Exhibitions at the Public Art Centre take place in our Gallery ONE, TWO and THREE. Tours are free of charge and can be organized in advance for school and community groups. For more information please see Education Programs.

Current Exhibitions

Andrés Villar
January 17 to March 26, 2022

“Memory and history inform how we conceive of times to come. We exist double-faced, imagining futures that can deliver us from the past, even–or especially if–the past acquires the burden of a deceptively golden glow. Discovery implies a certain amount of recollection or recognition. “What has been” channels the possibilities of “what will be.” Yet the past, as someone has said, is a foreign country, inaccessible and glimpsed only darkly in traces that time leaves in its wake. Many of these traces, which are in all that surrounds us, wherever we go, appear as ruins or debris. Like spring without birdsong, they attest to an irrevocable loss. Moving with hope into the future requires a careful reconnaissance of places and legacies so as to be aware of what is present and what is absent in the meshwork of our everyday lives.”  -Andrés Villar

Past Exhibitions

Preservation : Caring for a Collection

Recent Acquisitions

November 21 to December 19, 2020

Gallery One and Two

In over 50 years of its existence the St. Thomas-Elgin Public art Centre has amassed one of the most significant collections of local and regional artworks of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs. From the beginning with the purchase of Clark McDougall’s, Talbot Street 1964, the collection has grown to more than 2000 works today.

During the lockdown brought on by the pandemic, the duty to protect our important collection has occurred behind the scenes. These works are vulnerable to pests, changes in temperature and exposure to light all of which demands constant vigilance. This preservation has been happening in large and small galleries and museums all around the world, in our own community and at the Public Art Centre.

Part of our commitment to preserving a community collection, Preservation : Caring for a Collection, Recent Acquisitions, will feature new works of art included in the permanent collection from 2019-20. The art works, all of which are donations, accentuate the continued importance of collectors and the preservation, in the development of the permanent collection.

Mary Donlan

Della Luce - Paintings 2016-2021.  

November 13 to December 23, 2021

Gallery One & Two

Mary Donlan is a painter working in the abstract expressionist tradition with a collage aesthetic. Currently, she works with paper collage and painting.  She is a resident of St. Thomas, Ontario. 

Artist Statement

My painting is rooted in the history of abstract art and I work from a collage aesthetic. I love abstract art and I am interested in how an artist develops a vocabulary. I use collage to address how we create – merging, synthesizing, layering material on material, pattern on pattern, fragment on fragment, building up an image. So that is my chosen process - layering. I see the process of layering, merging, changing, interweaving, and synthesizing as simulating the creative process.

I have evolved from an abstract expressionist into a conceptual/minimal artist. My paintings are artistic explorations of material. I use paper, acrylic skins, paint shards, and sometimes fabrics, to reference the surface of things, to convey a sense of fragility, vulnerability, and impermanence. Softness and strength. In recent years I have minimized colour and simplified my images. I use acrylic mediums and paints to create luminous surfaces, to embody positive, high energy, and resilience.

 We are at one with nature in our frailty and mortality.

 I have been very influenced by Canadian abstract painters - Les Automatistes, Ron Martin, Jack Bush, Paterson Ewen (with whom I studied at UWO), Ronald Bloore, and Painters Eleven, Cy Twombly, Rebecca Morris, Christopher Wool, and many other contemporary abstract artists. Recently I have become interested in Minimalism, in artists such as Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman. I also enjoy contemporary textile art.

 Mary Donlan 2020.

Collective Chemistry

September 11 to October 9, 2021

Gallery Three

Cathy Horvath Buchanan

Jane Atkinson White

Alice Price Vermeulen

Heather Keating

The St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre is pleased to present, Collective Chemistry, a group exhibition featuring four local artists working with various media such as painting and collage. Focusing on their most recent works, the exhibition runs from September 11 to October 9,  2021 and will explore the relationship between the forms, themes, and techniques of this diverse range of contemporary artists.

Heather Keating is one of our long standing adult art instructors and an artist from St. Thomas.   She is known for her watercolour and mixed media paintings.  She creates local landscapes and those from around the world inspired by her travels.  She is a member of the Port Stanley Artist Guild and the St. Thomas Artist Guild.

Jane Atkinson White is a portrait artist creating colourful, representational works of art. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1983. After graduating, her focus was on painting. She became known for her large acrylic portraits and exhibited her work in numerous juried and solo art shows throughout Southwestern Ontario.

Jane lives in Belmont, Ontario, with her husband and daughter. Her work is in private art collections throughout Ontario and the United States.

Alice Price-Vermeulen "I have always done art in some form or another. More recently, since relocating to St. Thomas, I have been exploring Mixed Media, using mediums to provide texture and certain affects in my paintings, whether oil or acrylic. As well, I have been exploring the medium of Collage, which is helpfully nurtured through the London group I belong to "Collage Collective''.

My style is my own and often I have a canvas or panel before me with no idea what I am about to paint, but it is a  fascinating process of intuitive exploration that makes my work uniquely my own, and often a happy surprise! I love colour and some of my work is more colourful than others, but colour always weaves it's spirited way throughout my work." ~ Alice Price-Vermeulen

Cathy Horvath-Buchanan is a Canadian artist living in the charming town of Port Stanley, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Erie, along with her husband Shawn & dog Patches.

The art she creates is the product of her years at art school, practical experimentation and quiet observation. Over time her art has evolved to become a unique amalgamation of colorful folk art as seen through the lens of a graphic, realistic style. Having started with landscape painting, she has been expanding her subject matter to encompass art themes suitable for licensing.

Cathy is always amazed how putting color to canvas can absorb and convey a lifetime spent looking. To her, a beautifully rendered colorful image is a joy to create and even more joyful to share. She takes great pride in creating artworks filled with bright happy colors to cheer your heart and home.


Selections from the Permanent Collection

August 7 to September 4, 2021

This project will bring historic and contemporary artwork from the Art Centre permanent collection to our beautiful local trails and Elevated Park through the installation of attractive signs that feature high quality reproductions of many of our landmark paintings. The “Art, Trees & Trails” project has been generously funded with $115,000 by the Estate of Donna Vera Evans Bushell.

This exhibition will let you preview the original artworks that will be produced as the reproductions through out the trails.  For more information and trial maps see External link opens in new tab or windowhere...

Ting - Editorial Cartoons

Until April 10, 2021

Merle "Ting" Tingley was born in Montreal in 1921 and is recognized as one of southwestern Ontario’s most influential cartoonists. He joined the Army Signals Corps in 1942, and in 1943 became staff cartoonist for The Khaki, the Canadian army’s official bilingual magazine.

In 1947 he bought a used motorcycle and toured the country showing his portfolio to numerous editors, before, out of desperation, he took a job retouching photographs at the London Free Press. Ting's fortunes improved when an editor on that paper noticed a cartoon Ting had drawn of the mayor during the municipal election. The editor was impressed with the drawing and Ting become the resident editorial cartoonist at the London Free Press until his retirement in 1986.

The Public Art Centre has more than 100 works by Ting in our permanent collection. These works document an extraordinary career and the political and societal events (locally, nationally and internationally) from the 1940’s to the 1990’s.

UNMASKED: Portraits from the Collection

August 15 to September 26, 2020

Gallery ONE & TWO

Drawing from a collection of over 1900 works of art, UNMASKED: Portraits from the Public Art Centre’s collection, features  portrait works that explore how artists have chosen to portray themselves and their subjects. Created in all media, from plaster sculpture to oil painting, the works in this exhibition can inspire ourselves to see others with empathy and understanding.

As we are confronted each day with  mandatory mask regulations and social distancing rules many find it  difficult to connect with others.  So, we think this is an opportune time to reassess the significance of self-portraiture and portrait art in relation to our current time in  history. 

The exhibition contains examples of self-portraits, with Dorothy Stevens’, Untitled Self Portrait, c. 1940, that is rarely seen. It also includes works by Mackie Cryderman, Clark McDougall, Bob Bozak, Marion Long, Greg Curnoe, Kathleen Daly,  Gerald Pedros, Robert Reginald Whale, Norval Morrisseau and many more.

UNMASKED is curated by Laura Woermke, curator and Sherri Howard, program director at the Public Art Centre.  The exhibition will also include  self directed educational prompts to further develop your experience and exploration into the world of portraits.