By Carolyn Turgeon
Displaced Image Arts students may finally have a home, but the big names of the Toronto photography scene will have to wait a bit longer.
The Ryerson Image Centre, known previously as the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre, will be housed in the Image Arts building alongside the classrooms and offices.
Along with the rest of the building, the centre has suffered many delays from the ongoing construction and has moved its opening date to September 2012.
“That’s the official date and we’re working towards [it],” said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy. “However, like everything else in Image Arts it was delayed.”
According to Centre staff the work is continuing on the current expected schedule.
“As far I’m aware, the gallery will be completed on schedule to open on Nuit Blanche [on Sept 29],” said Doina Popescu, director of the Centre.
The delay resulted in changes to the shows that were scheduled to happen after the original opening date.
Edward Burtynsky, a Canadian photographer and artist known for his work on industrial landscapes, was supposed to display his Oil series in the gallery. He’s a Ryerson alumni and a member of the advisory board for the Centre.
Instead of postponing Burtynsky’s show, the Image Centre used their partnership with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) to display the series as an exhibit in their Institute for Contemporary Culture on April 9 and Aug. 21 as planned.
“They were unable to shift dates so I went to my colleagues and they were delighted to do so,” said Popescu. “I’m a strong believer in local and international partnerships.”
She has also established partnerships with the Corchrane Gallery of Art in the United States and the Jeu de Paume gallery in France.
Popescu is also working with faculty on how to utilize the gallery spaces in their class in order to help students.
“To have more opportunities to display them is something that would make a huge difference,” said Jessie Cooper, third-year new media student. “It’s really hard to motivate yourself to do gallery level pieces when there’s really no places you can guarantee you’re going to be able to display things.”
The student gallery on 80 Spadina Ave. will be kept running alongside these new facilities.
“It is really the first venue that we have to showcase our work in a professional manner,” said Rocco Barriusu, fourth-year film student. “So I really hope that even though we have this new gallery that is about to open, the university does something to keep the other one running and that they find the money [for it].”
Upon completion, the new Centre will host three public gallery spaces, a fully-staffed professional research centre with museum quality environmental control, a wall of 18 screens to display new media content and a climate controlled vault built to contain one million photographic images.
The three galleries, which will all open together, include a main gallery for historical and contemporary art exhibitions, a university gallery for Canadian and International exhibitions and a student gallery for advanced student work or curatorial projects.