.......At Queen’s, the fine art department was small but visible and necessary.
No one was as desirable as the pale, shaking girls who would emerge from their fumes and light more fumes in the snow, who
would go to parties in diaphanous skirts and long johns and army boots. Without them, that sweatshirted, healthy campus would
have been an aesthetic desert. Everyone benefited from seeing their shows, too: I remember standing in front of an abstract
canvas talking to a history major about deconstruction, because of that canvas’s title. The ideas even in the most annoying
kind of art – the stack-of-pennies art – are the same ideas that inform everybody else’s life, they are
the ideas that every cultured person and media consumer has to talk about. The white-walled galleries were for all of us.
Queen’s University has stopped accepting new students into its BFA program, due
to a lack of resources. (I can hear you guffawing at the idea that Queen’s has a lack of resources: Obviously what they
mean is that they don’t think it’s important.) Queen’s hasn’t announced closure of the program yet
(they are going to “re-assess” it) but I suspect it won’t last long......
February 10, 2012
Return call, from Judith Brown, Associate Vice-Principal (Advancement):
From Ms. Brown and other sources one's impression is that:
At Queen's University each Faculty is independently funded, so that in the
absence of equalization payments within the federation the supporting faculties are all prospering while the central
faculty, the jewel in the Queen's crown, the Faculty of Arts, is in decline from attrition, professors unreplaced
as they retire. The department of Fine Arts is but one example.
It is disappointing that Queen's University is unable to show
leadership in support of the fine arts, and that the continued employment of one half time Fine Arts professor represents
such a challenge. In the absence of such leadership secondary schools no longer include art or music in their curricula
either. Apple rules, and we are all the poorer for it.
In her history of Queen's University entitled And Not to Yield, Neatby underlines
one of the school's mottos from Tennyson which is "to strive, to seek, to find, and Not to Yield". However in the matter of
the continued viability of the Faculty of Arts, department of Fine Arts, although the Provost is considering his options the
school appears to have yielded. Can rebranding to Queen's Institute of Technology be far behind?