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Long-time Museum London (and London at large) supporter Alan Cohen has chosen to contribute to the Centre at the Forks. His donation has helped the Museum realize the project and will also support digital technology that will help animate the new space. If you've not heard his name before, you're likely familiar with the organizations he has been a part of: president of the London Arts Council, the first president of the London Heritage Council, on the Board of the London Chamber of Commerce on two occasions, and founding president of the London Downtown Association when it was still active. The family owned and operated Young Canada Limited which was a London icon for more than 30 years. We sat down with Alan Cohen and asked him about his continued involvement and support of the Museum.

How and when did you first get involved with Museum London?

I’ve been involved for so many years I don’t think I can put a start date on it. I was deeply enough involved that we had the reception at our house for Brian Meehan, when he was coming in as the new Director in 1999. Phyllis and I were actively involved long before that. Museum London is a part of me and it’s a part of London.

When did you first get involved with the Centre at the Forks?

Well, I think it’s fair to say that Phyllis and I were always enthusiastic about a “Centre at the Forks”. We were involved with the concept for many years before the project came together. This is the centre of the city, the centre of the region. Between Eldon House and the Middlesex buildings is the core and it is how London started - therefore it should be celebrated.

Why did you specifically want to contribute to digital equipment?

I feel the world is changing, communication is changing, art is changing. We just came from the Fine Arts Department (at Western University) where they’re using all sorts of new equipment to train up-and-coming artists on digital equipment of different types. The impact of blending these new technologies with the skills of the people interested is the way to the future. To have people more aware of what digital technology can do, should do, and will do is very important.

What should Museum London’s role in the community be in the future?

To keep reminding the public that art is a dynamic process. It is not just looking at a pretty picture, but it’s saying something. It’s not easy to know what some artists are trying to say, but it’s worth the struggle. What the Museum does is provide a forum for looking at the art, wrestling with the art, and encouraging people to help define dimensions as they change according to the context of the times.