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Visual Arts

Art Without Borders

Certificate program served as gateway to connecting German artist with Alberta’s local arts community

When Andrea Itzeck arrived for her first class in the Visual Arts Certificate Program, instructor Brenda Malkinson broke the ice by asking each student to talk about their own artwork. A German speaker still struggling with English at the time, Andrea nearly froze on the spot. “I was so shocked,” she remembers with a hearty laugh. “I was prepared to sit there and work on my art, but having to talk about it in English was a different story altogether.”

Andrea was an established jewelry artist in her native Bavaria when she moved to Edmonton in 2007. Looking for opportunities to meet like-minded people in her adopted city, she found out about the Faculty of Extension and decided to test-drive the arts program by taking a couple of courses. It was love at first sight: “I really liked it and decided to go for the certificate.”  

The classes helped Andrea learn new techniques, improve her skills, and meet local artists. “I made good friends in the program,” she says. Among them is instructor-turned-peer Brenda Malkinson, with whom Andrea has collaborated in two exhibitions since that first drawing class back in 2010. 

Besides participating in a number of group shows in Alberta, Andrea recently debuted her first solo exhibition at the Extension Gallery, featuring drawings and sculpture assemblages. A component of the Visual Arts certificate, the graduating exhibition is a culmination of a student’s journey through the program. “It was a great opportunity to show what I have learned,” she concludes.

“I enjoyed every single class I took in the program. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the visual arts.”