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Kootenay Studio Arts Adds More Depth to Programming

Bob Hall
By Bob Hall
May 27th, 2014

Program additions to Kootenay Studio Arts (KSA) at Selkirk College will open new pathways to students and new doors to working artists in the region.

After a collaborative review of the Nelson art school that included input from current students, instructors, artists, community members and Selkirk College administration, KSA will begin new offerings starting this September. The major changes include the addition of a two-year diploma pathway and creation of an Open Studio Advanced Certificate.

“We want to provide our students with a greater opportunity,” says Selkirk College School of the Arts Chair Jason Taylor. “This is a really big key to opening KSA to the community in more ways than ever.”

The roots of Kootenay Studio Arts in Nelson go back to 1958 and over the years the program offerings have changed, adapting to the needs of the region. Currently located at the Victoria Street Campus, Selkirk College took over administration of KSA in 2006.

Last year KSA offered certificate programs in Blacksmithing, Metal Casting, Ceramics, Jewelry and Textiles. Those programs lasted between four and ten months, focussing most of that time on intense studio work. The certificate programs will remain intact with a slight revision that will offer an additional combined Metal Casting/Blacksmithing certificate in a program called Sculptural Metal.

Starting in September, students will have the option to continue their studies at KSA with a second year in the diploma stream. Year-one will include the existing ten-month certificate courses and in year-two students will combine suitable pre-existing courses in other Selkirk College programs with a directed studies requirement that will see them spend at least 18 hours a week in their chosen studio. 

“This has great potential, it opens up a lot more possibilities for students,” says Laura White, KSA Coordinator and a jewelry instructor for the last 19 years. “This now puts us in a position to offer more pathways to students. It’s an exciting time for KSA.”

Having just returned from provincial articulation meetings with other art/design post-secondary schools, White says the ability to work with other institutions around the province will now increase. Options for transfer to other schools will be broadened while continuing to build on the existing strength of KSA.

“The studio part of the programming has always been the focus of KSA,” says White. “It’s hard to find a program in Canada that has as much instructional hours in the studio in that ten-month program and now even more in the two-year program.”

This past winter KSA experimented with an open studio concept which allowed recent graduates, working artists and students an opportunity to work together. With the guidance of KSA instructors, artists were able to take advantage of the tools and equipment on campus to build and expand their body of work. The test run was a success and has now been formalized as the Open Studio Advanced Certificate.

“This opens up the opportunity for grads and practicing artists in the community to be more involved in KSA,” says Taylor. “It creates a space where collaboration and mentoring can be carried out by artists with a wide range of experience.”

Registration for KSA’s fall programming is now being accepted. Find out more at

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