Call for Applications: University of Waterloo MFA in Studio Art 2022 | Thesis Exhibition by Sara Pearson


Sara Pearson, In-tension (the body parts and gathers), ceramic, linen, hardware, 2020-2021.

Sara Pearson
MFA Thesis Exhibition
Forms of Relief

Presented by The University of Waterloo
November 22nd – December 6th, 2021


Sara Pearson, detail of In-tension (the body parts and gathers), ceramic, linen, hardware, 2020-2021.

Sara Pearson calls this exhibition, and the body of work that it supports forms of relief. The word relief has several meanings: in the sculptural sense, the Latin root word relevo means to “raise or to lighten”, visually resulting in sculpture that combines two- and three-dimensional forms supported by a background of the same material. Relief as an emotion, means to feel happiness after a period of anxiety, stress or pain. Those who live with, or have experienced chronic pain or illness, understand that true relief will never be a reality. Something chronic does not go away—it is something that is managed and lived with as well as possible. The artwork in this thesis examines this dual reality of relief and chronic pain through material and conceptual explorations by presenting artistic representations of cognitive and physical restoration practices that resonate with personal meaning.

Originally from a small island on the west coast of Canada, Sara Pearson is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. She received a BFA, major in drawing and painting, from the Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2015. Her work centers on the merging of science and a self-reflexive fine arts practice. Sara is a member of the arts organization, Akin Collective. She has shown with Patel Gallery in Toronto, and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in the region.
Sara Pearson Website

The exhibition can be viewed by appointment please contact: or

The University of Waterloo
MFA, Fine Arts

Application Deadline: February 1, 2022

The MFA Studio Art Program
Waterloo has an intimate program built around studio research, practice, professional development, and pedagogical training. Studio work culminates in a solo exhibition at UWAG (University of Waterloo Art Gallery); see past thesis exhibitions here. The pedagogical component includes a seminar in course development, two teaching assistantships and the opportunity to teach an introductory, studio-based course.


On our way home (MFA Retreat), Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island, October 2021.

Generous Funding Plus
With $34,000 for five consecutive terms (2020), one-on-one mentoring with distinguished faculty, plenty of access to facilities, a solo exhibition in our nationally renowned gallery UWAG, and teaching placements, the University of Waterloo is a real gem.

Here’s Who You Could Work With

  • Lois Andison, Associate Professor—sculpture and installation
  • Cora Cluett, Associate Professor—photography and painting
  • Tara Cooper, Associate Professor—print media and video
  • Joan Coutu, Professor—visual culture and art history
  • Ivan Jurakic, Director of UWAG—curator
  • Doug Kirton, Associate Professor—painting and drawing
  • Logan MacDonald, Assistant Professor—indigeneity, installation and curation
  • Bruce Taylor, Professor—ceramics, sculpture and drawing
  • Jessica Thompson, Assistant Professor—sound, performance, mobile technologies
  • Bojana Videkanic, Assistant Professor—art history, theory, performance art and curation

Keith and Win Shantz International Scholarships
A key feature of our program are the Keith and Win Shantz Scholarships, which enable all MFA candidates to travel and study alongside a professional artist during their summer term. Our students have been to the England, Germany, Spain, Scotland, Denmark, Brazil, China, Portugal and the United States. To find out more from our scholarship recipients see the 2018 Shantz Short. Despite having to adapt to COVID-19 and postpone travel scheduled in 2020, Waterloo plans to continue this unique opportunity—a cornerstone of our program.

Top University for Innovation
The University of Waterloo is one of the leading comprehensive universities in the country and has been recognized by Maclean’s magazine as #1 one in Canada for most innovative university, #3 for best overall university, and #4 for highest quality (Macclean’s 2022 university rankings).

The application deadline for our MFA program is February 1, 2022.

Note: Fine Arts is only accepting domestic applicants at this time (i.e. Canadian citizens or permanent residents). Due to a combination of university and provincial funding, we are limited in our capacity to support international students.

For more information, contact Tara Cooper, Associate Chair of Graduate Studies at, visit or follow us on Instagram @waterloomfa.