Heather Leier was a local Okanagan student who graduated with her BFA at UBCO’s FCCS and that has led her to pursue an MFA at the University of Alberta. Heather was initially drawn to UBCO because her sisters had great experiences with the campus and she was also living in Kelowna.
Her interest in FCCS originated from her desire to seriously pursue art as her career path. When she arrived in the BFA program, she said that she found “a tight- knit community of students, professors, technical assistants, and administrative staff who work together to add to the creative environment in Kelowna.” FCCS focuses on creating comfortable creative communities that foster the ability of students to express themselves in a productive and focused environment.
Heather made ample use of the resources available in the BFA program: “I was given opportunities to show my work at local art galleries as well as encouraged to submit my work to international exhibitions. Additionally, I was able to do a practicum at the Lake Country Art Gallery. This was an amazing experience that gave me extraordinary insight into working in the creative sector in a curatorial and administrative capacity which has proven to be invaluable.” She also found support on campus with Professor Briar Craig “who was and is still a pivotal supporter of my work and has created an amazing printmaking community at UBC Okanagan where students are not only given technical and conceptual education, but many professional development opportunities.”
Heather’s time with the FCCS was not just creatively fulfilling; it also provided a series of practical skills that helped build her résumé: “My BFA not only gave me a conceptual and technical foundation to pursue my education at the graduate level but also gave me practical skills to work in the artistic community. I was taught how to work as part of a community of makers, how to critique, and how to take criticism. These are transferable skills that I have been able to apply in many school and work environments. The small community at UBC Okanagan definitely fostered a sense of ownership, responsibility, and leadership in me that I now apply when teaching undergraduate students.”
Heather is now an MFA student in printmaking at the University of Alberta, which she describes as an absolutely incredible experience. Heather, in conclusion, says: “UBCO’s FCCS is a dynamic faculty to pursue an education in. It is a place where collaboration and innovation are fostered and opportunities extend beyond the campus. The Okanagan is the perfect place to have your creative ideas supported and realized.”
This story was written by Brandon Taylor, English major in FCCS. Brandon is a Research Assistant in FCCS, contacting alumni to find out about their experiences here at UBCO.