Studio project gets unanimous recommendation
Kitchener An initiative called the Kitchener Studio Project will be led by Conestoga College, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, including the Critical Media Lab, the Games Institute and the School of Media and Design. The institutions will develop and showcase academic collaboration for art, design and digital content creators in the former Canada Post office at the corner of Gaukel and Charles streets. The unique and cutting-edge collaboration will find a home in 44 Gaukel St.
The project will also include the regional arts community, Communitech, Christie Digital and Electronic Arts; CAFKA and KWArtzLab have also expressed interest.
“Any decisions we make about this project are built off a model of sustainability based on three things: three world-class academic institutions, the technology hotbed that we have in this region, and the city’s participation,” said Mark Derro, dean, school of media and design, communications and liberal studies at Conestoga College. “We’re not looking at getting a piece of the pie; we’re looking to create a brand new pie.”
The project strengthens and diversifies the region's rapidly growing digital media cluster by fulfilling a need for creative talent, especially in the area of digital content creation, transforming a currently vacant area of 10,000 square feet into a space with significant community and economic impact.
“The city is excelling at building partnerships and encouraging growth in digital media and technology,” said Silvia DiDonato, manager of arts and culture at the City of Kitchener. “Along with our well-known strength in technology, showcasing art and design talent provides a desirable competitive advantage.”
The project’s goals are to:
• Create a collaborative space for local post-secondary students who are creating digital media content;
• Showcase design talent needed for digital media and other sectors, enabling successful businesses and establishing Kitchener as a location where a full spectrum of creative talent lives;
• Provide space for collaboration among businesses, the arts community and students for digital projects;
• Provide state-of-the-art resources and space for the arts and culture community;
• Maximize the use of the vacant space at 44 Gaukel St.
Conestoga College will be the lead tenant. The project is intended to develop 44 Gaukel St. as a location for displaced tenants at 156-158 King St. W., where the University of Waterloo’s Artery Gallery and Critical Media Lab are located. The expected timing is about five years as a pilot project, after which time the project can be evaluated.