Friday, April 26, 2013


Blog post by Tina Winterlik © 2012!/zipolita @zipolita Google+

SAVE Capilano University: Save the Studio Art and Textile Arts Programs


 Did I ever tell you the story of how my photography program got cancelled and how it totally messed up my life.

Well here's what happened. Once upon a time, a long time ago...argh! LOL!! for some anyways, way back in 1990 I was going to go take a photography program at Selkirk College. I was living in Abbotsford at the time and I was really at a so many ways.

You see I had developed tendonitis working really hard labour at the Lilydale Poultry plant. My hands that I had used for the last 11 years of labour related work, were basically useless for anything that required strength, repetion or pressure. What could I do.  I couldn't get E.I. anymore and Workmen's Compensation should have paid for retraining but they were being monsters and so I gave up and decided to get a student loan. Big mistake number one.

Anyways, I knew if I was going to pay for this it had better be something I really loved. So I had always wanted to be a photographer and that's what I decided.  I couldn't find a course in my town and the others wanted math and physics that I didn't want to take, just as I didn't want to in high school and had chose art instead.

(Do you know I remember in grade 8 when the teacher/Councillor came around and asked me what I wanted to do when I graduated and I said "artist" and she said that wasn't a very good choice and I better take some other courses. - that still bugs me...why couldn't she say, that's wonderful, if you put your mind to it, you will be a wonderful successful artist- why couldn't she say we really need artists! Art makes you healthy, creativity is a wonderful thing...but she didn't. She discouraged me. :(

Anyways, I found my program, it was short- just one year- just did the basics in B&W and we'd learn printing - I had done this in high school, so I was excited.

I went to Castlegar and checked the college and then found a place to rent. This was all set up before May. I applied and then in May I got the news. Program cancelled.

Devastated. What was I going to do. A year of searching and thinking and planning and money to do all that and now it was all f__d up because they didn't have $400,000.
But wait, it's not the end of the story.

I decided to write everyone I could and ask them to donate. So I went to the library and wrote to everyone that made revenues of a million dollars a year. It was in some book I found.
Remember this is before the internet and light years before Social Media. :D

So I typed the letter on this old electric typewriter and with lots of white out for errors, I photocopied it and send them out with the stamps- I think it was like $30 for stamps and photocopying and all. I didn't have much money so it was alot at the time.

Anyways my mom had encouraged me to get a job as summer relief working for Home Support (for those of you that know, Home Support is a physically and mentally challenging job and not something I could do long term) and everyday I would come home to see if I had any letters. Naively I had faith!

It was actually pretty amazing and very encouraging. People wrote to me. They sent words of encouragement and some even sent things... like KODAK sent some film and I think Fuji did too.  I remember Scott Paper and there were others. I kept all the letters.

The coolest was from Princess Diana's  Lady- in- waiting. Of course she just said no, and I had no idea at the time that she probably hated photographers. I still thought it was really cool to even get a letter back.  I still have it, along with all the other letters. (I'd love to show you but they are all in storage at the moment. )

Anyways I wrote letters to the Ministry of Education but they were slow to reply, I remember I didn't get one until I was already in school.

Basically they all said no...they couldn't help. Which seemed so stupid because $400,000 just doesn't seem like that much money for a good program.

In the end I did go to Selkirk, only because I was mislead to believe there was a good chance the program would start the next year.

But wait the story doesn't end there.

I went to Selkirk and while there I was taking French and my French tutor had taken Photography at Dawson College in Quebec. He said it was cheap to live there and there was lots of culture and it sounded wonderful. I was psyched. So I applied. Big Mistake Number 2

But guess what, the papers took a long time and I couldn't understand until I finally phoned and someone explained that the course was going to be cancelled the next year and so I would only be able to take one year of a 2 year course and then I would be totally screwed. Whah :(

So back to the drawing board, nearly two frigging years of school and student loans and nothing to show. Yes, my English, Anthropology, Psychology, Computer Science were improved but no diploma to show for anything and not any closer to my dream or having a job since my hands (formerly my way of earning income) are useless.

So I pick myself up and try again. Langara has a Photography program, the one I have been avoiding because it's 2 years and  I need Math 11 and Physics 11, both at which I think I suck and hate. 

Anyways I have to try. So I enroll in Adult Basic Education, but my grade 10 math sucks so bad I have to retake it, (because I haved used it in 11 years,) and  I hated it in high school and swore that I would only take art programs after grade 10 because I would never need it again and no one could force me. (Can you hear the 16 year old in here telling you all this. :) Yikes!!

Anyways, I need it and I take it and actually because I had a boyfriend who was very good at Math and could help me thru my homework when I got stuck, I actually got an A. AMAZING!! 

Truly it is because many of the other students in that class failed or did poorly because they didn't have someone at home that could help them get thru the homework and so they all got behind. :(

Then I took the Math 11 and Physics 11(through correspondence- DOUBLE YIKES!!)
It was so hard and my course load was heavy and hard and I remember being so horribly stressed but I did it. I got B's in both. AMAZING!!!

Finally it's time to get into Langara. Well that was another whole crazy story. I could say Big Mistake No 3. but I won't get into it. Timing was the thing there, I wish I had waited. Because 2 years later E.I would have funded my program. And a year or so later there were different teachers. If I hadn't even gone, I could have saved myself a ton of money or if I had know I would have just hired someone to teach me...or done an apprenticeship somewhere if it existed and I would have been much better off. Maybe that's the lesson here...go with the flow. I didn't and well things got wonky!

All I can say, is don't do this to people. You have to give them lots and lots of warning if a program is going down and right now it sounds like the people at Cap College are being royally screwed here and I have A LOT of compassion for them. I signed the petition.


In my opinion we shouldn't have to pay for art programs. The government should pay us to take them. HA! HA!  Artists are the people who make you smile and laugh, who mess with your heads, who make you question authority(maybe that's why it's being cancelled? ) and think for yourself. Art documents beauty and sometimes the ugly, it is truth and lies but it is AMAZING! 

There is very little art in the public school system right now. I saw that when my child was enrolled last year. Very very little time for art. It's so ridiculous. That's why homeschooling works so well for us, she has time to draw and create whether it's a video or a toy, she's creating and she's happy!

Art help brings clarity, it calms the soul, it heals!! We need art! We all need it and it needs to be encouraged. Encouraged at every stage of life and never discouraged. To many people think they are not artists which is so sad. Because it's primal. It goes back to hunter gather days and cave drawings.

Who made those...who made the beautiful clothes people wore in ceremonies or created special tools or eating and drinking vessels. It's all art. All of it!!! People can't live with out art!!

Some people like me, get sick with out it. When I don't draw or paint or write or take photos and make videos, I feel sad and stressed and get sick, sick in the soul. But as soon as I take out that brush or take some photos well I thrive. I want to share and make others happy with my art. I want to send a message and I can do that with art. I can tell people about me and how they react tells me a little or alot about them. We can communicate!! And that is important! Right! So that we can all try to understand each other and get along better and live in harmony. That's what I think. Now go sign that petition and share it!! Because you have the POWER!! you have Social Media. Not like me and my stamps. :D


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