With only 30 tickets remaining for the RiverBrink Summer Art Sale Opening Reception, the Aug. 30 event promises to be one of the premiere art shows in Niagara-on-the-Lake this year.
Visitors to the RiverBrink Art Museum that evening will get the first chance to purchase original artwork, while enjoying appetizers by Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine, paired with wine selections from Reif Estate Winery. Musical entertainment will be provided by local jazz musician Peter Shea.
The art sale fundraiser continues Saturday and Sunday that weekend, with the doors of the museum open to the public. There will be about 200 pieces of art available for purchase over the three days.
Presenting sponsor and RiverBrink board member Paul Hancock says the weekend is an important fundraiser for the art museum. Proceeds from the sale will primarily be used to fund future exhibits, as well as to bring in guest speakers for special presentations and programs.
Hancock says many temporary exhibits can cost RiverBrink from $5,000 to $10,000, so this money helps to secure some interesting presentations.
The works of art for sale are all donated by supporters of the museum. Many come from art collectors, who are generously donating pieces from their own personal collections.
Other works have been donated directly by the artists themselves, many of them local. These include Pete Malaguti, Julie Ponesse, Lenore Walker, Kathy Thomas and Peggy Reel.
Hancock points specifically to former local artist Lillian Asquith’s painting Early Summer, with its striking use of colour and contrast, as one of the premiere items for sale that he expects to sell at a reasonable price.
As well, historical items for sale will include works by Campbell Scott, Mary Prittie, Nicholas Hornyansky, and James Pattison Cockburn.
The main living room currently displays the exhibit The Power of Niagara, a collection of photographs on loan from Ontario Power Generation. When that exhibit closes this week, Director/Curator Debra Antoncic will get to work hanging the many pieces that will be part of the coming event.
The living room comes by its name honestly. RiverBrink was the vacation home of London, Ont. lawyer Samuel E. Weir.
He began his art collection in the 1920s, and continued acquiring important pieces throughout his life.
RiverBrink itself was built in 1970, with Weir’s goal always being to leave it behind as a museum, art gallery and library. He incorporated the Weir Foundation in 1962, and, following his 1981 death, his collection and estate was bequeathed to that organization.
As Antoncic leads the way through RiverBrink, it is strikingly clear that all three of Weir’s goals were met by his foundation. The building itself stands as a museum, with its elaborate wood-panelled walls, gabled windows and mansard roof. Those walls hold many important paintings, with a specific focus on Canadiana.
The bottom floor, with its high ceilings, contains a number of bronze sculptures by the 20th century artist Marc-Aurele de Foy Suzor-Cote, along with a library of more 4,000 reference books on art, history and Canadiana.
It’s an impressive building, an impressive collection, and all in immaculate condition.
RiverBrink opened as an art museum in 1983. Though it receives some small grants from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and other government programs, it continues to be funded primarily by the Weir Foundation.
Antoncic says about 3,000 people each year visit RiverBrink, tourists and locals alike.
She is really excited about the sale, and about the variety of work that will be on offer, both historical and contemporary. She promises something for all, with each piece being priced to sell. And she promises that the opening reception, especially, will be a night to remember.
For ticket information, visit riverbrink.org.