bay Gallery. In October he exhibited his paintings at IESA Gallery in Paris, France, curated by Jean Baptiste Sercq, President of the Francophilie Art Bank. In 2014, Jared will exhibit in The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, NB, VISAC Gallery in Trail, BC and The National Gallery of Living Art in Tunisia, North Africa. Jared currently works out of his studio in Aberdeen Cultural Centre and is represented by the Ingrid Mueller Gallery.

Joanna Close (BFA 2004), who teaches in NSCAD’s textiles/fashion department, illustrated the cookbook Seasoned, written by Costas Halavrezos and published by Nimbus.

Julia Rivard Dexter (BDes 2003) and Lia Rinaldo were among the women honored at the Progress Women of Excellence Awards in Halifax on Nov. 6, 2013. The Progress Women of Excellence Awards honors women in the fields of communications and public affairs; arts and culture; education and research; entrepreneur; health, sport and wellness; management and the professions.

Jeweller Emily Doiron (BFA 2006) asks: “Ever lose one of your favorite earrings and for some reason you can't let go of the other one and you let it sit in the bottom of your jewellery box in hopes you one day find the other? I want to hear all about it. Please send me your stories and a photo of the earring if possible. Or, do you have an interesting collection or a story about your grandmother, mother or father's collection. Or even just your thoughts on collecting and why you think we do it. Please send your thoughts to” Emily, a jewellery technician at NSCAD, is having a show at the Mary E. Black Gallery in April, 2014. The show will be based on the cabinets of curiosity, collections and the human behavior of collecting.

Tamara Henderson (2005) was one of five finalists for the 2013 Sobey Art Award, the most prestigious art prize in Canada. Her work is currently on display alongside that of other finalists Isabelle Pauwels (West Coast and the Yukon); Mark Clintberg (Prairies and the North); Duane Linklater (Ontario); Pascal Grandmaison (Quebec) at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until January 5, 2014. Duane Linklater from North Bay was the winner of the $50,000 prize.

Martina Lantin (MFA 2009) has an exhibition of ceramic work at the Penland Gallery in South Carolina. Martina is a professor at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont.

Anne Macmillan (BFA 2009) has been chosen as a Fulbright scholar and will spend the 2013-14 academic year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Anne’s project title is: “The Acquisition of Knowledge in Relation to the Natural Environment as Mediated by Technology.”

Sigrid Mahr (BFA 2003) is a visual artist, photographer, arts administrator and an active advocate for the arts in Calgary, AB. She has worked for many cultural organizations throughout Canada, and was nominated twice for the Mayor's Business and Arts Awards while working at The New Gallery as Program Director. She is currently a Board Director for EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society.

Dorie Millerson (MFA 2003) is a Toronto-based artist whose studio practice involves research into stitched and constructed textiles and the potential for interlacement to suggest human experience. Her work is concerned with the themes of attachment and memory. She adapts textile techniques in order to explore these concepts. The ideas are present in both the process and the form of the pieces she constructs. She has been experimenting with needlepoint lace since 2002 and has found that it allows her to literally draw with thread. Dorrie is currently an assistant professor and chair of the Material Art & Design program at OCAD University.

Flesh, an exhibition by Arianne Pollet-Brannen (BFA 2009), is on display to Dec. 15 at Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery. Her evocative garments are part sculpture, part satire. Incorporating found materials such as discarded shoes, the artist creates what she describes as an “anti-fashion statement.” Notions of haute couture are deformed, mutilated, and mutated to create a provocative, gender-bending “Travesty of Fashion.”

adrienne  Arianne Pollet-Brannen's garments are described as "part sculpture, part satire." The exhibition Flesh is on display to Dec. 15 at Mount St. Vincent University Art Gallery. 

Stephanie Rozene’s Held Hostage: The Corrosive Use of Money in Politics was featured at Evans Contemporary Gallery in Peterborough from Oct. 10 to Nov. 12. Her research and art making focuses on the exploration of personal relationships through use, and the role that pottery form plays in communicating meaning. Stephanie (MFA 2004), a ceramic artist, is currently an Assistant Professor of Art and the Ceramics Studio Head at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY.

Ehryn Torrell (BFA 2006) has an exhibition, Self-Similar, on display at the Cape Breton University Art Gallery to January 10, 2014. Self-Similar is a solo exhibition of large-scale paintings.


Alexis Bulman (BFA 2013) is a 2013 regional winner in the BMO 1st Art! national competition. As a regional winner, Alexis wins $5,000 and her mixed media work, Mildew, was on display along with the other winners at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto, from Oct. 2 to 27.

Lydia Buxton (BFA 2013) was named the overall winner of a national student competition for innovative art jewelery held at LA Pai Gallery in Ottawa. As the winner, Lydia gets a cheque and a solo exhibition at the gallery featuring all new work. Incidentally, last year’s winner was also a NSCAD grad; Mary Lynn Podiluk’s (BFA 2012) exhibition Sonance was on display at the Ottawa gallery Sept. 5 to 25.

Lydia-Buxton-Swathed-Neckpi  From Lydia Buxton's artist statement, 2013 winner of the Student Jewellery Competition:
"This body of work is inspired by the small, secure landscapes created by the Osmia Avosetta. Instead of building a hive, this species of bee crafts small nests by layering select petals between mud into a most beautiful form - a petite pod that houses a single larvae created by a single bee. Over a period of months, these constructs provide protection and when the larvae is fully developed, the home is discarded and slowly dissolves.As inspirations, they are truthful leftovers, found beautiful, abandoned and decaying."

Sarah Cheetham (BFA 2013) is the newest NSCAD community studio resident. Sarah began a residency Oct. 1 with the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in Sydney. Sarah is teaching classes for children and adults while continuing her work in ceramics that she began during her last semester at NSCAD. “When I graduated, I realized I wasn’t done and the ideas were percolating,” says Sarah. “This residency begins a whole new chapter for me and I’m so grateful.”

Emerging artists Andrew Maize (BFA 2012), Annalise Prodor (BFA 2011) and Sera Senakovicz (BFA 2009) were accepted into the 2013-14 VANS Mentorships Program. The artists have been paired by Visual Arts Nova Scotia with established artists and mentor Michael Fernandes (NSCAD part-time faculty), Eleanor King (BFA 2001, director, Anna Leonowens Gallery) and Ericka Walker (NSCAD faculty).

Ceramic artist Amelie Proulx (MFA 2010) took home the $10,000 first prize at the RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award. The announcement took place at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum on October 16. Amelie’s winning artwork, Jardinet Mecanique, merged micro-controllers with porcelain flowers and a steel table to create a kind of moving garden. Last year, the award went to Brendan Tang (BFA 1998), who also studied ceramics at NSCAD.

Heath Simpson (BFA 2013) was the curator for NSCAD’s entry to Dine by Design East, a new Halifax décor event which took place Oct. 2-6 at the Olympic Gardens.  Heath created a colorful dining installation, Unravelled, aimed to highlight the range of learning available at NSCAD, from ceramics and woodworking to printmaking and jewellery. Highlighted in the room was the President’s Dinnerware Collection, a set of eight place setting by NSCAD alumni – Cyndi Lee (BFA 1989), Fredi Rahn (BFA 1989), Sarah Firth MacMillan (BFA 1989), Tom Aikens (BFA 1995), Sarah Coote (BFA 1983), Joan Bruneau (BFA 1988), Bruce Cochrane (BFA 1976), Linda Sikora (BFA 1989) commissioned by former NSCAD president Paul Greenhalgh. The room also featured contributions by NSCAD faculty Dan O’Neill, Torrance Beamish (BFA 2013), and NSCAD student Erin Robison.


The NSCAD dining installation at Dine by Design East.


Writer Ben Stephenson (BFA 2010) has made the long list for the world’s richest literary prize, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Ben began his debut novel, A Matter of Life and Death and Something, while still a student at NSCAD.

Justin West (BFA 2011) contributed three articles to the book, The Power of Emergent Curriculum: Stories from Early Childhood Settings, published by NAEYC. Justin is an educator with Peter Green Hall Children’s Centre in Halifax.

Eliot Wright (BFA 2012) and Liz van Allen (BFA 2012) are engaged in a project, the Nova Scotia Industrial Project, focusing on Nova Scotia’s industrial history, especially that of coal, iron, steel and other minerals. Together, the pair will research operational and nonoperational sites across the province, with the research influencing Eliot’s photography and Liz’s jewellery. The research is funded by an Arts Nova Scotia creation grant. For more info, see Eliot’s blog and Liz’s website

In Memoriam

NSCAD’s oldest alumna Elizabeth Williams died three weeks shy of her 107th birthday following a brief illness. Elizabeth was a student at the Victoria School of Art and Design in the 1920s. Earlier this year, Elizabeth told her niece Joan Bruneau (BFA 1998) about what it was like at the art college then and her life as an artist and art teacher. Please see: “Where Women Held the Fort”

The graduating class of 1928. Elizabeth Williams is sitting in the front row, the second from the left.
The graduating class of the newly named Nova Scotia College of Art in 1928. Elizabeth Williams is sitting on the floor in the front row, second from left. Principal Elizabeth Nutt is in the second row, fourth from left. - See more at:
The graduating class of the newly named Nova Scotia College of Art in 1928. Elizabeth Williams is sitting on the floor in the front row, second from left. Principal Elizabeth Nutt is in the second row, fourth from left. - See more at:

Colette Urban (BFA 1976), a pioneering performance artist, died at the age of 61 on June 16, 2013. Incognito, a retrospective exhibition exploring her costumes, props, identities and stories, is now on to Jan. 5, 2014 at Museum London in London, Ont. Please see: Maverick artist Colette Urban loved to live on the edge

In Katherine Knight's 2009 film Pretend Not to See Me, Colette Urban embraces the transformative power of art as she restages the significant art performances of her 30-year career.