Salvador Dali
Salvador Dalí, Santiago El Grande (1957) oil on canvas, 407.7 x 304.8 cm, Beaverbrook Art Gallery: Gift of Sir James Dunn Foundation

A Sarnia stop later this year by a touring exhibition of 75 masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is attracting the attention of bus tour operators, says Tourism Sarnia Lambton.

The Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in downtown Sarnia announced in August 2013 it had been selected as a stop on a long-running tour organized by the Fredericton-based gallery named for its founder Lord Beaverbrook, a Canadian-born business tycoon, politician newspaper publisher and confidant of Winston Churchill.

Beverley Horodyski, motorcoach groups and conventions marketing coordinator with Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, said she’s working with tour bus operators on itineraries for motorcoach trips including the Masterworks art show in Sarnia as a main stop. She said there was a particularly positive response from tour operators local tourism officials spoke with during an Ottawa conference in early November.

“Some, actually, were very impressed that a community of our size was able to confirm that type of exhibit,” Horodyski said. “Because, it’s not going to Toronto, it’s not going to Ottawa, it’s coming to our regional art gallery, which is a real coup for our community.” Some tour operators attracted by the Beaverbrook show haven’t sent buses to Sarnia-Lambton before, Horodyski said.

“We’re pleased as punch about the response.”

The exhibition of work by world-renowned artists was organized in 2009 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. It began touring North America in 2013, and is scheduled to be in Sarnia from September through early 2016. “It’s a selection of some of the most impressive works from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s permanent collection,” said Lisa Daniels, curator of the Alix gallery. They includes three pieces by Salvador Dali, a “significant piece” by Lucian Freud, plus work by Constable, Krieghoff, Sargent, and others, she said.

“It’s the who’s who of important European artists, historically, as well as right up to and including Canadian arts,” Daniels said. “It’s a really wonderful show, and it’s a show that everyone in the county needs to see, because this calibre of exhibition has never been here before.”

Lambton County’s $10.3-million art gallery that opened in downtown Sarnia in 2012 is the reason why the Beaverbrook show is able to make a stop in the community, she said. Hosting the show has been a large undertaking for the gallery, “so who knows when we’ll get something like this again,” Daniels said. The show “is taking over the entire facility,” and will extend over four months, but the cost will be covered through the gallery’s normal exhibition budget, she said.

“We’re the only stop in central Canada,” Daniels said. “It goes from Winnipeg, where it is right now, and jumps to the Maritimes.”

The gallery is planning “enhanced marketing” for the show capable of attracting visitors from Michigan and other parts of Ontario, Daniels said. “We want to take advantage of that and let people know the show is here.”

General admission in Sarnia will be free, with some restrictions on how many visitors can be in the gallery at any one time. There will also be a gift shop operating during the show, as well as opportunities for special, exclusive group showings and programing, with a fee. Those details should be announced in the near future, Daniels said. She added the gallery has already been hearing from companies and groups inquiring about those opportunities.

“It will generate some revenue for us,” she said. “We’re working all that stuff out now.” Daniels said they are aiming to ensure visitors have a quality experience at the show, and leave saying, “It’s a great art gallery, it’s a great community and I’m coming back.”

By Paul Morden, The Observer

Read the original article here: http://www.theobserver.ca/2015/02/12/sarnia-set-to-welcome-masterworks-from-beaverbrook-art-gallery