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May23, 2002 Fine Arts Awards of Distinction presented in style



Fine Arts Awards

(click to enlarge)

Seen at the Écomusée on May 7 are Fine Arts Awards of Distinction recipients, left to right, Mel Hoppenheim, Rosemary Hoppenheim, Stephen Jarislowsky, Gail Jarislowsky, Bina Ellen and Leonard Ellen.

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Barbara Black

Trust the Faculty of Fine Arts to find an original venue for their inaugural Awards of Distinction presentation.

The Awards were presented for the first time on May 7 in the Écomusée du Fiers Monde, a former indoor swimming pool on Amherst St. just north of Ontario St. The honorees were all major donors to the Faculty whose names are well known to Concordians.

Leonard Ellen and his wife Bina lent their names to the university’s art gallery in the downtown library complex when it was opened in 1992, and Mr. Ellen is has been tireless in his support for Concordia’s fundraising efforts.

Stephen and Gail Jaroslowsky, like the Ellens, are avid art collectors, and lent their names to an institute and chair in Canadian art history led by well-known art historian François-Marc Gagnon. It is — in Jaroslowsky’s view, to Canada’s shame — the first scholarly undertaking of its kind in Canada.

Mel Hoppenheim, a film production entrepreneur, gave $1 million to Concordia’s Department of Cinema, which was renamed in his honour, and he continues to support it in the most practical of ways, scrounging thousands of dollars of film stock and used equipment from his industry colleagues for the use of hard-pressed young filmmakers at the university.

The presentation of the Awards was made at the shallow end of what had once been a swimming pool. In fact, one staff member recalled travelling by bus from the South Shore in the 1950s for swimming lessons there. Whimsically, the numbers marking off the distance in feet (10 - 20- 30, etc.) had been restored along the side. a space both elegant and redolent of Montreal history.

In a brief speech following the presentation of his award, Hoppenheim said that the venue reminded him of his youth in the St. Lawrence Blvd. area. Moreover, his father’s early death had interrupted his education, and he got his matriculation (high-school leaving) at Sir George Williams High School, one of Concordia’s founding institutions.

It gave him great satisfaction to help other young people who are now able to learn filmmaking in an academic, artistic setting, Hoppenheim said.