Art Gallery of Hamilton looks to possible expansion to showcase art works

News Feb 11, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As the paintings of Emily Carr, Lawren Harris and Tom Thomson illuminated the darkened room, Art Gallery of Hamilton president and chief executive officer Shelley Falconer described the very human need to learn about a country’s art and artists.

“Artists explore the very nature of society, who we are through their art,” said Falconer. “They tell us where we came from, who we are and who we may become.”

But at most, about four per cent of the gallery’s 10,000 pieces of art can be displayed for the public at any one time because of changing exhibitions and limited space. It’s a problem that continues to haunt all galleries and museums, said Falconer. But the Art Gallery of Hamilton is attempting to do something about it.

It will be launching a two-year feasibility study that will examine gallery space, a possible expansion to the gallery, and even the necessity for a standalone Hamilton history museum to showcase and “tell the story” of the city’s past.

“So that when visitors and students alike can come in, the fact when they visit, the (Tom) Thompson painting will be here,” she said.

The idea is to allow the gallery’s permanent collections to be seen by the public, while devoting additional space “because this gallery relies so much on applied grants, we can’t afford to hang our permanent collection,” said Falconer.

On Feb. 11, Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas Liberal MP and Labour Minister Filomena Tassi, along with Hamilton East—Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina, announced the federal government is providing the gallery $112,875 to complete the feasibility study.

Falconer said it was vital that the paintings of Carr, Thompson and Robert Houle — who painted a large red canvas with significant dates etched into the paint that impacted Indigenous peoples — offer “very different perspectives” about the Canadian landscape.

“They give us an insight into our natural history,” said Falconer. “That is the power of art. That’s why every school child deserves to see our collection. Art and history can both define and challenge our sense of history.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he has walked among the gallery’s vault of priceless art that is kept in the cellar, set aside because of the limited gallery space.

“There is just so much that is available, but not available to be shown,” said Eisenberger. “How do we make all of the wonderful art available to the citizens of Hamilton?”

In 2013 the art gallery under previous president and chief executive officer Louise Dompierre proposed a $30-million fundraising campaign to finance a refurbished and expanded gallery that would have included a new wing, three new studios and additional gallery space on the second floor. But councillors rejected the idea that the city would help pay for it, believing residents were opposed to paying higher taxes for the project.

The design and fundraising plans were left in limbo until they were scrapped in 2017 as unrealistic. Dompierre left her position at the end of 2014.

Falconer, after she joined the gallery, launched a new strategic plan in 2016 that focused on the gallery’s collection and community engagement, especially by encouraging youth and students to visit and learn about the gallery and long-term sustainability.

The last time the gallery expanded was in 2003.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton, founded in 1914, is the third largest public gallery in Ontario. Gallery officials say the institution receives the least amount of base government funding at 17 per cent compared to provincial and national averages of 33 per cent to 52 per cent for similar-sized facilities.

Art Gallery of Hamilton launches study that will allow more art works to be showcased

News Feb 11, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As the paintings of Emily Carr, Lawren Harris and Tom Thomson illuminated the darkened room, Art Gallery of Hamilton president and chief executive officer Shelley Falconer described the very human need to learn about a country’s art and artists.

“Artists explore the very nature of society, who we are through their art,” said Falconer. “They tell us where we came from, who we are and who we may become.”

But at most, about four per cent of the gallery’s 10,000 pieces of art can be displayed for the public at any one time because of changing exhibitions and limited space. It’s a problem that continues to haunt all galleries and museums, said Falconer. But the Art Gallery of Hamilton is attempting to do something about it.

It will be launching a two-year feasibility study that will examine gallery space, a possible expansion to the gallery, and even the necessity for a standalone Hamilton history museum to showcase and “tell the story” of the city’s past.

“So that when visitors and students alike can come in, the fact when they visit, the (Tom) Thompson painting will be here,” she said.

The idea is to allow the gallery’s permanent collections to be seen by the public, while devoting additional space “because this gallery relies so much on applied grants, we can’t afford to hang our permanent collection,” said Falconer.

On Feb. 11, Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas Liberal MP and Labour Minister Filomena Tassi, along with Hamilton East—Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina, announced the federal government is providing the gallery $112,875 to complete the feasibility study.

Falconer said it was vital that the paintings of Carr, Thompson and Robert Houle — who painted a large red canvas with significant dates etched into the paint that impacted Indigenous peoples — offer “very different perspectives” about the Canadian landscape.

“They give us an insight into our natural history,” said Falconer. “That is the power of art. That’s why every school child deserves to see our collection. Art and history can both define and challenge our sense of history.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he has walked among the gallery’s vault of priceless art that is kept in the cellar, set aside because of the limited gallery space.

“There is just so much that is available, but not available to be shown,” said Eisenberger. “How do we make all of the wonderful art available to the citizens of Hamilton?”

In 2013 the art gallery under previous president and chief executive officer Louise Dompierre proposed a $30-million fundraising campaign to finance a refurbished and expanded gallery that would have included a new wing, three new studios and additional gallery space on the second floor. But councillors rejected the idea that the city would help pay for it, believing residents were opposed to paying higher taxes for the project.

The design and fundraising plans were left in limbo until they were scrapped in 2017 as unrealistic. Dompierre left her position at the end of 2014.

Falconer, after she joined the gallery, launched a new strategic plan in 2016 that focused on the gallery’s collection and community engagement, especially by encouraging youth and students to visit and learn about the gallery and long-term sustainability.

The last time the gallery expanded was in 2003.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton, founded in 1914, is the third largest public gallery in Ontario. Gallery officials say the institution receives the least amount of base government funding at 17 per cent compared to provincial and national averages of 33 per cent to 52 per cent for similar-sized facilities.

Art Gallery of Hamilton launches study that will allow more art works to be showcased

News Feb 11, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

As the paintings of Emily Carr, Lawren Harris and Tom Thomson illuminated the darkened room, Art Gallery of Hamilton president and chief executive officer Shelley Falconer described the very human need to learn about a country’s art and artists.

“Artists explore the very nature of society, who we are through their art,” said Falconer. “They tell us where we came from, who we are and who we may become.”

But at most, about four per cent of the gallery’s 10,000 pieces of art can be displayed for the public at any one time because of changing exhibitions and limited space. It’s a problem that continues to haunt all galleries and museums, said Falconer. But the Art Gallery of Hamilton is attempting to do something about it.

It will be launching a two-year feasibility study that will examine gallery space, a possible expansion to the gallery, and even the necessity for a standalone Hamilton history museum to showcase and “tell the story” of the city’s past.

“So that when visitors and students alike can come in, the fact when they visit, the (Tom) Thompson painting will be here,” she said.

The idea is to allow the gallery’s permanent collections to be seen by the public, while devoting additional space “because this gallery relies so much on applied grants, we can’t afford to hang our permanent collection,” said Falconer.

On Feb. 11, Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas Liberal MP and Labour Minister Filomena Tassi, along with Hamilton East—Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina, announced the federal government is providing the gallery $112,875 to complete the feasibility study.

Falconer said it was vital that the paintings of Carr, Thompson and Robert Houle — who painted a large red canvas with significant dates etched into the paint that impacted Indigenous peoples — offer “very different perspectives” about the Canadian landscape.

“They give us an insight into our natural history,” said Falconer. “That is the power of art. That’s why every school child deserves to see our collection. Art and history can both define and challenge our sense of history.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he has walked among the gallery’s vault of priceless art that is kept in the cellar, set aside because of the limited gallery space.

“There is just so much that is available, but not available to be shown,” said Eisenberger. “How do we make all of the wonderful art available to the citizens of Hamilton?”

In 2013 the art gallery under previous president and chief executive officer Louise Dompierre proposed a $30-million fundraising campaign to finance a refurbished and expanded gallery that would have included a new wing, three new studios and additional gallery space on the second floor. But councillors rejected the idea that the city would help pay for it, believing residents were opposed to paying higher taxes for the project.

The design and fundraising plans were left in limbo until they were scrapped in 2017 as unrealistic. Dompierre left her position at the end of 2014.

Falconer, after she joined the gallery, launched a new strategic plan in 2016 that focused on the gallery’s collection and community engagement, especially by encouraging youth and students to visit and learn about the gallery and long-term sustainability.

The last time the gallery expanded was in 2003.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton, founded in 1914, is the third largest public gallery in Ontario. Gallery officials say the institution receives the least amount of base government funding at 17 per cent compared to provincial and national averages of 33 per cent to 52 per cent for similar-sized facilities.