History

The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts was formed in 2002 as an interdisciplinary centre for creative and scholarly activities. We are respected professionals who are experienced teachers and remain active in our disciplines, bringing relevant and up-to-date instruction.

Our collective mission embraces a combination of critical thinking, theoretical reflection and practical outcomes. In offering 3-year Pass, 4-year BA (Hons) and BMus degrees, we provide the foundation for hands-on experience while encouraging insight, rigour and independent thought. The history of our respective art forms and the thematic relationships between contemporary practice and conceptualization are key to understanding how imagination, creativity and innovation are at the heart of society’s most original cultural expression.

The Walker Gift and New Building Confirmed

In November 2008, President Jack Lightstone announced a $15-million gift from Marilyn I. Walker, famed fibre artist and philanthropist. Unprecedented in its generosity and foresight, the gift was key to securing the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building (198 St. Paul Street) in downtown St. Catharines for future adaptation as a state-of-the-art learning facility. The university and the city have combined forces to create a Performing Arts Centre and a new home for the MIWSFPA. Construction of this $100 plus-million project is scheduled for Spring/Summer 2013 with a substantial completion date of May 2015 for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and Fall 2015 for the Performing Arts Centre.

The new purpose-built facility will house 50 full-time faculty, part-time instructors and staff and more than 500 students. It will enrich the lives of students pursuing careers as artists, theatre directors, actors, musicians, cultural theorists, skilled teachers and the like.

Marilyn I. Walker made this visionary concept possible. Her gift is civic mindedness at its best and an inspiration to many others who have given in support of this project. The gift enabled us to advance to the next crucial step — a feasibility study that advocated a partnership between the university and the city.

The community supports the creation of this cultural hub. In addition to adapting the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building, the construction of adjacent performance or presentation spaces will positively impact on our community providing the citizens of St. Catharines and the Region with exceptional cultural facilities.

Community support

Breaking ground