And it all started in the Glebe

By Della Wilkinson

A pioneering artist and teacher who got her start in the Glebe before spending years in Toronto is coming home again and being rewarded with a solo art show.

Many Glebe families may remember Dawn McArthur for her dedicated volunteerism and the art education program that she started at First Avenue Public School in the late 1990s. In 2003, McArthur received a Community Award from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board for inspiring students to express themselves through art and to learn about the lives of artists. Students’ art from every grade was displayed at a school-wide vernissage with a silent auction that raised funds for a different charity chosen each year by the students. As noted in a 2003 article in the Glebe Report, “Her project notes have provided a road map for more recent arts volunteers at the school.”

When McArthur moved to Toronto, she was missed by students and staff at both First Avenue Public School and Good Morning Preschool, where she worked as part of the creative team. However, her dedication and inspiration helped the arts programs in the Glebe continue to flourish. Now, after many years of teaching art in Toronto and founding her own private arts school, McArthur has returned to Ottawa.

After decades of guiding children into the world of Van Gogh, Norval Morrisseau and others, McArthur was inspired to develop her own art practice. Born out of exploring art with children and sharing in their joyful optimism, McArthur’s acrylic paintings bring the magic of the Canadian wilderness to life, mixing Realism, Post-impressionism, Woodland Art and a touch of the surreal. Colour, line and pattern evoke joy, and McArthur’s humour is often shared through subject matter and composition. Her paintings capture the Quebec hills and their wild inhabitants.

McArthur has been selected by jury for a solo exhibit at La Fab Sur Mill gallery in Chelsea. Her exhibit, “Joy in the Wilderness,” runs from Friday, March 10 to Sunday, April 16 at the La Fab sur Mill art gallery at 8 Ch Mill, Chelsea, Quebec. The exhibit is open Fridays to Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Celebrate McArthur’s art by attending the Vernissage/Opening on Saturday, March 11!

Other special dates within the exhibit:

Saturday, March 25:

“Meet the Artist in Action”

Saturday, April 8:

“Happy Birthday, Dawn!

Celebrate with the Artist”

Della Wilkinson is a friend of Dawn McArthur and volunteered to teach Dawn’s art program to her sons’ Grade 1 classes at First Avenue. Della is also a lover and buyer of Dawn’s artwork.

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