Bonnie Deslippe

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.

Gibson Gallery showcases eclectic assortment of art from members



By Jolene Perron


Each autumn, the Gibson Gallery devotes an entire exhibit to showing off the work of their members.

The Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts, which is the legal name for the gallery, was established in the 1940s and incorporated in 1975 “to encourage and foster cultural development in the fields of fine arts and applied arts.”

Hazel Riley shows off her painting titled “Daddy Gone,” depicting the effects of war on children in other countries. This piece, along with many other member’s pieces are being showcased in the Gibson Art Gallery’s annual member’s exhibit, which will be wrapping up Sunday.

Board member Bonnie Deslippe explained they had no permanent home until they purchased the former Michigan Central Train Station in 1969 and opened the Gibson Gallery in June of that year. The annual Members exhibit allows paid-up members of the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts to showcase their work, with no hanging-fee, which is one of the benefits of being a member.

“We feel it is important to share the work of our members and to do so at no expense to them. This is the eighth year of the exhibit in the current format,” explained Deslippe. “This exhibit is unique in the sense that it is very eclectic. You have different mediums, and artists at different skill levels putting their work together to create a very interesting exhibit”

Vivian Clinck, member for over two years said when she moved here from Wickenburg, Arizona, she thought finding something to compete with the galleries she’d known out there would be tough. It turns out that she was wrong.

“Let me tell you, this Gibson Gallery is top notch,” explained Clinck. “It’s one of the best galleries I have ever been privileged to show at and Bonnie is an excellent curator. She knows what to do, she knows how to present, every single month those pictures are changed into a new show. I just love it here. It’s so quaint and nice.”

Clinck loves the Gibson Gallery so much she even brought along a friend, Hazel Riley to accompany her. Riley has recently become a member of the gallery, and is also showcasing her work in this year’s member’s exhibit.

Vivian Clinck shows off her painting of Duffy’s dock, which is showcased in the Gibson Art Gallery’s annual member’s exhibit, which will be wrapping up Sunday.

“I came to see Vivian’s work when there were studio tours and I showed her some of the work I was doing, and she said I needed to come with her. Now, we come up together,” explained Riley. “I have been away from the world of art for a while, and I’m just coming back now to it. I’m having the best time of my life now, I’m having the best days ever being able to paint and express myself in this way it’s really wonderful.”

The assortment of artwork at the gallery for the exhibit ranges from watercolor paintings, acrylic paintings, oil paintings, pastel drawing, ceramic sculptures, photography, fabric art and so much more.

The annual members exhibit is on display at the Gibson Gallery until this Sunday, with the closing reception from 2-4 p.m. on the final day.

Canada 150 juried art exhibit opens at Gibson Gallery



By Ron Giofu


Art with a Canadian theme is now on exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

The Canada 150 juried art exhibit opened Sept. 7 and runs through to Oct.1 at the gallery, with a reception planned for Sept. 17 from 1-3 p.m. Exhibit chair Kathleen Cant said there were 24 pieces submitted with mediums including watercolours, oils, acrylics, pencils, ink and more.

“We decided to do a competition this time,” Cant explained. “The artists paid a small fee to get in. The money will be pooled and divided up among first, second and third place finishers.”

Bobbi Wagner judges work that appears as part of the current Canada 150 juried art exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

The call for submissions was made in March and organizers wondered what kind of turnout they would get. As it happened, they were pleased.

“The artwork is phenomenal,” said Cant. “We are very surprised at what came in.”
“You never know what you are going to get,” added board member/office manager Bonnie Deslippe.

Deslippe added that the main criteria was it had to be representational art with a Canadian theme. Judges came in last Tuesday night and scored the artwork with those asked to judge including Corrine Ross from Fort Malden National Historic Site, Meg Reiner from the Marsh Historical Museum, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Hugh Barrett from the Chimczuk Museum in Windsor as well as local artist and Gibson Gallery member Bobbi Wagner.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Cant. “We had a great response. We are really impressed with the art that came in.”

The first place winner is Dennis K. Smith for “The Real McCoy” while second prize goes to Nancy Bauer for “Many Things are Canadian but …. ‘Eh!’ says it all.” Taking third place is Sue Southern for “Canadian Women at Mackenzie Hall” with honorable mentions going to Debbie Goldring for “Strong and Free”, Mariano Klimowicz for “Homestead” and Donovan Alp for “A Vision.”

Meg Reiner was one of the judges Sept. 5 prior to the opening of the Canada 150 juried art exhibit at the Gibson Gallery.

“It will be open during Culture Days (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) and the Open Studios Tour,” added Deslippe. “We probably will have artists on site painting.”

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

Art by the River reports “best show ever” in 2017


By Jolene Perron


Since 1967, Amherstburg’s annual Art by the River has brought artists, enthusiasts and art lovers alike to the town’s beautiful waterfront.

“We attract over 150 exhibitors from across Ontario,” explained Bonnie Deslippe, office administrator for the Gibson Art Gallery. “We have added musical entertainment to add to the ambiance and encourage demos by the artists. We also have an area devoted as the “l’il artist workshop” where the children can create their own works of art. We have asked for sponsorship the last few years and have been fortunate to have RBC sponsor the music and TD sponsor the children’s workshop. The fort adds to the event with their “mini militia and historical music demos.”

Adelynn Wong, 2, looks at hand-crafted art along the Fort Malden waterfront Sunday during Art by the River.

Adelynn Wong, 2, looks at hand-crafted art along the Fort Malden waterfront Sunday during Art by the River.

Deslippe explained they have a very strong support system from the community, which brings in between 8,000 and 9,000 people over the course of the two days. She added Monday morning that “it was our best show ever” with record numbers.

It gives artists a chance to sell their creations, interact with the public, gauge buying trends and connect for commission work. It also reminds people how important art is to have in our lives, or as Deslippe puts it “to feed our souls.”

“I believe it is very important to the town,” said Deslippe. “We were the first large festival and are the original art and craft festival in the county. It is all about celebrating everything art and gives people an opportunity to purchase original art in various mediums and to meet with the artists and artisans. It is a family-friendly event that brings people from across the county, Ontario and Michigan to Amherstburg. We encourage them to enjoy our local restaurants and shopping before or after visiting Art by the River.”

Ross Stuart from Rosbilt TinCan Banjo / Ukelele plays his musical instrument, crafted out of an old can of oil, at Art by the River Sunday.

Ross Stuart from Rosbilt TinCan Banjo / Ukelele plays his musical instrument, crafted out of an old can of oil, at Art by the River Sunday.

Even before she became involved with the Gibson Art Gallery, Deslippe said she has always looked forward to Art By the River. She knew it would be a day she could spend in a beautiful setting, surrounded by art, and of course she would always find a treasure or two to purchase and take home with her.

“Last year, for our 50th anniversary, we started a ‘live art’ competition involving two person teams of local students,” said Deslippe. “We have decided to keep it as an annual event. The winning team as selected by the Gibson Gallery board will be awarded a $400 prize to share between the two of them. There are always new exhibitors. As people retire from doing festivals, it opens the door for new exhibitors to apply.”

Local author John Schlarbaum displayed his books along the Fort Malden waterfront during the Art by the River event last weekend.

Local author John Schlarbaum displayed his books along the Fort Malden waterfront during the Art by the River event last weekend.

Parks Canada 150 passes were not honoured at the event, due to the fact that Fort Malden is separate from Art by the River. Deslippe wanted to let people know the Gibson Art Gallery pays a fee to use the grounds and it’s important for the public to understand that any and all money raised goes back into the gallery as a public art gallery and charitable organization run by a volunteer board.

The gallery is always looking for more volunteers and members. For more information, visit or call 519-736-2826.

Art by the River gearing up for 51st annual show



By RTT Staff


Art by the River, the major fundraiser for the Gibson Gallery, is returning to the grounds of Fort Malden National Historic Site this weekend.

According to Bonnie Deslippe, a member of the board of directors and office manager for the gallery, there are 147 vendors expected for the 51st annual arts and crafts show “but I am expecting we will get a few last minute calls.”

Deslippe said the focus is on fine art, but they will have artisans that work in wood, pottery, jewellery, glass, concrete, metal, soap, lotions candles, fibre and create musical instruments.

“There also are a few gourmet food vendors. The Gibson Gallery Wednesday Guild will be selling their knitted and crocheted items and the Park House Tinsmiths will be on site,” said Deslippe. “The Belle Vue Conservancy will be unveiling the new painting by Peter Rindlisbacher. Of interest, although we have many husband and wife teams exhibiting each year, this year we have numerous mother and daughter exhibitors, a new potter from Amherstburg, Trish MacDonald and her mother, Sheila Currie who is a watercolour artist, Carolyn and Kathy Hardy, artists from Kingsville, and a long-time exhibitor Elizabeth de Lange of Harvest Pillows (buckwheat) joined by her daughter Sasha who creates turmeric teas.”

Traya and Melah Mulder  create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River last year. The event returns this weekend.

Traya and Melah Mulder
create their own pieces of art at the “Little Artists’ Workshop” during Art by the River last year. The event returns this weekend.

Art by the River will be featuring live art again this year with local students painting Saturday and Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts board members judging on Sunday with the winners receiving $400. The Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts is the board that operates the Gibson Gallery.

“We have musical entertainment in Barracks Way and Artist Alley sponsored by RBC to add to the ambiance of the event,” said Deslippe. “Sabre Bytes Robotics will be doing demos as well as some of the artisans and for the children, TD Canada Trust is sponsoring the L’il Artist Workshop where they can create their own work of art for free.”

Deslippe said Art by the River’s average attendance is 8,000-10,000 people over the course of a weekend. Admission is $5 for adults with children under 12 being free as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

“This is our 51st year as the principle fundraiser for the Gallery. It allows us to run and maintain the Gibson Gallery as a free public gallery and offer children’s art and craft classes for a nominal fee,” she added. “Because we pay a rental fee to Fort Malden, the free 2017 park passes cannot be used at our event. The Fort personnel will be offering mini militia, music demos and Fort tours free.”

For more information, call the Gibson Gallery at 519-736-2826 or visit them at