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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University
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Visual Arts Studio Certificate

Thank you for your interest in the Visual Arts program at TRU. This program is not currently accepting applications.

Expand your creative practice by exploring foundational and experimental techniques through our diverse set of second-year studio courses.

New creative processes and art histor are yours to discover through studio and theoretical courses in a variety of media. Explore current art practices in 2D and 3D media, with emphasis on drawing, painting, colour theory, printmaking, photography, 3D design, sculpture and ceramics while earning a certificate that can bridge to a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

From theory to gallery

Experiment with a variety of mediums and focus on your studio work away from distraction. Find inspiration and motivation within your studio peer group.

  • Advance your skills in paint mixing, application techniques and complex approaches with everything from watercolour to oil.
  • Explore printmaking with silkscreen, etching and develop your photographic media expertise within the dark room and processing studio.
  • Work within a range of materials, objects, techniques, and ideas fundamental to three dimensional aspects of visual art.
  • Gain a working knowledge of topics related to historical and contemporary practices.
  • Drawing from this to define and discuss works in a present-day context will become second nature.

Participate in art shows on campus and locally, while showcasing your work alongside other students and your professors. Take advantage of opportunities to be featured in international galleries while earning credits towards a degree or choose to study abroad for a semester.

Person hand painting with light colors

Learn from accomplished studio artists and explore new concepts to hone your individual style.

Critical abilities in supportive communities

Participate in group critiques and class seminars, engage with other artists, fast-tracking growth, sharing inspiration and complementing your development as a studio artist. An emphasis is placed on establishing your critique skills and analytical research to address the subject, content and form of yours and others’ work in both visual and verbal manners. Nurture your creativity while surrounding yourself with other producing artists, sharing ideas, constructive feedback and camaraderie among classmates.

Create your own personal direction

Build on your fundamental skills, essential in all visual art and for conceptual expression. In this productive studio program, traditional techniques find contemporary applications. You’ll become comfortable with diverse tools and materials, and apply techniques in individual projects.

Benefit from the expansive equipment available to you in the studios:

  • The dark room
  • Lighting room
  • Painting studio
  • Professional gallery
  • Woodworking shop and more.

Learn all about line, shape, value, texture and colour, and organizing principles of composition. Enjoy an increasingly creative and individualized approach to your work through a supportive environment and an exploration in a range of media.

How the program works

The Visual Arts Studio Certificate requires completion of a minimum of 30 credits. Visual Arts Studio Certificate:

  • VISA 1010/1020/1030
  • (Foundation Courses) 9 credits
  • VISA 1210 (Drawing 1) 3 credits
  • Any six 2nd year VISA Studio courses 18 credits
  • Total Program Requirements 30 credits

Open admission

  • Grade 12 (or equivalent)
  • English Studies 12/English First Peoples 12 with a minimum of 73% (or equivalent)

If you don’t meet the requirements High school graduates can apply and be admitted to this program while upgrading at TRU.

Mature students without a high school diploma (or equivalent) can work towards completing their BC High School Graduation Diploma while in this program through TRU courses.

Students who do not qualify for mature student status can apply for the TRU University Preparation program to complete their BC High School Graduation Diploma.

Talk to a student recruiter about your options. You may be eligible for free tuition. Or learn more about upgrading.

Career Options / Laddering options

Create your future

Depending on the level of work you achieve and your previous education and experience, pursue a range of opportunities including:

  • Concept artist
  • Studio artist
  • Muralist
  • Gallerist
  • Commercial artist
  • Portrait artist
  • Commissioned public artist
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Educator
  • Artistic studio practice
  • Arts administration and education
  • Illustration and mural work
  • Studio management
  • Arts advocacy

Build your portfolio during this program in preparation for laddering into other programs and applying for varied career opportunities. Your education in fine arts can open up a number of career opportunities, from illustration and animation to painting and sculpting. Other career choices include teaching, sales and advertising, commercial design, gallery curators and much more.

Laddering options

Courses taken during this certificate count towards a Visual Arts Diploma, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts with a Minor in Visual Arts, or other university degrees at the same time.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts)

Bachelor of Arts, Minor in Visual Arts

Visual Arts Diploma

Visual Arts Studio Certificate

Creating artwork is a very personal endeavour. Your professors can help you refine your skills and avoid difficulties that some artists might have in the field without the benefit of education.

Discover any weaknesses in your craft, fast-track the enhancement of your strengths, and learn how to market your skills. Because a career in art can be a challenging path, it can be invaluable to receive advice from professors who have enjoyed a successful record. You want to hone your skills quicker with the help of other classmates and expert lecturers in expansive studios, designed to inspire and support.

“The experiences I had working with faculty, community members, visiting artists and researchers through these programs were invaluable. Because of small class sizes, TRU’s BFA program is intimate. You get incredible one-on-one instruction and mentoring from the faculty and are given the space and freedom to explore your own research.”

—Emily Hope, BFA 2012 graduate

“I recommend TRU because of the quality of education possible when classes are smaller and students are more than just a number to their instructors. TRU is also on the forefront of undergraduate research, something which played a large part in my success while there as well as in graduate school.”

—Garnet Dirksen, BFA 2017 graduate

“Technically, the skills you learn are invaluable. The faculty here are encouraging and they push you to get out of your comfort zone. It’s a very caring community of teachers—we’re lucky to have them.”

—Carol Schlosar, current BFA student

“Something I’m very passionate about is involving the community in art, and just seeing what it does to people. That’s part of why I’m taking the BFA, to learn how you can bring art to the community. To bring them screen printing and have them be part of the printmaking process and then take away something, is awesome.”

—Ashya Cross, current BFA student

Donald Lawrence had a major solo exhibition opening at the Kamloops Art Gallery during April 2020 Casting the Eye Adrift will be a retrospective, featuring primary artworks from several bodies of work, dating back to 1987 (in addition to the inclusion of a few earlier references drawn from childhood), and a new off-site project at the Paramount Theatre. A full-length catalogue will be produced in 2021. Artworks included in the exhibition have been supported by external research grants Don received, from SSHRC, the Canada Council for the Arts and the BC Arts Council.

Sqlelten7úw’i — Red Salmon — Sockeye: Reconsidering the Adams River Run Eileen Leier, artist and Associate Professor in Visual and Performing Arts, spoke to CBC Daybreak about her exhibition, Sqlelten7úw’i – Red Salmon – Sockeye which ran from Sept. 10 to Oct. 22 at the Arnica Artist Run Gallery. As part of the exhibition, people of all ages were invited to share their stories of salmon and help populate a ‘salmon run’ with their own salmon creations under the water of the virtual Adams River flowing in front of the gallery in the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre.

Darlene Kalynka’s solo exhibitions in 2019) Including internationally (Albuquerque, New Mexico) of her suite of five large etchings Four Oldest Daughters. During this same time she has also had artwork included in an exhibition travelling between Albuqurque, Santa Fe and Mexico.

Program Details

Visual Arts Studio Certificate
30 credits
Open to international applicants

Apply now Request more info Visit the program website Print this page


Admission requirements

Faculty Highlights

Tuition & Fees

Cost for this program per semester:

  • Canadian
  • International
Choose the number of courses:
Tuition $0.00
Fees $0.00
Books and supplies
Typically about $150 per course
Total (CDN) $0.00

Does not include a lab fee of $23.03 that may apply to some courses.

These are only estimates - your actual cost may vary.

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