Brock initiates review of Rodman Hall Arts Centre


Over the next several months, Brock University will engage in a review process to help determine the Rodman Hall Art Centre’s role in the University’s future plans and programs, and its place in the Niagara arts and culture community.

“Rodman Hall has long been a cultural and historical landmark for St. Catharines and Niagara,” stated Jack Lightstone, Brock President. “The University is seeking the best path forward to ensure Rodman Hall and the art collection are an integral part of our cultural fabric for years to come.”

Brock University acquired Rodman Hall’s gallery, grounds, and art collection in 2003. Since then, the costs for ongoing operations and necessary capital upgrades have become a growing concern for the University.

The original mansion, built in the 1860s, and the art gallery, portions of which are now more than 50 years old, both require critical upgrades to properly maintain ongoing operations. Those upgrades include accessibility requirements, proper environmental controls in gallery spaces and storage areas, irrigation for the Walker Botanical Gardens, energy efficient gallery lighting, expanded storage space for the collection and general maintenance issues.

As Brock moves towards a balanced budget, all opportunities for revenue growth and/or expenditure reductions will be reviewed to align Rodman Hall with the overall direction of the University. Included in the review will be considering Rodman Hall Art Centre’s future role within Brock’s academic model, and where the gallery and art collection fit within the Niagara visual arts community.

“Operating Niagara’s largest art gallery in one of St. Catharines’ oldest buildings, on over eight acres of landscaped property, will obviously result in higher than average costs for operations,” said Brian Hutchings, Brock’s Vice President, Finance and Administration. “We are looking forward to collaborating with the Rodman Hall staff and advisory council members to find potential win-wins that ensure the collection, the gallery, and the property will benefit the University, the City, and the Region moving forward.”

A report on Rodman Hall is expected in the Fall of 2015.

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4 comments on “Brock initiates review of Rodman Hall Arts Centre”

  1. Katherine Percival says:

    As a student of Brock University and of the Visual Arts Department, I find Rodman Hall’s contribution to my education not only relevant but necessary to my growth and goals as a future participant in the St. Catharines community. I have been a student volunteer and staff of Rodman Hall for the last 3 years and if it weren’t for the opportunities that this involvement has provided I would have never experienced and fell in love with the Niagara region.
    Due to living in St. Catharines for four consecutive years including the summers, I have learned about the historical relevance that this region has played in Canadian History, as well as it’s current struggle economically. St. Catharines is becoming more and more of a city that is run through the economics provided by the university and with economics comes culture. St. Catharines has begun to play a major role in Ontario’s Art scene and Rodman Hall is an integral part of that scene. If we lose Rodman Hall, St. Catharines will also lose a large force behind its culture in the community, as well as an important historical building.
    Rodman Hall provides students work opportunities in an already rare field, that not only give students experience that has now become a requirement in todays job fight, but has also houses a rare and valuable Studio Honours program that allows students to better prepare for a masters and build their CV.
    If anything, Brock has spent the last 3 years and millions of dollars on a new Art Centre right down the road from Rodman Hall that it seems out of place and silly to be considering the fate of Rodman Hall when this is a perfect opportunity to combine the forces of the two and make it a successful investment, rather then jumping the gun on the bill too short.

  2. David Aurandt says:

    Rodman Hall is important for a number of reasons, certainly, but not only, for its architecture, its collection, and the historical and cultural significance in St. Catharines. But Bruce Hutchings refers to it as “… Niagara’s largest art gallery…”, forgetting RiverBrink Art Museum in Queenston. RiverBrink has a distinctive collection of 1,400 works of art and provides year-round exhibitions as well as diverse programming for the community. One hopes Brock University will find a way of maintaining and employing Rodman Hall’s unique history and character for the benefit of the University and the wider Niagara communities.

  3. Karen Kaija says:

    Please proofread before posting . . . I would never have experienced and fallen in love with . . . as well as its current struggle . . . in today’s job fight. There are other problems with the writing but never mind. Maybe no one cares about grammar any more but, really, it distracted me from your good points.