Banff School of Fine Arts

Banff School of Fine Arts

The Banff School of Fine Arts was founded in 1933 by Edward Annard ("Ned") Corbett, the second Director of Extension at the University of Alberta. The grant for the Banff School of Drama, as it was originally called, came from the US-based Carnegie Foundation. There were 190 students enrolled in the first two-week course. In 1936, creative writing, playwriting, and painting were added to the school, which was now called the Banff School of Fine Arts. Donald Cameron, who succeeded Corbett as Director of Extension, became Director of the Banff School of Fine Arts in 1936, the same year the first music course was offered.

The School began with a single course in drama but, by 1945, the Banff School of Fine Arts offered courses in theatre, art, music, short story writing, weaving and design, leathercraft, and spoken French. In 1944, 366 students from all over North America attended the school, which was also staffed by people from all across America. The Banff School kept its fees low and provided scholarships to enable students to participate in the programs.

The Banff School of Fine Arts continued to grow. In 1947, the first building was built on the St Julien site in the town of Banff. Five years later, in 1952, the Banff School of Advanced Management was founded. Two years later, the Banff School of Fine Arts started offering its own courses. In spite of this, the Banff School of Advanced Management remained affiliated with the Banff Centre. By the 1950s, there were also opera, photography, and dance programs.

In 1966, the University of Calgary became trustees of the Banff School of Fine Arts and, in 1969, Donald Cameron retired as Director. In 1970, to acknowledge the greater educational role the school had taken on, as well as its increased position as a centre for innovation, the name was changed to the Banff Centre for Continuing Education. The Alberta Government granted the Banff Centre full autonomy as a non-degree granting educational institution in 1978.

The Banff Centre continued to improve its programming and facilities. In the 21st century, it is recognized globally as a leader in creative business, arts, and environmental studies and as an exceptional educational institution and conference facility.

Donald Cameron

Alumni and faculty of the Banff Centre include:

To read more about the Banff Centre, please visit its website

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