6. Artistic Excellence Through Education

ACAD Winter Art Sale displays student, Ramonette Canadilla’s, painting.  (  Photo by Janaia Hutzal

Calgary’a Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) is known for its “world-class” facilities for students to pursue artistic excellence.

Originally ACAD  was part of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), but separated in 1985.  In 1995 the college was granted the ability to award bachelor degrees.

At ACAD’s Winter Show and Sale, which was held Nov. 16 to 18 in the Main Mall of the college, student artists displayed their creations with many artists available, eager to talk about their work

The art market had over 3,000 pieces of handmade art of various forms.

Many of the students said they have future plans to either continue their education after ACAD, or take their work to other locations such as Vancouver or further south into the U.S. where there is a higher demand for art.

Alexia Mitchell, 25, is in her third year at ACAD in illustration and character design.  She plans to obtain her masters, targeting a career in teaching art.

“Math and science focused,” says Mitchell.

Mitchell says that one of her areas of interest is learning how to talk to people and bringing art into healing modalities such as physical therapy.

Carmen Clark, who started at ACAD in 2014 says that school has helped with finding a focus.

“The academic environment really encourages you to make a statement with your work, and I knew when I got here that I only wanted to make functional work,” says Clark.

“Functionality is still very important to my work, but I’ve started to work in some ideas I’ve been wrestling with in my personal life, namely body image and gender identity.”

Clark says these themes come through more powerfully in their one-of-a-kind works, but the hope is to tie it in to their functional work as well.

Clark has not yet looked too far outside of ACAD as far as selling their work, but says the best way for consumers to find local craftspeople is at craft-fairs and markets such as New Craft Coalition and Market Collective.

“I think finding permanent representation in galleries and shops can be difficult for new artists,” says Clark.


Carmen Clark displays their work at ACAD Winter Sale. (

Photo by Janaia Hutzal

Samuel Kukovica, 21, is in his third year of sculpture.  Kukovica would like to work with public installations for larger pieces, or in restaurants with smaller.

Kukovica is enthusiastic about sculpture and he said he is willing to go wherever there is work for him, taking advantage of where there is demand for art.

Jessica Robertson is a fourth-year major at ACAD.  Her delicate yet stunning jewelry creations are inspired from nature.

Robertson is drawn to “organic matter.”  She works to recreate the fine details and textures she sees in the foothills of Alberta.

“I love textures,” says Robertson.

Eventually, she says she may travel south and hopes to one day apprentice under a goldsmith or metalsmith.

“I’m very personal with my work.  I love to show it but as soon as it sells I cry a little inside because I love it so much.”

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