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University of Calgary logo.With an assortment of artist-run centres, galleries and arts training institutions based in one city, the department of art at the University of Calgary (U of C), founded around 1962, plays a role in further diversifying options for training in visual representation.

An individual aspiring to develop a comprehensive base for launching a professional artist practice can benefit from the various degree options offered by the department. Those seeking acceptance into the department of art must comply with regular university application procedures. Interestingly, unlike other training institutions, the U of C has only recently begun to require a portfolio for entrance into its department.

Students applying their learning skills.Once enrolled as U of C art students, individuals can attain a studio practice, developmental art, or honours bachelor of fine arts. As other choices, they can opt to pursue a combined program leading to BFA and bachelors of education degrees, or work towards a bachelor of art in history of art.

Training is available in several established visual art disciplines: drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Once at the graduate level, an additional area of formalized training, mixed media, is also offered.

The department of art expects to foster inquiry and innovation in art practices. Though its formally available specializations are limited in relation to other training institutions, the department's advantage is its location within a larger academic environment where various approaches are available to inform the process of creation.

Student and professor interacting during class.Creating work that crosses disciplines is highly encouraged and students are prompted to seek out learning opportunities in other areas of study. They are expected to create their own fusion of disciplines, which can allow for intense creativity and unexpected works.

Visiting artist lectures and access to some highly regarded and unique facilities further enhance learning. The Nickle Arts Museum is an important educational tool used on a regular basis by the department. Bi-weekly visits to the museum's permanent collection, and access to the accompanying speaker series, serves to integrate art history, theory and practice.

Students painting.As a venue for showcasing student and faculty works, the Little Gallery's weekly exhibitions make the application of learning visible. Some special events, like the ‘BFA Post Miniature Exhibition and Silent Auction', happen within this space. The Mezzanine Gallery, serves to display the work of local artists, as well as that of art students.

As a unique setting for arts training, the U of C's department of art remains crucial for the balancing of an academic and artistic practice.

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