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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes VISA unique? What does being an independent and contemporary art school mean?

The Vancouver Island School of Art is the only art school in downtown Victoria. The school is open to all members of the community aged 18 and upwards. People can take individual courses and workshops or participate in a one-year Certificate of Visual Arts program. VISA courses focus on development of technique, personal expression and making art in a contemporary context. All the faculty are practicing artists with a minimum of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and teaching experience. VISA's Certificate of Visual Arts program has been approved by the B.C. Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.

Do I need previous art experience to take a course at VISA?

Most of the courses and workshops at VISA are open to people with no previous art experience. If a course does require “previous experience” this is indicated in the course description.

What are VISA's hours of operation and when is the school closed? What if my class falls on a Public Holiday

·Office Hours Mon-Fri, 9:30am-5:00pm ·Holiday Hours The school is closed on Statutory Holidays. ·If your course is on a day that a Public Holiday falls, class will not be held on that day and a make-up class will be scheduled on the same day of the week during the mid-term break.

When can I view an exhibition in the Slide Room Gallery?

The Gallery is open for viewing during the week when classes are not in session, or by appointment. Check with the office to confirm. When there is an opening and artist talk on a Saturday the exhibition is open to the public between 1-4pm. For more information:

I would like to teach a course or workshop at VISA. How do I apply?

You are encouraged to submit a proposal outlining what you want to teach and submit a CV. For more information review our employment opportunities.

Are VISA's courses tax-deductable?

Students enrolled in the Certificate of Visual Arts program are issued a T2202 (Tuition and Enrolment Certificate) in February for tuition paid for program courses. Courses taken outside of the Certificate program and workshops are not eligible.

Is VISA a Registered Charity? How do I donate to VISA and what can I donate?

Monetary donations can be made through our website, by phone, or in-person. You can also donate to VISA through the PayPal Giving Fund and CanadaHelps. As a charitable organization VISA issues a tax receipt for donations over $25. Tax receipts for automatic monthly donations are issued for the previous year in February. At this time VISA is not accepting donations of books or other supplies.

What is VISA's Transmissable Disease Protocol?

Vancouver Island School of Art’s protocol for planning and conducting safe school operations is informed by recommendations from the BC Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, and the Go-Forward Guidelines from BC’s Public Post-Secondary Sector. This COVID-19 Safety Plan applies to Vancouver Island School of Art faculty, staff and students. Due to health risks posed by exposure to COVID-19, it is mandatory that all faculty, staff and students take reasonable actions to eliminate or minimize their exposure to the virus to reduce the likelihood of transmission. As the pandemic is ongoing additional policies may be added or adjusted according to orders of the Provincial Health Officer. Announcements will be made to keep faculty, staff and students up-to-date. Vaccine passport and photo ID are no longer needed for courses, workshops and events at VISA. Masks are preferred.

School Questions

Can the Certificate of Visual Arts be transferred to a University degree program?

VISA's Certificate of Visual Arts is transferable to the second year of the: ·Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Media Arts or Bachelor of Design degree at EMILY CARR UNIVERSITY OF ART + DESIGN ·Bachelor in Arts, Major in Fine Arts Degree at the VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY Students planning to transfer to one of these institutions upon completion of the Certificate program should check that university’s calendar, as the application process begins partway through the school year. VISA does not automatically send transcripts; students should contact the office to request official and interim transcripts.

Can I take courses without enrolling in the Certificate program?

Yes! VISA’s courses and workshops are open to all adults.

I would like to study at VISA as an international student, how to I acquire a study permit?

Students should start by following the admission requirements on the Certificate program page. Upon acceptance into the Certificate of Visual Arts program international students may apply for a study permit through the Government of Canada website. Processing times can vary, so students should apply early. Travelers visiting Victoria and those joining us online from around the world are welcome to take individual courses and workshops outside of the Certificate program without a study permit.

Does VISA offer online courses?

Yes. Up to 50% of the school’s courses and workshops are taught online (synchronous) via Zoom. Recordings are provided after each class.

Do you offer drop-in sessions?

VISA offers two online drop-in sessions and they are both offered on a bi-monthly basis: Watercolour Mondays and Draw by Drawing. VISA does not have life drawing drop-in sessions. Check our Special Activities page for pop-up drop-in sessions.

How do I register for courses or workshops?

VISA courses and workshops are open for registration on a rolling basis throughout our Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer terms. We are currently registering students for both In-person (as COVID-19 restrictions allow) and Online courses. Please review our website to learn about our course selections for each term. You can register online through our website using either PayPal, VISA or Mastercard. If you would prefer to have one of our staff assist you to register, please email or call our office.

Do you offer classes for youth?

Sunday Drawing (the last Sunday of every month) is an in-person drop-in drawing session where children are welcome if they are accompanied by a parent. $20 for adults, children free of charge. Our online drop-in classes are open to young adults 15 and over: Draw by Drawing and Watercolour Mondays.

How do I apply for financial aid?

The Vancouver Island School of Art is a designated institution with Student Aid BC. Students registered in the Certificate Program are eligible for loans from the British Columbia Student Assistance Program. The fee payment deadline is no later than one week prior to the start of classes. To meet this deadline, it is recommended that Student Loan application forms be completed and mailed to SABC by June 30. If fee payment or written confirmation of loan approval by SABC is not received by the deadline, students will then be responsible to pay 50% of their fees to secure their registration in courses. The remaining 50% is due by September 30. If these conditions are not met, the student may be de-registered from courses.

Can I purchase a gift card?

Gift Cards are available for purchase on our site. Select the Gift Card button under the School Info tab. Gift Cards purchased on the site may be used as a form of payment for courses and workshops. Gift certificates purchased through the office, prior to November 2022 can be redeemed by calling or emailing the school.

Certificate & Courses Questions

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