Amherstburg Freedom Museum hosting Artists of Colour’s “Journeys” exhibit



The Amherstburg Freedom Museum, in partnership with the Artists of Colour, will host the exhibit opening for “Journeys,” with the exhibit opening being Feb. 2.

“Journeys” features 14 works of art from a group of local Black artists who form the committee of the Artists of Colour. Museum officials state the event will feature live entertainment, providing a musical accompaniment to the exhibit.

The art works chosen are part of the first stage of the “Journeys” project which the Artists of Colour have begun to construct, will be an art exhibit that will celebrate and relay the story of Black enslavement and the long journey back to freedom. The museum states “this exhibit will tell the story to all generations of the courage and determination of a people who refused to accept the degradation of slavery. White and Black stood up against the injustice and demoralization of slavery, risking their lives and livelihood opposing the injustice inflicted upon their brothers and sisters. They unselfishly dedicated their lives to the cause of liberty.”

This exhibit is the first stage of the “Journeys Project” and shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to the first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change within the United States and Canada. Between 1840 and 1860, before the American Civil War, once-enslaved Africans followed the North Star on the Underground Railroad to find freedom in Canada. That journey to freedom was long, dangerous and life-changing.

The opening reception of “Journeys” at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum runs from 7-9 p.m., and will feature light refreshments and live entertainment. There is no charge to attend the official opening, but donations are being accepted.

The exhibit runs until April 1, with regular admission rates applying after the Feb 2. opening.

The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is located at 277 King St. in Amherstburg and their phone number is 519-736-5433. The museum’s website is www.amherstburgfreedom.org. Their Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/AmherstburgFreedom and their Twitter page can be found by searching @AburgFreedom.

Gibson Gallery returns to its railroad roots


Special to the RTT

The Windsor Model Railroad Club (WMRC) is on track to return the Gibson Art Gallery to its locomotive roots.

The gallery will host an exhibit put together by the club until Nov. 12. According to WMRC director Bill Poff, the display will marry the gallery’s past as the Central Michigan Railroad Station to its present as a place of artistic expression.

“At this show, we’re trying to highlight the materials we use and how we use them,” said Poff. “(We feel) that this is an opportunity to show the work and the skill that goes into the construction of the pieces – there are many disciplines involved.”

Poff said all his club’s displays are to-scale. One real-life metre is equal to 161 on the models. He said that if an onlooker were to shrink down and walk around on the display, he or she wouldn’t feel out of place.

“There’s a very real artistry involved in making the scenery believable,” he said. “Much of (the inspiration) is taken from real-life places in Windsor-Essex.”

Poff said many of WMRC’s members spend a great deal of time researching the area’s locomotive past. One area of interest, he emphasized, is the Gibson Art Gallery itself. Until the advent of the electric railway, the gallery’s site was home to the Michigan Central Railroad Station.

“What could be better than model railroads set up in a heritage railroad station?” asked Bonnie Deslippe, the gallery’s administrator. “Even better, many of these talented hobbyists will be on-site each day to talk about their craft.”

There is no entrance fee for the exhibit, which WMRC has titled, “The Hobby and Art of Model Railroading.” The show is open to the public 11 a.m.-5 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday.

For more information, visit www.gibsonartgallery.com or call 519-736-2826.

Vintage Bicycle Show celebrates five years


By Jolene Perron


After travelling to attend the Canadian Vintage Bicycle Show in Brantford, a local couple decided they could hold their own similar event in their own backyard.

“I have been collecting vintage bicycles for the last 17 years,” explained event coordinator and property owner, Mark McGuire, who runs the event with wife Cori. “The intent of acquiring our first bicycle was to add to the decor in our basement. As I began to research and learn more, my interest grew, as well as my collection. Canada has a rich history of the bicycle especially with CCM (Canada Cycle and Motor), which unfortunately met its demise in 1983. The history of CCM, the bicycle, and the political and manufacturing relationship between Canadian and the U.S.A. is fascinating. When CCM was established in 1899 through the amalgamation of five Canadian bicycle manufacturing companies, Canada was still looming in the shadow of the Americans trying to impose on Canadian industry. CCM sought to make Canadian bicycle manufacturing strong. At this time in history, the bicycle was a main mode of transportation.”

Event coordinator Mark McGuire shows off his  personal collection of bicycles at the 5th annual Southern Ontario Vintage Bicycle Show Sunday.

Event coordinator Mark McGuire shows off his
personal collection of bicycles at the 5th annual Southern Ontario Vintage Bicycle Show Sunday.

The show started as away for the family to show their interest, collection and share their history knowledge with others. Since beginning the show five years ago, they have attracted collectors from London, Brantford, St. Jacobs, St. Catherines and more who all display, sell and trade bicycles, parts and memorabilia from the past. They typically bring out more than 200 visitors and the number grows each year.

“Collecting antiques is in my blood,” explained McGuire. “My dad has an extensive collection of various antiques, specifically farm related. Ironically, he did not collect bicycles, so at least there was no competition there for me. Dad did enjoy coming out to our past bicycle shows. We enjoy sharing stories with all ages about people and their bicycles and bicycle history. Everyone has a “bike story,” whether it was given to them as a Christmas gift or whether it was a fond childhood memory or even a critical means of transportation.”

Rick Wolfe, who has one the largest pre 1900s vintage bicycles, demonstrates how to properly mount a Royal Mail, circa 1884, with a 54” wheel.

Rick Wolfe, who has one the largest pre 1900s vintage bicycles, demonstrates how to properly mount a Royal Mail, circa 1884, with a 54” wheel.

McGuire said the only requirement for the show, was for all visitors to have fun and enjoy themselves at the family friendly educational event for bicycle enthusiasts.

“Across Thresholds” now on exhibit at the Gibson Gallery


By Ron Giofu


The latest exhibit at the Gibson Gallery invites people to cross the threshold and enjoy seeing different types of things everyone uses every day.

“Across Thresholds” features the work of Dennis K. Smith and Vivian Cattaneo and runs at the gallery through Sept. 3.

“Vivian is the inspiration,” said Smith. “I had taken pictures of doors and said I always wanted to do something.”

That led to the pair teaming up as Cattaneo, who was born and raised in Argentina, returned to her homeland and took pictures of doors and began painting from the photos at Smith’s studio. Smith said he has always been interested in doors as pieces of art, noting they not only keep people out, but invite them in as well.

“We both enjoy the craftsmanship,” added Smith, with some of his work emphasizing the work that goes into creating and using a door.

Dennis K. Smith and Vivian Cattaneo have their work on display at The Gibson Gallery. Their exhibit "Across Thresholds" runs through Sept. 3.

Dennis K. Smith and Vivian Cattaneo have their work on display at The Gibson Gallery. Their exhibit “Across Thresholds” runs through Sept. 3.

“A handle can tell you a lot about the occupant,” said Smith, who has had work in galleries in the Art Gallery of Ontario as well as Michigan.

Cattaneo, who takes classes with Smith, came to Windsor in 1980 and while career stops included the Children’s Aid Society, Huron Lodge and Hiatus House before retiring in 2010, she has also studied architecture.

“I like doors, lamps and windows,” she said. “I have more (paintings) at home.”

The “Across Thresholds” exhibit is her first, she noted and hopes to do more in the future.

“Thanks to Dennis for encouraging me to do it,” said Cattaneo.

Cattaneo also encouraged people to visit Argentina, noting Buenos Aires is very interesting to visit.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and can be found online at www.gibsonartgallery.com.

Their Facebook site can be found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery. To find them on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/ARTamherstburg.

Their phone number is 519-736-2826.

White squared at the Gibson Gallery



By Jolene Perron

It’s never too late to venture out of your comfort zone.

This rings true for local artist Dennis White, who is currently showing a number of his newest art pieces at the Gibson Gallery with his son Dylan.

White said he started creating art when he was 28-years-old. He wasn’t sure he had the talent to create art until he asked his wife for some canvas and paints one year for Christmas.

“I always liked art but I didn’t know I could do it. I tried a few things and I really got a lot of encouragement from people. It’s slowly progressed,” said White. “I like realism, but I’ve been leaning a lot more toward some impressionistic stuff. I’ve been trying to experiment with different styles and such, and I’m kind of liking doing things out of the norm, where I was always afraid to go that route.”

White started working with his son on art about four years ago, when he got a contract from Pet Valu to create murals for each of their Dog Wash stations at location across Canada. He said Dylan always had a talent, ever since he was a young boy.

“When I got working with Pet Valu, I couldn’t do it alone,” said White. “I didn’t start off that way. I was going to start working alone and then he came in to help me. I just saw that it was going to make my life a lot easier if he came along, so we have been doing it ever since for almost four years.”

“I love it,” added Dylan. “I wouldn’t want to work with anybody else.”

Since then, the duo has worked together every day steadily.

Dylan said having grown up with a father who was an artist allowed him to be constantly surrounded by art. It wasn’t until one of his high school teachers pushed him into art that he realized he had a talent. After high school he went to college for interior design.

“That structured me more as far as perspective drawings and really detailed kinds of things,” said Dylan. “Then working with my dad every day, we bounce our ideas off of each other and I think we make each other better artists.”

They’ve expanded on their abilities, White said. One day Dylan will paint a dog, and the next he will do it in a completely different fashion. Dylan said the outcome is always similar, but the way you get there is totally different.

Every mural the team paints has a special spin on it from the town it involves. White explained their painting for British Columbia includes a lot of mountain ranges. If they were to paint one for Amherstburg, it would likely include some picturesque pieces from the Navy Yard Park.

Dennis and Dylan White work on their murals for Pet Valu dog wash stations across Canada at their studio in Amherstburg. See their current exhibit at the Gibson Art Gallery until August 6. Join them for their reception Saturday from 7–8:30 p.m.

Dennis and Dylan White work on their murals for Pet Valu dog wash stations across Canada at their studio in Amherstburg. See their current exhibit at the Gibson Art Gallery until August 6. Join them for their reception Saturday from 7–8:30 p.m.

With the Pet Valu project taking up a large amount of their time, they weren’t sure they were going to do the exhibit at the Gibson Gallery at first, but it all came together and White said he’s very happy with the exhibit.

“There is some realistic stuff, some semi-impressionistic stuff, nothing too bizarre,” said White. “Dylan is really, really good at doing graphite pencil … I was always reluctant to do that kind of thing. I never thought I was good enough. But people really encouraged me. You get a lot of encouragement when you finally put yourself out there and I think it’s good for Dylan. I think it will be good for him.”

In the show, they have managed to pull together as many different art mediums as they could including colored pencil art, paint, graphite pencil and more.

White said he feels incredibly blessed. He never could have dreamed they would be able to do this.

“I hope this lasts a long time,” said White. “I would really like, I think both of us would, if we could get a following with art where even on the internet people like your pieces and if you get enough people, neither one of us thinks we’re going to get rich off of this but if we can make a living we’re happy. If we can make a living as artists, we’re thrilled.”

The exhibit at the Gibson Gallery runs through this Sunday with a reception this Saturday (Aug. 5) from 7-8:30 p.m.