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Huntsville, Ontario and the Group of Seven
A Young Man Inspired
In 1912, a young artist from Toronto came to Algonquin Provincial Park, just outside of Huntsville. He was so inspired by the natural beauty that he brought some of his friends who were as inspired as he was. They kept returning to the park and surrounding area, capturing its rugged beauty in modern, impressionist ways that challenged the artistic community in Canada at the time.
That young man was Tom Thompson. He died tragically in 1917, drowning in the very park where his art was inspired. His friends formed the now famous Group of Seven. They continued their artistic endeavours, painting their way across Canada and producing shows that included the work of their friend.
The Group of Seven
While Tom was not an official member of the group, his art is prominently displayed as part of the groups efforts. The 7 members were:
- Franklin Carmichael
- Lawren Harris
- A. Y. Jackson
- Frank Johnston
- Arthur Lismer
- J. E. H. MacDonald
- Frederick Varley
The Outdoor Gallery
In 1999, Gerry Lantaigne began painting the first oversized replica of a Tom Thomson painting -- The Jack Pine. This mural was displayed on the side of Miss Lester's, a local business. In the past 11 years over 20 more murals have been added to the downtown core of Huntsville.
The main gallery is extended by The Sketch Gallery, 20 mini murals displayed on the sides of the local high school and The Excursion Gallery with murals in some of the smaller communities in the area such as Dorset and Kearney.
While Gerry has done most of these murals, other local artists have joined in the project. Several of the murals have also had community input (Autumn's Garland had over 1,300 residents and visitors adding their brush strokes). Even the G8 leaders put paint to canvas in a new mural that was done this past June.
You can now wander through the streets of downtown Huntsville and enjoy the amazing works of Tom Thompson and The Group of Seven. There is no admission and no limitation on the hours (although they may be difficult to see at 3 AM). The Excursion Gallery murals are less than a 1 hour drive from downtown.
This is the very first mural painted for the gallery and is on the side of Miss Lester's, right behind Kent Park.
Around the side of Algonquin Outfitters you'll find this colourful piece.
A bronze statue of Tom at work in park sits in front of the Huntsville Civic Center. Autumn's Garland is to the left on Reflections of Muskoka.
Summer Hillside is located around back of the RBC bank. Stream in the Wood is across the street on North Art Supplies. Several others are near by.
I love this piece. It is around behind the Chamber of Commerce and you can get a great view of it from River Mill Park.
Here you'll find replicas of 20 sketches, some painted by students at the school.
The Excursion Gallery
This work is on the Evergreen Heights Education Centre.
The Dorset Heritage Museum is home to these two works by Frank Johnston who's wife and children lived in Dorset after his death.
This is the lake where Tom Thompson drowned in 1917, extinguishing a great artistic light.