The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is very pleased to present the work of the first-year Graduation Class of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. The gallery is honoured to work with and support this valuable new institution and to assist with the development and education of future artists.
The new school is part of the Northwest Community College in Terrace, British Columbia and has taken its name to honour of the prominent Haida artist, teacher, and ambassador, the late Freda Diesing. Freda was a teacher and mentor to many of the current generation of master-artists, and her support and example also inspired many female artists to pursue a career in the arts.
The curriculum for the new school was developed under the mentorship of master-carver, Dempsey Bob, who has always understood the importance of teaching to ensure a strong cultural future. Dempsey himself was taught early in his career by Freda—and two of his own former students, Stan Bevan and Ken McNeil, now prominent artists in their own right, were the instructors for the first year program at the school.
A valuable part of the curriculum will be a yearly exhibition which will offer students the opportunity to prepare for and understand the art market. The yearly exhibition will also serve to introduce these graduating students as part of the next generation of Northwest Coast artists.
On behalf of the Freda Diesing School and the Gallery, I welcome you to have a look at these excellent works—they are worthy of support.
—Gary Wyatt, NWC curator