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THE FREDA DIESING SCHOOL OF NORTHWEST COAST ART PASSING ON THE RICH TRADITION OF HAIDA ART


By Jock Hildebrand


The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art was created by the Northwest Community College to honour, recognize and continue the legacy of Haida artist Freda Diesing. Freda was a master carver, painter, educator and champion of First Nations art and culture. The school is located in a long house on the Terrace campus of the Northwest Community College in northern British Columbia.


This is the only school of its kind in Canada with a focus on traditional First Nations Pacific Northwest Coast art. The school offers the First Nations Fine Arts program, instructed and mentored by world-renowned artists such as Dempsey Bob (Tahltan/Tlingit), Stan Bevan (Tahltan/Tlingit/Tsimshian) and Ken McNeil (Tahltan/Tlingit/Nisga’a) and Dean Heron. These instructors play an important role in passing on the legacy of Freda, teaching students what is required to become a First Nations artist, and the value of passing this knowledge on.


The following, taken from a telephone interview with Stan Bevan, highlights the school’s history and uniqueness:


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