Campus Becomes A Gallery Thanks To Donation

art project

St. Clair’s Main/South Campus has become the latest site of a campaign by Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) to bring art to the community – by putting it outside.

On October 21, the college unveiled its hosting of the AWE’s “Look Again! Outside” exhibit.

Eleven paintings (reproductions) are now on display on walkways throughout the campus (see accompanying map).

art project

AWE’s website explained that the project began in 2021. When introduced then, “Look Again! Outside features life-sized reproductions of nine artworks from AWE’s collection installed throughout downtown Windsor. A network of reproductions link Art Windsor-Essex through locations including Riverside Drive, Maiden Lane, the Capitol Theatre, the Windsor Transit Terminal, and the Windsor Public Library Main Branch.

“Look Again! Outside in downtown Windsor is generously supported by the Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation.

“In early 2022, AWE activated these reproductions of artworks through the digital treasure hunt Against the Current, created in partnership with Montreal-based interactive media studio Moment Factory. This digital experience is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Digital Strategy Fund; Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab; WETech Alliance; Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island; the City of Windsor; the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association; and the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. This project has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.”

art project

Subsequently, in mid-2022, Amherstburg became the second site of Look Again! Outside, when reproductions of the works of Canada’s Group Of Seven painters were installed throughout that community’s downtown.

In the unveiling ceremony at the college, Stephanie Zekelman said this newest version of the project “combines two family passions: art and education.”

“Art inspires and connects,” she added. “It opens the mind, and goes hand-in-hand with learning.”

Zekleman hopes, also, that the project may expand at the college in the future, with the addition of artworks.

art project

AWE Executive Director Jennifer Matotek said Look Again! Outside has been instrumental in her institution’s effort to make art more accessible to the public – by bringing it to them, rather than waiting for them to visit the gallery.

She described the artworks installed at the college as “bold, abstract and thought-provoking ... they are treasures from our collection.”

art project

In her remarks at the unveiling of St. Clair as the campaign’s third site, college President Patti France said:

On behalf of the family of St. Clair staff and students, it is a pleasure to welcome you to campus; and to thank Art Windsor-Essex and Stephanie Zekelman for, today, making our campus more beautiful, more inspiring and more thought-provoking.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally reminded people of the first descriptive term in the college’s official name – that we are St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology. Let me emphasize: “Arts” comes first in that title.

art project

Yes, we are concerned about business and industry, and technology and trades, and health-care in this region, and training people to staff enterprises in those fields; but not to the exclusion of education in the arts. We always have been involved in that field, we always will be involved in that field, because it is essential to the well-being – to the collective human soul – of the communities that we serve.

While we may not be involved in “fine arts” per se, the students and faculty of our applied arts programs do display unrivalled creativity and imagination: our story-tellers, photographers and videographers in Journalism; our cartoonists in Animation; our creators of posters and publications in Graphic Design; our clothing trendsetters in Fashion Design; those who lay out homes and offices in Interior Design; our singers and dancers in Music Theatre Performance; the young chefs who make food as appetizing to the eyes as it is to the taste-buds in our Culinary programs.

Even many of our highly technical programs demand and incorporate a significant degree of artistic temperament: in Automotive Product Design, in Architectural Technology, in Landscape Horticulture, in Woodworking and Carpentry, to name just a few.

art project

And if you have the chance to walk around the interior of our buildings, you will see art-work everywhere, from the main lobby through most of our hallways. Some of it has been student-created, other items were donated or acquired by the college over the years. Indeed, one of the chief functions of our Retirees Association is the administration of the college’s collection of paintings, prints and sculptures, to ensure that its items are catalogued and stored properly, and regularly rotated for widespread display.

So, the presence of art is not new to St. Clair. But today’s present of art is.

I know our students and staff are tremendously proud to be hosting this unique exhibit. And I hope that the many citizens of South Windsor and other areas of our community who regularly visit the campus as a site for walking and exercise will also enjoy this chance to “Look Again! Outside”.

art project

St. Clair, as most of you know, has been the beneficiary of the Zekelman family’s generosity for the past several years: as a partner, donor and participant in such projects as the development of the downtown campus of the Schools of Business and I.T.; and the construction of the academic tower for those schools here at main campus, the new GEM Residence, and the Tennis Centre in the Sports Park. Thank you, Barry and Stephanie, for all of that – and, now, for this art installation.

I suppose we can say that, thanks to Arts Windsor-Essex and the Zekelmans, we now have visual expression covered “from A to Z”.

Look Again! Outside makes use of the AWE’s Against the Current technology. That, according to its website, “is an outdoor, web-based experience accessible through participants’ portable devices. The interactive activities are free to enjoy ... Mini-games at each stop reveal the stories of these artists – their passion, imagination, and acts of rebellion.”

That component of the display at the college will be functional once QR codes are added to the placards on the easel-posts.

Faculty and students of St. Clair’s Architectural Technology program assisted with this project by designing and installing the frames and support posts accommodating the artworks.