Introducing the New Grad Program!

Visual Arts Nova Scotia is thrilled to announce the New Grad Program! This 14 week program is designed to help recent graduates navigate the transition from a full time student to a professional artist.

During the program, all participants will be given the opportunity to take weekly professional development workshops on topics such as budgeting, applying for grants, writing about your work, and networking. Participants will have 24 hour access to a shared studio space in Halifax; Studio visits from an artist/curator; and be coached by mentor Eryn Foster: a professional interdisciplinary artist and curator.

After the three and a half month program, the students will have:

  • A working portfolio with images, a CV and an Artist Statement
  • A proposal that could serve as the basis for a grant, festival, gallery or residency application
  • The skills to navigate through the next step in their career
  • A built-in peer network

Dates: Program participants will meet weekly on Wednesday evenings from September 19 – December 12, 2018 (with the exception of one workshop scheduled for Tuesday, September 25). Participants must be available for all meetings in order to participate in this program.

Cost: There will be studio fees of $15/week for each of the program participants. There is also a one-time $50 key deposit payable at the start of the program, which will be returned upon receipt of the keys at the end of the program.

Eligibility: Any recent art school grad (within 3 years of graduation) can apply but a maximum of 10 will be accepted, in a non-juried process. If you have not graduated from an art school but you an artist in the very early stages of developing a professional career, please get in touch. You do not have to be a VANS member at the time of application. Must be 19+ and living in Nova Scotia.

Application: Applicants with questions should get in touch with the Programming Coordinator in advance of applying. Please send the following in your application to with the subject line New Grad Program Application:

  1. a paragraph outlining why you are a good candidate for this program, and why it is a good fit for you at this time.
  2. the name of the art school from which you graduated, along with the date of the graduation to confirm eligibility.
  3. your name, full mailing address, email address, and phone number.

Deadline: We will begin accepting applications on Tuesday, August 7. The deadline for applications is Monday, August 27. As there are limited spaces available, early applications are preferred and will be considered in the order in which they are received. Please see the VANS website for application details.

Info session: There will be an information session on the New Grad Program on Wednesday, August 8 from 6 – 7pm in the CFNS Common Space outside the VANS office, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS.


Week 1 (Wednesday, September 19, 6 – 9pm): Group orientation meeting.

Week 2 (Tuesday, Sept 25, 6 – 9pm): Workshop on Building Confidence/Talking About Your Work/Networking: Sarah Maloney.

Week 3 (Wednesday, October 3, 6 – 9pm): Group Meeting with Mentor.

Week 4 (Oct 10, 6 – 9pm):  Info session on professional résumé, artist CV, and cover letter writing, including feedback on site: Terri Whetstone and Carri MacKay.

Week 5 (Oct 17, 6 – 9pm): Workshop on Writing Applications and Proposals: Melanie Colosimo.

Week 6 (Oct 24, 6 – 9pm): Workshop on Grant Writing Workshop: Becka Barker

Week 7 (Oct 31+): Check-in meeting with mentor and Studio Visits from curator Michael McCormack.

Week 8 (November 7, 6 – 9pm): Workshop on Community Connection and Collaboration with Melissa Marr and Heather Wilkinson of Wonder’neath (will take place at Wonder’neath Studios, 2891 Isleville St in Halifax).

Week 9 (Nov 14, 6 – 9pm): Workshop on Taxes, Budgets and Student Loans: Sally Raab Wolchyn and Becky Welter-Nolan.

Week 10 (Nov 21, 6 – 9pm): Workshop on Entrepreneurship and Career Opportunities: Kelly Markovich.

Week 11 (Nov 28+): Meetings with Mentor and group check in.

Week 12 (December 5, 5 – 8pm): Telling your own story: writing strategies for artists: Karin Cope.

Week 13 (Dec 12):  Open Studio event where the public will be invited to see what the New Grad Program participants have been working on.

Week 14 (Dec 19):  Studio time.

Location: All meetings will take place in HRM (primary at VANS or the Studio), and the studio space is located at Fort Massey United Church, 5303 Tobin Street in Halifax. Participants do not need to reside within HRM, but must be able to attend all meetings in person.

Studio Space: New Grad Program participants will have access to the shared studio space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration of the program. The studio is located on the second floor of Fort Massey United Church, and is only accessible by two flights of stairs, unfortunately. The space has natural light, windows that open, a central lighting fixture, a small lockable storage area, and will be furnished with tables and chairs.  No specialty equipment (kilns, printing press, computers, tools, etc.) will be provided. The space has a limited electrical supply and is not heated, but space heaters will be provided in colder weather. Non-toxic materials should be used as there is not adequate ventilation to eliminate toxic fumes and particles. There is access to gender neutral washrooms, a large janitorial sink, as well as a shared kitchen area.

Studio space for the New Grad Program will be located in the gymnasium of Fort Massey United Church. This shared studio will be furnished will tables and chairs, and participants will have 24 hour access with keys.

Visual Arts Nova Scotia gratefully acknowledges core funding for the New Grad Program from The Canada Council for the Arts.

Eryn Foster is an interdisciplinary artist and curator based in Dartmouth NS. Over the past fifteen years, she has exhibited her works at several galleries, artist-run centres and museums across Canada and abroad. Over the past three years, her project North Adams Sourdough: A Gift of Cultured Culture has been exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (North Adams Mass), the Confederation Centre for the Arts (PEI), and the Illingworth Kerr Gallery (Calgary). Awarded the Paris Studio grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2013, she has also participated in numerous other residencies including ones at Struts Artist Run Centre, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Centre for Art Tapes, the Macdowell Arts Colony and Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park.

For more information on this program, contact:

Carri MacKay
Programming Coordinator
Visual Arts Nova Scotia
t:902.423.4694    1.866.225.8267   f:902.422.0881

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