Most of the work was done manually, which meant a lot of time spent on homework. But the grueling work created memories that Eisenbarth still remembers today.
“I remember waking up at 3 a.m. sitting in front of the print shop because we had a screen printing project that once again had to be bittersweet because there were so many hours we had to spend on getting our degree. But I loved it all,” she said.
Now, many years later, Eisenbarth is best known for her paintings in and around Medicine Hat. She does a lot of commission work and has recently taken up painting landscapes of southern Alberta. His work and that of seven other graduates are presented at the Esplanade. “Cultivated” is a show of talent from those whose roots all started the same way.
Maureen Newton remembers what it was like to be a student in the art and design program. She graduated in 1985 and then studied at the University of Lethbridge.
“I think I was pretty calm. I remember one of my instructors, I did a painting and I was small and quiet and I didn’t say too much and then all of a sudden these big, expressive, colorful paintings, and people were like , ‘wow who came out of you? It’s quite surprising,” she said.
Now Newton is the owner of Inspire Studio and Cafe’ in the heart of the city’s downtown. Her piece at the Esplanade is called “Beauty Revealed” and it was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her artwork features the painted faces of Medicine Hat women who all wear masks that can be removed by the person viewing the artwork.
“I realized that I really miss people’s faces, and I really don’t recognize people that I know very well,” she said of her post.
Another graduate, Melissa Chinski, took the program in 2005 and, unlike the Eisenbarths and Newtown, she went into graphic design. Years later, she created a successful graphic design company, Flag Five. His company is responsible for the graphic design of businesses and buildings in southern Alberta, including the Esplanade. Reflecting, Chinski credits the program with helping her succeed.
“I would say all the teachers were really motivating to get you where you want to go in your career,” she said.
Three women, three success stories and an appreciation for the place that got them started.
The Cultivated exhibition is on display until April 9. Admission is chargeable.