Plans for the Weston Family Learning Centre are moving forward. The schematic design should be complete by the end of this month, with construction beginning in June.
First and foremost the desire is to create a beautiful space to welcome the community. In addition, five goals will help to realize the centre’s vision: functionality (durability for large groups); flexibility (maximizing spaces and program opportunities); accessibility (providing a feeling of welcome); integration (offering direct connection to the galleries); and transparency (inviting visitors behind the scenes).
"The Weston Family Learning Centre heralds the potential of a social hub for community creativity and learning," said Kelly McKinley, director, Education and Public Programming. "Through direct and hands-on encounters with art, artists and the creative process in a studio setting, people from across our city and province will experience the power of art to transform how we understand ourselves and our world."
The physical space of the area will include a dedicated entrance and lobby; an education commons to house cloakroom and picnic area for schools; an artist-in-residence studio; the open-concept Gallery School, a headquarters for Teens-Behind-the-Scenes; and state-of-the-art seminar rooms.
The Weston Family Learning Centre was first announced in September 2008 following on a lead gift of $12 million from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. The gift included $10 million toward capital costs for the Learning Centre and $2 million toward an endowment to be named the Weston Family Teacher Training Fund – the AGO’s first education program endowment.
The project got a second major boost last month when the Government of Canada announced a $7.5 million funding contribution to the capital expansion project from its Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The AGO will undertake a fundraising campaign to continue building endowment funds for education programming and other attributes for the Weston Family Learning Centre.