REMNANTS: Exhibit presented by the Department of Visual Arts
July 7 – September 16, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, Noon – 3 pm
Free food & refreshments
The students of the summer sculpture course have delved into the site-specific exhibition, REMNANTS, creating works inspired by the traces of history that remain in the refurbished building.
Over a century ago in the heart of downtown St. Catharines, the Canada Hair Cloth Co. functioned as a beneficial part of the community by bringing jobs and growth throughout the Niagara Region. Today it is known as the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, an extension of Brock University.
Originally, the factory was built in 1888 and was founded by the McSloy brothers who saw the potential for industrial growth within their community. They worked hard towards building a company that centralized around trading and selling their products from Halifax to Vancouver. In the traditional style of the New England Mills, the Canada Hair Cloth Co. was built with the intention of allowing as much natural sunlight into the factory as possible. With its open concept and large windows, the building was easily illuminated before the era of electricity. Eventually, the McSloy brothers purchased a generator to provide electricity, which was powered by the Millrace.
At the time the factory was built, horses, railways, and ships were the common means of transportation and all three were critical to the early success of the company. Waterpower played an essential role in regards to the growth of the factory as it was the primary source of energy to run the machinery. The canal flowed behind the buildings and the fast-flowing water produced power for the mills. Horses were used for providing raw material for the actual haircloth itself as the hair was gathered from their tails. The fabric produced was used in a vast variety of things ranging from the railway seats to the interfacing of fine suits. During this time, the majority of industrialized manufacturing was produced around this part of town, especially close to the Welland Canal. This enabled goods to be easily shipped and sold to other markets from around Canada.
In the fall of 2015, the Canada Hair Cloth Co. was reopened as the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and welcomed the students of Brock University to work and create within a building that already embodies so much creativity. Keeping in mind the artistic process, materials and tools that went into the many things produced by the company, the summer sculpture class has worked hard in collaborating an exhibition to pay tribute to what was and still is a lively building full of artistic innovation.
We welcome you to come and join us in celebrating the birth and continual growth of this beautiful building.
REMNANTS will be held in the Learning Commons, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines.
Free community event
Limited paid parking onsite