The Prince of Wales becomes Royal Patron of Willowbank

QUEENSTON, ON, May 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Willowbank School of Restoration Arts is honoured to announce that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has agreed to become its new Royal Patron.  The announcement was made on the occasion of The Prince's 17th visit to Canada. Willowbank, situated on the U.S.-Canada border near Buffalo, NY, delivers post-secondary education in the crafting of new futures for old places.


The Prince will meet today with Julian Smith, Executive Director, and Lisa Prosper, Director of its Centre for Cultural Landscape, at a meeting of urban designers, planners, developers and civic leaders convened by The Prince in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Royal patronages reflect areas of personal interest to The Prince, and for Willowbank it means linking with his established initiatives, including The Prince's Foundation for Building Community and The Prince's School of Traditional Arts.

"This is a unique opportunity for Willowbank to align our activities in cultural heritage with the pioneering work and global leadership of The Prince" said Smith, who heads the independent, non-profit institution where students come from Canada, the U.S., and abroad to enrol in its three-year diploma program.

"The Prince's patronage is a welcome endorsement of our approach to integrating historic preservation, traditional craftsmanship, and environmental awareness" said Buffalo architect Clinton Brown, FAIA, Vice-President of the Willowbank Board of Directors, a distinguished group of U.S. and Canadian leaders.

The School, which counts Canadians and Americans alike among its students, faculty and major donors, is unique in North America for combining academic and apprenticeship learning. Operating outside the normal structures of universities and technical colleges, Willowbank is positioned to break down barriers between designers and builders, and between traditional knowledge and contemporary practice. Graduates are finding immediate success across a range of careers, from skilled trades to design firms to community development.

"My education at Willowbank gave me the ability to take my passion for joinery and apply it on a more professional level," said Alex Pientka, a 2010 graduate who owns a heritage woodworking company in Philadelphia, PA. "The diploma program blends theory with practice, and molds itself to each of our interests and skills."

In the words of a third-year student from New England, Angela Garvey, "Many people ask if Willowbank is about the study of old buildings. I've come to respond that we learn to appreciate buildings, neighbourhoods and landscapes, all that holds them together - from mortar to memory, and how time affects each."  

Founded in 2006 out of the rescue of its historic 13-acre campus, the School has grown rapidly to include over 40 students, with 50 faculty associates who are leading practitioners in the field. The associated Centre for Cultural Landscape provides a public forum for research, workshops and conferences.

Photographs, video and Willowbank's annual report:

SOURCE: Willowbank School of Restoration Arts

For further information:

Students, faculty and board are available for interview.

Julian Smith

Lisa Prosper

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Willowbank School of Restoration Arts

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