Articles tagged with: marilyn i. walker

  • First students to complete entire four-year degree at downtown MIWSFPA graduate June 14

    Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    The first group of students to have completed their entire four-year degree at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ downtown St. Catharines facility crossed the stage at Spring Convocation on Friday, June 14.

    Sixty-three students from Brock’s Departments of Music, Visual Arts and Dramatic Arts graduated from the downtown arts school, which opened its doors in 2015. Nine students who minored in programs at the MIWSFPA will also graduate on Friday.

    The milestone is not lost on the 2019 graduating class.

    “It’s a cool honour to be part of Brock history and I’m grateful to have trained in such a professional environment,” said Emma McCormick, who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts, Performance Concentration. “I feel that I’ve gained a lot of skills that will serve me in my career, specific to the learning I received at the MIWSFPA.”

    The London, Ont. native is the recipient of the Jean Harding Prize, which is awarded to the student who achieves the highest standing in fourth-year Dramatic Arts. She plans to remain in St. Catharines after graduation, where she will continue her studies in Brock’s Adult Education program and working in the performing arts sector.

    Providing students like McCormick with a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility was the vision of the School’s namesake, the late Marilyn I. Walker.

    When the famed textile artist and philanthropist donated $15 million to Brock University in 2008, she envisioned the creation of an arts facility that would revitalize downtown St. Catharines and encourage students to study and practice the arts here in the Niagara region.

    Her generosity and foresight allowed for the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building to be converted into the new home for the Departments of Music, Dramatic Arts and Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, which had previously been housed at Brock’s main campus.

    The $45.5-million project also received a $26.2-million investment from the Ontario government, numerous private and corporate donors, and relied heavily on the insight and contributions of hundreds of partners such as then-Dean of Humanities, Rosemary Hale, and the City of St. Catharines.

    MIWSFPA Director Elizabeth Vlossak, who joined the School on an interim basis from the Department of History, said she has seen first-hand the impact the facility and its programming has on students.

    “Although the School is a cultural hub that acts as a living, breathing connection between the city’s past and future, it’s also so much more than that,” she said. “In my short time here, I have seen how these incredible facilities and engaged, passionate faculty benefit our students.”

    Graduand Alyssa Shanghavi, of St. Catharines, said she appreciated the availability of unique practice spaces on campus for music students like herself, which allowed her to focus on her studies and hone her skills on the trombone.

    The Bachelor of Music recipient said being around other artists all the time and in such close proximity to the downtown core was an invaluable complement to her education.

    Gianna Luisa Aceto, a graduand from Mississauga, said that as a painter, she “enjoyed and most definitely appreciated the space the MIWSFPA provided.”

    As well as making new friendships and plenty of memories, Aceto attributes the successful completion of her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art to the artistic identify she forged while studying at the School.

    “One of the biggest takeaways for me is finding my passion, my niche,” she said.
    “I struggled a lot in finding out what I wanted to create and the reasons for creating it. My time spent within the walls of the MIWSFPA allowed me to uncover that knowledge.”

    She also said she has an undeniable gratitude for her professors, and that “the drive they instilled in me has not gone unnoticed.”

    Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam said this milestone serves as time to reflect on the importance of the arts and its ability to create healthy and flourishing communities.

    “This first class of students to have spent their entire Brock careers in this splendid facility serve this mission in downtown St. Catharines and in the broader community, but they have also been a defining force within the MIWSFPA itself,” she said. “They have been largely responsible for creating the culture of the School as a place to learn, create and serve as a community. Their impact will last a very long time, and we are proud to see their graduation day.”

    Longstanding former MIWSFPA Director Derek Knight echoed Merriam’s sentiments.

    The Associate Professor said the class of 2019 should receive their degrees with pride having been part of an extraordinary university experience and contributing to the legacy of the arts, both at Brock and in the community.

    With the MIWSFPA’s fifth anniversary on the horizon, the School will continue to offer students unique teaching and learning experiences while honouring the spirit of its benefactor, he said.

    “What was interesting about Marilyn is that she was always very curious and engaged with how we, the faculty, envisioned the future,” Knight said. “She thought it was our job to rise to the challenge and define the potential of what she had given to us in the form of this extraordinary gift. I think, in many ways, we’ve done that.

    “Now, we are charged to think about not only what we will offer today, but in the long-term, and how we will define pedagogy and the School’s identity long into the future.”

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    Categories: Alumni, Events, News

  • New for 2018: the Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award

    Beginning in 2018 the Executive of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be awarding the Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award.

    This award will be made to an undergraduate student who is graduating from the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), Brock University; who is awarded, by vote of the Executive Committee of the MIWSPFA, the top prize for a piece of textile art produced and submitted by said student.

    As the award must be granted to a student for the purposes of his or her continuing education and or development, students must also submit an expression of their intention to continue this education and or development.

    For the purposes of this award, textile art is defined as a work of art that utilizes any and all forms of textiles, either natural or man-made, and in any form of original artistic expression.

    For the purposes of this award, continuing education or development is defined as any form of post graduate education and development which the student may wish to pursue whether at a college, university, by way of apprenticeship at a technical institute or at a research facility.

    We thank Marilyn I. Walker and her estate for the legacy of her generosity.

    See the article about the first recipient of the new award, Victoria Reid (Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Studio Art, with First-Class Standing, 2018).

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, News

  • St. Catharines celebrates opening of ‘transformative’ downtown arts school

    Brock University ambassadors provided a tour of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts following the grand opening proceedings.

    Brock University ambassadors provided a tour of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts following the grand opening proceedings.

    (Source: Niagara This Week, September 21, 2015 | By Mike Zettel)

    ST. CATHARINES – There was excitement in the air Friday in front of the former Canada Hair Cloth building as hundreds gathered under and around a large tent to celebrate a new purpose for the 19th century textile factory.

    The culmination of a work begun more than eight years ago, Brock University and the City of St. Catharines officially opened the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The building, which, skillfully designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, incorporates much of the former factory, including its brick, wooden and steel beams and large windows, while adding state-of-the-art elements.

    It houses the dramatic arts, music, and visual arts departments, as well as the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture. In all, 50 full-time faculty members, part-time instructors and staff will join about 500 students in the $45.5-million facility.

    Brock president Jack Lightstone traced the path leading to last week’s opening, saying it began with a vision by former chancellor Ray Moriyama and former dean of humanities Rosemary Hale, who say the potential for the old industrial site located right in the heart of the downtown.

    The school complements the soon opening FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, with students going back and forth between the two adjacent facilities.

    Lightstone said the decision to move downtown was made at Brock under the condition the university would not be making a standalone building but rather one that works within a new vision for the downtown as a hub of arts, culture, entertainment and digital media.

    “Right from the very beginning it was conceived we would use each other’s buildings in a symbiotic and dynamic way,” he said.

    The beginnings of the project were also accompanied by an inevitable skepticism, Lightstone said, noting he was reminded all too often of the many failed plans for revitalizing the downtown.

    Those voices were largely silenced, though, he said, by the generous and “transformative” gift by Norris and Marilyn I. Walker of $15 million to establish the school.

    “When they made that commitment, everyone knew we had no choice but to make it happen,” he said, calling it a “catalytic moment.”

    MPP Jim Bradley, who Lightstone referred to as the minister of Niagara and Brock, said the school has added to a new feeling of optimism for downtown St. Catharines.

    “Today it stands as a testament to our manufacturing past and as an example of our economic renewal and creative spirit in our community,” he said.

    Mayor Walter Sendzik noted there were many who made the vision for the school a reality, and he singled out the previous council under former Mayor Brian McMullan for ensuring the building, which had to be expropriated, was available for Brock.

    However, he said three people, Lightstone, Hale and Walker, were crucial to its success.

    “Take one of those involved out of the equation, and I don’t think we’re standing here today,” he said.

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    Categories: In the Media, News

  • With construction finished, Brock’s new downtown arts school gets ready to educate

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, June 1, 2015. Photo: Music student Grace Snippe performs during a media tour of the Marilyn I. Walker School for the Fine and Performing Arts on Friday. A videographer from CHCH in Hamilton zooms in.)

    On 15 May 2015, after more than two years of construction, a major project in downtown St. Catharines was granted formal occupancy by the city’s building department.

    At that moment, the new home of Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts officially stopped being a building project and began life as a dynamic educational facility.

    The keys were handed over, and the University became responsible for everything from security guards to providing Wi-Fi, switching on the lights and cleaning the restrooms.

    Brock University President Jack Lightstone calls the MIWSFPA a landmark development for Brock and Niagara.

    “For Brock, it provides another purpose-built facility serving the very specialized needs of the school, like the Cairns Complex has done for science and health science,” he said. “For Niagara, it is a landmark in what a university and a city government can achieve in a close working partnership to bring new life and a new economic base to St. Catharines’ downtown core.”

    The five-storey school is partly new construction and partly restored heritage buildings, including a 19th-century textile mill. But it’s all state-of-the-art, from the new 235-seat performing arts theatre to its digital media studios, photo darkrooms, instrumental music rooms and any other number of specialized facilities needed to support the development of students within numerous genres of dramatic arts, music and visual arts.

    The project was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, who have been the visionaries behind entertainment complexes in cities from Toronto and Montreal to St. Petersburg, Russia.

    “The adaptive re-use of this fine heritage structure is bringing to life innovations in dramatic arts education that demonstrate the value of preserving this building in the revitalization of St. Catharines,” said Michael Leckman, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.

    The inaugural wave of 500 students won’t arrive for another three months, but from now until September the Walker School will bustle with activity.

    Just furnishing an empty 93,700-square-foot complex will take weeks, and once the moving trucks have stopped unloading, faculty and staff members relocating from the Walker School’s current home on the main Brock campus will scramble to get settled and organized for a September they will always remember.

    The ambitious $45.5-million project was made possible by a $26.2-million investment from the Ontario government as well as a $15-million transformational gift from local textile artist and philanthropist Marilyn I. Walker.

    Walker, who recently got her first tour of the completed project, said she was extremely pleased with the final result.

    “It’s a challenge to your imagination to comprehend what all could be done within this building when it comes to educating students,” she said. “It’s not what the physical building means so much as the opportunities it will provide … the possibilities for using these state-of-the art facilities for the benefit of the community.”

    Official opening ceremonies are being planned for mid-September, during Brock’s Homecoming Weekend, and University officials are also working on plans for public tours of the landmark facility, probably sometime in the fall.

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    Categories: In the Media, News

  • News of the downtown project

    New facilities for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    In February 2011, Diamond & Schmitt Architects of Toronto were chosen to design the new teaching and learning facilities for the faculty, staff, and students of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in the heart of the historic centre of St. Catharines.

    Rehabilitating the former Canada Hair Cloth building for multi-purpose use by the departments of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, these new facilities will provide state-of-the-art production and workshop support, music practice facilities, art studios, lecture and seminar rooms as well as a versatile stand-alone 235-seat theatre for drama students.

    The City of St. Catharines is developing an adjacent Performing Arts Centre (PAC) for which Diamond & Schmitt will also serve as lead architect. Comprising a 775-seat Concert Hall, a 300-seat Recital Hall, a 187-seat Film Theatre and a 210-seat Community Dance Theatre, these facilities will greatly enhance the already strong theatrical and musical offerings in the City of St. Catharines. Under a unique joint agreement with the City of St. Catharines, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will have use of the Recital Hall and the Film Theatre in support of its academic programs.

    We invite you to follow the project’s progress and look forward to moving into our new facilities in May 2015.

    Please consider attending one of our Open Houses in October or March, or consult the programs comprising the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts for further information.

     

    Support the School with your donations

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will be moving to new purpose-designed facilities located in downtown St. Catharines’ historical Canada Hair Cloth building in May 2015. Designed by the prestigious Toronto-based firm Diamond & Schmitt Architects, the project provides state-of-the-art studio, digital lab, performance, recital, practice, lecture, design and workshop spaces for students in the departments of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts and our Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture.

    Students and faculty can benefit in a myriad of different ways from the generosity of our donors, including donations made in support of our new downtown school, endowed scholarships, sponsorships of lectures series or programs, and gifts of special equipment, musical instruments or works of art. Donations in support of Brock University and its educational mission are always greatly appreciated.

    Should you wish to help support us we have identified three funding priorities:

    1. The building project
    2. Student awards and scholarships
    3. Research and creativity – sponsorships in support of lecture series, performances, or exhibitions

    For more information regarding how to donate, please click here.

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    Categories: Media Releases, News

  • Groundbreaking ceremony for the Walker School

    miw-celebration-3

    From left: Douglas Kneale, Dean, Faculty of Humanities; John Suk, Vice-Chair, Brock Board of Trustees; Jack Lightstone, Brock University President and Vice-Chancellor; Jim Bradley, MPP, St. Catharines; Marilyn I. Walker; Mark Elliott, councilor, City of St. Catharines; Joe Robertson, Chair, Brock Board of Trustees; Derek Knight, director, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    May 31, 2013
    University Marketing & Communications
    905-688-5550 x4687

    Supporters raise a cheer as downtown Walker School takes shape

    Partners, politicians and downtown boosters joined Brock University officials today in a celebration at the St. Catharines construction site that will be the new home of Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Amid scaffolding and construction equipment, workers paused for about 30 minutes while guests got a close-up look at the progress and saluted the efforts of designers, engineers and project leaders who have stewarded the major initiative through more than two years of planning.

    Marilyn Walker herself wielded a shovel alongside University President Jack Lightstone, Brock Board Chair Joe Robertson and other officials for a ceremonial ground-breaking, even though the site has been a hive of activity for several months.

    With a budget of $39.6 million, the project will transform the former Canada Haircloth textile mill into an innovative teaching facility whose 500 students, faculty and staff will help revitalize the city centre when they relocate from Brock’s main campus in 2015. Situated between a new Performing Arts Centre and a new Spectator Facility, which are being built by the City of St. Catharines, the school is one of several major projects that will dramatically change the face of the city core.

    The Brock project received $26.2 million from the Ontario government, and is also being supported by numerous generous partners from across the community.

    Lightstone told today’s gathering that the new Walker School “is a tribute to the concept of community partnership. This is much more than a building. It is a statement about what can happen when many hands work together to build a better future.”

    The project moved into full construction mode in January after Brock entered into an agreement with the low bidder, Bird Construction Group. Much of the project involves renovating existing buildings, parts of which are from the area’s industrial heritage and date to the 19th century. While the retrofitting will largely take place indoors, the landmark’s exterior will be visually refreshed with new windows and restored brickwork. Plus there will also be new construction when a dramatic arts theatre rises in the coming months and invigorates the downtown landscape.

    For more info: Jeffrey Sinibaldi, media relations, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4687; jsinibaldi@brocku.ca

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    Categories: Media Releases, News

  • New Walker series opens doors for arts students and the public

    BROCK UNIVERSITY
    MEDIA RELEASE

    February 12, 2013
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    905.688.5550 x4765

    New Walker series opens doors for arts students and the public

    A major series of cultural events, workshops and performances being launched this fall by Brock University will provide new learning experiences for students, and in many cases will also be open to the public.

    The Walker Cultural Leader Series will see leading artists, performers and academics convene more than a dozen events in disciplines ranging from animation to classical music and theatrical performance. The events will take place on campus as well as in the community.

    Presented by Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), the series opens Oct. 16-19 with workshops, studio visits and performances by Sobey Award-winning performer and animator Daniel Barrow.

    The series will also feature presentations by Joan Watson, principal horn of the Canadian Opera Company; performer and author Stephen Nachmanovitch; acclaimed Canadian pianist Robert Silverman; and Daniel Levinson, an expert in movement and stage combat.

    The new series is being funded thanks to the Marilyn I. Walker Fund, an endowed fund created in 2008, when Marilyn Walker donated $15 million to Brock’s school of fine and performing arts.

    Derek Knight, director of the Walker School, said the main objective of the series is to engage students, but pointed out many sessions are open to the community.

    “The new series is committed to inviting varied and interesting guest speakers,” said Knight. “It will be engaging, lively and erudite. These sessions celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in our society.”

    Douglas Kneale, Dean of Humanities at the University, said the initiative is another step forward for Brock on the academic, cultural and community fronts.

    “Thanks to the generosity of Marilyn I. Walker, we are able to offer students unique interactions with creative leaders in the fine and performing arts, and also extend to the community educational and cultural opportunities that will be enormously enriching.”

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is comprised of the departments of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts & Culture.

    For more info and follow-up interviews: Marie Balsom, Communications, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4765; mbalsom@brocku.ca

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  • First Marilyn I. Walker endowed Chair in Creativity, Imagination and Innovation announced

    (Source: The Brock News, Wednesday, February 10, 2010)

    Brock has announced the creation and first recipient of the Marilyn I. Walker Chair in Creativity, Imagination and Innovation.

    The Chair is awarded to the Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts for the duration of their term as Director. Derek Knight, the current Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, is the first person to hold the position. The endowed Chair supports building the school’s programs, enhancing its facilities and positioning it to be one of the best fine arts schools in North America.

    “Today we are announcing the first privately endowed Chair in the history of Brock,” said President Jack Lightstone. “This Chair represents a major step in the development of our University because it helps us fulfill our blueprint for the future — which includes fostering research and creative activity, expanding graduate and professional programs, enhancing interdisciplinary studies and community engagement. Our goal is to establish endowed chairs in all six faculties at Brock.”

    From left: Jack Lightstone, Marilyn I. Walker, Derek Knight, Rosemary Hale

    Renowned Canadian fibre artist Marilyn I. Walker made the Chair possible with a $15 million gift to the University’s School of Fine and Performing Arts in November 2008 — the largest donation the University has ever received. The gift was endowed in perpetuity to support the future improvement of the School and its programming. This Chair represents the first tangible outcome of this vision.

    “This announcement is about advancing the arts at Brock and in Niagara,” said Rosemary Hale, Dean, Faculty of Humanities. “It is also about enhancing our capacity to play a key role in partnering with our surrounding communities to influence the cultural redevelopment of our region as we work to build a world-class arts facility for our students, faculty, staff and patrons.”

    Funds associated with the Chair will be used to support programming and investments at the School to build up its and University’s reputation in the area of fine and performing arts.

    Derek Knight has worked at Brock since 1985. He teaches courses in 20th century European and North American art history, contemporary art and theory, and contributes to the MA program in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts. In addition to his own production of photo-based, conceptual and site-specific art and participation in more than thirty group shows, Knight has developed a profile as an independent curator.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News