It was 2 AM at Granville Island when Grade 12 Magee Secondary student Char Dangerfield arrived with her art portfolio outside the sealed and dark doors of Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). The rain was pouring down and Dangerfield, who was now second in line for that day's "Portfolio Day", hunkered down for a long and wet wait. Equipped with blankets and a folding chair, she was there for the long haul.
Four thermoses full of hot water and a soppy seven hours later, the doors opened and hundreds of hopeful applicants streamed forward to present their portfolios to a panel of ECUAD experts. By this time hundreds had lined up around the block multiple times.
When the clock struck 11 AM, it was show time. Dangerfield and some of her other Magee friends were ushered into a large room to meet her interviewers. Over the next 15 minutes she took the interviewers through her work, explaining why she chose to include pieces and the methods of production. Despite the stress of the experience, Dangerfield says it was thanks to her teacher, Magee AP art teacher Mariette Smith, that she was so prepared.
"Ms. Smith really prepared us. She gave us advice on how to do our presentation and she knows what sort of art they are looking for," says Dangerfield.
Dangerfield was among seven Magee artists who turned out that day with the hopes of fast-forwarding their acceptance into the school's general arts program. She's also one of a class of high-level artists being patiently groomed by Smith. Smith says she's passionate about cultivating top talent and supporting her students as they hone their techniques around sculpting, painting, mixed media design and photography. Her students say she's the perfect teacher for a wonderful program. Magee is currently one of only a few district schools which offers AP Art.
The result is a creative explosion that's not only impacted the lives of her young artists, but also the entire school community with impressive and technically difficult community art projects.
"She is just amazing. She knows her students and takes the time to get to know you, your work and is very caring," says Dangerfield.
The result of this commitment to her students has been frequent success. Two weeks later letters went out to all the Magee students who applied for ECUAD. Each student who had braved the wet weather on Portfolio Day received offers of acceptance from ECUAD. These students include Grade 12 students Char Dangerfield, Jina Park, Bailey Pan, Claire Tam, Gabrielle Li, Sussanna Lau and Gavin Seager.
Smith says she isn't surprised that all seven students were accepted by ECUAD.
"Most of them have been studying art since grade 8 or 9, and as a teacher it is really satisfying to see these students coming into their own as artists, expressing themselves so personally in their art," she says. "Their commitment and self confidence is inspiring and very gratifying."
For photos showcasing the artwork of the Magee AP Art class, click here.