Fine Arts teacher Margaretha Bootsma passes away

Inspirational teacher’s influence will live on.

Kwantlen scholarship established in her memory.

By Debbie Langtry

The Fine Arts Department of Kwantlen has recently suffered a huge loss: Margaretha Bootsma.

Margaretha was more than just a drawing teacher at Kwantlen, she was a very successful professional artist and a very inspirational coach for budding new artists. For two years, she courageously fought cancer with grace and dignity.

Photo courtesy of

On Feb. 9, 2011, surrounded by her brushes, paints, photographs, drawing supplies and lots of love she peacefully passed away in her studio near the ocean in Comox, B.C.

Fine Arts students might not realize how large this loss is yet. To many, all it means is a new scholarship available to apply for. Margaretha placed such a high value on art education and the development of her students that a scholarship has been made in her name for third-year BFA students to apply for. Her students meant a lot to her. It is in this way that she can continue to encourage and support them.

Margaretha had a gift for making all of those around her feel incredibly special and inspired others to be better than what they thought they were capable of. She had a way of seeming to dance through life as she greeted each day with a smile, making the most of every moment. Her focus and integrity for art was admirable. She often took creative chances, encouraging her students and others to do the same. The art world has lost someone very special.

Margaretha’s art legacy will live on through everyone she has ever taught and inspired, and by those who have been moved by her thought-provoking works.

It is a very sad time in the Fine Arts department.

Students should not rejoice the new award for their loss of this talented and inspirational person hasn’t completely been realized yet. Faculty know this loss and are grieving, for she was their colleague and friend. She was my teacher and I am grieving too because she unknowingly affected me deeply and inspired me endlessly.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that only donations be made and one of their choices was to Kwantlen Polytechnic University for a student award created in her honour. She has graced us with this gift (among many others) so thankfully, she will never completely leave us.

The recipient of this new scholarship, along with another new Fine Arts scholarship from Linda Schwartz (our past Dean of Humanities) will be announced at the Annual Fine Arts Exhibition “Stretch of Road” opening on Friday, March 25 at 6 p.m. Come out and see some great art at the new Cloverdale Campus gallery space. The show continues March 28 -31 from 10 a.m. to 1  p.m.