Deal made to sell Rodman Hall in St. Catharines to developer and save artwork

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The art collection at Brock University's Rodman Hall will be moved, but officials say they've struck a deal to keep all 1,000 of the pieces.

The objects, including paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures by Canadian, American and European artists from the past three centuries will be moved to a new location in St. Catharines.

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik said the new agreement represents a strategic and sustainable solution for ensuring the future of the artwork.

The location has not been selected yet.

“This is a positive move forward in creating a space in which people can experience and explore visual public art in St. Catharines,” said Sendzik. “The City looks forward to working with RHAC Inc. and Brock to find a suitable, accessible location for this important art collection.” 

In a parallel arrangement, the Rodman Hall property in west St. Catharines is being purchased by a local group headed by Nino Donatelli.

His previous projects include the commercial core in Old Port Dalhousie, and the former Domtar/CN rail lands in Merritton that include the Keg Restaurant and the Stone Mill Inn Plaza.

"I am excited by the opportunity to explore the potential for refashioning this iconic property for additional residential uses while preserving the historic home and gardens,” said Donatelli.

University President Gervan Fearon says protecting the artwork was a key reason why Brock first agreed to assume responsibility for the collection and Rodman Hall 17 years ago, when the future of both was in question.

During that span, the University has spent more than $7-million maintaining the collection and the site.