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REF NO.: 8

SUBJECT: Construction of Exhibition Centre officially begins

DATE: Sept. 12

Government and university officials gathered at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College campus of Memorial University today to mark the commencement of the much-anticipated West Coast Exhibition Centre by turning the first sod on the future site of the centre. On hand for the event were Premier Roger Grimes; Minister of State for ACOA Gerry Byrne; Grenfell College Principal Adrian Fowler; as well as Environment Minister Bob Mercer, MHA for Humber district.

The West Coast Exhibition Centre, as an affiliate of the provincial Rooms cultural complex, will showcase the province's artistic, museum and archival treasures. This $4 million state-of-the-art facility will be approximately 1,394 square metres in size and will include environmentally controlled exhibition and storage spaces, a workshop, studio space for visiting artists, and a high quality multi-media lecture theatre. The centre will showcase works of art, museum exhibits and archival exhibits and support the academic programming of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.

"We understand the need to foster an environment where culture and education can work collaboratively in order to meet the needs and expectations of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, said Premier Grimes. "We are meeting our commitment to nurture and preserve our province's culture through facilities such as the Exhibition Centre. This state-of- the-art provincial facility will provide greater access for residents, students and tourists in the western region of the province to national class exhibitions of art, artifacts and archival material."

"This is a great day for the people on the west coast of our province," said Minister Byrne. "Since the Division of Fine Arts was first introduced at Grenfell, Corner Brook has been the epicentre for theatre and visual arts on the West Coast. The West Coast Exhibition Centre will complement this nicely. Showing exhibitions from around the province, Canada and other countries, the centre will provide further inspiration for our young artists."

The building will be located on the campus of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook, directly across from the Fine Arts Building. The centre will also be connected to the Fine Arts Building by a pedway.

The West Coast Exhibition Centre will support the mandates of the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. The facility will draw on the collections and resources of these institutions and agencies to curate and mount exhibitions, to undertake public education initiatives and to host regional, provincial and national traveling exhibitions.

The Corner Brook facility will be operated by Memorial University and will complement existing cultural attractions such as the Corner Brook Museum and Archives, the Arts and Culture Centre and the many commercial art galleries, as well as the numerous festivals and community museums on the west coast of Newfoundland.

The Exhibition Centre will further enhance Grenfell College's programming in the fine arts, humanities, social sciences and community education. It will provide fine arts students with enhanced opportunities for exposure to the work of professional artists and enable the college to expand its community outreach programming in the arts.

"The Exhibition Centre will be a magnificent addition to our campus," said Dr. Adrian Fowler, principal of Grenfell College. "It will significantly increase our capacity to provide first-rate educational experiences at Grenfell College - more interactions with visiting artists, additional high quality teaching space and a venue designed to host traveling exhibitions. It will also enable us to respond more effectively to the artistic and cultural needs and aspirations of the broader community."

The project is on schedule for completion in December 2004.

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