In 2013, I began scheduling one FYSM class in the Gallery. (I also served on the CUAG board from 2014‐2015, filling in for a board member on sabbatical). Too many students make it through their degrees without knowing what a fabulous space and resource the Gallery is on campus. Students in my FYSM receive a guided tour through the exhibitions, and then write a review of an exhibition or an analysis of individual works. Consequently, they get an introduction to a diverse array of media, styles, techniques, and subject matter, and they have the opportunity to “read” visual images. I give them the freedom to choose which work(s) will be their focus, and I mark the assignments largely based on the level of their engagement with the art.
Last year, I took all four of my classes to Walking With Our Sisters, the memorial for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. All four classes submitted a reflection on their experience in the teepee with the elder and in the Gallery walking next to the moccasin vamps representing the women, but also the children who never returned from residential school. Many students were clearly moved by the stories they heard and by their participation in the memorial. I know that many were not familiar with the myriad issues involved in the tragic loss represented before the visit to the Gallery, so they came away with a new knowledge of the dark legacy of government policy.