Carleton is many things, but a haven for visual arts isn’t one of them.
There aren’t enough studio sessions geared towards making visual art, there aren’t enough clubs to bring like-minded students together, and there isn’t enough gallery space devoted to students.
Despite the lack of opportunities at Carleton, students have still gone on to become visual artists. After graduating from industrial design, Andrew King did some cartooning for the Ottawa Citizen, took courses at Algonquin College and is now a full-time painter. King and many other students have found success as visual artists — but only after leaving Carleton. There should be more ways to discover and develop their skills throughout university.
Carleton may not have the resources to start up a fine arts program right now, but there are simple ways it can create an environment that’s conducive to visual arts.
The literary community started up university presses like In/Words and the Moose and Pussy. For aspiring actors and actresses, Sock ‘n’ Buskin is both a theatre company and a club. There are a number of dance troupes and classes, but when it comes to visual arts, there’s practically nothing.
Only one club on CUSA’s list of clubs and societies relates to visual arts — Visual Arts Carleton, which president Brittany Gushue says needs more people and a better space.
Carleton has a strong base of design-oriented students with its industrial design and architecture programs. But there aren’t enough outlets for these students’ creative work, and those that do exist need strengthening. There’s plenty of potential for a visual arts community.
It’s just up to Carleton to paint a campus where it can flourish.