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February 28, 2002 Fine Arts students regain clout with revival of student alliance



Declan O'Driscoll

Declan O’Driscoll, president of the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA))

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Anna Bratulic

After a period of inactivity, the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) is up and running again. The students who are involved are determined that it become a significant voice for its 2,200 members.

“FASA was put in place to have Fine Arts students taking care of students within the faculty without having to mess with the outside,” said Declan O’Driscoll, president of FASA. “If they have any concerns, we want them to come to us, and we’ll help them as best we can.”

One of the aims is to get Fine Arts departments communicating and aware of one another. With the election of 13 council representatives from most of the departments and four members of the executive, the students are achieving this, O’Driscoll said.

“Last year there were four or five people involved. This year, there are close to 20 people who regularly attend monthly council meetings,” he said. “Some people are experienced, some people aren’t, but it is becoming more structured.”

More funding this year

Extra funds always help in the structuring process, and this year there’s more money coming FASA’s way. They decided to collect student fees directly from the students rather than have it filtered through the Concordia Student Union.

“They [the CSU] have helped us, I have to say, but there’s been too much commotion to depend on that,” O’Driscoll said. “We want to be completely self-sufficient. We can fund our own clubs, and our own special projects.”

Big and small projects are in the works, including the creation of a scholarship and bursary database, academic exchanges and internships, professional development workshops and an online form of campus recruiting targeting Fine Arts students. An emergency fund for struggling students is also being discussed.

One of the high-profile projects FASA helps to organize is Art Matters, the March arts festival showcasing student work, now in its second year. It was during initial talks for Art Matters back in the fall of 2000 that the idea to resurrect FASA came about. More than 115 proposals have been submitted for this year’s festival, and workshops were given on how to put together a professional-looking proposal.

The development of sharp promotion skills — such as creating eye-catching proposals or arranging exhibition opportunities — is an important component of a fine arts education these days. Laurel Smith, Student Life Assistant for the council, said that FASA is well placed to address that issue.

“Once you graduate and become an artist, out there in the real world, it takes quite an effort to become recognized as part of a fine arts community,” Smith said. “You almost unwittingly overlook that as a student. Fine Arts students also need research skills as well as professional development skills.”

She added that the students would like to see more involvement in their activities by the Faculty of Fine Arts’ many accomplished alumni.

Monthly council meetings of FASA are open to everyone. They take place on the first Sunday of every month at 6 p.m. in VA-245. FASA’s general assembly will be held at the end of February.

The Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) can be reached at fasaconcordia@yahoogroups.com, or 848-7570.








Art Matters

by Melanie Authier

An exploration of territories by third-year studio arts student Melanie Authier (one of a series)

Art Matters 2002

120 visual and performing art shows in more than a dozen venues all around town... jazz, bluegrass, salsa, hiphop... International Women’s Day . . . spoken-word performances, with a special appearance by poet Stephanie Bolster... theatre and improv... electroacoustic experiences... film screenings... art installations...

An Evening of Jazz, Theatre and Painting
Friday, March 1, 8 p.m
Oscar Peterson Concert Hall • 7141 Sherbrooke W.

Mingus, Mingus, seen at the Fringe Festival and the Centaur Theatre, and a jazz revue performed by the crême de la crême of Concordia’s Music Department, followed by a live painting session in the Vanier Library Atrium and a party at the newly restored Hive, the official headquarters of the Art Matters 2002 Festival.