Alexandra McCurdy BFA 1980


There’s nothing like a major retrospective of your work to make you look back over your career and figure out how it all started.

For Alexandra McCurdy, the seed to becoming a ceramic artist was planted as she walked past the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, which 40 years ago was located in a former church hall on Coburg Road, not far from the Dalhousie University campus. In the window, Alex, then an English major at Dal, could see students sitting at potter’s wheels, the clay gliding through their fingers, feet pumping the treadles. She finished her degree at Dal, even taught school for a few years, but the image stayed with her.

It wasn’t until a few years later that Alex, then in her 30s with a young family, decided that the art college was where she wanted to be.

"I found my home and NSCAD was it," says Alex, reached in the midst of packing fragile artworks for her retrospective, The Fabric of Clay—so named because of her long-standing interest in textiles. Tracing the evolution of her career from 1978 to 2011, the exhibition opened at the Burlington Art Centre in Burlington, Ont., and will travel to Saint Mary’s Art Gallery in Halifax and the Beaverbrook Gallery in Fredericton.

"NSCAD completely changed my life. I finally had a career I was interested in and it was high time."

Blue Box 2007. Porcelain, wire, beads, 13 X 13 cm. This piece was nominated for the 2011 Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Award and won Best in Design at Fireworks, the Ontario Clay and Glass Association’s biannual juried travelling exhibition in 2011. (Chris Myrh Photo)

Green and red footed bowl with cutouts. Porcelain, wire, beads, coloured underglazes, transparent glaze overtop. 12 X 13 cm. Part of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s permanent collection. (Gary Castle Photo)



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“I cannot wait to be at school this fall and grow, not only as an artist, but as a person as well. Thank you for the gift of opportunity. I will use it to the best of my human ability. This scholarship means the world to me and I will make you proud.” - Graham Ross (BFA 2019)

Lindsay-Jacquard “This award makes a difference for me both financially and emotionally. To be recognized for my accomplishments is a boost to my confidence, as a student and an artist.” - Lindsay Jacquard (BFA 2016)

NSCAD-Scholarship-57“When someone makes the choice to be an artist, it’s not easy. For a lot of people, they incur debts as students and then they graduate and find a job. But as an artist, you still might have to go through a period where you are developing a style and getting a career rolling. We want to recognize that struggle and support artists.” - Doug Pope, president of the Robert Pope Foundation

Brian-Sloan-2“While a student I was asked if I could ‘explain what is going on here.’ I thought for a moment and had no words to explain the range of experience I was receiving through NSCAD. Now, some 20 years later I still have no answer to that question but I do know that NSCAD changed my life. I hope that my little gifts of gratitude help the students of today along their chosen path of studies.” - NSCAD alumnus Brian Sloan (BFA 1993)