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Six NWCC students awarded Freda Diesing Bursary

On October 20, 2014, six students at Northwest Community College’s Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art received a total of $30,000 in bursaries. Each $5,000 bursary is awarded to students pursuing a certificate and diploma in First Nations Fine Arts at NWCC.

The Freda Diesing Bursary award was initiated in 2013. This year’s recipients come from across Northwest B.C. and beyond.

First year recipients:
Alfred Davidson III, Haida from Masset
Martin Waechter, Gitxsan from Gitanmaax
Vanessa Morgan, Nisga’a from Gingolx (and Gitwinksihlkw)
Yvonne Starr, Gitxsan from Vancouver (and Kispiox)

Second year recipients:
Earl Edmund, Carrier from Ulkatcho
Kristen McKay, Tsimshian from Lax Kwalaams

Vanessa Morgan has been a K-7 teacher in Gingolx for the past 15 years. She is taking a temporary leave to pursue art studies.

“I’m truly honoured to receive the Freda Diesing Bursary, said Morgan. “I come from an artistic family and have worked with art most of my life…mostly Chilkat, Ravenstail, and cedar bark weavings as well as textiles. For a long time I’ve wanted to expand my artistic skills and experience in other First Nations art media like painting and carving. I’m so fortunate to be studying at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art and I look to forward to what lies ahead.”

After completing his studies, Earl Edmund would like to go back to his hometown of Anahim Lake, B.C. so that he can share with young people what he has learned. He hopes to inspire them to embrace art within their culture and engage in positive community change.

“Receiving this award means a lot to me, said Edmund. “I am very grateful to be at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art for a second year with an amazing group of artists. I have learned so much from my peers and instructors. We just wouldn’t be here without our instructors, who are among the best Northwest Coast artists.”

“This award is a really big help for our students,” said Freda Diesing School’s advisor, Dempsey Bob, OC.

“Please use it wisely,” Bob told the students. “I know what it’s like to go to school without any money and it’s hard.

Northwest Community College President, Ken Burt, congratulated students and thanked them for choosing NWCC. “This bursary award is special. Invest it in your future and it will pay dividends throughout your life.”

The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art opened in 2006 to honour the legacy of Haida artist, traditional carver and teacher Freda Diesing (1925-2002). She achieved great personal success in her work and is equally remembered for her determination to keep traditional Northwest Coast art alive by passing the knowledge to future generations of artists and carvers.

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