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$200,000 gift for new student internships through Elspeth McConnell Fine Arts Awards

Doggone Foundation and Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts join forces to create support that connects young practitioners to the community
October 9, 2018
By Marta Samuel

The next generation of fine arts students can embark on new, community-based internships — thanks to support from the late Elspeth McConnell who established the Montreal-based Doggone Foundation in 2012.

“Elspeth’s feeling was that you should look first at what can be done in your own community and your own backyard,” says Paul Marchand, president of the Doggone Foundation. “She wanted Montreal to be a leader.”

Adds Marchand: “Concordia is a multicultural institution — something that appealed to Elspeth McConnell. If we help enhance Concordia, we can help advance what she believed in.”

On October 9, the Doggone Foundation announced it was giving $200,000 towards the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now.

The gift will support the Elspeth McConnell Fine Arts Award, which will annually provide $5,000 to 18 Faculty of Fine Arts students to undertake internships in non-profit organizations.

“We are grateful to the Doggone Foundation for its support,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard. “These opportunities advance our strategic direction to Get Your Hands Dirty. The Doggone Foundation is providing our students with opportunities for experiential learning to become highly engaged citizens of Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the world.”

The Elspeth McConnell Fine Arts Award will be granted in all nine fine arts departments. Students who apply will be encouraged to come up with an internship project and approach a non-profit art organization of their choice. The goal of these awards is to allow students to gain on-the-job experience.

Internships can take place at museums, cultural festivals, exhibition spaces, community theatres, performing arts groups, artist-run centres, co-ops, libraries, schools, art therapy sites or other non-profit arts organizations and projects.

Elspeth McConnell The late Elspeth McConnell established the Montreal-based Doggone Foundation in 2012.

“We are proud to partner with the Doggone Foundation,” says Rebecca Duclos, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. “We share a vision that students should be active in our community — making things happen that matter — and we are thankful the foundation will fund student internships that are crucial to allow our scholars to work with non-profit organizations across Montreal.”

The Doggone Foundation recently made landmark gifts to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and the McGill University Health Centre. By giving to Concordia, the Doggone Foundation is widening its scope in Montreal.

“We started the discussion with the university and then crafted the program together,” says Susan Avon, BFA 88, MA 94, secretary for the Doggone Foundation. “We’ve heard it’s already wildly successful and we’re looking forward to what’s next.”

“Awards like these are vital to our future careers,” says Valérie Saulnier, master’s student in music therapy and a recipient of an Elspeth McConnell Fine Arts Award. “The foundation’s encouragement makes me want to work hard so I can give back and make a better society.”

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