In its second year at the new downtown address, Brock University and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) continue to win international acclaim and awards for the facility. The 2016-17 academic year saw the unveiling of the Rotary Club Reflecting Pool. We hosted visiting conferences and special events such as the Merleau-Ponty Circle Philosophy Conference in September, top Canadian authors gathered for the Two Days of Canada Conference in October, and in January we hosted the Social Justice Research Institute’s third annual Arts, Archives and Affinities event: “Growing Together.” For the first time in Brock’s history we participated in the September/October national Culture Days weekend celebration. The School continues to produce a stimulating program for the university and regional communities under the banner of “Breaking the Surface”.
Highlights by Department:
- VISA instructor Lorène Bourgeois exhibited “Presence: Large Drawings” in the VISA Art Gallery during October.
- In November, VISA welcomed New York artist Liz Sales, from the International Center for Photography, as a Walker Cultural Leader. The artists and students exhibited their work using a large camera obscura “In Light and Darkness”.
- VISA Professor Linda Steer published her new volume “‘Appropriated’ Photographs in French Surrealist Periodicals, 1924-1939” with Routledge.
- “ART BLOCK”, hosted by the Brock Art Collective, showcased the artwork of VISA students in the MIWSFPA Art Gallery through the month of January.
- “Dropped Threads”, a participatory Fibre Arts installation by student Samantha Guerre was exhibited at the MIWSFPA Art Gallery for the month of February.
- VISA Instructor Donna Akrey exhibited “Also Also” at Rodman Hall, February 11 through April 30.
- Brock Talks: “Finding Photographs” by VISA Professor Amy Friend was presented at St. Catharines Library on February 15 (her work was previously featured on the Museum of Modern Art (NYC) Instagram).
- “The Contemporary Body: A Photo-Based Exhibit” included the work of 18 VISA students in an exhibit at Mahtay Café for the month of February.
- Graduating VISA students present their Honours exhibition at Rodman Hall in March and April.
- VISA and STAC faculty collaborated with SUNY Buffalo to realize an installation/performance at Silo City in Buffalo: “Post-Industrial Ephemera: Soundings, Gestures, and Poetics”
Studies in Arts and Culture:
- In December Professor Catherine Parayre’s (STAC) radio documentary about francophone women in Niagara was broadcast nationally.
- Across the new year the STAC/VISA collaborative exhibit “Abstract/Abstracted: ‘This is not a tree'” presented student writing and art in dialogue with works from the permanent collection at Rodman Hall.
- In January, Sharilyn J. Ingram, Assistant Professor in STAC and former director of the MIWSFPA, was appointed Chair of The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.
- Sharilyn J. Ingram (STAC, and co-author of the exhibit catalogue) presented “Making Art for the Market: Flexhaug in Context” at the February 11 opening of “A Sublime Vernacular – The Landscape Paintings of Levine Flexhaug”, presented at Rodman Hall until March 12.
- STAC students exhibit 3D-Printed Synthetic Theatre at the Learning Commons at the end of February.
- Students of the Department of Dramatic Arts finished the summer with their sold out performances of Tottering Biped Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton.
- In September the new play “The Ash Mouth Man” was performed by alumni and faculty of the Stolen Theatre Collective as a Walker Cultural Leader project in the MIW Theatre.
- In October we celebrated the publication of three new books that focus on the role of reflection for professional development, research and teaching, by co-editor Joe Norris, Chair of Dramatic Arts. The faculty of the Department co-edited and published articles in both the Fall and Winter volumes of the Canadian Theatre Review, our national journal.
- In January, alumni and faculty in Twitches and Itches Theatre Company presented an original adaptation of “The Bacchae” as part of the FOPAC Presentation Season at the Robertson Theatre.
- Ongoing projects include a special collaboration with the Niagara Military Museum in Niagara Falls to create two interactive escape rooms. In April we will once again host the “Rhizomes Projects” of the annual In the Soil Festival in downtown St. Catharines, conceived and produced by DART alumni.
- The Department of Dramatic Arts continues the annual program of two mainstage performances in the MIW Theatre: “Gormenghast” (open November 11) and “Radium Girls”, (open March 3), and two productions by the fourth year cohort: “Fefu and Her Friends” (open October 21) and “Neighbourhood 3: Requisition of Doom” (April 21) . In April we host the annual One Act Play Festival.
- Special programming in the MIW Theatre includes “On Cultural Power: The August Wilson/Robert Brustein Discussion, Re-enacted!” (March 15).
- Thanks to the generous gift of the Walker family, the Department of Music launched the Walker String Quartet in 2016. The quartet visited local schools and then celebrated the conclusion of the Fall program with a joint concert performance at Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
- As well as the Encore! Professional Concert Series and annual favourites such as the Guitar Extravaganza, the Department of Music produced 2 concerts by the University Wind Ensemble and 19 concerts in the RBC Foundation Music @ Noon Series, also in the Cairn’s Recital Hall. The Viva Voce Choral Series presented 5 concerts and the MusicEd Plus Chamber Music Ensembles (experiential learning co-curricular program) presented 4 concerts in Cairns and other venues.
- April 1st will be a very special concert event involving more than 50 alumni to mark the retirement of conductor Professor Harris Loewen.
In addition to the exhibition and presentation events, the Marilyn I. Walker School welcomes visitors for tours of the facility. Since the start of the academic year and by mid-February of 2017, Recruitment Officer for the MIWSFPA Madison Roca and her team of Brock Ambassadors, along with faculty and staff of the school, have hosted tours, workshops, and presentations for over 550 students, teachers, councillors, consultants, and members of the community.