Max the Mutt stakes a claim in the east end

An open house for the Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art and Design was held on Feb. 7 at its new East York-area location.

“The building is wonderful, we have three full floors, I think the facilities are definitely an improvement,” said Maxine Schacker, president and director of Max the Mutt. “The students love it…. It really does meet our needs very well.”

The open house at 2944 Danforth Ave. began with Schacker speaking to an audience that slowly grew throughout the first hour of the information session.

Schacker spoke about the programs and the hands-on teaching style one would experience if enrolled in the school. She also discussed the core principles that all students and faculty at the school strive for, which she summed up in three words: Passion, potential and professionalism.

“The whole raison d’être of this school, really, is small classes, mentoring, people knowing each other, it being a community, and professionalism.”

The information session was followed by a tour of the school’s new building and a question and answer period with a panel of professionals in the field of design and animation.

Attendees were then invited to participate in a free cartooning workshop at the end of the open house. Schacker says she hopes to see more people signing up for the school’s workshops in the future.

“Anyone can sign up for a workshop. We can have one-day workshops for people who just want to try something out,” she said. “We see a real need for people to be able to follow their interests…. You’re not earning a certificate, but you are taught at a very high level.”

The college to the Danforth after the building they previously operated out of was set to be demolished.

“The building we were in, which was on Queen Street West, will be demolished in August and they are going to build a condominium there,” Schacker said. “It’s a big departure for us because we started at 96 Spadina and then we were on Queen Street West, so this is our first experience coming into the east end.”

Although she expressed concerns about students having to take a longer commute to the new location, Schacker believes the move is good for both students and faculty.

“The lucky part for us, really, is that we ended up here,” she said. “We have been welcomed warmly into this neighbourhood and its turning out to be a very good thing for everybody.”