Mali's post about missing visits to the art gallery made me think about my own relationship to them. I have very little real artistic ability in terms of drawing & painting, etc. I don't remember art class being offered in school once I got beyond junior high and, growing up in small towns no closer than about 50 miles from the nearest city, art galleries weren't something I grew up visiting. (Museums, both large and small, were something we frequented more often.)
The first time I remember visiting an art gallery was when I was about 17. The Winnipeg Art Gallery was hosting a rare touring exhibit from the Hermitage in Russia -- this was in the late 1970s, peak Cold War years -- and one of my artistic friends was keen to go, so she, her sisters, mine & I all went. There were lots of Old Masters, names we'd only ever heard from books, and it was a pretty impressive experience.
As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate art & art galleries more. Living in Toronto, I've been to the Art Gallery of Ontario several times, usually when there's been an interesting exhibit on. (They will soon be hosting the Infinity Mirrors exhibit that Mel wrote about a while back.) I especially enjoy their collection of Group of Seven works, and they had an Emily Carr exhibit a few years ago that I quite enjoyed.
For some reason, I have known about the McMichael Canadian Art Collection since I was a kid. I think I saw a documentary about it on CBC television, and I was enchanted by the idea of a log house out in the country transformed into an art gallery. Since I moved to the Toronto area, I would see stories about it from time to time in the local media. Dh & I finally took a day off & went to see it one fall day at least 10-20 years ago, and we both really enjoyed the experience.
As I've mentioned in some previous posts, we now live within an easy drive of the McMichael. Last year, I decided to take out a membership, and I am so glad I did. Two visits per year, and the membership pays for itself. We've already been there several times to view new exhibits, attend lectures, and just stroll around the lovely grounds (the fall colours, in particular, can be spectacular).
It occurred to me, as I was writing a comment on Mali's post (which currently seems to be languishing in moderation...! ;) ), that Robert & Signe McMichael, the couple who generously donated their beautiful property & art collection to the people of Ontario (which became the McMichael Canadian Art Collection), did not have any children. I did some Googling and found Robert McMichael's obituary, which does not mention any offspring among his surviving family. (I also learned that Signe McMichael used to personally greet groups of schoolchildren visiting the gallery.)
But what a legacy!
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.