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Planning starts for new gallery

Sudbury Living Magazine September 1, 2010 Arts No Comments on Planning starts for new gallery

Look for article on the Franklin Carmichael Art Gallery in the winter issue of Sudbury Living.

(From news release) The Art Gallery of Sudbury has announced plans to build the first ever purpose-built art gallery in the Greater Sudbury Area. Once erected, and with a commitment from the Carmichael family, the Art Gallery of Sudbury will be renamed the Franklin Carmichael Art Gallery, after one of the founding members of the Group of Seven. This new venue will dedicate 14,000 square feet to the permanent collection, national touring exhibitions as well as studio and teaching spaces.

“Seeing the Franklin Carmichael Art Gallery realized will be a significant contribution to the national arts scene as well as a positive economic impact to the Greater Sudbury Area,” said Alan Nursall, Board Chair, Art Gallery of Sudbury. “Not since Science North, 25 years ago, has Northeastern Ontario seen the development of cultural infrastructure on this scale.”

The new Franklin Carmichael Art Gallery will be central in leading the way in arts and culture development for Northeastern Ontario and is a key building block for the City of Greater Sudbury’s future plans. Funding from the municipal, provincial and federal governments has enabled the first phase of the planning process which includes conceptual design, site selection and a five-year business plan. These initial financial commitments have come from the Federal Economic Development Initiative of Northern Ontario, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation. With a focus on regional arts programming from the francophone and native communities, the new Franklin Carmichael Art Gallery has a projected completion date of 2014.

“Everyone involved recognizes this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add a landmark cultural tourism attraction that honours, preserves and celebrates the area’s outstanding Group of Seven heritage,” says Karen Tait-Peacock, Director, Art Gallery of Sudbury. “As Sudbury’s surrounding landscape was a source of inspiration for Franklin Carmichael’s work, it’s a natural fit that the gallery is built here and recognizes one of Canada’s most influential artists.”

To kick-off the expansion of the permanent collection of Franklin Carmichael’s work, today the Carmichael family has generously donated a Franklin Carmichael 27.9 x 33.0 cm framed watercolour, A Northern Lake, 1928.

“A purpose-built arts facility is just what the Greater Sudbury Region needs to move forward,” said Marc Mayer, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada. “Although its population is quite diverse, the visual arts play a central role in all the cultural communities in this region. As the gateway to the North and to Canada’s future, Sudbury needs to make bold and ambitious investments in its cultural infrastructure.”

The Art Gallery of Sudbury’s permanent collection is valued at more than $3.5 million and contains more than 2,000 historical and contemporary works of art including Thomson, Morriseau, Sterbak and more. However, the current space severely limits the capacity to display the gallery’s permanent collection, the ability to invite touring exhibits as well as to grow the permanent collection. The new purpose-built space will not only enable the gallery to properly display and safely store its entire Category “A” designated art collection, but also respond to growing demand for arts education and programming in the community.

The Group of Seven, of which Franklin Carmichael was the youngest and a founding member, was famous for their distinct paintings of Central and Northern Ontario landscapes. Franklin Carmichael was also a member of several other influential artist groups that helped steer the direction of modern art in Canada. He was most well known for his delicate watercolours and his deep passion for the scenery of Northern Ontario, and particularly La Cloche Mountains near Sudbury where he eventually built a cottage.

The Art Gallery of Sudbury ( was established in 1967 as a Centennial project of the Sudbury and District Chamber of Commerce. Originally operating as the Laurentian University Museum and Art Centre, the gallery was incorporated in 1997. Currently housed in a turn of the century mansion, the former residence of lumber baron William Joseph Bell, the gallery is open to the public year round. Works of art include Thomson, Morriseau, Sterbak and more.

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