University of Windsor Alumni Magazine

Open for Interpretation: The new home of the School for Creative Arts (SoCA)

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Sculpture instructor Rod Strickland discusses one of his student’s creations during the class’s critique evening.
Feature
Dylan Kristy

 

With the inaugural semester at the School of Creative Arts in the books, the glow of the new facility continues to shine brightly for students and staff.

Those entering the former historic Armouries or the Alan Wildeman Centre for Creative Arts (AWCCA) say the buildings alone help to inspire creativity. 

“Learning and creating music in a space that integrates multiple mediums of art has enabled me to grow as an innovator and performer,” says Madeline Doornaert, second-year concurrent BMus-BEd major, voice. 

“I am deeply inspired walking into the building each day and seeing and experiencing the art my peers create. 

“The building is structured so that students can constantly apply what they learn in their classes to the art they make and share in this environment.” 

The School of Creative Arts (SoCA) houses about 500 students in the renovated Armouries and the AWCCA on the site of the former Tunnel Bar-B-Q. 

The exterior of the Windsor Armouries, new home of the School of Creative Arts
Veterans Hall, named to honour the building’s military heritage, greets visitors to the restored Armouries
Students work on their projects in the “Making Studio” in the Alan Wildeman Centre for Creative Arts. From left: Alice Sacharoff, Megan Caza
The Heritage Wall in the Armouries’ basement uses glass panels to tell the building’s history
The Alan Wildeman Centre for Creative Arts
Meeting room with a view
The Armouries provides spaces for impromptu gatherings and performances
3D printing lab
Jazz/contemporary piano instructor Michael Karloff demonstrates “cross hand” technique to his student Alex Aideira-Leite
Jazz Ensemble director Robert Fazecash in rehearsal
Film production Professor Min Bae (right) works with a student in his Motion Picture Technologies course

The AWCCA hums as students work in film production studios, editing suites, sonic art studios and studios for sculpture, metal and woodworking. 

In the Armouries, musicians and artists utilize practice rooms, the performance and practice halls, keyboard and computer labs, photography and painting studios and the Visual Arts and the Built Environment studio. 

“I challenge you to find a school of creative arts in Canada with spaces as sophisticated, as culturally significant and as immersive as these,” says SoCA director Vincent Georgie. 

“By providing exceptional learning spaces for our students, we are already seeing results in their creative and academic work, their engagement and their pride.” 

Natural light floods both spaces, illuminating the work of the faculty and students within. 

Rachel Fitzgerald says being able to see her fellow classmates’ work on display is her favourite part of the new school. 

“It’s bright, open, and allows music students and visual art students to interact in a way that wasn’t possible in the old buildings,” says the BA[H] student in English & Creative Writing and Visual Arts. 

“The new gallery is the first room most people see when entering the building and it is always full of students’ or professors’ work. Music students can be heard practising every day. 

“So far, the new downtown campus has done extremely well in showcasing the work of SoCA students and faculty.” 

For associate professor Jennifer Willet, the School of Creative Arts cultivates a brighter future for its students. 

“Studying in an environment like this will encourage UWindsor graduates to dream even bigger in setting their future professional goals,” Dr. Willet says.

 

 

The Statistics

1 - THE ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND IN CANADA

500 -  APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF STUDENTS AND FACULTY IN THE SCHOOL OF CREATIVE ARTS

2011 - YEAR THE UNIVERSITY’S PLANS WERE UNVEILED FOR THE TRANSFORMATION

12,000 - APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF BRICKS DISMANTLED, CLEANED AND RE-INSTALLED DURING RENOVATIONS

1900 - YEAR CONSTRUCTION BEGAN ON THE WINDSOR ARMOURIES

2018 - YEAR OF THE SCHOOL OF CREATIVE ARTS’ NEW FACILITIES GRAND OPENING

67,000 TOTAL SQUARE FEET OF THE RENOVATED SCHOOL OF CREATIVE ARTS 

Man playing piano.
Students in office.
Professor Min Bae with communication studies student and camera.
Music students respond to a conductor's direction.
The stunning, open layout of the new home of SoCA.
The former Tunnel BBQ reimagined.
An intriguing hallway in the transformed Armouries building.