Bonnie Deslippe

Thousands attend Art by the River

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 52nd annual Art by the River got off to a wet start but recovered nicely as the weekend went on.

The show, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Gibson Gallery, reported to have about 2,000 fewer people than last year due to early weather woes.

Saturday morning wasn’t ideal for Art by the River due to rain and wind, but things turned around by afternoon with crowds coming through to enjoy the over 150 artists and crafters that turned out to Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

However, according to Gibson Gallery board member and office administrator Bonnie Deslippe, the foul weather early on still didn’t stop some from attending.

“We had people lining up to come in,” said Deslippe.

People were coming through with umbrellas, she added, even though some crafters and artists were still in their tents.

Maria Jose paints a portrait during Art by the River last Saturday.

“I think there are people who really look forward to this every year,” she said.

The venue and the fact there are some one-of-a-kind items lends to the success of Art by the River, Deslippe added.

The only damage from the Saturday morning storm was pottery that was broken at one of the tents while another tent at the “Little Artists Workshop” blew away.

“We are still tired but very happy with the way the weekend turned out and are already planning next year,” said Deslippe. “A huge thankyou to all our dedicated volunteers. The event would not be possible without them and the support of the town and staff of Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.”

Local author John Schlarbaum was attending again this year, in what is the tenth anniversary of the release of his book “Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner.” He had many of his other titles marked down to either $5 or $10 to mark the occasion.

“Unfortunately, it’s the one book that’s sold out,” he said.

Schlarbaum said he has been working to record a song that he wrote several years ago and is also trying to get his novella “Aging Gracefully Together” in production as a play.

“My hope is to get a local theatre group to put it on in the future,” he said.

Calista Papaefthimiou compete in the live art competition.

Schlarbaum states he is also in the early stages of a new book project involving his P.I Steve Cassidy character.

Art by the River is enjoyable, Schlarbaum added, as he said he meets people that he has seen there and at other shows.

“I end up meeting a lot of fans and new readers who hopefully enjoy the books,” he said.

Ross Stuart of Kingston entertained on the ukuleles he made. He said it was either his third or fourth year at Art by the River.

“It’s a great place to be,” he said. “The people are fabulous. The town is great.

The 52nd annual Art by the River was held Aug. 25-26 at Fort Malden National Historic Site. Char Pare of Amherstburg shows some of her work.

 

Stuart said he has been making his instruments for 12 years. He travels to this part of Ontario twice per year with the other stop being Art in the Park in Windsor.  He said it makes sense to do the same shows as people who thought about it or tried his instruments often come back to buy the next time they see him.

“Each piece is unique,” he said.

Stuart added he makes his instruments in groups and calls it “a labour of love.”

Dan St. Pierre and wife Carol of Amherstburg attended and created some of their “Miracle Magnets” magnetic therapy jewellery.

“We’ve been doing this since 2004,” said Dan. “When we got started, friends of ours picked up the methods in Texas and brought it up here.”

Dan explained that they make the jewellery themselves and that they ship as far as Kincardine and Ohio.

“We enjoy doing it. We love it,” he said, adding that people drop by their booth at Art by the River “just to say hello.” They have made friends at craft shows and renew old friendships.

Dan added that they’ve noticed that Art by the River doesn’t let just anyone in as a vendor.

Crowds go through Fort Malden National Historic Site during Art by the River.

“They want the best and it shows,” he said.

Char Pare of Amherstburg said it was her seventh Art by the River and she doesn’t do any other show.

“I think the quality of the show is extremely high,” she said. There is talent when going from tent-to-tent and “I think it’s encouraging to people.”

Calista Papaefthimiou and Trinity Hallett were two of the students competing against other students in a live art competition even during the storm. The duo, representing Sandwich Secondary School, came in third place behind Kaitie Lessard and Sallma Majthoub of St. Clair College and Wayne State University respectively and Sophia Fallea and Mandy Brunet of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School Emily Roe and Laura Fontaine of the University of Windsor were honorable mentions.

“It’s cool,” said Papa, “to paint in those conditions.”

For additional photos, view our photo album.

“Student Pix” on exhibit at Gibson Gallery through June 3

 

The Gibson Art Gallery has hung young photographers’ work on its walls for the 13th time.

The annual Student Pix exhibit features the work of both primary and secondary school students from within the Greater Essex County District School Board.

Professional photographers and artists judge the photos and assign winners.  Winners are broken into categories according to grade level and photographic medium.

“It’s an exhibit the public looks forward to,” said Bonnie Deslippe, the gallery’s administrator.  “People like to see what these kids have created.”

Deslippe noted that this year is an interesting one, since one of the “Best in Show” awards was granted to a grade schooler.  Addison Slater, a Kingsville Public School student, won for her digitally-enhanced image.  Normally, she said, the winner comes from the senior division, which includes grades 9-12.

This year, around 250 photos were submitted.  Of them, 37 winners were announced:

 

PRIMARY – Black and White

Kate Winney

Sebastien Allison

Ava Soucie

 

PRIMARY – Colour

Kate Winney

Sebastien Allison

Ava Soucie

 

PRIMARY – Digitally Enhanced

Sebastien Allison

Dale Richardson explores the 13th annual Student Pix exhibit at the Gibson Art Gallery in Amherstburg. The exhibit will run through June 3. (Photo by Jonathan Martin)

JUNIOR – Black and White

Isabelle Soucie

Elliana O’Neill

Brianna Gignac

 

JUNIOR – Colour

Meredith Reynolds

Claire Bolton

Isabelle Soucie

 

JUNIOR – Digitally Enhanced

Minji Kim

Claire Stockwell

Claire Bolton

 

INTERMEDIATE – Black and White

Marin Van Wagner

Parker Mosey

Julia Balkwill

 

JUNIOR – Colour

Nefertari Powell

Mila Vasquez

Grace Rivett

 

JUNIOR – Digitally Enhanced

Aleksandra Milic

Morgan Churchill

Ava Claridge

 

SENIOR – Black and White

Ashley Injic

Julia Sanders

Dilinaer Aiyireti

 

SENIOR – Colour

Sydney Cremasco

Chyenne Wilson

Celina Duguay

Sommer Franz

 

SENIOR – Digitally Enhanced

Mariffe Boycott

Kevin Baker

Joslyn Gagnier

 

BEST IN SHOW – Black and White

Alyssa Ferrera

 

BEST IN SHOW – Colour

Sommer Franz

 

BEST IN SHOW – Digitally Enhanced

Addison Slater

 

The exhibit will continue hanging until June 3, when a closing reception will be held from 2-4 p.m.  The students will be formally presented with their awards at 3 p.m.

The Gibson Art Gallery is open from Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

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 www.gibsonartgallery.com. Their Twitter account can be found at www.twitter.com/ARTamherstburg while their Facebook account is found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery.

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 www.gibsonartgallery.com. Their Twitter account can be found at www.twitter.com/ARTamherstburg while their Facebook account is found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery.

 

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.