On January 2, Associate Dean of Fine Arts/Professor of Music Kent McWilliams of St. Olaf College (Minnesota) and 28 students visited the Whitecliffe campus. The opportunity came about when President Michéle Whitecliffe was approached by Kent at an ICFAD (International Council of Fine Arts Deans) conference last year held in Nova Scotia, to organize an educational and cultural trip for his students to Australia and New Zealand.
Whitecliffe Lecturer Giles Peterson introduced the student to key concepts of Māori and Pacific culture and taonga. Giles brought in his own collection of tivaevae (patch quilting done by Polynesian women) from the Cook Islands, books and catalogues relating to contemporary Māori and Pacific art. Giles commented that “it was an amazing experience to spend time with the students and introduce them to Oceanic Art with a deeper level of understanding. What was also interesting for me as a teacher was that the students chose this elective course to travel to Australia and New Zealand to further their own knowledge and understanding about art and culture from this part of the world. It was also great to show them examples of Whitecliffe students’ and alumni work in the creative industries and success after graduating from Whitecliffe.”
Whitecliffe would like to thank Kent McWilliams and his students from St. Olaf College for visiting Whitecliffe.