Gibson Gallery

“Africa Revisted” comes to the Gibson Gallery



By Ron Giofu


Two years ago, Donovan Alp made his debut with his exhibit “Out of Africa” exhibit.

After some additional trips to South Africa, Alp has returned with “Africa Revisited.”

“This is the result of another couple of trips to South Africa,” Alp said during a Sunday afternoon reception.

Alp works in various different types of mediums with works being in painting, drawing and photographic form. They have been worked on the last several months, with Alp noting his most recent trip to South Africa being in April 2017.

A recent trip saw him visit four countries and five game reserves. Alp, who now lives in LaSalle, was originally born in Zimbabwe.

Donovan Alp stands with one of his works that are currently featured as part of the “Africa Revisited”
exhibit at the Gibson Gallery. The exhibit runs through Sept. 23.

“Every painting has a picture of a photo under it so you can see what I was working from,” he said.

Alp said he always has enjoyed going to game reserves and started painting the animals he was taking pictures of after he retired. He noted that some of the animals may not be around for the long term due to poaching and trophy hunting.

There are 16 new paintings or drawings part of “Africa Revisited” with one drawing that was in his 2016 show. Alp said he doesn’t show his work that often, with the two exhibits at the Gibson Gallery being his only one-person shows. He also submits work to Association of Representational Artists (ARA) shows.

“I just think it’s a wonderful gallery,” stated Alp. “It’s a wonderful place to exhibit.”

“Africa Revisited” will be on exhibit through Sept. 23.

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


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.

Photos, art and artifacts sought for upcoming marine exhibit at Gibson Gallery



The Gibson Gallery will have an exhibit entitled “Ahoy! Amherstburg’s Marine Past” that will run from Sept. 27-Oct. 21.

Through a collection of art, artifacts and photos, the exhibit will showcase the marine history that flourished in the Port of Amherstburg since the 1800’s. A highlight of the exhibit will be the colourful history of McQueen Marine Ltd. that was based in Amherstburg for over 50 years. Come aboard to hear the stories told by crew members of McQueen’s famous tug, Atomic. See what our Detroit River shoreline and the Navy Yard Park looked like 50 years ago!

The tug “Atomic” is pictured. (Photo courtesy of the Marsh Historical Collection)

Among those putting the exhibit together are Dave Cozens, Al Jackson and Capt. Cliff Morrison.

“The three of us are putting this exhibit together,” said Cozens, as he and Jackson looked through Dave Goodchild’s collection of photos.

The Gibson Gallery is looking for photos, paintings, prints, artifacts and any other materials that depict Amherstburg’s marine past. The gallery is looking for photos of Mullen’s Coal Dock, the Boblo dock at the foot of Murray St., Duffy’s marina, the custom’s dock and the Navy Yard Park construction.

Cozens said they are hopeful to get calls and submissions from the public. He believes there are “hidden gems” out in the community “but we don’t know what they are.”

The Marsh Historical Collection is also assisting with providing materials.

The “Prudence” is photographed. (Photo courtesy of the Marsh Historical Collection)

“It’s a united effort,” said Cozens.

If there are members of the public that have anything of interest that they would be prepared to loan to the Gibson Gallery for the exhibit, please contact Cozens at 519-736-2228 or via e-mail at The public’s support is greatly appreciated.

The public is invited to visit the “Ahoy! Amherstburg’s Marine Past” exhibit at the Gibson Gallery this fall. The gallery is located at 140 Richmond St.

“Hyperrealism” by local youth artist on exhibit at the Gibson Gallery



By Ron Giofu


The work of Madison Young has made it to the Gibson Gallery.

The local teenager’s work is now on exhibit at the gallery, with previous displays of her work having been at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. and the former Mudpuppy Gallery.

“This is my first exhibit at the Gibson Gallery. It’s really special to me,” said Young.

Young said she was pleased that, as a 16-year-old, she was able to get her own exhibit at the gallery.

“It’s a really great feeling as an artist,” she said. “Thank you to the Gibson Gallery for giving me this opportunity.”

Young, who just completed Grade 10 at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, is hopeful the more exposure she receives will allow her to continue to have exhibits at art galleries.

“To have this whole room to myself is really special,” she said.

There are both original works and prints as part of the current “Hyperrealism” exhibit. She uses mediums such as pencil, markers, pastels and has now added an oil painting to her growing collection.

“I’ve been selling a lot of them,” she said, but noted some of the works that are part of the exhibit are not for sale.

Local artist Madison Young is the current artist with an exhibit at The Gibson Gallery. Young’s “Hyperrealism” exhibit runs through July 29.

Young added she has been hearing a lot of good input on her art.

“The feedback has been super-positive,” said Young. “It’s been great.”

Noting she has been drawing since she was three or four, Young said she started getting into hyperrealism when she was 12-years-old.

“I drew a cupcake and that turned out well,” she said. “I decided to pursue it and now I’m here.”

Young defines hyperrealism as drawing something and having it really look the object she was drawing, including using the colours needed to make it look as real as possible.

Young will be one of the exhibitors during Art by the River, which is scheduled for Aug. 25-26 at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

The opening reception for “Hyperrealism” was last Saturday afternoon, but Young is also having a closing reception July 28 from 2-4 p.m. The exhibit runs through July 29.

“It’s been super fun already and I’m excited to meet as many people as I can,” she said.

For more information on Young and her work, visit

The Gibson Gallery is open daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and is located at 140 Richmond St. For more information, visit or call 519-736-2826. Their Twitter account can be found at while their Facebook account is found at

“In Pursuit of the Golden Key” wraps up, key found



By Ron Giofu


When the finale of the “In Pursuit of the Golden Key” treasure hunt was being planned, organizers knew they had at least one person with the correct numbers from the numerical part of the challenge.

Finding the actual key, however, was anticipated to continue.

That was until the Bombardier family stepped in.

The Bombardiers, who live in Essex, are comprised of parents Jamie and Renée and sons Eric, Logan and Jeremy. Renée said they worked “off and on” on the project since it began six years ago.

What was the key to finding the key?

“The key (to solving it) was a lot of coding,” said Renée. “We started reading the coding back.”

The Bombardier family discovered the key was located at a corner fence post at 291 Ramsay St. For finding the key and solving the mathematical equations in the book, the family received the entire $10,000 grand prize. The $5,000 portion for finding the key was expected to be donated, but the family found the key in the final days of the contest.

“It’s so surreal,” said Renée. “I still can’t really believe it.”

Renée said there haven’t been any firm decisions as for what to do with the money.

“We have to have to have a family sit-down and see where it goes,” she stated.

“We did promise (the boys) from the beginning that we’d split it with them,” added Jamie.

Artists Stephen Gibb (left) and Dennis White (second from right) present the Bombardier family with a $10,000 cheque for solving the “In the Golden Key” treasure hunt. The wrap up party was held last Thursday night at the Gibson Gallery, where the exhibit wrapping up the treasure hunt concluded. The Bombardier family includes sons Eric, Logan and Jeremy and parents Jamie and Renée.

The Bombardier family did tout the educational component of the project, stating they learned a lot about the area’s history. They still encourage people to try the treasure hunt anyway, even though the prize money has been claimed.

“I’m kind of sad it’s over,” Renée admitted.

“In Pursuit of the Golden Key” was created by local artists Dennis White and Stephen Gibb with their paintings being featured as part of the exhibit at the Gibson Gallery that has just wrapped up. The key was created by Precision Jewellers.

“It’s been a long six years,” said White. “It’s been great and not so great at times.”

White said it was a project that they were tied to and he was starting to wonder if anyone was ever going to find the golden key.

“I was beginning to think it was never going to be solved,” he said.

After wondering if there were mistakes that would present people from finding the golden key, White said he reviewed the book and the clues inside it.

“I went to my studio and I studied it and studied it,” he said. “I realized it could be solved.”

Two people actually ended up with the correct mathematical equations and one other person was one number off.

“It was a very difficult puzzle and you really had to do your homework to solve it,” said White.

White added that both Gibb and himself were pleased that people got to learn about history while taking part in their treasure hunt.

Gibb joked that White originally thought the treasure hunt was too easy and that it would be solved in the first week. After White tweaked the clues, it took six years for the treasure hunt to be solved.

For more information on “In Pursuit of the Golden Key,” visit For more information on the Gibson Gallery, visit or call 519-736-2826.