Spotlight on Arts

School of the Arts

Welcome to the School of the Arts (SOTA) where we offer intensive programs in Studio Art, Art History, Music & Music Cognition and Theatre & Film Studies. SOTA’s faculty recognize the integral role of the arts in individual and public well-being, community building, inclusivity, and global awareness. We offer a unique balance of hands-on and experiential opportunities combined with historical, theoretical and critical approaches. Our students study the social and cultural implications of the arts, and they collaborate with faculty in studio and laboratory settings, mount and critique exhibitions and theatrical productions, and train as solo and ensemble performers.

SOTA graduates are resourceful, innovative, and highly adaptable learners who can navigate the social, cultural, and economic complexities of the contemporary world and contribute in a meaningful way to the decision-making processes of their societies. As the arts hub at McMaster, SOTA organizes and hosts concerts, exhibitions, performances, visiting artists, and workshops, which connect our faculty to the vibrant cultural communities of downtown Hamilton, and bring our students into direct engagement with the public at large.

Graham Todd Imaginary Spaces exhibition

McMaster University choral conductor Rachel Rensink-Hoff awarded the Leslie Bell Prize

Rachel Rensink-HoffThe Ontario Arts Council(OAC) today announced Rachel Rensink-Hoff as the latest recipient of the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting. She will receive the award at a performance of the McMaster University Choir and the McMaster Chamber Choir at Hamilton’s Central Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Congratulations to Olga Vilkova, winner of the 2015 Bedford Piano Competition

Olga Vilkova winner (in the center)

Chris Myhr: Approaches to Erg

Chris Myhr recordin on shore

Monica Brinkman, Level IV Studio Art
Art students enrolled in ART 3BA3 (Book Arts) visited the 21st floor of the Stelco Tower in downtown Hamilton. From this bird's eye view of the city the class will be generating images for hand made books focusing on the city. Student drawing in the window with the view of the Hamilton city

Takeda/McMaster Art Competition awards $2000 to Abedar Kamgari

Abedar KamgariArt student Abedar Kamgari has an opportunity to apply her studio skills to a community-placed, commissioned work of art thanks to an art competition provided through the Takeda Corporate Social Responsibility Committee at Takeda Canada Inc.

Abedar responded to this year’s theme, Committed to Canadians, with a proposal to weave a unique work of art using hand-dyed and Canadian made materials. The resulting work will receive a $2000 purchase prize and hang in the Oakville pharmaceutical company collection. Abedar is delighted to receive public recognition and monetary reward for her art while she pursues her McMaster BFA degree.

Digitizing Bach at the IAML 2015 conference New York City, New York

Dr. Schutz will give a presentation entitled “Digitizing Bach:  Diverse tools facilitate new explorations of music’s communicative power” at the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) conference. This presentation will include a debut of a new tool for interacting with a database of information related to different editions and interpretations of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier (Book 1) as part of an ongoing project on music and emotion.  The conference will take place at the Julliard School in NYC, from June 21-26, 2015. 

You can find this news posted at as well, in case you want to see the format, etc…


Dr. Robert and Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium

Start Date: Monday, Sept 22, 2014
End Date: Friday, May 29, 2015

Dr. Robert and Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium

Let the countdown begin: Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium beginning to take shape

On Monday, ground was broken at a facility that will reinvigorate and revolutionize McMaster's fine arts community.

Full speed ahead on the Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium. From left to right: Cassandra Ferguson, a student artist at McMaster; Judy Major-Girardin, associate professor, School of the Arts; Patrick Deane, McMaster president and vice-chancellor; Robert Fitzhenry, alumnus and project benefactor; Ken Cruikshank, dean, Faculty of Humanities; Mary Williams, vice-president, University Advancement.

John FordDr. John Ford has just been awarded an Ontario Arts Council Established Artist grant of $15,000. He is one of eighteen to be awarded funding in this round of applications.

Dr. Michael Schutz is the 2014 recipient of the Petro Canada Young Innovator Award. Dr. Schutz and his student researchers in the MAPLE Lab (Music Acoustics Perception and Learning) are studying differences in the brains of professionally trained musicians and those without formal training.