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York University Accolade Project to provide launching pad for next generation of artists

The Accolade Project at York University slated to open this year, a new state-of-the-art facility for Fine Arts students offering 330,000 square feet of new space in the form of two buildings on the Keele campus in north Toronto.

"Thirty-five years ago, York University positioned itself to shape the future of Canadian arts and culture by establishing this country’s first faculty of fine arts," said York University President and Vice Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden. "Since then, York graduates and faculty have gone on to build an international reputation for themselves and the University. These new teaching and performance facilities reflect York’s statures as a rising cultural powerhouse, and its leading role in Toronto’s cultural renaissance."

Accolade’s cutting-edge facilities will include a 325-seat recital hall and integrated recording studio; a 325-seat proscenium theatre with an orchestra pit and generous stage, wings and backstage area; new dance studios and a wide range of specialized music studios; and a 500-seat cinema/lecture hall. The celebrated Art Gallery of York University, currently located in the Ross Building, will move into a prominent new location in Accolade.

Designed by Zeidler Partnership and B+H Architects, this new addition to York’s landscape will complement the existing facilities of the Faculty of Fine Arts in the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, Burton Auditorium, the Technology Enhanced Learning Building and the Centre for Film and Theatre. For the first time in York’s history, all seven fine arts departments will be together in one dynamic cluster. The buildings are set to open in the 2005/2006 academic year.

"Building on our strengths, Accolade heralds the new exciting phase in the life of York Fine Arts," said Phillip Silver, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. "It reaffirms our standing as the school of choice for Canada’s next generation of visual and performing artists and arts scholars. These wonderful new facilities for teaching, learning, creation and performance will provide an environment commensurate with the excellence of our programs," he added. "It will be a place where our students and faculty can continue to push the boundaries of their art forms."

To recognize individuals from the York University community who deserve accolades for their exceptional achievements in the fine arts, the university will issue an "Accolades to" media series. The special recognition series will profile York’s vibrant cultural community of students, faculty, alumni and friends who deserve accolades for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the fine arts.

The total cost for the Accolade Project is $107.5 million and includes construction and renovations on the Keele campus to accommodate increased student enrolment. Substantial funding for the Accolade Project has already been committed by York University and the Ontario government through its SuperBuild program. York now aims to attract the balance from private sources, and will be providing more information on this fundraising initiative in the near future.