Developer and philanthropist Michael Audain has donated $5 million to help Emily Carr University of Art + Design create a new campus in Vancouver.
The university plans to relocate from its cramped buildings on Granville Island to a modern, purpose-built facility at the Great Northern Way Campus.
Audain's donation, announced today (March 7), has launched the university's capital campaign for the new $134-million campus. The province has already committed up to $113 million to the project and the remaining funds are to come from other donors.
“In doing this, I urge individuals and companies throughout British Columbia to join together to build a new Emily Carr campus of which we can be all proud,” Audian said during an announcement at the university’s Granville Island campus.
“Vancouver stands at the gateway of an important transition from being a natural resource-based town to a world-class city based on the creative economy,” he said. “And it will be developments such as the new Great Northern Way Campus that will pave the way for this to happen.”
The new Emily Carr University of Art + Design campus is planned to accommodate more than 1,800 students and include room for studios, academic programming, administration, and other services. It is slated to be open by fall 2016.
During the announcement, Audain described the university as a leading art school in the world and credited the institution for helping to make Vancouver an important centre for visual arts.
“Recently, I was given a tour of your present campus. Besides being surprised by the diversity of art-making going on, from a First Nations carving shed to a computer-driven, 3D design studio, I couldn’t help but notice how cramped your facility was for faculty and students alike,” he said.
“It’s obvious that you have long needed a new campus in order to better serve the greater number of students from far and wide who are seeking admission to your halls and studios.”
Emily Carr president Ron Burnett thanked Audain and praised him for his generosity to the university and the broader arts community.
“There is no philanthropist in Canada that even comes close to the work that Michael has done in British Columbia,” Burnett said.
Emily Carr University of Art + Design also announced today it will be establishing the Audain School of Visual Arts at the new campus. The school will include disciplines such as painting, drawing, print media, and photography, which are currently part of the university’s faculty of visual art and material practice.
“In a sense it really clearly signals the importance of visual arts within the larger university and it really does anchor that at the new campus,” David MacWilliam, the university’s dean of visual arts, told the Straight.