Making Connections - Kawartha Art Gallery

Submitted by Dianne Lister

The Lindsay Gallery in the little red brick house.jpg

The Kawartha Art Gallery has been making connections in the community since its inception, when it was known in the late 1960s as the Kawartha Arts & Crafts Association. The Lindsay Art Gallery was then incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 1983. In the early 1990s, the Gallery moved to its current home on the second floor of the Lindsay Public Library. Four years ago, it changed its name to the Kawartha Art Gallery to reflect the talent and reach across the municipality. It remains Kawartha Lakes’ only public art gallery.

Through its exhibitions, gatherings, after-school programs, member newsletters and community outreach, Kawartha Art Gallery creates multiple opportunities for meaningful and creative engagement. Individual artists, other arts, cultural and heritage organizations, community members and visitors are all made to feel welcomed, explore our regional talent and enjoy the Gallery’s permanent collection of over 200 valuable art pieces. Contemporary art forms, like Manga, appeal to younger, budding artists.

A strong proponent of the value of cultural tourism, Kawartha Art Gallery is one of the original members of the Kawartha Lakes Arts & Heritage Trail initiative, launched in 2017. Since 2016, the Gallery has helped to bring international films to Kawartha Lakes through its partnership with TIFF in collaboration with the Academy Theatre and “Films on the Scugog”. For the past two years, the Gallery has participated in the SPARK Photo Festival, the largest regional photography festival in Canada.

Susan Taylor, Executive Director of the Gallery, has been a leader in connecting the City of Kawartha Lakes and Kawartha Art Gallery with First Peoples. She initiated a curriculum-based Inuit program called Art Alive in 2015, and has worked collaboratively with cultural leaders from Curve Lake First Nations. In October 2018, the Gallery hosted a community event showcasing aboriginal art and providing a public space to discuss current issues related to Truth & Reconciliation. The exhibition of Woodland Artist, Christian Morriseau (son of Norval Morriseau), together with an auction of some of his artwork, a reading and book signing by journalist Tanya Talaga from her award-winning book “Seven Fallen Feathers” left hundreds of community members feeling enlightened.

In her roles as President, and then Executive Director of Kawartha Art Gallery, Susan Taylor has been a committed volunteer helping to shape the vision and excitement for a potential new cultural centre/hub in Kawartha Lakes. Susan notes: “Through joint programming, collaboration and sharing of ideas and talent, we are well poised to attract cultural visitors and make our residents feel proud. The focus on cultural tourism as a significant economic driver in our region will benefit all.”