Let me introduce you to the Douglas Family Art Centre, a new addition to Kenora. Come visit us downtown across Memorial Park from the Lake of the Woods Museum. The building incorporates the former land titles building with a new addition. It was designed by Nelson Architecture and built by Solid Construction; both local companies. The space is gorgeous. Inspired by the old building and the natural elements of our region the Art Centre is a vibrant place that engages the senses and the mind.
My role as curator is to manage the selection and interpretation of art on display. There are two gallery spaces that present art exhibitions from regional, provincial and national artists. The main room of the former land titles building is a grand studio space where creatives of all ages and abilities make art in classes and workshops presented by Shelby Smith, the art centre programmer and/or visiting artists. There is a library for anyone curious or interested in anything art. Take a book out or enjoy one of the two lounges on the second floor. There is a multipurpose room for rent that is glowing with natural light and has a full kitchen. The MUSE shop features artwork from local artists and vendors as well as carefully selected creative gifts. There is artwork throughout the building as well, wood and bronze sculpture, photography and colour woodblock prints. If you are one who enjoys geology you will love the fossils in the Tyndall stone used in the interior and exterior of the building.
Exhibitions are displayed for three to four months. Currently on display are two exhibitions. “21 Pillows” is by award-winning Red Lake glass artist Cheryl Wilson-Smith. Wilson-Smith has hand-made over 10,000 glass stones, her interpretation of a moraine found north of Red Lake. You have never seen glass like this! Visitors are encouraged to touch and move any or all of the stones and pillows as you are inspired, leaving your trace on the landscape.
“To realize by moving a rock, throwing a stone in the water, [you are] altering the environment. So in my show, by moving the stones we are all altering the environment, for better or worse, we are all participating,” Wilson-Smith said of her exhibit.
“From The Vault” is an exhibition curated from the collection of the Lake of the Woods Museum. Many of the artworks have never been displayed before. Each piece tells many stories, about the period in which it was created, the life of the artist, or the lives of the many people who owned it. This exhibition features artwork important to this community donated by private and public collections. There are some mysteries on the walls we need your help with! Some artwork keeps its secrets close.
This fall, Shelby Smith is hosting three 10-week classes for children and teens. These classes are after school and explore many ways of making art. Spots are filling up! On Oct. 1 the Douglas Family Art Centre is partnering with Science North to present an artist talk with Cheryl Wilson-Smith at lunch and a fossil hunt later in the afternoon. On Sept. 24 Kris Goold hosted a sold-out workshop but it looks like Kris will offer another class so book your spot! If you’re missing out keep an eye on our website or become a member to get a heads up on the exciting things that are happening at the Douglas Family Art Centre.
If you haven’t been in yet, come down and take it in. The art centre is your place to discover and enjoy. We look forward to seeing you.
Sophie Lavoie is the curator at the Douglas Family Art Centre.