Aboriginal Visual Arts program offered by the New Brunswick College of Craft
and Design is unique to both Canada and New Brunswick. It is a two-year program
completed over six semesters of study and is designed to provide students with
skills in traditional Mi’kmaq, Wolastokuyuik and Passamaquoddy crafts and
methods of learning.
to becoming skilled in the traditional methods of learning and craft, students will
study the Aboriginal history of the region and will be introduced to
contemporary Aboriginal visual arts as well as a wide-ranging overview of the
foundations of visual arts. Visiting
Aboriginal artists are a highlight of the program and in working one-on-one
with these artists and instructors, students will gain hands-on experience via
project-based curriculum with an entrepreneurial focus.
to their Aboriginal studies, students will select two courses from the other
studios offered at NBCCD. These studios include: Ceramics, Fashion Design,
Graphic Design, Integrated Media, Jewellery/Metal Arts, Photography and
Students engage in creative
problem solving through project-based research, critical and analytical
thinking, and self-reflection. Classes in communications for visual artists,
art history, drawing, and 2D/3D design compliment the Aboriginal Visual Arts
Program. Assignments create a portfolio that celebrates the power of your
Students from all Nations and
all peoples are welcome to learn and appreciate the culture and craft of the
Mi’kmaq, Wolatokuyuik, and Passamaquoddy People and are encouraged to explore
their own cultural heritage.
- High School students and/or
recent graduates who do not possess any post-secondary education in the visual
arts can also apply for the AVA Program.
- No portfolio is necessary.
exception is made for individuals who apply to AVA who have not obtained a High
• High School Diploma or Adult
High School Diploma or GED Diploma of High School Equivalency or
• Mature students without a High
School Diploma may submit a portfolio of their work and pursue Prior Learning
Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).
Click here for more information on how to apply.
You will be working with
celebrated instructors in fully equipped studios, Apple computer labs and
classrooms. At NBCCD, you will learn first-hand why Fredericton is a Cultural
Capital of Canada. The galleries, boutiques, universities and many cafés make the
College’s downtown location an inspiring and supportive learning environment
and an ideal place to obtain an education in the visual arts.
Click here for more information on this program or to enjoy an
on-site tour of our facility.
Areas of Study
- Ash and birch bark basketry
- Quillwork and beading
- Drum and traditional paddle
- Wood carving and sculpture
- Drawing, colour, 2D/3D design
- Aboriginal history
- Digital media
Graduates are prepared to establish their own small
business, for employment in Aboriginal communities teaching traditional craft,
to continue in the other Diploma Programs at NBCCD to compliment their learning
or at other leading institutions in Canada and beyond. See our Bachelor of
Applied Arts program in conjunction with the University of New Brunswick.
Targeted Jobs (including NOC codes)
• Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists (5136)
• Artisans and Craftspersons (5244)
• Weavers, Knitters and Other Fabric-Making Occupations (9442)
1National Occupational Classification (NOC)
Graduates receive two full years credit towards a Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA) at the University of New Brunswick. Click here for more information.
Diploma: Aboriginal Visual Arts Course Descriptions
Beads, Quills, Basketry and Drum Making
course, students learn the traditional processes of beading, quillwork, birch
bark basketry and drum making specific to the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq and
Passamaquoddy First Nations Peoples. Through a series of projects they
investigate these significant techniques and methodologies to develop important
foundational skills. Students examine the concepts of reproduction and
reinterpretation and integrate these perspectives into their finished products.
Aboriginal Art History
course students examine the art history of the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq and
Passamaquoddy First Nations peoples. Through interactive lectures students
analyze the way works of art, craft and design function as aesthetic objects
and cultural artifacts. In addition, tutorial sessions, case studies and
fieldtrips foster the development of skills related to analysis and
course, students apply the precepts of colour theory through the manipulation
and application of colour. They identify specific colour relationships,
contrasts and harmonies as they become familiar with mixing complex colour. In
addition, they investigate how artists and designers use colour and in turn how
people respond to colour. Through the production of specific assignments,
students use their understanding of the physiology and psychology of colour to
build a reference portfolio for future studies.
Drawing from Observation
In this course, students acquire the ability to draw from observation through the application and exploration of drawing elements, principles and strategies. They produce drawings that use the basic elements including line, shape, space, and value as well as apply principles such as composition and perspective. In addition, they experiment with and apply a variety of materials such as pencil, charcoal and inks. Through progressive assignments, students prepare for continued exploration in drawing for personal enjoyment and development, and /or further studies.
course, students acquire a working knowledge of 2D design by generating work
that reflects the application of design elements and principles. In addition,
they use a variety of materials such as pencil, pen and ink, collage and mixed
media in the completion of assigned projects. Students integrate 2D design
elements and principles, and their acquired knowledge of the characteristics of
various media to engage in visual problem-solving and effective decision
Communications and Student Success
course, students acquire the communication skills essential to success in the
study of visual arts. Using a critical approach, they respond to articles,
imagery and discussion topics, to develop English language conventions
including skills related to argumentation, exposition, and persuasion. Through
a series of assignments, students generate a collection of written, verbal and
visual assignments that reflect effective use of English language, style and
Aboriginal Media: Traditional Ash Basketry and Pottery
course, students make traditional ash basketry and pottery with techniques
specific to the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy First Nations Peoples. They
examine the similarities and commonalities found in aboriginal craft and
integrate a variety of perspectives into their finished products. By
investigating these techniques and methodologies students further their skills
related to reproduction and reinterpretation.
The Land, The Spirit, The Art: Aboriginal Artist at Work
course, students examine how the history of the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq and
Passamaquoddy Peoples was shaped by their spiritual relationship with the land
in which they lived. In addition, they will learn the effects of war and
European contact had on the development of the crafts industry for trade as a
supplement to their livelihoods. Through a series of written and oral
assignments student will gain confidence in communicating their viewpoints on
these important issues to Aboriginal peoples.
The Creative Process
course, students integrate an analytical approach to solving visual problems
with the production of projects in various media. Specifically, by evaluating
creative concepts that encompass research, visual and critical problem solving,
critiques and self-reflection, they develop and refine their approach to
critical analysis. To facilitate successful learning, students engage in class
presentations, selected projects and editing of personal work for a portfolio.
Drawing from Observation: Form and Expression
course, students build upon their introductory drawing skills by increasing
accuracy (technical skill), refining personal style and using drawing as a
means of creative visual expression. By focusing on strategies aimed at the
need for enquiry, students create interpretive and expressive responses to the
visual. Students use a variety of approaches that address complex subject
matter, in particular the human figure, using wet and dry drawing materials.
Through progressive assignments, students prepare for continued exploration in
drawing for personal enjoyment and development, and /or further studies.
course, students acquire a working knowledge of 3D design by generating work
that reflects the application of 3D design elements and principles. In
addition, they use a variety of materials such as pencil, pen and ink, collage
and mixed media in the completion of assigned projects. Students use the
elements and principles of 3D design and their acquired knowledge of the
characteristics of various media to engage in visual problem-solving and
effective decision making.
course, students gain insight into the College’s diverse studio offerings which
include: Ceramics, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Integrated Media,
Jewellery/Metal Arts, Photography and Textiles. In Media Explorations II,
students explore an additional two studios of the six studios they will
experience over the academic year. This course is designed to familiarize
students with a broad range of visual media and studio environments and assist
them in determining their area of specialization for further and more
Aboriginal Media: Major
course students establish a primarily studio focus, or a blend, in the
following traditional media areas: ash basketry, beading, birch bark basketry,
clay and quillwork. Utilizing the traditional teachings from the first year of
the program students explore in-depth experimental approaches in hands-on
assignments. This course provides ample time to foster individual growth and
Archaeology: Prehistoric Craft and Culture in the Northeast
course, students gain an overview of archaeological research in North American
Northeast (Maine and the Maritimes) through practical archaeological exercises,
class discussions, applied research projects and field trips. They develop
archaeological skills used to understand the past such as illustration,
photography and the re-creation of artifacts. Students discover what can be
interpreted about the behaviour of people from archaeological sites and
artifacts. This course is designed for students with little or no background in
archaeology or prehistoric Native culture.
Aboriginal Iconography: Mixed Media
course, students research the ancient Aboriginal language of the Atlantic
Region and recreate visual representations using contemporary mixed media. They
will take an in-depth look at the images and symbols of the century old
petroglyphs and pictographs in our area. Through interactive lectures students
will experience the legends and myths of Maliseet, Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy
peoples that are evidenced by the rock carvings and paintings they left behind.
Studio: Beads, Quills, Basketry and Drum Making
course, students utilize traditional methods and techniques to create
traditional beading, quillwork, birch bark basketry and drum making by learning
through accomplished Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Artisans of the Atlantic Region.
Students participate in 2 seven-week sessions that feature hands-on
demonstrations and lectures. Through the development of their projects students
will be challenged and encouraged to push their skills to new heights by
producing arts and crafts representative of First Nations in Atlantic Canada.
Exploring Canadian Art
In this course students are exposed to a wide spectrum of Canadian
artists and encouraged to explore their cultural differences and approach to
art. Students gain valuable information on what is appropriate and accepted in
cultural communities and society in general. Internationally known artists and
Canada’s many cultures provide interesting and unique profiles for study.
Traditional Oral Story Telling
course students learn to analyze and recount ancient Aboriginal myths, legends
and history that have been past down from generation to generation. Traditional
oral story telling continues to be the most important means of communication
among First Nations People. Through a series of assignments students will
research and gather stories from their communities and express these important
legends and myths through oral, visual and written form.
Aboriginal Entrepreneurial Networking
course, students learn the social and business networking skills required to
become an entrepreneur in today’s society. They interact with Aboriginal
business professionals and alternative funding agencies to understand the
dedication, commitment and creativity needed to succeed. Through a series of
projects students will develop a personal business concept for future
self-employment. In addition, they are introduced to business concepts such as;
personal cash flow, creating a budget, business financing and resources, and
most importantly, utilizing the Aboriginal business community for creative
Students select one of:
3D Design Shaping Space
course, students combine a wide range of materials to produce projects that
explore both spatial relationships and the broader world of “design.” By
engaging in lectures and discussions that examine the theories of historic and
contemporary 3D design, they develop a design aesthetic which is accompanied by
research and documentation. Combining various aspects of “the making of
objects,” students are encouraged to use mixed media, and materials from their
own disciplines, emphasizing peer presentations and critical visual analysis.
Design: Shaping Space
course, students produce projects that explore both spatial relationships and
the broader world of “design” through using computer aided design (CAD) and 3D
printing applications. By engaging in lectures and discussions that examine the
theories of computer based 3D design, they will learn the tools and concepts,
as well as develop a design aesthetic. Students will create a variety of
objects, designed for use in their own disciplines, emphasizing peer
presentations and critical visual analysis.
for Visual Artists
course, students tap into the world of social media, in the form of blogging,
to initiate their critical opinions and professional communications. They create
an online archive of professional documents including digital images of their
work, biological information and artist statements. Students write responses to
topics pertinent their practice communicating their ideas about visual art. In
addition, they learn the steps to apply for a relevant scholarship.
Studio: Traditional Ash Basketry and Pottery
course, students will refine their abilities in creating ash basketry and
pottery using traditional methods and techniques. This will be achieved by
working in direct contact with accomplished Maliseet and Mi’kmaq artisans of
the Atlantic Region. Students will participate in 2 seven-week sessions that
feature hands-on demonstrations, lectures and projects furthering the growth and
development of their artistic practice.
Ethics and Practice
course, students further their understanding of the prehistoric cultures and
technology of the North American Northeast by focusing on ethical issues
relating to repatriation, stewardship and accountability. They explore these
concepts through a series of exercises involving recreating artifacts and
leading seminar classes. Emphasis is placed on the ethical issues that surround
working with materials from the ancient past. This survey course is designed
for students with basic background in archaeology and prehistoric Native
Carving and Sculpture
course students will learn the basic materials, tools and techniques used in
the creation of aboriginal sculpture. Through the process of adding and
subtracting form, each student will carve individual projects that focus on
traditional aboriginal themes. Students will learn how to identify carving
materials, maintain tools and work safely and effectively whether working
individually or in a group environment.
course, students will develop a detailed business/career plan based on research
from the ANTR 2900 Aboriginal Entrepreneurial Networking course. Students will
interact with local Aboriginal businesses and funding agencies in the
development of their personalized plan. Through a series of presentations and
exercises, students will learn to confidently present and discuss their
business and career ideas to a variety of people.
Myth and Reality:
Bringing Aboriginal History to Life
course, students research the myths and legends of the Aboriginal Peoples of
Atlantic Canada to bring history to life by translating them into sculptures,
etchings and design work. Through the study of original documents, written and
oral histories, images and artifacts, students reflect on the history, deep
spirituality, ancient stories and legends of the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and
Passamaquoddy Peoples. In addition, students gain a unique appreciation of how
these peoples’ environment was incorporated into their ideologies and the
potential impact it can have on their creative process.
In Winter 2,
students choose one of the following electives:
Creative Design Exploration
In this course,
students focus on their creative skills and innovation abilities to produce
original designs that are realized into 2D/3D product prototypes. Using
multiple models of problem solving strategies, students explore form, function
and a variety of materials, to apply new skill sets to their methodologies.
Students overcome visual and conceptual challenges by working in
interdisciplinary teams interacting live, via Skype, with the design team at
Umbra to produce a submission to the Umbra Design Collaborations Program.
3D Digital Design
In this course, students use sophisticated
3D modeling and texturing techniques building on skills learned in 3D Digital
Design: Shaping Space. These skills will be used to prepare and render complex
3D components that could either become intricate printed objects be utilized as
elements or models in other courses.
In this course,
students create artwork using influences from the traditional and contemporary
practices of body adornment/modification. With an aesthetic and anthropological
perspective, they research specific Aboriginal practices in body art, such as
tattooing, piercing, mehndi (henna), branding and scarification. Students gain
a new perspective on this ancient activity, incorporating the ideologies into
individual projects as well as communicating their ideas in a clear
Paper and Book Arts
In this course, students tap the
creative potential of the hand bound book through an exploration of book
structures, construction and deconstruction methods. Projects introduce
different binding techniques as students use unique tools, materials and
processes. In addition, students are encouraged to explore the aesthetic
qualities of the book through 2D and 3D embellishment techniques including
printed material, transfer techniques and hand stitched embellishments.
In this course,
students learn the fundamental principles of painting through creating images
in the medium of acrylic paint. Assignments explore both the historical and
contemporary approaches of the painting process. Students have the opportunity
to develop an independent body of work which is informed by experimentation and
critique, and in addition, is related to a personal area of interest.
Aboriginal Studio: Major
course, students focus aboriginal media specific to their area of interest to
create a body of work that is a culmination of their creative experiences in
the program. With ongoing guidance from the instructor, they discuss direction,
research, design, and time management with emphasis on group interaction with
their peers. The work that is produced in this course will be at a professional
level of technical skill, aesthetic awareness, and personal creativity.
Digital Communications and Marketing
course, students develop a working knowledge of digital technologies to develop
a comprehensive individual portfolio. This includes learning to use a digital
camera, create professional lighting, and be able to manipulate images using
relevant software. Using their own images and biographical information,
students design and construct a website using the latest software available. In
addition, they investigate the value of internet technologies in the context of
e-commerce, marketing and promotion in preparation for a career in the visual