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First Nations Fine Arts | Certificate


First Nations Fine Arts (FNFA) is a vibrant, successful two-year Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art Diploma program that seeks to honour and support the rich culture and tradition of First Nations art in the Northwest.

Students of Aboriginal descent develop a solid foundation in First Nations Northwest coast art while they learn and practice the traditional art of woodcarving alongside world-renowned master artist/instructors Dempsey Bob (Tahltan/Tlingit), Stan Bevan (Tahltan/Tlingit/Tsimshian), Ken McNeil (Tahltan/Tlingit/Nisga'a), and Nakkita Trimble.

The First Nations Fine Arts program includes field trips to important cultural events and sites, museums and galleries. Visiting artists, dignitaries and cultural advocates enhance the learning environment with their knowledge, wisdom and experience. Students mount a number of public art exhibits each year to acquire the skills required by professional artists to display, promote and sell their own creative work.

First Nation Fine Arts Certificate

Students begin with fundamentals of two-dimensional Northwest coast art design, drawing and painting basics, followed by building and using traditional tools, and traditional work carving techniques.

Students carve a number of pieces to build their proficiency. These include small- to medium-sized plaques, spoons, portrait masks and bowls. All students are expected to participate in carving program legacy projects that will remain at CMTN campuses and make the College campuses more welcoming and supportive of First Nations learners.

Students can opt for a one year certificate or complete two years of study to earn a diploma. 

Apply to CMTN

Visit Apply to CMTN for an Admissions Checklist and to apply online.

Our Educational Advisors are here to help if you have any questions or need guidance along the way.

Dates and locations

Intake Location
Fall 2023 Terrace


FNFA 104Professional First Nations Artist Dev I3
FNFA 106Exhibitons and Curating I3
FNFA 110Shop Safety Basics1
FNFA 112Two Dimensional Design - Basic Forms3
FNFA 113Two Dimensional Design3
FNFA 114Tool Making4
FNFA 116Elements of Wood Carving & Design I3
FNFA 124Elements of Wood Carving & Design Ii3
FNFA 119Tool - Adze Making2
FNFA 135Intermediate Elements of Two Dimensional3
FNFA 213Intermediate Elements of Two Dimensional4
Total Credits32

The FNFA Certificate program is open to beginner and advanced carvers.

Applicants will be evaluated on a first-applied basis and must:

  • Grade 12 Graduation, or Mature Student
  • Be of Indigenous descent
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have successfully completed Math 10 or equivalent
  • Have successfully completed English Studies 10, English First Peoples 10 or equivalent
  • Present a portfolio/samples of the artwork undertaken to date
  • Complete an interview with the Instructional Team
  • It is recommended that applicants have basic computer skills. Instructors may recommend students take a co-requisite computer course
  • Interview and assessment with program coordinator 
Fees Full-time domestic
Full-time: 32 Credits
Tuition: $5,102.08
Student Union Fees:1 $109.28
Extended Health and Dental*: $285.00
Mandatory Fees: $256.00
Total Tuition: $5,751.56
Additional Costs:
*Total Program Cost: $7,351.56

Fees are effective as of August 1, 2024 for 2024/25 academic year


These fees are term based and may vary due to the length of the program.


Tools are mandatory and can be purchased from the college or elsewhere. The published price is based on purchasing tools directly from the college. Please note that these are approximate costs and may vary depending on courses taken

The Coast Mountain Students Union (CMSU) is pleased to offer Extended Health and Dental Insurance to all qualifying members. The plan is mandatory for all students enrolled in 6 or more credits or a trades program of 26 weeks or longer. Some students, including those studying overseas and those with existing extended health coverage, are eligible to opt out. Visit to learn more about the plan or request to opt out. You will also receive a detailed introductory email no later than 6 weeks after your semester starts. For any inquiries about the plan, please contact the Students’ Union Organiser : Golnoosh Namazi,

Furthering education

NEW! First Nations Fine Arts Advanced Diploma

Graduates of the FNFA Diploma can now ladder into CMTN's First Nations Fine Arts Advanced Diploma.  Our new 10-month Advanced Diploma specializes in business courses, jewelry and sculpture with a mentoring approach that increases confidence for students moving forward in their artistic careers.

Students who complete the First Nations Fine Arts Diploma with a GPA of B or better will also be eligible for acceptance into the third year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual or General Fine Arts major) degree program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.