Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Nov. 5, 2008
Brock University's School of Fine and Performing Arts renamed after celebrated artist and philanthropist.
Renowned Canadian fibre artist Marilyn Walker has given a gift of $15 million to Brock University's School of Fine and Performing Arts -- the largest gift the University has ever received. The gift is particularly remarkable as it is made in a climate marked by economic uncertainty and waning support for the arts.
Marilyn Walker is an award-winning fibre artist, author, teacher and philanthropist; she is also an active supporter of the arts and arts education across Canada, and at Brock University in particular. In tribute to the artist, Brock will rename its Arts School the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.
The entire $15 million will be endowed in perpetuity to support building the school's programs, enhancing its facilities and positioning it to be one of the best in North America, if not the world. The school is committed to top-quality learning and research -- and toward the creation of a world-class arts facility.
"Marilyn Walker has been instrumental in the cultural revitalization of the Niagara region," said Jack N. Lightstone, President, Brock University. "Her commitment to improve the quality of life at the school, in the community and across the region is inspiring. The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts will attract the very best to Brock, create positive economic impact for St. Catharines and Niagara and serve as a tribute to a great Canadian artist and arts advocate. We are deeply appreciative of her support and thoughtful consideration."
Rosemary Hale, Dean, Faculty of Humanities, explained "With this transformational donation, Brock will strengthen its commitment to artistic education and research and engage the community at large by transforming its School of Fine and Performing Arts into a world-class arts centre. Students in theatre, music, movement, fine art, and multimedia across Canada will have a home here that ranks among the best in the world. This gift will allow the School of Fine and Performing Arts, in the Faculty of Humanities, to build intellectual capacity in a permanent home."
Marilyn Walker is among Canada's most generous philanthropists. She has dedicated time and resources toward improving the quality of life for the residents of Niagara, most notably in the areas of education, art and health. Marilyn Walker is a recognized authority on Canadian quilts and has lectured widely on the artistic, historic and cultural significance of quilts across Canada and the United States.
Marilyn herself states, "In quilting and in life, people should be allowed freedom of speech and freedom of art."
Marilyn Walker's generous gift, made at a time when overall economic health and support for the arts is weakening, demonstrates her life-long commitment to art, education and community, and will encourage both students and faculty to push the boundaries of academic convention at Brock University.