Alberta University of the Arts Celebrates First Anniversary

AUArts is celebrating its first anniversary as Alberta’s only art, craft and design university, having elevated from college status on February 1, 2019. (View full media release.)

Formerly Alberta College of Art and Design, AUArts gained parity a year ago with the three other dedicated art, craft and design Canadian universities, thanks to the support of the Alberta government who recognizes the value of creative communities and economies.

“Artists enrich our communities and share the beauty, vitality and passion of our province with the world,” says Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education. “Congratulations to the students, faculty and staff on the one-year anniversary of becoming Alberta’s first university solely dedicated to art, craft and design.”

“With new strategic and academic plans in place, we head towards our centennial anniversary in 2026 with bold plans and enthusiasm,” says Dr. Daniel Doz, President and CEO of Alberta University of the Arts. “We look forward to further demonstrating our measured value to the communities we enrich and continuing to educate and inspire future generations of critical thinkers and problem solvers.”

Highlights from the past year:

  • January 17, 2019: Unveils Alberta University of the Arts name and logo.
  • February 1, 2019: Celebrates first official day of operations as a university.
  • May 16, 2019: First graduating class of AUArts convocated with university degrees from a university. Prior to university status, graduates earned a university degree from a college.
  • May 16, 2019: Acclaimed Canadian artist Alex Janvier, the institution’s first Indigenous graduate in 1960, receives AUArts’ First Honorary MFA
  • September 2019: Highest enrollment of new students in recent years.
  • September 23, 2019: AUArts launches the Aahwaatkamooksi Peer Mentorship Program in its Lodgepole Center with support from Suncor Energy Foundation. The program offers first year Indigenous students at AUArts access to student mentors and Elders to support their academic, personal and cultural growth. 
  • Community and Business Partnerships: In addition to Suncor Energy Foundation, partnerships included Sled IslandPrideBrookfield ResidentialCity of CalgaryCity of AirdrieVillage BreweryRBC FoundationATB and Pattison. Student artworks are on display at busy YYC for thousands of airport passengers in an ongoing partnership with Pattison.
  • Gallery Openings: Numerous touring national and local exhibitions in the on-campus Illingworth Kerr Gallery including, Shifting ShelterThing to WearReady Player 2 and Reliant Objects.
  • Alumni Success: AUArts alumni have made a big impact locally and internationally, and the 2019 Alumni Awards recognized landmark achievements to alumni winning awards and accolades in a variety of disciplines including graphic novels, animation, painting, sculpture and design. Video: 2019 Alumni Award honorees
  • Academic Growth: The School of Continuing Education and Professional Development launched three new Certificates, a series of workshops, and a program of Micro-credentials, and there was a growing number of Minors in the Degree programs including Comics, Animation, and Object Design and Fabrication.
  • February 1, 2020: Release of new strategic and academic plans, representing a bold vision: To change the world through art, craft and design while enriching creative communities and economies.