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Announcement
May 12, 2015

Graduation ceremony and presidential installation

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD)
Top row (left to right): photographer Robert Frank; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; NSCAD President Dianne Taylor-Gearing. Bottom row (left to right): artist-activists Karl Beveridge and Carole Condé; art-book publisher Gerhard Steidl.

NSCAD University’s graduation ceremony and presidential installation promises to be a momentous occasion. As well as honoring the achievements of more than 200 soon-to-be NSCAD alumni, the university will confer honorary degrees on five legendary artists and officially welcome Professor Dianne Taylor-Gearing into the NSCAD fold.

A native of Yorkshire, England, Prof. Taylor-Gearing arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia last August and her caring, consultative style of leadership is already making a profound impact at the school.

She has more than 27 years of experience in art and design education and practice. Prior to NSCAD, she served for two years as the Vice-President Research and Academic Affairs at the Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) in Calgary, Alberta.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fashion and Textiles from Middlesex University, London. She then completed two years of post-graduate studies for the award of Higher Diploma in Fine Art, Theatre Design from the University of London, Slade School of Fine Art; and then earned her Post Graduate Teaching Certificate from Leeds Metropolitan University, U.K. Prof. Taylor-Gearing was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London in 1990 and graduated from the Harvard Business School General Management Program in 2011.

All five distinguished artists being celebrated with honorary degrees—renowned photographer Robert Frank, activist artists Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, art-book publisher Gerhard Steidl and award-winning singer Tanya Tagaq—have a strong connection to NSCAD.

Best known for his 1958 masterwork The Americans, Robert Frank taught a filmmaking class at NSCAD in the 1970s. His work This Film is About…, was filmed at NSCAD in 1972 and 1973, and was recently screened at NSCAD, coinciding with the exhibition, Robert Frank: Books, Films, 1947–2014. That exhibition, organized by Frank’s German publisher Gerhard Steidl, attracted record crowds when it was on display for two weeks at NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery last September.

Steidl, whose dedication and passion to book publishing puts him in a league of his own, says he is “proud and honored” to be invited back to NSCAD. “NSCAD may be a small university but through the quality of its education, it has a strong influence and excellent reputation within the fine art world,” he says.

Like Frank, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge’s association to NSCAD stretches back to the 1970s, when the art and ideas coming out of the then-small art college were shaking up the art world. At the time, Condé and Beveridge could feel the reverberations all the way in New York City, where they were doing their own agitating. Partners in life and art, they’ve been back and forth to the school numerous times since: making prints with NSCAD’s famed Lithography Workshop in 1973; teaching a summer sculpture course in 1975; and publishing a book, Condé and Beveridge: Class Works, with the NSCAD Press in 2008.

A NSCAD alumna, Tanya Tagaq will perform and give the graduation address. She is excited to return to her alma mater, the place where she discovered her voice as an avant-garde artist and graduated with her BFA in 1998.

“NSCAD changed my life. It’s where I learned to express myself,” says Tagaq, an Inuit throat singer who has performed around the world. She says she still dreams of NSCAD, entering the motley collection of historic buildings on Duke Street and “inhaling that old building smell.” “Most of the time I’m trying to get up to the painting studios and it always takes me so long,” she says with a deep, infectious laugh, on the phone from her home in Brandon, Manitoba. “Those buildings hold so many of my memories, so much of my life.”

NSCAD’s 2015 graduation ceremony takes place Saturday, May 16, 2pm at the Cunard Centre, 961 Marginal Road, Halifax. The 2015 graduation exhibition will be on display from May 5 to 17 at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, 1891 Granville Street, and the Port Loggia Gallery, 1107 Marginal Rd. Comprising more than 100 artworks, this annual event is the largest display of artworks by NSCAD undergraduate and graduate students.

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