Faculty of Arts celebrates 50 years with a retrospective

To celebrate York’s 50th anniversary, as well as to honour and remember the Faculty of Arts before it becomes part of the new Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, a retrospective of photos covering the Faculty’s last 50 years will be exhibited in the AKASA Gallery starting Monday.

50 Years in the Faculty of Arts: A Retrospective will run from 10am to 6pm, March 24 to April 3, in the AKASA Gallery, on the 2nd floor of the Student Centre, Keele campus.

“The committee threw around some ideas, some big, some small, and the one we thought we could best execute was a photo exhibit to look back at Arts,” says Briana Sim, chair of the U50 Faculty of Arts Committee.

Submissions for the exhibit came from professors, student clubs, past issues of YFile, Excalibur, the former Gazette newspaper and Profiles magazine, and the Faculty of Arts Web site, including its various programs. Items were also pulled from the U50 History Web page on the U50 Web site as well as from York University’s 50th Anniversary Photograph Collection on YorkSpace, put together by staff of the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections.

“The result is a visual timeline and gallery exhibit showcasing the Faculty of Arts’ great history, changes throughout the decades, important moments and more,” says Sim, events & promotions coordinator in York’s Office of the Dean, Faculty of Arts.

Two fourth-year visual arts students in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, Stephanie D’Amico and Annie Tung, volunteered their time to help with research, visual displays, exhibit layout and even construction to make sure the exhibit is a hit and to help interest today’s students in the past and future of the University.

There is everything from photos of the Keele campus before anything was built to pictures of the founding master of McLaughlin College George Tatham, York’s founding president & vice-chancellor Murray Ross and founding dean of the Faculty of Arts John T. Saywell, as well as photos of the colleges, the demolition of the Ross Building ramp and the collapse of the two-tonne ceiling in the Curtis Lecture Hall.

The committee also wanted to incorporate the idea of a time capsule, so the exhibit combines a look back at the Faculty of Arts – its beginnings and the highlights along the way – as well as current items that show what the Faculty is today. There will be a wall devoted to recent faculty member publications, another to programs and two timeline walls.

“By the very fact that we are soon to be no more, these things will soon be history and a sort of time capsule themselves,” says Sim. “I hope that people will appreciate the breadth and depth of the Faculty of Arts and that we are a huge part of the University and we leave a great legacy as we enter into a new phase as a new Faculty.”

People unable to attend the retrospective at the AKASA Gallery can view the exhibit online through the 50 Years in the Faculty of Arts: A Retrospective Web site. It will not only show the entire retrospective, it will also capture some of the many items that didn’t make it into the gallery.

“The virtual exhibit then also acts as a living, breathing legacy that will allow the Faculty of Arts to live in cyberspace for years to come,” says Sim.

Ongoing submissions – images, memories, anecdotes or memorabilia – to the virtual 50 Years in the Faculty of Arts: A Retrospective exhibit are still welcome as a way to keep the legacy of the Faculty of Arts alive.

An invitation-only opening for the exhibit is happening today, with Marilyn Lambert-Drache, Faculty of Arts associate dean of student relations, as emcee, and guest speakers Faculty of Arts Dean Robert Drummond and former Faculty of Arts dean George Fallis.

To contribute to the virtual exhibit, visit the 50 Years in the Faculty of Arts: A Retrospective Web site.