Local pioneers of art and culture celebrated with new wall of fame

Canadian sculptor, painter Artis Lane at the Arts and Culture Heroes Wall of Fame ceremony in Chatham on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. (Photo by Millar Hill)


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A group of trailblazers with ties to Chatham-Kent are being recognized for their contributions to art and culture.

The Chatham Kent Arts and Culture Network (CKACN) inducted the inaugural class of the 2022 Arts and Culture Heroes Wall of Fame with a ceremony Wednesday evening.

Chair James Snyder said the wall of fame marks the first major project for the CKACN. It is something that has been mulled over for the past 20 years.

“We have a sports hall of fame, an agricultural hall of fame, so why not an arts and culture hall of fame?” said Synder. “We want to show Chatham-Kent that it is a cultural community as well as a rural community.”

The group selected 12 inductees, two in each category, which included visual arts, theatre, music, dance, literary arts, and cultural builders.

The first 12 inductees will have a plaque permanently mounted at the Chatham Cultural Centre, they will also be included on a virtual wall on the CKACN website.

Artis Lane, a legendary sculptor and painter who was born in North Buxton, said the event came at the right time in her life.

“I am very flattered,” said Lane. “It comes at a time in my life where I am still here doing and active. Canada is my home.”

Lane said receiving this type of recognition was a sign of affirmation, that staying devoted to her work has paid off.

“It’s though you’ve been obedient to God’s message for you,” said Lane. “It affirms that you’ve stayed devoted. There’s [been] a lot of challenges racially, economically. It’s been an exciting life.”

Sylvia Tyson at the Arts and Culture Heroes Wall of Fame ceremony in Chatham on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. (Photo by Millar Hill)

Canadian musician Sylvia Tyson, who was born in Chatham and is best known as part of the folk duo Ian and Sylvia, was also in attendance Wednesday night.

Delighted to be a part of the evening, Tyson said it was an honour to be inducted into the wall of fame.

“It’s always great to be honoured by the place you come from because that’s what your history is,” said Tyson. “A lot of my songwriting is based on Chatham. It was a great place to be a kid in.”

The 2022 Chatham-Kent Arts and Culture Heroes Wall of Fame includes are:

Visual Arts
– Artis Lane – Painter and Sculptor (North Buxton)
– Janet Forsyth – Painter (Blenheim)

Performing Arts
– Keene Duncan – Movie and Television Actor (Chatham)
– Theatre Kent – Community Theatre Group (Chatham-Kent)

Music
– Jeanne Gordon – Opera Singer (Wallaceburg)
– Sylvia Tyson – Folk and Country Singer (Chatham)

Dance
– Shae-Lynn Bourne – Ice dancer and Choreographer (Chatham)
– Florence Abel – Dancer and Instructor (Chatham)

Literary Arts
– Robertson Davies – Author, Playwright and Critic (Thamesville)
– June Callwood – Journalist and Activist (Chatham)

Cultural Builders
– Gwendolyne Gold – Cultural Builder (South Kent)
– Barbara Jean Rossini – Cultural Builder (Chatham)

Chatham-Kent Arts and Culture Network presents the Arts and Culture Heroes Wall of Fame in Chatham on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. (Photo by Millar Hill)