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Now in her final year of the visual art program at our School for the Contemporary Arts, Kitty Walker has always wanted to be a teacher. After completing a couple of internships where she has been able to work with kids in a less formal, more therapeutic setting, she has her sights set on working in community-based art in some capacity.
This past spring, Walker was a Research Assistant for an elementary school art club that was a partnership between the Burnaby School District and the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology. She met weekly with a group of students to teach them about art and provide a safe space where they felt like they belonged. The students in the art club were those who tend to have academic difficulties and don’t always feel comfortable at school. Through the art club, Kitty was able to connect with them and show them the possibilities of art for both creative expression and personal fulfillment.
“That internship confirmed that I want to be around people sharing experiences through art in a community setting,” says Walker.
In the summer, she completed another internship that aligned with her goal of working with children and creating unique programs for them to engage with art as the artist in residence for the West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation summer camp. This further confirmed her goal of finding ways to use art as therapy and to connect with the community.
Walker has learned a great deal during her time at the School for the Contemporary arts, and says she appreciates the fact that the program provides the freedom to explore many aspects of the visual arts including curation, exhibitions, and collaborative projects with other visual art students or students from other artistic disciplines.
One project she fondly remembers was in her third year as part of an exhibition in the Audain Gallery on campus. She created a sculpture of an old, Victorian heritage house that she spent time researching old letters and photos in the archives. Putting all her knowledge of the house’s past into the creation of her piece, she found it carried more meaning.
After graduation, Walker plans to either travel or head to grad school — maybe in Barcelona. She’s eager for a change of scenery, but will miss SFU all the same. “I’m ready, but sad to leave the studio.”