Stephanie Anderson, a Wet’suwet’en artist, is creating a name for herself in northwestern British Columbia.
Anderson, 28, grew up in Terrace, B.C., but everything changed after she walked through the doors of the art school she enrolled in.
She spent hours honing her craft and the training, and tools she received helped her to carve “Wolf and Moon” which placed second in Indigenous Arts and Stories this summer.
The competition had 950 submissions, the largest amount in the program’s 15 year history.
(The Wolf and Moon by Stephanie Anderson)
Anderson graduated the third-year program at Freda Diesing Art School at Coast Mountain College.
“It kind of lifted me up you know. I was like ‘wow’ because it’s Canada wide. They pool it from artists all over Canada. I just felt beside myself that I was selected.
“I was also just really grateful being runner up,“ said Anderson.
Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, named after the Haida artist, continues her legacy of carrying First Nations culture and arts.
The school is remarkable, a First Nations art and program where students receive university credits which are recognized by Emily Carr University.
(Ken McNeil is a founding member of the school, a master carver and one of Anderson’s mentors. Photo: Lee Wilson/APTN)
“The Freda Diesing School is the first of its kind in Canada… she taught a lot of well-respected carvers in B.C.,” said Ken McNeil.
McNeil has mentored Anderson from the start in college and now is working with her on a piece that will go on display at Vancouver International Airport.
Part of their program that recognized emerging artists. For Ken seeing students and graduates have success makes him proud.
“It leaves a good feeling in me to see the students that progress into the art market because it is a hard place to be and a hard place to stay,” he said.
Anderson said there are challenges of being a northwest artist in Canada.
She has been working 12 months straight on her art for the local area.
She has developed pieces for the Terrace post office, carving for Skeena Salmon Fest and a mural for the Terrace Airport.
“Any entrepreneur in any field, you’re self-reliant, you are the boss, you are working all the time to make deadlines and make opportunities to meet people,” she said.
“It’s more than a full-time job”