COVID-19 Updates from Chair John Hatch

 

COVID-19 Update  

January 13th, 2021

The recent dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario has necessitated a number of steps by the provincial government to try and stem the current tide. The University hasn’t been too drastically affected. As was announced before the holiday break, the University delayed the start of the Winter term and continues to encourage staff to work from home as much as possible. It has reduced the number of students permitted for in-person classes to 9 or less, but has not prevented those classes from running that can only effectively function through in-person delivery. I am happy to report that the provincial government’s announcement of a stay-at-home order does not affect any of the restrictions that are currently in place on campus, nor does it introduce new ones. Faculty, staff and graduate students, can continue to come to campus as long as they follow the protocols of mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing, and fill out the return to campus form for every visit. Our current in-person classes can continue as long as the December capacity restrictions are respected. I would add though that visiting the campus is strongly discouraged so unless you absolutely have to, please don’t. I had hoped that my recent trip to Owen Sound would have generated enough outrage to force the Dean to ask for my resignation, alas, nothing yet. So still Chair and still running the Department. Stay safe, we’ll soon get the shot in the arm needed to get back to normal.

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Update: December 22nd, 2020

This message is to highlight the update that was just posted to the Western COVID-19 update page December 22 - Western University (uwo.ca). You will note that the campus will go into a similar state of lockdown that we experienced over the course of the Summer. The Visual Arts Centre will only be accessible by security swipe to Faculty, Staff and Graduate Students who need to visit their offices. If you plan to visit campus, please be sure to complete the HR Questionnaire (Return to Campus Questionnaire FAQs - Return to Campus Questionnaire FAQs - Western University (uwo.ca)) prior to your arrival. As has been the case since last March, Faculty, Staff and Grad Students who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so in compliance with Health Unit recommendations. Dean Milde and Department Chairs will be working through the transition of in-person classes to online where required.

 

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Update: October 5, 2020

We can’t wait to welcome you back to the Department of Visual Arts. In order to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for our campus community, your experience in the Visual Arts Centre will be different than in previous years. All decisions surrounding our policies for the Fall 2020 term have been made in line with the current University and Health Unit directives. They may change as the COVID-19 Situation evolves.

The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority; it is a shared responsibility and we all play a critical role. In addition to the guidelines outlined by the University on the Health and Safety website, the directives below apply to the Visual Arts Centre to ensure a safe year for all.

In order to keep building occupancy low and allow for physical distancing, only students enrolled in in-person classes in the VAC will be allowed in the building for the Fall 2020 term. 

Visit Western’s COVID-19 page to read the latest campus updates in full.

Visual Arts Centre (VAC) Building Guidelines

University Health and Safety Measures

The Department of Visual Arts will be adhering to all directives outlined by Western University and the MLHU. These include:

  • requiring a non-medical face-covering in all indoor spaces
  • completing the daily return to campus questionnaire
  • practising physical distancing (6ft)
  • frequent handwashing
  • staying home if feeling unwell
Up-to-date guidelines can be found at: https://www.uwo.ca/coronavirus/health-safety.html 

 

Building Safety Measures

  • Building Occupancy: in order to keep building occupancy low and allow for physical distancing, only students enrolled in in-person classes in the VAC will be allowed in building for the Fall 2020 term.
    • The doors will be locked and accessible via card access only for any authorized students.
    • Each student must access the door individually with their WesternONE card, so that we may have a record of who has been in the building.
    • Letting anyone in behind you is strictly forbidden; it may jeopardize your safety and those working in the building.
    • At this time, all AH (Art History) & MCS (Museum and Curatorial Studies) classes are being offered online, unless students are also enrolled in SA (Studio Art) in-person courses, they are not allowed in the VAC at this time.
  • Work from Home: students are encouraged to work from home when possible, and only to come to the Visual Arts Centre for class or completion of assignments.
  • Food and Drink: are not permitted in the Visual Arts Centre, please consume your meals at your home or in designated campus eateries.
  • Clean-in, Clean-out: students will be provided with spray disinfectant and disinfectant wipes for shared tools and surfaces. Any shared equipment must be sanitized by the user before and after each use.

Studio and Gallery Guidelines

Artlab Gallery

As of  September 17th 2020, the Artlab Gallery and Cohen Commons will be operating virtually. In-person visits are not permitted at this time.

Please email Ruth Skinner artlab@uwo.ca for additional details.

Printmaking Studio

Restricted for use by students enrolled in SA 2630A/B and SA 3633 only.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines will be outlined during your first day of class.

Students will be required to wash their hands upon entering the classroom and before leaving.

Nitrile gloves will be required for use of shared tools such as presses and must be disposed of after each class.

Students will be provided with instructions from their professors on when they can access the space, in order to ensure room capacities are not exceeded, physical distancing is maintained, and that safety protocols are followed.

Professors Johnson and Mahon will provide additional details to students enrolled in the course regarding scheduling.

4th year students enrolled in SA 4606A, 4608BSA, 4694A or 4696B may request a special permission to access the printmaking studio by contacting the Undergraduate Chair, only if access to printmaking equipment is vital to their research.

Sculpture Studio

Restricted to use by students enrolled in SA 2643.

Graduate students, faculty, and students enrolled in sculpture classes will be required to book an appointment to ensure occupancy capacities are respected in each area of the sculpture studio. Please contact Sculpture Technician Andrew Silk ( asilk3@uwo.ca ) to book an appointment.

Hands must be washed upon entry and before leaving.

Shared hand tools need to be disinfected before and after each use; in other words, “Clean-in, Clean-out.”

Media Lab & Cohen Lab

All Fall 2020 Media Courses are being offered online, as such the media lab is closed to undergraduate students.

Graduate students requiring access should contact Media Technician Jennifer Slauenwhite ( jslauen@uwo.ca ) to book an appointment.

Two iMac computers with the adobe creative suite are available by appointment in the Cohen Lab. Please contact Kim Neudorf ( kneudorf@uwo.ca ) to book an appointment.

All media lab and Cohen lab users will be required to wash their hands before entering, and wipe down their work station before, and after use with a provided disinfectant; in other words, “Clean-in, Clean-out."

Sound Booth

As all Fall 2020 Media Courses are being offered online and due to the risk of droplet transmission inherent with audio recordings, the sound booth will be closed to undergraduate students for the Fall 2020 year.

Graduate students and faculty wishing to conduct research in the sound booth will need to do so while wearing a non-medical face covering (including during the recording) as is required by the MLHU bylaw and Western Policies, and will need to be trained on disinfecting the equipment before and after each use. 

Contact Media Technician Jennifer Slauenwhite ( jslauen@uwo.ca ) to book an appointment.

Photography/Videography Studios

As all Fall 2020 Media Courses are being offered online, the photography studio and creativity studio will be closed to undergraduate students.

Graduate students and faculty wishing to conduct research in the photo studios will need to do so while wearing a non-medical face covering (including, during the recording) as is required by the MLHU bylaw and Western Policies, and will need to be trained on disinfecting the equipment before and after each use.

Portraiture, for example, cannot at this time be completed in an indoor studio without a face covering. As an alterative, portraits could take place outdoors, with 6ft of distancing if your subject wishes to remove their face covering.

Graduate Students and Faculty may contact Jennifer Martin ( jmart288@uwo.ca ) for availability.

Sign-Out Equipment

As all Fall 2020 Media Courses are being offered online and due to the risks of transmission inherent with high-touch shared equipment sign-out equipment will not be available to undergraduate students for the Fall 2020 year.

Graduate students and faculty wishing to conduct research with shared equipment in indoor spaces will need to do so while wearing a non-medical face covering (including, during the recording) as is required by the MLHU bylaw and Western Policies, and will need to be trained on disinfecting the equipment before and after each use. A 72-hour quarantine period is required for all returned equipment, please be mindful, this may impact equipment access.

Equipment will only be loaned for research-related use; personal projects will not be supported for this year.

Instructions on pickup and return will be provided at the time of the booking.

For bookings please contact Jennifer Martin ( jmart288@uwo.ca ) or Kim Neudorf ( kneudorf@uwo.ca ).

Painting Studio

Restricted to use by students enrolled in SA 3623.

Room capacity is limited, and thus a schedule will be established by Professor Glabush in order to ensure less than 16 people in the studio at any time.

Students may only enter the painting studio during their scheduled timeslot.

Drawing Studio & Foundations Studio

Closed at this time due to capacity restrictions and all drawing courses being offered online.

Practicum Studio

Closed at this time due to capacity restrictions and SA 4605 being offered online.

Main Office

The Main Office staff will continue to support students, faculty and staff virtually, Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:00pm.

Please contact:
visarts@uwo.ca for undergraduate and graduate program inquiries
medmist@uwo.ca for financial and HR inquiries
- jmart288@uwo.ca for communications & building inquiries
- See our staff directory for studio and technical inquiries

Students enrolled in in-person studio classes will also receive additional information and training from their instructor and technicians in their course syllabus.

If you have any questions, please contact your instructor, or the technician overseeing the area you need to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can visit the Visual Arts Centre?

In September, we are prioritizing access to spaces and resources to support undergraduate students enrolled in in-person studio courses, graduate students, staff, and faculty. This will allow us to adhere to capacity restrictions and required health and safety protocols, including physical distancing and enhanced sanitization of our studio spaces. As such only undergraduate students enrolled in in-person classes in the VAC will be allowed in building for the Fall 2020 term.

In addition, visits to the Artlab may be scheduled by appointment. Please contact artlab@uwo.ca to book a visit.

Please do not visit if:

  • You have travelled outside Canada during the previous 14 days.
  • You have symptoms of COVID-19 or are feeling unwell.
  • Someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days.
  • Anyone in your household has been exposed to someone who has or is recovering from COVID-19.


We look forward to welcoming additional students, alumni and community visitors back once it is safe to do so.

What about the artwork I left behind in March?

Artwork left behind at the time of the shut-down in March has been relocated and safely stored in a locked studio classroom.

Students Enrolled in in-Person VAC Classes

Returning students enrolled in in-person studio courses, please visit room VAC 206 during regular office hours starting September 9th, Tuesday-Friday 10 am-2 pm, to gain access to the room to pick up your items.

All Other Students and Former Students

Students not enrolled in in-person classes in the VAC and recent graduates, please e-mail jhatch@uwo.ca to request a pick-up appointment during regular building hours starting September 9th.

We are asking all students to kindly pick up items from last year, remove any artwork from the display walls and empty their lockers before September 30, 2020.

Printmaking students are asked to contact Printmaking technician Jessica Woodward directly to schedule a pickup time.

Keeping our community safe

We have implemented a number of measures, including directional arrows, signage, and removal of seating and equipment so that physical distancing can be achieved. We will have an increased number of hand sanitizer stations available and you will be provided with supplies for sanitizing shared surfaces such as desks, chairs, hand tools, and computer equipment between uses.

Custodial staff will perform their normal cleaning routines for VAC spaces and sanitize high-touch surfaces (i.e. door handles, washrooms, stair rails). We will limit access to certain spaces; food and drink (except water) will not be permitted, allowing custodial staff to focus their efforts. Additional information can be found here: https://www.uwo.ca/coronavirus/health-safety.html