Gibson Gallery

Local artist crosses off item on her “bucket list” with her first exhibit



By Ron Giofu


The work of Sandra Menard is on exhibit at the Gibson Gallery through March 25 and those interested in seeing her work had better get in there between now and that date.

“This is the one and only time I am going to do this,” the Amherstburg resident said of exhibiting her work. “It was on my bucket list.”

Menard estimates there are about 45 paintings on exhibit with the work encapsulating about six decades of work. One painting included in her exhibit – entitled “Some Beauty I’ve Seen on my Way” – was created almost 63 years ago.

“My son was born in 1955 and I painted it that year,” said Menard during an opening reception.

Noting she works mainly in oils, Menard has painted some watercolours over the years. Much of her work is landscapes but there are wildlife paintings and other subject matter included as well.

“It’s just whatever catches my eye,” she said. “I do like landscapes.”

Sandra Menard is presenting her first-ever exhibit “Some Beauty I’ve Seen on my Way” now until March 25.

Some of the paintings originate from a vacation she took with her daughter, with her daughter taking photos and Menard painting from them. She also is a regular painter at a Thursday art group in her apartment building.

“I love playing with colours,” she said.

Menard has given away many paintings over the years, joking she had to retrieve some of them so she could have the exhibit. She does have some of her work for sale as part of the exhibit.

“I hope everyone will come out and have a look,” she said, adding she plans on coming to the gallery once per week during the time the exhibit is displayed.

This is the first exhibit at the Gibson Gallery in the 2018 season. The gallery is open Thursday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

For further information, call 519-736-2826 and or visit their website at Their Twitter account can be found at while their Facebook account is found at

Gibson Gallery hosts annual AGM



By Ron Giofu


The Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts, the board that operates the Gibson Gallery, looked back on another year at their annual general meeting (AGM).

The meeting, held recently at the Richmond St. gallery, recapped the year and offered a look ahead at projects the board is considering in the future. Dave Cozens, president of the board, pointed out the gallery’s signature event – Art by the River – turned out well in 2017.

“It was a great success with great weather and great crowds,” said Cozens. “It was a great return on our efforts.”

Cozens outlined the history of the gallery and the work that has been done since it was purchased by guild member Florence Gibson and donated to the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts in 1968. From purchasing the land to installing signage, the gallery’s evolution was detailed including work done in recent years that included painting of the interior and exterior, putting up black fencing along the north and east sides, installing LED pot lights and introducing a new hanging system.

Future work includes compiling a “manual” that will instruct future members and committee appointees on what to do “so you don’t have to start from scratch.” Other possibilities for 2018 include refurbishing the landscaping, refreshing the caboose and putting a digital sign at the road.

Art by the River was one of the bigger success stories for the Gibson Gallery in 2017.

The museum had about 2,200 visitors for the nine exhibits in 2017, noted board member Kathleen Cant, with roughly 300 more attending receptions. The Holiday Gift Shoppe drew in an additional 500 people.

The most popular exhibit was “White Works: Dennis and Dylan White,” as well as the other exhibits held during the summer months. The Gibson Gallery reported an excellent response from the artist community for the Canada 150 exhibit and the student shows are always well attended.

Bonnie Deslippe, office administrator and board member, reported they have approximately 127 members at the gallery, noting more are welcome to join. Those interested can join for $20 or $25 per family.

Deslippe also noted they are partnering more and more with the town of Amherstburg and working closely with the tourism department.

“All in all, I’d say (the town) is very supportive of the Gibson Gallery,” said Deslippe.

The first exhibit of the 2018 schedule is “Some Beauty I’ve Seen on my Way” by Sandra Menard. That is scheduled to run March 1-25. This year’s Art by the River is scheduled for Aug. 25-26 at Fort Malden National Historic Site.

For further information on the Gibson Gallery, call 519-736-2826 or visit their website at Their Twitter account can be found at while their Facebook account is found at

Holiday Gift Shoppe at the Gallery gives residents a chance to buy local


By Jolene Perron


The Gibson Gallery, which typically hosts are shows, has transformed into a holiday gift shoppe, showcasing the work of local artists and allowing them to sell their homemade goods for gifts for the holiday season.

The initiative was started in 2004 as a fundraiser for the gallery. Gibson Gallery office administrator Bonnie Deslippe explained the thought behind the event was the bring Art by the River, on a smaller scale, indoors.

More than 40 different vendors have their items for sale at the Gibson Art Gallery, giving shoppers a chance to support local artists this holiday season.

“Originally the vendors would rent a table in the gallery for a set fee. The down side was that we only had room for about a dozen at most and it became very crowded once the customers arrived,” said Deslippe. “In 2011, we started the format of operating the gallery as a gift shoppe, having the exhibitors drop off their items, which are then set out by the Gallery board members. This allows the exhibitors to attend other art and craft shows in the area and the cost to them is the commission on sold items.”

Deslippe said their own Nifty Needleworkers, who work out of the gallery every week, are busy all year creating the hats, scarfs and other knitted and crocheted items that are for sale. All of their sales are returned to the Gallery, and after the shoppe closes, any unsold items are distributed to the various charities that they support.

More than 40 different vendors have their items for sale at the Gibson Art Gallery, giving shoppers a chance to support local artists this holiday season.

This year, the gallery has more than 40 vendors. The planning begun right after the gates for Art by the River closed. Currently, the Gibson Gallery is filled with wreaths and decorations for sale as well as unique gift items including jewellery, pottery, artwork, fabric art, wood turnings, chocolate, Christmas cake, fur and tartan teddies, soaps and lotions, stained glass, tinware from the Park House, jams by Zone 6 Gardeners, books by local authors, John Schlarbaum, Melissa Piva, Dennis White and Linda Bertrand, pottery by River Rock, paper products by Pocket Squares, glass beads by Michelle Taylor, baskets by Martina Obersat and much more.

More than 40 different vendors have their items for sale at the Gibson Art Gallery, giving shoppers a chance to support local artists this holiday season.

“I personally feel it is very important,” said Deslippe. “It gives artists and artisans to sell their creations and gives the public a chance to purchase a unique, one of a kind gift or decoration, an alternative to shopping at the ‘big box stores.’ It is also a way for them to support the local art community and the Gibson Gallery itself. It has become another part of the River Lights Winter Festival – it is important for the various sites and events in town to work together. People should take a few minutes when they are out and about to stop in and see what we have to offer. They will be pleasantly surprised.”

Holiday Gift Shoppe at the Gallery runs through Dec. 10.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their current hours are Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

For further information, call 519-736-2826 and or visit their website at Their Twitter account can be found at while their Facebook account is found at


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 or call 519-736-2826.

Local author launches latest mystery novel



By Ron Giofu


“Don’t let them kill me.”

John Schlarbaum was told that by a patient at Windsor Regional Hospital during his job as a patient transporter and Schlarbaum, also the author of several mystery novels incorporated that into the opening chapter of his latest book. That book – “Abandoned” – centres on the character Jennifer Malone and was launched last Thursday night at the Gibson Gallery.

“I just wanted to do something after working on the book for two-and-a-quarter years,” said Schlarbaum, of the launch. “I wanted to launch it in Amherstburg.”

Schlarbaum has worked part-time as a patient transporter at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Metropolitan Campus for three years and attributes his sometimes brief contact with people from all walks of life, as well as the staff, for making him a better writer.

“I could never have written ‘Abandoned’ without my experience at the hospital. I wouldn’t have known the procedures required of transporters, nurses, E.R., O.R. and I.C.U. staff, as well as housekeeping personnel duties,” he said. “Even the physical layout of Met Hospital assisted me in visualizing where the action would take place. My goal is to get the reader involved with the plot, its characters and the environment in a way that feels real and believable.”

When the patient uttered the line “don’t let them kill me,” Schlarbaum knew he had the opening chapter to his latest novel.

“To lend a high level of authenticity in my characters and their actions as the plot unfolds, I always incorporate my job experiences into my novels,” Schlarbaum stated. ”In previous mysteries, my 20-plus year career as a private investigator, as well as working in the television industry, helped my readers understand fields they may not have been acquainted with in their lives. I suppose I really do follow the edict: write what you know.”

Amherstburg author John Schlarbaum stands with the cover photo of his new book “Abandoned” during his book launch Oct. 26 at the Gibson Gallery.

Schlarbaum has written three mysteries centering on the Steve Cassidy character and another thriller entitled “Lasting Impressions” but decided to bring back the Malone character after a six-year absence. The last book with the Jennifer Malone character was “A Memorable Murder.”

“Abandoned” was the subject of a recent online funding campaign through Kickstarter, with it surpassing the $3,000 goal. It was 101 per cent funded, Schlarbaum reported, and that allowed people to pre-order the book and allow him to recoup some costs and the same time.

“For me as an author, it is very gratifying that people are pre-ordering the book before it is actually available to sell to the public,” he said.

People from Amherstburg, LaSalle and Windsor came to the book launch and Schlarbaum noted the pre-orders came in from as far as Hawaii.

The photo on the book’s cover also has an interesting story behind it, as Schlarbaum found it in a random online search and, after some digging, found the photographer’s Flickr page. The photographer – Miguel Ángel Avi García – lives in Spain and allowed him to use it for the cover.

Schlarbaum added that the book will be available through his website – – as well as area bookstores. He was selling it for $20 last Thursday and plans on appearing at craft shows around Windsor-Essex County over the next several months, including the Holiday Gift Shop at the Gibson Gallery Nov. 23-Dec. 10.

The new book also contains 16 discussion questions at the back of it that book clubs can use when talking about Schlarbaum’s latest novel.