DAWSON CREEK -- Northern Lights College said they’ll now be focusing on developing art programs and working with local artists.  

Currently, the only other places that have substantial art courses are the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre and the Dawson Creek Art Gallery. Classes include dance, painting, music, and others.

Johanna Martens, Executive Director of KPAC said the Centre is looking to expand its programs.

Martens said KPAC is always looking to “support artists in whatever form or fashion that may be. So we are always looking for teachers to come and host programing because there's so many talented kids and teachers in the community.”

Despite the courses offered by KPAC and the Art Gallery, a number of residents feel there’s a lack of post-secondary art courses in the region.

Lizzie McLean, a recent high school graduate and artist in Dawson Creek, said to pursue an education in filmmaking she has to go to Vancouver and attend college there.

She said, “People don’t realize how much the arts play a role in everything. You need an artist for anything you’d be doing. Art is very important and people don’t realize that.”  

Dr. Tara Hyland-Russell, Vice President of Academics and Research at Northern Lights, said “in order to have a strong and resilient community, we must have a thriving arts scene”.

She said the college will be focusing on creating new art courses for the campus.  

Hyland-Russell said she wants to the college to help make “Dawson Creek a destination for people to come to. And I think that’s creating opportunities and a larger profile for the arts is what’s really going to energize Dawson Creek.”   

She said an assessment will be done with the Dawson Creek arts community in the near future to determine what courses should be offered.