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A British Columbian School of Art

By Charles H. Scott,
Director, Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art

The B.C. Teacher - June, 1932
(published by The B.C. Teachers' Federation.)

     RECENT and present controversy regarding education in British Columbia suggests that the time is again opportune for stating the aims and objects of certain schools and curriculea, more particularly perhaps those schools which appear to lie outside the main stream of education. Such a school, for example, as the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. The question of cost in this instance need not enter into consideration, since its cost to the taxpayers of Vancouver is not $6500 per annum; a negligible sum compared to the benefits received.
     The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts is a school for those who show marked ability in drawing and design. It is definitely a vocational school and is the only school in British Columbia offering an art course comparable to the older art schools of the continent and Europe. The school is open to any person who has completed the regular course of the High School or has reached the age of sixteen years. The school offers a four years' course leading to the Diploma in the Department of Drawing and Painting or Design and Decorative Art. The work of the first two years provides the student with a background of sound art education which can be used to great advantage in those occupational pursuits where drawing and design plays a large part. Subjects on the curriculum in the first and second years include: Drawing, Design and Colour Harmony, Pictorial Composition, Commercial Art, Lettering, Architecture and Modelling. Upon completion of the second year the student is free to specialize in the Department of Drawing and Painting or Design and Decorative Arts. The Department of Drawing and Painting offers the necessary training for those students who intend to become illustrators, painters of portraits, of landscape, of the figure, or commercial artists. The Department of Design and Decorative Arts is a training ground for those others who wish to pursue one of the many branches of Design and Crafts. The curriculum of this department is built around design and includes such tributary subjects as Drawing from the figure, from plant, bird and animal forms, historic ornament, Architectural Design, Commercial Art, Lettering and Illumination, Colour Harmony, Interior Decoration, and the crafts of Pottery, Needlework, Embroidery and Leatherwork. The Diploma of the School in Drawing and Painting, or in Design and Decorative Arts, together with the necessary Normal School Teacher training, is considered by the Department of Education as the requisite qualification for those who desire to become Art teachers in Public and High Schools.
     The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts is recognized as one of the principal Art schools in Canada and is valued for the creative quality of the work done by its students. In this respect it is interesting to note that, in an article on "Canada's National Painters" in the English "Studio" of June, 1932, a critic writing of the progress of Art in Canada states that "the city of Vancouver has, for some years, possessed one of the best and most progressive Art schools in the country." That is a point which British Columbians might well remember when seeking art education either for themselves or their sons and daughters. Despite the reactionary movement, due to economic changes, it is reasonably certain that the vocational school will not merely continue to be, but is likely to increase in value. Such schools function in lieu of the old apprenticeship system and fill a definite present-day industrial need.
     The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts is a school of considerable benefit to those who follow, or intend to engage in, occupations in which drawing and design play a part. Its curriculum is definitely related to the work of painters and designers, illustrators, commercial artists, engravers, architects, sign writers, photographers, interior decorators, modellers, stone-cutters, printers, teachers, embroiderers, window trimmers, etc., many of whom are entrolled as students.
     In addition to the regular day classes the school offers courses in the evenings and on Saturday morning. The subjects taught in the evening classes are similar to those in the day classes, though necessarily restricted in scope owing to the shorter working hours. The Saturday morning classes, which are held from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, are open to talented children of the senior grades of the elementary and high schools. Fees are charged for all classes offered by the school. The fee for day students is $50 per term, or $100 per annum. The annual day session extends from the middle of September to the middle of June. The annual evening school session is from October 1st till March 31st. Evening school fees vary from $7.50 per session of one evening each week to $15 per session of four evenings each week. The majority of evening classes meet twice a week. The fee for the Saturday morning class is $5 for the term of six months.
     The school issues annually an illustrated prospectus setting forth its aims and objects. This prospectus will be gladly mailed to anyone applying for it at the school office, 590 Hamilton St., Vancouver, B.C.

Clipping provided courtesy of Vancouver Public Library.

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