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Weyburn student awarded Sask Arts scholarship

Rickee-Lee Webster aims to use her skills in art therapy and counselling

Weyburn student Rickee-Lee Webster received a $2,500 Prince Edward Arts Scholarship from SK Arts to study towards a bachelor of fine arts degree.

The Prince Edward Arts Scholarship provides funding to Saskatchewan students who are studying or training in arts programs at post-secondary or recognized arts training institutions.

Rickee-Lee is in her third year of studies at the Alberta University of the Arts, and said she has just declared her major will be in sculpture, with a minor in glass-blowing.

In an interview, she said the courses she’s been taking have been challenging her views on creating art, including on sculpting, and she’s decided she wants to pursue this medium while still continuing with her glass-blowing.

“Glass-blowing is so cool, and I really enjoy doing that,” she said, adding she loves the physicality of creating art, and working with molten glass to create pieces can be very physically hard as glass gets very heavy and very hot in the molten state.

For her sculptures, Rickee-Lee said what’s interesting is virtually any material can be used, both natural and man-made, and sculptures can include a performance aspect as well.

She’s learned also that when using different materials for sculpting, the artist needs an understanding of that material and its cultural significance, and what ideas it can convey.

Last year her school had 26 studio classes, so it was good to be back in class again after the lockdowns, and in her hot glass studio she works with a partner. As a painter, she always was a solo artist, other than when she painted with her mother, Heather Van Der Breggen.

“It’s been a very interesting experience. In the last year, I’ve really seen a progression of my glass work. It’s a really hard skill to learn. Lately I’ve made some bigger pieces, but glass can be really heavy and really hot,” said Rickee-Lee.

Asked if she’s been able to exhibit her work, she noted there are group exhibitions for classes, and there will be an exhibit of works for sale in November where she might put in some pieces. The main opportunity will be in her fourth year, she added, but along the way when they create a work, it has to be exhibition-ready for display.

Her ultimate goal, once she’s completed her degree, is to take a masters course in Vancouver related to counselling using art therapy, and to that end she has been taking classes in psychology while doing her art courses.

She was inspired to go in this direction after visiting rural schools with her mom to do group art projects with classes, and they were able to see how art can help with a person’s wellness.

“I think creativity is a part of all of us. We need to be creative in our life. It doesn’t need to be a paint brush,” said Rickee-Lee.

At the most recent grant deadlines, SK Arts awarded funding to almost 100 individuals and organizations, totaling more than $685,000. SK Arts funding supports a variety of initiatives, including organizations that provide ongoing programs in the arts, the creative work of professional artists, community art projects and the engagement of professional artists to work in schools with students and teachers.

Established in 1948, SK Arts is the oldest public arts funder in North America and second oldest in the world after the Arts Council of Great Britain.