Yùhke Zho* (Northern Light House) is the Hän name for the SOVA building, located on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Queen Street in downtown Dawson City. The building was given its name by Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in elders, Angie Joseph-Rear, Edward Roberts and Percy Henry.
The elders spent three days telling stories and deliberating on potential names for the school. They eventually decided on Yùhke Zho (Northern Light House) because, as Joseph-Rear explains, for them “art was all about colours, vivid colours. Like a stroke of a brush, you wisk your brush across the sky streaking this dancing form.”
Yùhke Zho is a 7,800 sq ft, two storey facility that dates to the mid-20th century. The wooden clad structure once served as a teacher’s residence and a liquor store, as well as offices for both the City of Dawson and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Government. In 2006-07 the building was extensively renovated in preparation for SOVA’s first incoming class. The building is wheel chair accessible and features a lower deck often used for a variety of outdoor student projects.
*Translation credit: Edward Roberts and Percy Henry
The 2D studio is a wonderful room with hardwood flooring and an eighteen-foot ceiling. Casement and dormer windows along two walls allow students to draw and paint under natural light, supplemented by the incandescent sources overhead. Each student is assigned an area in the 2D studio and provided with a stool, easel and tool chest. Students are encouraged to make this space their own through the display of assignments, images and personal objects. The room is equipped with a sink, paper storage drawers, a hand printing press, drying racks and a platform for life models and still-life arrangements.
The 3D studio is equipped with a full range of woodworking machinery including: ban saw, drill press, grinder and lathe. Students work on rolling tables that allow for an array of classroom set-ups, and windows onto the street provide natural illumination in addition to florescent lighting. Floor to ceiling shelving offers ample storage for student work, while a rear loading dock facilitates easy transport of materials and art. Tool and supply rooms house a full range of chisels, hammers, saws, drills, files and found objects.
The Lecture Room is where the four-dimensional studio, visual studies and English courses are taught. This space features an eighteen-foot ceiling, hardwood flooring and casement and dormer windows along two walls. The green and white screens at opposite ends of the room enable digital productions and presentations by students, instructors, visiting artists and academics. This room can be arranged for a variety of purposes and is equipped with a rolling lectern, chalkboard, laser printer and digital projector.
The SOVA Library is a well-appointed fine arts library containing over 2,000 books. The collection includes art historical and contemporary art texts, artist monographs, international art and culture periodicals, and art-related DVDs. In addition, students have access to online databases through the Yukon College Library. The SOVA Library is also available to anyone in the local community. A large outdoor deck beside the Library offers an alternative study space during the fall, while also serving as a public exhibition and performance venue.
The audio-visual lab houses four MacIntosh desktop computers and an excellent selection of software. The lab is also equipped with a digital scanner, laser printer and photography stand. Lighting kits, video and still cameras, audio equipment, cables and miscellaneous gear are available for students to sign-out.
The main floor SOVA Gallery features track lighting as well as natural illumination from windows. This display space can accommodate a full range of two and three-dimensional art, digital works, audio creations and performance art. Students participate in a variety of informal gallery presentations throughout the school year as well as the Open House and Year-End exhibitions.
Art Supply Store
The SOVA Art Supply Store is stocked with an excellent range of materials and tools including: paper, paint, brushes, glue, pencils, ink, books, knives, computer accessories and clay. The shop is the only place in town where students can purchase fine art supplies.
The student lounge provides a space for students to socialize, relax and nourish themselves on campus. This space includes two couches complemented by a dining table and chairs. Students can store food in the fridge, cook with the microwave and toaster oven and use the full complement of kitchenware. A deck off this room offers students another place to hang-out and functions as an outdoor venue for art and performances.
The Administrative and the Program Chair’s offices are located on the second floor of the SOVA building. Students are always welcome to meet with the administration and faculty, as the Yukon School of Visual Arts prides itself on offering a highly accessible, well appointed and personalized visual arts education.
If you have any questions, please contact SOVA at (867) 993-6390 or email us.