Fine Arts Summer Intensive offers experiential education, instruction and more

York University’s Fine Arts Summer Intensive (FASI) is a dynamic learning experience for fine arts students, educators and artists, offering an opportunity to hone existing skills, extend professional knowledge or simply explore an exciting new art form.

Now gearing up for its second season, FASI is a dynamic community outreach and continuing education initiative of York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. It offers experiential workshops, boot camps and intensives in dance, design, digital FASI_dance-Vmedia, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Programs are tailored for high school and university students, emerging and established professionals, educators and arts enthusiasts. Specialized offerings, ranging from two-day training sessions to intensives spanning three or four weeks, are held in May and July in state-of-the-art facilities on York’s Keele campus. FASI is offered with support from York University’s Academic Innovation Fund.

2012 FASI Urban Dance Bootcamp

“FASI doesn’t offer regular, run-of-the-mill workshops,” said Professor Elizabeth Asselstine, chair of York’s Department of Theatre, who initiated the program last year together with Film Professor Amnon Buchbinder. “Instead, we aim to provide learning experiences that participants can’t get anywhere else.

“That can mean a university-level fine arts education preview for high school students, a subject not offered in regular course selections for our current students, specialized pedagogical training for educators, or professional-level certification to help artists make connections and take their skills to the next level.”

Feedback from participants in FASI’s inaugural 2012 season was overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s astounding that such a valuable cross-disciplinary opportunity isn’t offered elsewhere,” said Felicia Mittica, who took part in a Rusticle Gym workshop last summer. “I’ve been able to expand my training, learning about movement and acting to enhance and support my classical voice education.”

Gillian Balfour was equally enthusiastic about her daughter’s experience in FASI’s hip hop boot camp. “As a high school student with a passion for dance, spending time on a university campus immersed in a post-secondary dance environment was ideal for her,” she said. “FASI was intense and educational. We will be back.”

FASI_cello2012 FASI Cello Bootcamp

FASI 2013 launches in May with a reprise of one of last season’s biggest hits: a series of technical workshops in lighting design for live performance devised specifically for high school students. Last year, three dozen York Region students snapped up the chance to come to campus to work with university instructors and top-of-the-line equipment in the Fine Arts complex.

“This year, we’ve expanded the number of spots to 50 to keep up with the demand,” said FASI coordinator, York alumnus Albert Tam (BFA ’11).

All FASI workshops are taught by professional artists and experienced educators, many of whom are faculty members or graduates of the Faculty of Fine Arts. Highlights include:

  • Fight Director’s Canada Stage Combat Certification Intensive for professionals and pre-professionals, led by former York theatre student Simon Fon, one of only eight accredited fight masters in Canada
  • Art & Electronics, a hands-on boot camp for high school students and a teaching intensive for educators on creating interactive electronic art using the open-source prototyping platform Arduino, taught by David Han, an instructor in the Digital Media Program in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts
  • boot camps in Contemporary Dance, Street Dance and Bollywood Dance for high school students, arts explorers and pre-professionals, led by York alumna Vanessa Kimmons (BFA, BEd ‘08) and contract faculty member April Nakaima
  • Shakespeare without Fear in the Classroom! designed for English and Drama teachers, led by Shakespeare in Action’s artistic director and York contract faculty member Michael Kelly (MFA ’95).
  • boot camps in clarinet, cello and flute performance, directed by York music faculty members Patricia Wait, Mark Chambers and Barbara Ackerman, respectively.
  • Digital Filmmaking boot camp, aimed primarily at high school students and arts explorers, taught by York film graduate Igor Drljaca (MFA ’11), whose critically-acclaimed productions The Fuse: Or How I Burned Simon Bolivar and Krivina have been screened at festivals around the world.

digitalfilmmaking2012 FASI Digital Filmmaking boot camp

New this year, FASI participants have the option to arrange on-campus accommodation.

“It’s an ideal solution if you don’t live near York or commuting isn’t feasible,” said Tam. “Staying on campus not only lets you concentrate fully on your intensive, it also opens the door to exploring Toronto’s great arts and culture scene. And even if distance isn’t an issue, students may want to extend their FASI learning experience with a taste of university residence life.”

For full program details and registration information, visit the FASI website.