Conestoga news

April 26, 2013 7:52 AM

Downtown studio project approved by city councillors

A new initiative that will develop and showcase academic collaboration for art, design and digital content creators in downtown Kitchener was unanimously approved by city councillors on Monday, April 22.

The Kitchener Studio Project, to be located at 44 Gaukel Street in the former Canada Post Office, is led by an academic partnership consisting of Conestoga, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. It will provide a unique collaborative space for the art, design and digital content creators needed to serve the region's rapidly growing digital media cluster.

According to project organizers, digital media companies locating in the Kitchener area have indicated that their site selection requirements include nearby access to art and design talent. Companies require content creators with the skills, knowledge and talent to develop their innovations through such areas as visual graphics for smartphone applications or music composition for gaming environments.

The new digital arts hub in downtown Kitchener will:

  • 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, and establish Kitchener as a recognized source for creative talent
  • Provide space for collaboration among businesses, students and the arts community for digital projects
  • Provide state-of-the-art resources and space for the arts and culture community
  • Maximize the use of currently vacant space at Gaukel and Charles streets in downtown Kitchener
  • As well as the three post-secondary institutions, the project will include business and community partners, including Communitech, Christie Digital, Electronic Arts and the regional arts community.

    The City of Kitchener will spend $200,000 on upgrades to the building and lease the space at nominal cost for an initial five-year term.

    City councillors praised the project, suggesting that it will serve as a launching pad for new businesses, provide more vitality for the downtown core, and lead to sustainable, quality jobs.

    The Kitchener Studio Project will create a design ecosystem, a collaborative space that will provide digital content creators a place to learn, conduct research and pursue entrepreneurial initiatives.

    Conestoga's School of Media & Design has increased in enrolment by 27 per cent since 2011, and now serves approximately 900 full-time students through a variety of programs, including digital media and design, videography and broadcasting, journalism, public relations, graphic design, visual merchandising and interior decorating.

    For more information about the Kitchener Studio Project, contact Mark Derro, Dean of the School of Media & Design.