100 Stories

Erica L. Grimm, B.F.A. (Regina), Ph.D. (Simon Fraser)

Chair, Associate Professor of Art & Design, Trinity Western University

Erica L. Grimm

Erica was a student at Campion from 1977 through 1982 where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

It is very clear by Erica Grimm’s accounts of her days at Campion, that something distinct, something definite—a waking up of sorts—happened to her. A product of Father Nash’s vision, she says that the classes “formed her mind” and the Chaplaincy team, through liturgy, “formed her soul”. Her favourite memories are connected with liturgy planning where, alongside Rita Patenaude, Father Bernie Carrol and others, liturgies were planned that wove art, music, drama and movement together to give contemporary form to ancient texts and liturgical seasons.

She recalls a warm community within which the liturgy and faith came alive. Days that were a tapestry of tightly woven experiences linking the Sacred with art and world events; themes that have continued in her art and career ever since.

Erica remembers Sedar suppers, the aroma of roasting lamb wafting from Campion's roof; studying in the library, doing homework in the student center, drawing in the hallways; singing Wood Hath Hope during Holy Week and the processional cross that sprouted leaves; receiving a gift of mineral pigments and pastels; discovering the work of Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Merton; seeing Father Nash’s smile as he enjoyed the bustle and energy amidst those in the cafeteria.

Erica’s story reveals that Campion is part and parcel of who she is. She recalls one particular lecture on feminism and Sophia—the mystical contemplative manifestation of faith, delivered by Rosemary Haughton. That lecture fuelled her creativity and her art for years afterward. And what better tribute than to invite Erica back to deliver the 24th Nash Memorial Lecture alongside Tim Lilburn in 2002.

In her response to the urgency of climate change, Erica feels called to address the anthropogenic (man-made) effects seen on oceans. Her current research-creation project is entitled Salt Water Skin Boats: and is a multi-year project that includes a “multidisciplinary, socially engaged phase that seeks to exchange knowledge from a wide range of disciplinary vantage points and spark conversations and curiosity about the most urgent of wicked problems facing humanity today…” Engaged and aware, Erica feels that this is a mindful attempt towards her future goal to “live each moment as wide awake as possible.”