On October 25, 2019, York University announced a generous $5,000,000 gift donated by philanthropists and art collectors Joan and Martin Goldfarb. This substantial gift is set to fund a stand-alone art gallery, which will be the new home of the Art Gallery of York University. Planning is well underway for this capital expansion, which will build a multi-site art institution on the University’s Keele campus for late 2022. A stand-alone art gallery combined with the AGYU’s current space will form a unified art institution that will magnify the breadth of AGYU’s scope, re-envisioning of the University’s art collection while also enabling greater access to contemporary artistic and cultural programming for the University and the surrounding community.
The location for the new gallery has been established within the heart of the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design in the open xeriscape between the Accolade East Building (AGYU’s current location) and the Centre for Film & Theatre with a façade facing the Harry Arthur Commons on the Keele Campus. The gallery will gain prominence on the campus and remain easily accessible for those travelling in as it will only be a few minutes walk from the York University subway stop on Line 1.
The new building is a point of departure where the AGYU can expand its exhibition space to better support artistic research and enhance audience development. This opportunity will also enable the gallery to rethink York University’s art collection to further support curatorial, academic and artistic research while building better facilities to house artworks. An ideal, is to use this opportunity to make the AGYU more accessible on a general level with increased visibility and prominence on campus within the York Region into Toronto, Canada and globally. This next phase will contribute to the socially motivated history and professional merit of the AGYU, which has a pronounced civic role of advocacy in support of unrepresented communities, while also expanding its contribution to artistic production and amplifying artists’ voices.
We have high expectations for the new multi-site gallery’s impact on the community both within the University itself but also those who will benefit from its presence beyond York University. With the new building and redefinition of AGYU’s current spaces we redefine the capacity and vision of the AGYU with liveness and legacy in mind. This expansion will:
• Enhance the scope and reach of the AGYU’s critical approach to contemporary art production, which engages in long-term research with artists both national and international; AGYU is truly a leader in its methodology to push the academic edges of contemporary art discourse while engaging the specificity of its communities.
• Make York University’s art collection more accessible while redefining more critical art collection practices. Currently, York University’s art collection is mainly hidden in its vault with some work on display on the campus in offices, but it is hardly accessible and remains largely hidden.