Art, digital design shows are annual highlight for NIC students

The Art Event provides NIC Fine Art and DIGITAL Design + Development students to showcase their pieces. It is free to the public, with opening night set for Friday, April 26.

NIC’s fine arts students will be showing their work on the walls and in the halls of the Comox Valley campus this month.

The campus is once again hosting the annual Art Event, an exhibition of student work and a celebration of fine art graduates. The event has happened for more than 30 years and is free to the public.

The Art Event provides NIC Fine Art and DIGITAL Design + Development students a chance to showcase their pieces. It features a diverse range of work, such as printmaking, video and sound, painting, drawing and other disciplines.

“All faculty and students donate their time and energy to make the show a reality, and the instructors help students select their best work in each discipline,” said Elizabeth Russell, instructor and chair of the School of Fine Art and Design.

The show takes more than 1,000 hours to organize and design, with works displayed according to the discipline taught in each studio—for example, the ceramics studio is showcasing the ceramics work. Each year, about 130 students or more first- and second-year students take part.

“The displays are organized by selected class projects,” Russell said. “Most students are very excited to participate … Students find this event one of the best and most memorable experiences of the year.”

For Russell and other faculty, the event is also an annual highlight, both in terms of being able to teach students the skills to curate and present their art in a professional way, as well as seeing how proud and happy the students are when they come to the opening with friends and family.

Opening night is Friday, April 26, from 5 to 9 pm, with an official celebration set for 7 pm. Work will be shown in campus studios, as well as hallway space in Raven Hall and the Shadbolt Studio.

While some DIGITAL Design + Development students are taking arts courses and are part of the Art Event, the department will also have its own show on April 26, from 5 to 9 pm at Tyee Hall on the Comox Valley campus—a short walk from the art show.

"Hello, world!_ celebrates the innovative work of our DIGITAL Design + Development graduates,” said faculty member Michelle Simms. “The students' projects represent the culmination of their studies at North Island College, and the grad showcase is an excellent opportunity for them to meet industry professionals from the Comox Valley and discuss their work with potential employers."

The theme's name refers to a piece of code that displays the message “Hello, World!” on the screen and is often used to explain a language’s basic syntax, and it is typically the first piece of code a student learns to write.

“This theme felt like an appropriate message for our graduates as they leave the ‘NIC nest’ and make their first steps into the design and development industry,” said faculty member Claire Guiot.

This year's student projects include everything from branding collateral one might see on local businesses' shelves, such as logo and packaging design, social media graphics, website landing pages, interactive games and web apps.

In total the department has over 160 students, of which almost 40 are graduating this year. The program offers certificates, three-year advanced diplomas and post-graduate diplomas.

The School of Fine Art and Design is also holding studio tours April 27 from 10 am to 2 pm, hosted by a student event assistant and instructor Angela Somerset. People can also drop in for tours from April 29 to May 2 between 10 am and 4 pm.

For more information, see Fine Arts or DIGITAL Design + Development at

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