Alberta University of the Arts: student life on campus

An insider's guide to the best cheap lunch, place to study and more

The 411

Best pizza:
Order an 18-inch pizza from Canadian Pizza Unlimited to feed your friends during late-night studio sessions
Best place for a nap:
You can make anywhere a nap-worthy spot, but the couches in the Nest on the fifth floor are high on the list
Best cheap lunch:
Fusion Sushi, just a short train ride down to Sunnyside for all-you-can-eat
Best hangover breakfast:
1886 Buffalo Café. Take a picturesque walk through Prince’s Island Park and have an incredible breakfast in a building more than 100 years old.
Best bar for hanging out:
Loco Lou’s just across 16th Ave. Wing Wednesdays are a must.
Best weekend activity:
Take a trip out to Banff or Canmore for the food, mountains and all the photo ops
Best place to study:
The Luke Lindoe Library or the “art hole” in the cafeteria area
Weirdest tradition:
The graffiti stairwell, the worst-kept secret in Calgary. Be sure to make your mark while you’re here.
Best place to live:
Sunnyside is an adorable and bustling little neighborhood super close to the train
Best campus event:
Show + Sale: The main mall and “art hole” turn into an art market of current student work. Some students have even made enough money to fund their tuition.
Best giveaway:
At every gallery opening or exhibition, there are always snacks and a barwith student-friendly prices
One thing I’d change about the school:
A designated nap room

PROFILE: Alberta University of the Arts | Calgary, Alta. | Founded 1926

Atop the hill above Sunnyside sits a brick building that looks more like a prison than a school—but don’t be fooled! It houses some of the most whimsical and marvellous students in Calgary. Formerly the Alberta College of Art + Design, we recently rebranded to the Alberta University of the Arts. Though our name has changed, our wild and rambunctious spirit has only grown stronger. AUArts boasts programs ranging from design to art history to glass blowing, so rest assured there is something for every creative soul. Balancing practice with theory, students are able to explore and express their ideas while also learning about critical thinking and in-depth research. Standards are high and critiques can be harsh, but it only improves your work and pushes your creative boundaries. I won’t lie—art school is demanding and the homework is unconventional, but you’ll have some fascinating, boisterous and enriching years.

When you aren’t working in your studio (which you’re assigned in third year after declaring a major), you can join the various clubs on campus. Join the Buttoneers and create buttons to sell or wear, or contribute to one of the many gallery groups and showcase your work in a professional setting.

After Class
The campus is open late so you can spend extra hours honing your craft—but beware, security will kick you out at 1 a.m. so you can get some rest.

We are a thrifty and innovative bunch, so be on the lookout for free supplies in each department. At the annual supply sales run by upper-year students, you may find a prize for your next project or an expensive art history book for super cheap. Additionally, at every gallery opening, there is always free food and bar service with cheap beer.

Local Vibe
Calgary is the sunniest city in Alberta and great for students. We share the city with the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, SAIT, St. Mary’s University, Bow Valley College and Ambrose University, among other post-secondary institutions. The C-Train can take you just about anywhere in Calgary to attend events like Zoo Lights, Stampede, Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, Sled Island festival, Exposure Photography Festival and many more. Not to mention you are a mere hour away from the Rocky Mountains—with access to the best skiing and snowboarding in the world.

More Info
The AUArts Abstract is the home of news, alumni exhibitions, call for submissions, news and updates in and around AUArts.

The Alberta University of the Arts Students’ Association website is also a great place for news and updates—and it features a job board with opportunities both internally and in the Calgary area for some freelance work.

Additionally, AUArts students have created various Facebook groups to keep up-to-date on class announcements, supply sales and to connect with each other.