Newsletter May 2023

Spring is here and artPontiac’s 2023 season is fast approaching. First things first — we want to remind you of our first Vernissage (Ruby Ewen’s Retrospective)and celebration of the opening of the very popular Stone School Shop, in its second year of operation. Over 35 artists and artisans will be exhibiting their arts and crafts. Join us in celebrating both events on Friday, June 2, from 6-8pm. In addition, you can find information on:

1. Professional Development Find out what happened at our first professional development conference on 1 May;

2. Gallery Update What shows are scheduled for our main gallery at the Stone School in Portage-du-Fort and those at Cafe 349, the Hoffman Gallery (at the Brewery in Campbell’s Bay), and Willow Lane, our newest off-site spaces;

3. Animalia A final call for artists for our featured conservation-based multiple medium group show in August;

4. Stone School Shop Details about the scope of work on display and its ongoing development;

5. Courses What is on offer this sumner by the Pontiac School of the Arts;

6. Plein Air Painting – back for another season, with added features for artPontiac members.

7. Summer Camp Preparations are underway for our week-long Summer Camp for Adult Artists who like to Play. We give you some hints about what we are planning.

8. MRC’s Gateway Arts and Culture Map An update on completion of the tourist map MRC is producing to promote our artists and galleries in the Pontiac and adjacent areas of the upper Ottawa valley;

9. Sponsorship Where we stand in terms of revenue and forecast expenses, following this year’s campaign. While very grateful to our many supporters, more is needed;

10. Board Change We are sad to announce that Marcel Renaud, is retiring as Treasurer after many years of volunteering with artPontiac, creating a gap on the Board that needs filling urgently; and,

11. Website Changes Inviting your comments on recent changes and what we’ve done to make payment easier, including e-transfers.

Here are the details:

1. Professional DevelopmentCreativity Unleashed: A Primer for Artists The first of a possible series of three day-long workshops to; inspire artists at all levels gave participants an opportunity to share in learning about the work of local artist John-Phiilippe Smith as Dominion Sculptor, how copyright law relates to their work (Laura Murray), the world of publishing by Nancy Dale Conroy and the use of digital applications to enhance traditional practice (Shane Bailey). . The day proved to be a major success. The room was buzzing with conversation, if nothing else a good measure of the success of the day. There was unanimous support for repeating the event, perhaps in the fall. We want to acknowledge the work of our coordinator, Katharine Fletcher, and the Regional Municipalities of the Pontiac (MRC) and Culture Outaouais for their generous support. Thanks as well to Ruth Hahn and Café 349 for the warm ambiance and excellent food and refreshments.

2. Stone School Gallery At our main Gallery, in Portage-du-Fort, we have four major ex exhibitions this summer. The first, a retrospective of the work of Ruby Ewen, will be open for viewing on Thursday ,1 June. The Vernissage will take place on Friday (June 2) from 6-8 pm, coinciding with the opening of our Shop on the main floor of the Gallery.
Subsequent shows include Leaving Marks, work by a group of four fibre artists (Meredith Filshie, Nancy Garrard, Karen Samanski and Wendo Van Essen), Animalia (multiple artists, mixed media), and Reflection on the Dumoine River (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society).

Cafe 349 In January, we took over management of artPontiac’s exhibitions from Nancy Dajeunais (kudos for your many hours of work in scheduling past shows) at this popular spot for lunch in Shawville in January. We reduced the length of shows to four weeks to allow more of our artists to participate. Currently, you will find the work of students from Pontiac High School. Starting in June, we will feature Larry Evans and Kate Ranger, Heather Smiley, Katharine and Eric Fletcher, Jadwiga Borkowska, Muriel Bruneau and Jelly Massee. We’ll close out the year with a group Christmas show open to all artPontiac members.

◦ In the front area of the Cafe you will also find crafts by some of our skilled artisans, including Clement Hoeck and Jeanne McTiernan as well as books by some of our writers, Elke Bzdureck and Nancy Dale Conroy. We’re looking for more crafts to display, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to submit work.

Hoffman Gallery This year we are very pleased to announce that the Brauwerk Brewery in Campbell’s Bay will be hosting three shows, starting with an exhibition by Bette Belanger, on June 8. Jill Alexander has confirmed her participation in August and we are working with one other artist to announce what you can expect to see in July. This gallery space, which is open only for the summer, is bright and airy and we expect it will be very popular with the many visitors the Brewery attracts to its shop and restaurant. We will be publishing details shortly but there will be some great work in a very pleasant space at Hoffman’s this year.

Willow Lane and the Flower Factory (Renfrew) have limited space available for small paintings or prints and cards. So far we have two artists lined up but welcome more, particularly in terms of cards. Willow Lane has a decided preference for images of alpacas, but also farm life, landscapes and nature. Flower Factor is open to the same, with a preference for floral work. If you have work you would like to display i either of these locations, please contact us at

3. Animalia In August, artPontiac is featuring another environmentally conscious, multiple medium, group show, Animalia. Our goal is to raise awareness about the threats to wildlife, from loss of habitat, particularly wetlands, pollution from agriculture and other sources, as well as mortality on our roads. We anticipate more than 20 artists will participate, each focusing on different species, from butterflies, to reptiles, birds and mammals. If you are interested in participating, contact us at gallerie@artpontiac. We will also offer a free family workshop for parents, grandparents and children to create animal finger and sock puppets. Numbers will be limited so check our site to register in mid-June.

4. Stone School Shop The Stone School Shop will open its doors on June 1st 2023. This year, we have more than 35 artists and artisans offering a wide variety of arts and crafts. Opening hours are Thursday to Sunday from 11 to 4 (closed on June 24th) until the end of August, followed by Saturdays and Sundays in September. We may stay open in October if there is sufficient interest on the part of participants in our plein air sessions to host a show of their work completed over the summer. We have space for a few more participants. If you are interested or have questions, please email Linda Roy at

5. 2023 Courses Our first course takes place on June 14, a fun day with Jeanne McTiernan, making glass garden stakes. Space is limited for all workshops so now is the time to see which of our 8 courses you’d like to take. We have a range of art forms on offer this year, including stained glass, mosaics, printing with gel plates, journaling and mixed media. Unfortunately Jelly Massee had to withdraw from teaching what looked to be a very popular course with coloured pencils.  We are hoping she may be able to give a class at her studio during our summer camp.  And new this year are 3 classes that will have you delving into the digital art world! Find out how to use digital art to transford your traditional art forms! We are also planning a workshop on social media, Instagram in particular, as a means of promoting your art.

While most of these courses are aimed at beginners we want to encourage our more experienced artists to consider attending, to hone their skills or share what they know. Our classes are a means of bringing our members together, which, after so many years of inability to gather, means a lot. So many of us have been living at a distance, connected only by email and Zoom calls. We have lost a lot in terms of friendship and in person contact. Participation in a workshop is a way to re-engage and form connections with fellow artists. You don’t need to be a member to sign up for a course, but you will definitely save money if you are! We are always looking for additional suggestions for courses throughout the year or for next year, so don’t hesitate to email with your ideas.

6. Plein air painting Last year was our first year having an organized weekly get-together for plein air painters from the area.  We hope to see more painters and sketchers joinging us for this current season.  Pat Forrest is organizing these sessions, which will take place on Thursdays, from 10am to noon (or later if you wish), starting from the Stone School, unless other locations are identified the week before. Plein air sessions are open to all, not just Members. In addition, Members will be able to attend Saturday plein air sessions with demonstrations by special guest artists, and to participate in a group exhibition at the Stone School Gallery in October.

The first plein air session for 2023 will be Thursday, June 1st at 10am, at the Stone School, 28 rue Mill, Portage-du-Fort. You can sign up in advance by contacting Pat Forrest at

If you have questions about any of the courses, or the plein air sessions, please contact Pat Forrest, Chair of the School Committee, at

7. Summer Camp 24-28 July 2023 Now that much of the work needed to launch our season is done, we are turning our attention to our biggest project this year, the revival of what used to be known as the Residency program. There are some significant changes, including fees for participation, but we think you’ll like the result. We are still working on the program but have secured artists to open their studios to share their skills in painting, collage and printmaking as well as lead plein air painting sessions. In addition, Clelia Scala, who comes with a big reputation for her skill in mask making, puppetry and illustration, will help us create animal masks that can be worn and exhibited at Animalia workshop each morning. We will have evening entertainment as well, for artists who come for the week and stay with local hosts. We’ll publish the programme and pricingin our next Newsletter but in the meantime, please let us know if you think you would like to attend. We saw what enthusiasm there was for getting together, when we hosted our Professional Development Conference. We expect the Summer Camp will give all those who attend a much needed chance to enjoy the sensation of being together to explore new things with fellow artists for one or more days in a fabulous natural and historic setting.

8. MRC’s Gateway to the Pontiac Map In February, after many months of preparatory work, we transferred all the information needed to complete the Pontiac Regional Municipality (MRC) guide to art studios and galleries. MRC is now in the final stages of design and consultation before printing and distribution. When available, it will be an important vehicle to attract visitors to design their own itineraries to visit artists, take workshops and view work on exhibition in the Pontiac and upper Ottawa valley. We’ll let you know when it’s out and where you can find one.

9. Art Pontiac on the Road – Again In 2022 artPontiac went on the road with work, showcasing work by various artists from the Stone School Shop at the Renfrew Art Fair, the Brauwerk Hoffman brewery and the Shawville Fair. This year we are planning to return to Renfrew and Shawville but are looking for your suggestions about other venues we should include. Golf courses, street fairs, municipal art fairs – any event that attracts a crowd for a day or two. We are also looking for volunteers to set up the tents, arrange the displays, hand out brochures, and spend some time at the booth greeting visitors. Michael Peterson is the lead for this activity. You can reach him with suggestions, or to volunteer at

10. Sponsorship Campaign 2023 This year, we have raised over $4,000 in sponsorship, very good considering the small team of people involved. Unfortunately, this is not enough to support the range of activities we are offering this year. We are doing our best to seek additional funding but are looking to you, our members and friends, to invite your friends and family to send us a donation or sponsorship via our website or by cheque. The funds we raise through membership, gallery, shop fees and course registrations are not enough to cover the cost of rent and maintenance of the Stone School, instructor fees and publicizing events. We remain committed to our policy of not imposing a commission on sales by our artists. You can help by encouraging friends and local businesses to contribute. Every little bit can help, so don’t hesitate to promote artPontiac!

11. Website changes You may have noticed we’ve made some changes to the format of our website, introducing some new sections and adding online payment options in several places. It is very much in a state of flux, at the moment, and we know that it can be challenging to find information. We need to update a number of sections, including the history of artPontiac, and make it more user friendly.

If you have time to have a look, and send us comments on gaps or things you find confusing, we’d welcome the input. We have a website committee and would also welcome new members!

E-transfer now available One feature we’d like to draw your attention to is the fact that you can now pay for participation or make contributions by e-transfer. Just use as the address, and 2437 as the security code. If you use e-transfer, please ensure you list exactly what you are paying for, so we can assign payments to the right place!


That’s it for May. Your Board Members are looking forward to seeing many of you at our first Vernissage of the year, Ruby Ewen’s Retrospective, and the formal opening of our Shop at the Stone School, 28 rue Mill, Portage-du-Fort, on Friday, 2 June, 6-8 pm.