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Algonquin Park has provided creative inspiration not only for Canadian icons Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, but for generations of artists, including some of today’s most recognizable names. Here are a couple of ways for you to experience world-class exhibits of various media in the park itself.
The Algonquin Art Centre
Located at kilometre 20 on Highway 60 (which runs through the park), the Algonquin Art Centre features incredible works such as Luna, a stunning portrait of the moth-as-archetype worshipping her namesake, the moon, in torch-coloured bronze. It’s the creation of renowned Muskoka sculptor Hilary Clark-Cole, whose famous bronze statue of Tom Thomson sits in front of Huntsville, Ontario’s town hall. Several of Tim Packer’s luminous and multi-coloured paintings of forests are displayed, as are the more sparse and subtle winter scenes of David Lidbetter, the colourful landscapes of Joseph Pierce, and the works of several wildlife hyper-realists, who work in the style of Canadian painter Robert Bateman. You’ll also find the aurora borealis rendered in yarn by textile artist Marni Martin, whose photo-realistic landscape tapestries leave viewers completely mesmerized.
This year the Algonquin Art Centre marks its 10th anniversary with some very special exhibits and events.
One wing of the centre currently showcases the Algonquin at Night exhibit, with its depictions of the park’s nocturnal species, darkened vistas and evening skies. As well as Marni Martin’s Northern Light, there are the white-on-black works of Lori Dunn (who is fast becoming known as Canada’s best scratch-board artist), bronzes by internationally-commissioned sculptor Siggy Puchta, and Tony Bianco’s bonsai-esque Midnight Pine.
The Algonquin At Night exhibit is on until the centre closes for the season, on October 19, 2014.
Also featured until October 19 is Inspired by Life: the Art of Michael Dumas. Dumas was born close to Algonquin Park in the village of Whitney, spent many years as a park ranger, and has helped raise millions of dollars in aid of conservation. These formative experiences and his passion for nature are reflected in the spectacular detail and nuance of his works. Visit the Algonquin Art Centre on October 4, 2014 to meet this incredible artist from 11 am. to 4 pm.
The Algonquin Visitor Centre
The Algonquin Visitor Centre is a great spot to stop and see life-size exhibits of wildlife, lecture presentations, the observation deck, the book store and to enjoy something to eat at the Sunday Creek Café. It’s also home to The Algonquin Room, a gallery of Algonquin-inspired works by local artists. (Added bonus – a portion of each sale from artwork goes to enhancing the park’s interpretive and educational programs.)
Currently showing in The Algonquin Room is Emotions of Algonquin, a collection of prints by local photographers Jim Bartlett and Gerry Gerich of the flora and fauna in the park. Runs until September 25, 2014.
Starting September 26, 2014 check out the 22nd annual Mystery of the Park show and sale. This popular month-long event brings together artists from the East Central Ontario Art Association, displaying and selling more than 150 original paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolour. Every artist sees the breathtaking sights, large and small, of Algonquin’s wilderness a different way—so you don’t know what inspiring piece you’re going to see until you get there.
Located at kilometre 43 on Highway 60, The Algonquin Visitor Centre is open year-round. Algonquin Room exhibitions are open from 9 am to 5 pm, and admission is free with a valid Algonquin Park day pass.
Fall colours outside, awe-inspiring art inside—who could ask for more? Plan your visit to Algonquin Park and experience the art within. To plan your visit, click here.
For other artistic events in the region in fall, click here.
Guest Blogger: Karen Wehrstein
A resident of Muskoka, Karen Wehrstein is a freelance writer and published novelist whose work has appeared in the National Post, Montreal Gazette, as well as Muskoka Magazine, What’s Up Muskoka and other regional publications. She lives on thirty acres of beautiful forest near Lake of Bays.