OCAD University’s historic George Reid House has officially re-opened following a dynamic renovation of the building, including the addition of Indigenous artwork created by Inuk artist Couzyn van Heuvelen.
The building’s refurbishment – as part of OCAD University’s larger, Creative City Campus revitalization project ̶ includes the modernization of interior facilities, the creation of new event, meeting and program spaces, and the development of an enhanced circulation space with display opportunities.
“This renewed space allows for dynamic social gatherings with upgraded technology, re-establishing the house as a significant university and community asset,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “In addition to the benefit to students, the refurbishment provides a unique opportunity for an Indigenous presence, in honour of the university’s commitment to Indigenous learning, as outlined in our Academic Plan.”
OCAD University commissioned van Heuvelen to create permanent artwork following a call to Indigenous artists and designers to submit proposals for artwork to be permanently installed in the refurbished building.
Longlisted this year for the Sobey Art Award, van Heuvelen was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and now lives in southern Ontario. His work explores Inuit culture and identity, new and old technologies, and personal narratives.
George Reid House is the original 1921 campus building of the Ontario College of Art (OCA) and the first building in Canada built specifically for the purpose of the education of professional artists and designers.
The renovation project is part of the Creative City Campus capital initiative and is funded by the Government of Ontario (through the Ministry Training, Colleges and Universities) and the Government of Canada through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (through the Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario).