Monday, July 22, 2024

Launching the redesigned Regional Art Gallery

Glen Hartle
Campbell’s bay Oct. 7, 2022
The MRC Pontiac officially launched the redesigned Regional Art Gallery on Friday, October 7 at the MRC headquarters in Campbell’s Bay. It was a coordinated and well-attended affair in what is, poetically, now the space for both gallery and council: the Elsie Gibbons boardroom. Warden Jane Toller, who emceed the launch, proudly affirmed that: “The MRC Pontiac strongly supports our artist community.”
Originating in 2008, the art collection was the brainchild of Rémi Bertrand, then director general of the MRC Pontiac. Over the years, and since that time, the collection has grown to 16 pieces broadly representing artistry in the region where each has been selected by a committee with representatives of both the council and the art communities.
Sabrina Ayres, an economic development officer with the MRC, shares that the idea to make the collection more visible, well-documented and accessible was born of an overall rebranding and renaissance effort which has taken hold. Gone are drab colours to be replaced by a more attractive palette, t-shirts sporting enthusiasm for the MRC are proudly on display, and everyone at HQ seems to be on board. There’s a delightful energy to it all.
While the main gallery is considered to be the Elsie Gibbons Room, the HQ as a whole functions as an extension with art on display in many corners. Appropriately, side-by-side in the room that now functions as council chamber and gallery, one can see items from the art collection as well as framed photographs of all previous and current wardens of the MRC. A stroll through the corridors, perhaps even stopping by Warden Jane Toller’s office to say hello, provides access to the rest of the collection.
A catalog is available just outside the main gallery and offers detailed descriptions of the artists and the collection. This new vision of the Elsie Gibbons boardroom was curated by Caitlin Brubacher of Elephant in the Attic in Portage-du-Fort and most of the framing, and in some cases re-framing, of both art and warden portraits was undertaken by her and her team.
There is additional art present at the moment, and for the next year, as the output of a partnership between the MRC Pontiac, Les Maisons des jeunes du Pontiac and local artists is on display as a part of the collection. These temporal and collaborative pieces were forged through an effort to bring history to the young and subsequently have artists assist these same youths in conveying that history forward through art. The results are an inspiring and fully deserving addition to the art collection and will be so until they are re-homed next year to the various individual “maisons des jeunes” in Fort-Coulonge, Shawville, Isle-aux-Allumettes, Mansfield-et-Pontefract and Rapides-des-Joachims.
The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and again from 1:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. keeping in mind that council activities may take precedence in the now-shared space.
If you are an artist and would like to have your art considered for inclusion in the collection, there is currently a call for submissions. You can find more information on the MRC Pontiac website at

Glen Hartle is a farmer, photographer and artist based out of Bristol, Quebec

A painting, “Montréal Street”, by Stephan Scrak from 2012, part of the MRC Pontiac Art Collection on display in the Elsie Gibbons boardroom.
A collaborative effort from youth at Les Maisons des jeunes du Pontiac “Flamingos”.


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