SFU student earns award from Burnaby Art Gallery

A fourth-year student at Simon Fraser University earned a boost to her education, thanks to the Burnaby Art Gallery.

Rachelle Tjahyana is this year’s winner of the Volunteers of the Burnaby Art Gallery Award in the Visual Arts, presented annually to a promising student in the third year of visual arts at SFU.

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“The award was a pleasant surprise; it helped me pay for my summer courses and allowed me to take engaging visual arts courses, such as Art and Text, where our class collaborated on creating a  temporary public art installation for the Indian Summer Festival,” Tjahyana noted in a press release. “It allowed me to take part in courses that expand the classroom boundaries and provided me opportunities to work with the community and public.”

The award is presented every year using money from an endowment fund established at SFU in 1990 with a gift of $10,000 donated by Burnaby Art Gallery volunteers. Since then, the gallery has relied on individual and corporate donations to top up the fund, which has now grow to more than $38,000. Awards of up to $1,900 are now made annually from the income on the fund.

The university’s visual arts committee nominates a student for the award each year; it’s granted by the School for the Contemporary Arts awards committee every spring/summer season.

Tjahyana is looking to complete dual degrees: a bachelor of fine arts in visual arts, and a bachelor of arts in English.

After graduation, she plans to continue her own practice as a contemporary interdisciplinary artist and to continue to write for publications.

“I would love to combine my love for writing and literature with my art practice,” said Tjahyana.

For the Burnaby Art Gallery, the award is part of its mission to promote education and learning.

“The role that the BAG plays in the community is to advance the arts by providing spaces and opportunities for community members to gain a greater understanding of contemporary and historical visual art,” said Ellen van Eijnsbergen, the gallery’s director-curator, in the release. “We believe that education creates knowledge, and scholarship awards are an important tool to help students achieve their goals.”

Donors who are interested in contributing to the award can contact van Eijnsbergen at 604-297-4426 or see www.burnabyartgallery.ca for current donor and sponsorship opportunities.


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