“In Pursuit of the Golden Key” wrapping up… or will it?



By Ron Giofu


An exhibit turned treasure hunt that started six years ago is wrapping up.

At least, the monetary portion of it is.

The Gibson Gallery’s latest exhibit is the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” finale with local artists Dennis White and Stephen Gibb being the originators of the project. The project began as a way to celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the monetary portion – $10,000 – will be awarded towards the end of the exhibit, which runs to July 1.

“We started it in 2012 for the celebration of the War of 1812,” said White. “We thought the key would be found in relatively short order but it hasn’t been.”

The gallery describes the exhibit itself as “a collection of 32 paintings by author/artist Dennis White and artist Stephen Gibb. Launched in 2012 to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, these encrypted art pieces are the heart of the real-life treasure hunt book. Through verse and illustrations, you are invited to come along on a journey into this War and decipher the clues which lead to a modern day treasure, yet to be discovered!”

There is one person thus far who has the correct numbers that come from following along in the treasure hunt book, said White, with $5,000 to be split among that person and anyone else who gets all the correct numbers.

“Every page has a mathematical question,” he explained. “They have to look online to get the history of 1812. Certain things require certain numbers and when they discover what the numbers are, each page has a riddle and a mathematical question.”

Should no one find the key prior to the end of the exhibit, the other $5,000 will be donated to the Belle Vue Conservancy.

“For them, I think it’s good because they have such a history with the War of 1812,” said White.

Amherstburg artist Dennis White holds a copy of the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” book that goes along with the treasure hunt. White teamed with another Amherstburg artist – Stephen Gibb – on the project. The Gibson Gallery is presenting the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key finale” exhibit through July 1.

As for what Belle Vue is used for, “I’d like to see it used for the arts, or at least part of it.”

As for the key itself, which White said was donated by Precision Jewellers, will remain hidden even after the money is awarded. People will still be able to buy books and try to find the key.

Treasure books, which now cost $15 instead of the original $30, are on sale at the Gibson Gallery for those who want to try their hands at the online treasure hunt.

“There were books sold all over the world,” said White. “The term for it is ‘armchair treasure hunt.’ You don’t have to leave your house.”

The location of the key remains a mystery, but White noted that people won’t find it by luck.

“It’s very specific. It’s not a guessing game,” he said. “No one that guesses will find the key.”

White joked that it may not be until 2112 until someone finds the key, adding “maybe it will gain legs and sell more books.”

White said he learned a lot about the War of 1812 while working with Gibb on the project and both were thrilled to learn that young people are learning a lot as well.

The paintings that go along with the treasure hunt that are featured in the exhibit will be on sale for $200 apiece, White added.

For more information on the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” treasure hunt, visit www.whitegibberish.com.

Those wanting more information on the Gibson Gallery can call 519-736-2826 or visit www.gibsonartgallery.com. The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. in Amherstburg.

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