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MacLaren staff paint picture of what downtown gallery has to offer residents

'We’re probably one of the most beautiful buildings in Barrie to host an event, and I argue we’re amongst the most affordable'

The MacLaren Art Centre has long been known as the city’s art hub, but the historic 24,000-square-foot building is home to much more than just vibrant paintings.

Located on Mulcaster Street in downtown Barrie, the MacLaren is home to a permanent collection containing 4,340 works of art.

For their newest installment, a reception for Winter Exhibitions takes place Thursday night from 7-9 p.m.

MacLaren education officer Tyler Durbano says the centre is getting ready for the winter collections and all the changes that come with the snowy months.

“We’re in full swing of changing seasonal exhibitions and classes,” Durbano tells BarrieToday. “Works by Bewabon Shilling that showcase the landscape around his home at Rama Mnjikaning First Nation will be on display, as will the works of Bertram Brooker, who was an artist.”

Winter Exhibitions will also include the Sovfoto Collection, which is a look at design in the future and works from the Inuit production company Isuma.

While it is expected that a gallery would have wonderful works of art, the MacLaren offers more in order to open the doors to the community. Winter classes and camps will be posted on the MacLaren’s website this week.

“People who are already interested in art can take advantage of them, but there is also something for any level of experience which is great,” Durbano says. “I think people know about our kids' classes and camps, but don’t realize we have the same thing for youth and adults.”

Another popular aspect of the MacLaren this time of year is the gift shop. Containing items from local artists, there are also the popular gifts featuring the image of the iconic Spirit Catcher, which can’t be bought anywhere else.

MacLaren director of development Laura Aylan-Parker says there are so many things about the centre that people don’t know about, so she encourages everyone to check them out.

“The gift shop is immensely popular especially around Christmas, but so is the Gallery Café, which is so busy this afternoon it just sounds alive,” says Aylan-Parker. “But something else about us is our rental of the facility. We rent out the centre to businesses, weddings, holiday parties and much more.

“We’re probably one of the most beautiful buildings in Barrie to host an event, and I argue we’re amongst the most affordable.”

As the city prepares for a huge population growth in the next decade and more, the MacLaren is doing all they can to get the word out as best they can that they are here and open.

“Our initiative throughout the year is to make sure that we take part in community festivals,” Durbano says. “We are out at events like Kempenfest, the Rama Powwow or Winterfest and spreading the word that way.”

Any and all events and classes at the MacLaren can be found on their website.


Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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