News & Events

Meet the Class of 2015: Faculty of Fine Art and Communications

June 17, 2015

We know our grads are primed to do great things, whether it’s as artists, composers, designers, photographers, journalists, communicators, musicians, performers or any of the seemingly endless creative career options open to graduates of programs in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications (FFAC). We asked some of the FFAC Class of 2015 about their most memorable moments at MacEwan University, points of pride and future plans. Here’s what they had to say.

IMAGE_STORY_Lindsay_KirkerLindsay Kirker

Fine Art

When I look back at the work I did early in my first year, it’s crazy to see how much better it is now—only two years later. When I’m painting, 98 per cent of the time it’s incredibly stressful and I put so much pressure on myself—I want it to be amazing. But there were two paintings I worked on this year where all of a sudden I had this sense of freedom. I was able to let go of everything, not judge myself, get right into it and produce something I’m really proud of. It’s such an incredibly good feeling.

Next, I’ll be finishing my Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Alberta, majoring in painting, and then I think I want to go on to grad school—I would love to be studying for my master’s at the Art Institute of Chicago. That’s my dream. When I look at the artists I admire and the paths they have taken, many went or taught there.

IMAGE_STORY_Oliver_WestallOliver Westall

Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music, Composition

I know it’s cliché, but I think the thing that stands out for me about my time at MacEwan is that I’ve been able to really discover myself. I wasted a few years of my life not really taking opportunities and going out and doing things before I came here. This experience helped me come out of my shell completely and gave me the courage to seek out opportunities, like this internship with Hans Zimmer. Read Oliver’s story

IMAGE_STORY_Trevor_MannTrevor Mann

Arts and Cultural Management

Being a touring musician, I am extremely passionate about arts and culture, as it’s the underlying theme for my entire life.

As soon as classes ended, my band, Scenic Route to Alaska, spent 21 days on tour in Europe playing 17 concerts. This experience was undeniably the best chapter of my life, and I credit my program for giving me the confidence and skillset to make my childhood dreams a reality.

My current plan is to continue touring throughout Canada for the summer, followed by another European tour in September. After that, the band will record a new album set for release in the spring of 2016, followed by yet another Canadian and European tour. Five years from now, I still plan to still be on the road, loving what I do.

IMAGE_STORY_Nicole_WiartNicole Wiart

Bachelor of Communication Studies, Journalism

I’ve always been passionate about sharing people’s stories—writing little short stories was something I always did in my spare time and I’ve known I was going to be a storyteller in some form since I was about 10 years old.

I was really busy while I was in university—I had a part-time job, took six courses and was always volunteering—but at the end of my program, I came away with really close friends. Ours is the first class of journalists to come out of Bachelor of Communication Studies program and I know we’ll stay in touch for the rest of our careers. We’re already bouncing ideas off each other, and editing for one another.

I’ll be spending the month of June in Winnipeg doing a fellowship with CBC Aboriginal, then moving to Ottawa at the end of August to do my Master of Journalism at Carleton University.

IMAGE_STORY_Mallory_ChipmanMallory Chipman

Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music, Performance 
Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence recipient

Most of all, I’m proud of being part of the first graduating class of the music degree program. My fellow graduates are amazingly talented, and I am absolutely thrilled to stand alongside them.

In five years, I see myself having recorded my first record and touring throughout Canada—on the festival circuit or in small Canadian jazz clubs. It’s something I’ve always wanted and I plan on working very hard to make this dream come true. But I definitely still see myself teaching too—music teachers are so important and invaluable.

IMAGE_STORY_Jarrett_KrissaJarrett Krissa

Theatre Arts

In many ways, studying theatre is studying the human condition. It really is psychology mixed with entertainment, and I can’t think of anything more interesting or more fun to dedicate my life to studying.

Next season, I will be performing in Hair at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. I am so fortunate to share that incredible stage with some of Canada’s finest artists.

There are so many stand-out moments on stage, but if I had to pick one it was at the end of our final show of Sondheim on Sondheim. One of the last songs in the production was a medley of two songs called “Company” and “Old Friends”—it talks about how much your friends give you and how there are few friendships like the ones that you currently have. To be able to walk around the stage and look at all of my classmates of two years in the eye, truly connecting with them, while singing this song was absolutely beautiful. It was the perfect finale to our two years on stage together.

IMAGE_STORY_Selina_GalmSelina Galm

Theatre Production

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t involved in theatre some way or another. It’s little surprising to see myself evolve from sitting in a dark theatre watching a show to standing in the dark, backstage, awaiting my next cue.

There’s a strange beauty and depth to theatre that I love. When an audience watches a show, they’re experiencing an event with so many diverse levels. I have learned how to make this art form not only my passion but also my job.

What’s next? Festivals! I’m working for some amazing festivals this summer, including Freewill Shakespeare Festival and the International Fringe Festival.

I want, above anything else, to continue to be part of the fantastic Edmonton theatre community that is always evolving and changing. It’s scary but it’s also incredibly exciting.

IMAGE_STORY_Renee_WoodRenee Wood

Design Studies, Design and Illustration

At some point in my life I realized I could make a living translating people’s stories for them—whether that’s turning their business’s story into a logo or turning a 2-D idea into 3-D. I love this career.

There are so many open doors right now. I plan to work as an in-house designer with a nonprofit group, while freelancing and doing extra collaboration projects. Edmonton has a very strong arts community, and I can’t wait to get more involved.

IMAGE_STORY_Brandon_LiewBrandon Liew

Music Diploma, Composition
Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence recipient

I’ve always been interested in more than music performance—I’ve also been writing, playing and recording my own music. I have recordings from the majority of my life as a musician and when I take a listen to what I was doing two or three years ago and compare it with what I’m doing now, there’s a big difference. That’s the thing I’m happiest about looking back over the past two years—seeing my progress and my improvement.

Right now I’m recording my EP, which is like a mini album. And in the fall, I’m going to Berklee College of Music in Boston to finish the rest of my bachelor’s degree.

IMAGE_STORY_Brittany_PitruniakBrittany Pitruniak

Bachelor of Communication Studies, Journalism
President’s Medal for Academic Excellence and Student Leadership recipient

I feel like my education history is a long one, and it really took me some time to figure out what I wanted to do. I started out studying musical theatre in New York, but after realizing that theatre was my hobby and not my career, I moved back home and got a diploma in Arts and Cultural Management—and became the very first transfer student from that diploma program to go into the Bachelor of Communication Studies Journalism major, of which I’m part of the first graduating class.

Even though I’m graduating, I decided to run for president of SAMU in March. Running for president wasn’t as black and white as I would have liked it to be. I really struggled with the fact that I was graduating and the natural step was to go get a “big girl” job in the work world, but I knew that my journey at MacEwan wasn’t quite finished yet. I feel like this is the final step of representing students on a larger scale.

IMAGE_STORY_Meghan_WearneMeghan Wearne

Theatre Production

I feel like the projects that we completed, from first year through to this last year, are what I’m most proud of. It’s really satisfying to have a tangible product that you’ve completed and can show off and feel proud of. The paper dresses we made in our last semester is absolutely one of those projects.

I’m from the West Coast, but I’m hoping to stay in Edmonton for the summer and work the festivals. Then, I’ll apply for work all over the country and see where my career takes me.

I’d love to be in a big city five years from now, working in a big theatre doing tech on a regular basis. It could be anything backstage—lighting, sound. And it would be really cool if I got the opportunity to be what’s called a house technician where you’re in charge and responsible for a theatre.

IMAGE_STORY_Casey_PollonCasey Pollon

Design Studies, Design and Illustration 
President’s Medal for Academic Excellence and Student Leadership recipient

You go into school thinking about all of the things you will learn in your program, but not necessarily the things you will learn about yourself. All of the experiences I’ve had during university have helped me be more confident in myself and in my work.

Eventually, I see myself running my own design firm, but I definitely want to take in all of the knowledge I possibly can from working with established design professionals first. I have a ton to learn as a junior designer, and I’m eager to learn it. Who knows where I’ll be in five years!

IMAGE_STORY_Andrew_WedmanAndrew Wedman

Design Studies, Design and Illustration

I've always enjoyed drawing, and I'm in my own world when I'm working on a piece. Adding design gives everything I enjoy about illustration an application. And the beauty of design is the structure—each part has a purpose. Combining rational thinking with a feeling is what inspires me.

I'm most proud of how much I have improved—I've grown as a designer, and also as a person. Persisting, collaborating and meeting people who think the same way makes it so much easier to be yourself and focus on the work.

MacEwan University is proud to celebrate the over 2,100 members of the Class of 2015. Congratulations to this year's graduates, medal recipients and distinguished award honourees.


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